First Person vs. Second Person vs. Third Person In English Grammar

Difference Between First Person and Second Person and Third Person In English Grammar

First person, Second person and Third person are grammatical expressions that show distinction between them. First person refers to ‘I’. Second person refers to ‘You’ whereas the third person refers to ‘He, she or it’ as the case may be.

First person is reflexive in nature. When one refers to oneself he does it by using first person as in the sentence, ‘I went to the office late today.’ When the same person refers to a person who is in front of him or near him then he would address the other person by using the second person as in the sentence, ‘You know the truth’. In the given sentence you will have to appreciate that the person who is address as ‘you’ was near the person or in front of the person who has addressed him consequently.

It is remarkable to note that only in the case of the Almighty the second person is used even otherwise. The Almighty is not usually present near or in front of the person who addresses Him. Look at the sentence, ‘O God! Why do you not answer my prayer?’ In this sentence the God was certainly not anywhere near or in front of the person that has addressed Him.

Therefore it is important to know that while addressing God the second person can be used even if He is not visibly present. In all the other cases you can use the second person only if the person who is addressed is near or in front of you.

It is normal that poets address non-living and lifeless things too by using the second person as in the sentence, ‘O Cloud you should carry my message to my lover soon!’ The third person is used to refer to persons or things that are moreover visible or away from your insight. For example if you say ‘He knows the reason for my happiness’, then the person who is referred to by the third person ‘he’ may be near you or away from your insight.

First person usually has no gender in application. Second person too has no gender in its application. On the other hand the third person has its application in three different genders namely, masculine, feminine and neuter gender. This is the key distinction between first person, second person and third person. The three persons have to be used precisely in composition.

 

 

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