Social Question

Dutchess_III's avatar

Is this 1st person, 2nd person, or 3rd person?

Asked by Dutchess_III (36239points) 2 months ago

My daughter, who has really good grammar, called me and asked if this comment her 4 year old made referring to herself and her twin brother was 1st, 2nd, or 3rd person.
Savannah said, “Mommy picked up the twins.”

Now she’s going crazy and so am I!

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27 Answers

canidmajor's avatar

She is referring to herself (themselves) in the 3rd person. Adorable from a toddler, pretentious from an adult.

Dutchess_III's avatar

But she’s also referring to Kale. So it’s 2nd person and 3rd person all at the same time.

Lecture was unnecessary.

canidmajor's avatar

What lecture?

Response moderated
Dutchess_III's avatar

Just thought folks might have fun with it. A better question would have been riddle. “When can you refer to two people in the second and third person at the same time?” Or something like that.

Mariah's avatar

I think it’s only 3rd person.

Saying something like “We went to the store” is considered first-person even though the speaker is referring to not just himself but also another person.

Likewise, saying “They went to the store” would be third-person regardless of who all is included in the “they” group.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yes but she was also referring to her brother so that’s a different person @nomorey.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

“Mommy picked up the twins” is third person.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Pinguidchance i mean.

Yes but one of the twins was herself @Pied_Pfeffer. .... so she referred to herself in the 3rd person but to her bro in the second right?

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Her twin was referred to in the 3rd tense, as it should be. Second tense would be including the person she is talking to.

On saying that, who was she talking to?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well actually…she was talking to her Mom! Oh Lawd!

Pinguidchance's avatar

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grammatical_person

Grammatical person, in linguistics, is the grammatical distinction between deictic references to participant(s) in an event; typically the distinction is between the speaker (first person), the addressee (second person), and others (third person). Put in simple colloquial English, first person is that which includes the speaker, namely, “I,” “we,” “me,” and “us,” second person is the person or people to whom are spoken, literally, “you,” and third person includes all that is not listed above.[1] Grammatical person typically defines a language’s set of personal pronouns. It also frequently affects verbs, and sometimes nouns or possessive relationships.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well that helps.

janbb's avatar

It’s third person. If you said, “Dutch stood on her feet for 4 hours” it would be third person. No ambiguity at all.

Zaku's avatar

It’s 3rd person because the person of a sentence is the person of subject of the verb, which is Mommy (she – 3rd person). Who or what the objects of the verb are do not affect the person of the sentence.

Now, if the sentence were something like “Savannah’s twin and I (Savannah) picked up the marbles.” then it’s second-person plural (we). And it’s the form not the content that matter, so if she said “The twins (including me) picked up the marbles.” then it’s third person because “The twins” is a third-person form (they) even if the “they” ironically includes the speaker.

Soubresaut's avatar

I think this might be an example of speaking in second and third at the same time?—

A. “Mommy picked up you and your sister,” where she’s speaking to her brother in the second person, and referring to herself in the third.

Or perhaps B. “You picked up the twins,” where she’s speaking to her mother in the second person, and referring to herself in the third (grouped with her brother).

I don’t know if that counts, though. Like, is the 1st/2nd/3rd person-ness of a sentence determined only by the subject? If so, then A is simply in third (Mommy) and B is simply in second (You).

Zaku's avatar

@Soubresaut Nope. When talking about what person something is in, it’s important to say what is in that person. Do you mean the narrative voice, the subject of the verb, or other nouns?

These examples are only unclear if you forget that you need to talk about specifically what you mean. The narrative voice, subject and objects can all be different. If it’s the voice or the verb, you might say the speaker is speaking in that person. If it’s the person of an object one is speaking about, then one would say something like “Savannah is speaking of herself in third person.”

Soubresaut's avatar

Okay, cool. Thanks for clarifying! So in my examples, Savannah is speaking to someone else in second person, and speaking of herself in third?

Zaku's avatar

@Soubresaut In example B yes, but not in A. (Savannah is one of the twins, so in A, Savannah is using “your sister” to mean herself, yes? If so, then:)

A. “Mommy picked up you and your sister” – This sentence (i.e. the verb and its subject) is in third-person regardless of who’s speaking or who Savannah is, simply because “Mommy” is the verb’s subject and is a third-person form. Who she’s speaking to doesn’t have any effect on the person the sentence (i.e. the subject & verb) is said to be written in. If Savannah is who is referred to as “your sister” then yes that’s Savannah speaking of herself in third-person, and of her sister in second person.

B. “You picked up the twins,” The sentence (subject/verb) is in second person, the object is in third person even if the speaker is one of the twins.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I knew this could get interesting.

canidmajor's avatar

But “lecture was unnecessary”, right?

Yeahright's avatar

The point of reference to classify subject personal pronouns is the person speaking. There are singular and plural persons (the word person here is a term).
Singular:
1st. person is the person speaking: I.
2nd. person is the person the 1st. person is talking to: you
3rd. person is the person that the 1st. person is talking about: he/she/it.
Plural:
1st. person is the person speaking plus another person or more: we.
2nd. person is the people the 1st. person is talking to: you.
3rd. person is the people that the 1st. person is talking about: they.

In Savannah’s sentence Mommy picked up the twins. Mommy (she) is the subject. It is 3rd. person singular. Savannah is talking about her mother. The object of the sentence is the twins. Again 3rd. person but this time plural. Morphologically, this sentence is in 3rd. person—both the subject and the object. In the way this sentence is constructed, you would never know she is part of “the twins”. Semantically, she is including herself because she knows she is a twin with her brother.
This sentence is not in the 1st. person because does not have the pronouns I or we; and it is not in 2nd. person because it doesn’t have the pronoun you.

Yeahright's avatar

@Zaku
Now, if the sentence were something like “Savannah’s twin and I (Savannah) picked up the marbles.” then it’s second-person plural (we). We is always 1st person because it includes the person speaking.

The narrative voice, subject and objects can all be different. Subject and object can be different, but the narrative voice is that of the subject, so they cannot be different.

If it’s the voice or the verb, you might say the speaker is speaking in that person. Can you explain what you mean by or the verb? Do you mean in the imperative?

Zaku's avatar

@Yeahright
* ”We is always 1st person because it includes the person speaking.”
– Right, that was a typo. I should’ve written first-person, not second-person.

* I wrote: “The narrative voice, subject and objects can all be different.”
You wrote: “Subject and object can be different, but the narrative voice is that of the subject, so they cannot be different.”
– By “narrative voice”, I meant the point of view of the narration of a story. The sentences inside which could be written with subjects in different persons, which would be a different thing for someone to be talking about. The OP and some of the others here are just saying “Is this 1st, 2nd, or 3rd person”, but I was trying to explain that there are at least three different things those terms can apply to. The narrative voice someone uses when telling a story doesn’t mean that the subject of every sentence in that story has to be in the same person in that story, e.g.:

“You find yourself in a dark room. You don’t remember how you got there. It’s cold and there is a dripping sound echoing somewhere in the distance. You hear what sounds like your mother’s voice. “Sarah?”, she calls from somewhere off to your right. You think to yourself: That can’t be her. I wonder who it is?

That’s an example of what I meant by a story written in second-person narrative voice, with sentences with verb subjects in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd person.

I guess it’s more often referred to as “2nd person narrative point-of-view”, or “narrative mode”, rather than “voice”.

Yeahright's avatar

@Zaku
Thanks for clarifying because at first, when you said voice I lost you for a moment because I immediately thought of active and passive voice, but that didn’t make much sense. So, I concluded you must have meant point-of-view.

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