First Person vs Second Person vs Third Person in English Grammar
When learning English grammar, knowing the difference between first person and second person and third person is vital. In a grammatical point of view, the first person, second person and third person refer to personal pronouns. If you put it simply, the 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. However, in the plural form these pronouns change. We is the plural of I. You remains you. For he, she or it the plural form they is used. Let us have a detailed look at these three grammatical terms, the first person, second person and third person.
What is First Person?
First person is reflexive in nature. When one refers to oneself he or she does it by using first person as in the following sentence,
I went to the office late today.
What is Second Person?
When the same person refers to a person who is in front of him or her or near him or her, then he or she would address the other person by using the second person as in the following sentence,
You know the truth.
In the given sentence, you will have to understand that the person, who is addressed as ‘you,’ should have been near the person or in front of the person who has addressed him thus.
It is interesting to note that only in the case of the Almighty the second person is used even otherwise. The Almighty is not generally 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 who has addressed Him. Hence, it is important to know that while addressing God the second person can be used though 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 customary that poets address non-living and inanimate things too by using the second person as in the sentence,
O Cloud you should carry my message to my lover soon!
What is Third Person?
The third person is used to refer to persons or things that are either visible or away from your perception. 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 perception.
What is the difference between First Person and Second Person and Third Person in English Grammar?
• First person generally 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 main difference between first person, second person and third person.
The three persons have to be used precisely in composition.