third person

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English[edit]

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Noun[edit]

third person (uncountable)

  1. Used other than as an idiom: see third,‎ person.
  2. (linguistics, with the) The words, word-forms, and grammatical structures, taken collectively, that are normally used of people or things other than the speaker or the audience.
    In English, the third person consists of pronouns such as he, she, it, and they, verbs such as is and has, and most nouns.
    • 2006, Alexander McCall Smith, Love Over Scotland, Random House Digital (2007), ISBN 978-0-307-27598-1, pages 243-4:
      “Yes,” said Dr Fairbairn. “Very. And then there’s the interesting question of those who use the third person about themselves.”
      “Oh,” said Irene, vaguely. It occurred to her that she used the third person on occasion when talking to Bertie. She said things such as: “Mummy is watching, Bertie. Mummy is watching Bertie very closely.” That was using the third person, was it not? In fact, it was a double use of the third person; first (I, mother figure) became third, as did second (you, son). What did this reveal about Irene? she asked herself. No, deliberate play; what does that reveal about me?
  3. (grammar) the form of a verb used when the subject of a sentence is not the audience or the one making the statement. In English, pronouns used with the third person include he, she, it, one, they, and who.
    "Is" is the third-person singular of "to be"
  4. A form of narrative writing using verbs in the third person in order to give the impression that the action is happening to another person.
  5. (law) Someone not associated with a particular matter; a third party.
    • 1828, Comprising Reports of Cases in the Courts of Chancery, King's Bench, and Common Pleas, from 1822 to 1835: and Law Journal Reports divided into Equity and Bankruptcy Cases. Common Law Cases 1836-1858, page 11:
      The plaintiffs here are third persons, and cannot be made responsible for the inadequate judgment or the improper exercise of power by the defendant's wife.

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