Copyright 2016 Mario V. Farina
Shakespir Edition, License Notes
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In every sentence, thee is someone or something that takes an action of some kind. That someone or something is called the Subject of the sentence. Here are some sentences illustrating various subjects. In each sentence, the subject is italicized.
Henry is planning a trip.
Wilma finished reading the book.
I will go out for breakfast.
You have arrived too early.
They found gold in California.
The sun rose at 7:30.
Rover loved the new dog food.
You all passed the exam.
Ms. Gordon quit the job she had had for many years.
You can see that the subject of the sentences were people, a dog, the sun, etc.
So that grammar can be understood and taught effectively, grammar rules define six different persons. A person is type of sentence subject. Everybody and everything that does something in a sentence falls into one of the six category of persons.
Here are detailed explanations of the six persons.
First Person Singular: This person is always I. That is, the person performing the action is the speaker or writer of the sentence. Some examples of the First Person Singular are these: (In each sentence, the subject of the sentence is italicized.)
I get up at six every day
Tomorrow, I will begin a new job.
I am a happy person.
Second Person Singular: This person is always you. That is, the person who is performing the action is the person that the writer or speaker is addressing. Here are some examples of the use of the Second Person Singular: (In each sentence, the subject is italicized.)
You have the right to vote.
Congratulations, you have won the contest.
You will be able to apply for the license after one year of experience.
Third Person Singular: This person is a single individual or thing that we can address as he, she, it, one, Lucy, Mr. Jones, the sun, etc. Here are several examples of the use of the Third Person Singular. (In each sentence, the subject is italicized.)
He has been working in that company many years.
On the following day, she decided to move from home.
It rolled down the incline. (We don’t know what it is. We could be talking about a ball, a marble, a tire, etc.)
Mr. Sam Anderson won the election.
Jane sings beautifully.
The water flowed faster and faster.
The wind blew fiercely.
The plane took off at six a.m.
One has the right to equal justice under the law.
First Person Plural: This person is always we. Here are some examples illustrating the use of the First Person Plural. (In each sentence, the subject is italicized.)
We will be arriving in Boston at about ten p.m.
We like to sing in the choir every Sunday.
We have decided to start an investing club.
Second Person Plural: This person is always you but it involves two or persons that that the speaker or writer is addressing. Here are examples of the use of the Second Person Plural. (In each sentence, the subject or phrase is italicized.)
Class, I’d like to say that you have passed the course.
Visitors, you are all welcome to the city.
What I said to the group was, “You should do your own thinking!”
Third Person Plural: This person is always they. Here are some examples illustrating the use of the Third Person Plural. (In each sentence, the subject is italicized.)
At the end of the day, they went to their homes.
They will be arriving early in the morning.
They knew the law because they had had a great instructor.
Members of the jury indicated they would give their decision soon.
Here is a table that summarizes the six persons.
Person Name, Members of this Person
First Person Singular: I
Second Person Singular: you
Third Person Singular: he, she, it, one, Jim, Ellen, Ms. Smith, sun, auto, etc.
First Person, Plural: we
Second Person Plural: you (more than one person)
Third Person Plural: they
Why is it important that you know that grammar defines six persons? The answer is that many times the details of how to use a very have a connection which person is taking or receiving an action. Let’s consider two examples.
Let’s consider how the verb, go, is used.
First Person Singular: I go
Second Person Singular: you go
Third Person Singular: he goes, she goes, Sue goes, the car goes, etc.
First Person Plural: we go
Second Person Plural: you go (more than one person)
Third Person Singular: they go
Let’s consider how the verb, to be, is used:
First Person Singular: I am
Second Person Singular: you are
Third Person Singular: he is, she is, it is, Sue is, the car is, etc.
First Person Plural: we are
Second Person Plural: you are (more than one person)
Third Person Singular: they are
Note from the Author: Please let me know if you see errors.
In the understanding of English grammar, it is essential that speakers and writers be familiar with the concept of Six Persons. In a sentence. when someone or something take an action, the individual or entity that causes the action falls into one of six person categories. The reason students of English need to know this is because this knowledge will assist them in leaning to speak grammatically correct.