Friday, January 19

third-person singular

most people who find this site from google are not looking for enid (poo) but for “what is the third-person singular” or “a sentence in the third-person singular”. enid suspects that they are american school children, or british ones who stay up very late at night, and she’s sorry to disappoint them in their search for enlightenment on the subject of english grammar. (she knows she’s disappointed them, because they visit her for an average of zero seconds - not even long enough to put the kettle on.) as enid is english herself, and hence knows all about the language, she thought she’d write a small entry for her childish visitors to help them with their homework.


english has three people: first, second and third. it also has three cases: vanilla, singular and spectacular. (enid is putting them in their usual ordering here - how ever your teacher may prefer the manchester method, in which singular is given last, and always written in bold.)

let’s do the easy one first:

the first-person vanilla is bus driver, the second- is nurse and the third- is school teacher. you can see that these are ordinary, everyday professions, hence the term vanilla, like ice-cream. (english used to have a third-person chocolate, but it became a rather fat third person, and had to go back to plain ice-cream, or even frozen yoghurt.)

spectacular, on the other hand, is reserved for royalty, and in truth should never be spoken aloud by a commoner. there is still a statute in english law that says “he who pronounces people spectacular, less it be within ye lenten period, or he of noble blood, shall be taken to ye tower and there lambasted with ye grammar until his ears shall bleed.” enid will take the risk on your behalf, children, even though it’s not lent: the first-person spectacular is the queen, the second-person spectacular is prince charles, and the third- is prince william.

now what you’ve been googling for - the people singular. these, as you can perhaps guess by now, are unidexters (look it up). the first-person singular is douglas bader, the second-person singular is heather mccartney, and the third-person singular is peter cook. (for bonus points, tell your teacher that peter cook is not actually a unidexter, but was awarded the third-person singular by queen victoria for first using this term to refer to people with one leg.)

seriously, if you were looking for a sentence in the third person singular, then enid suggests you try this one: “a student who finagles deserves to be eviscerated with an agricultural implement.”


Antony said...

Eviscerated.... just a tad harsh for showing initiative? Surely the lesser punishment of a frontal labotomy would suffice?

ChrisB said...

oooh painful I'l remember not to cheat!!

Beccy said...

You've lost me!

Anonymous said...


I met Douglas Bader when I was a child. I made a point of tapping on his legs to make certain they were false. It looked like him but I wanted to be sure. He just laughed. I still cringe at the embarassment of the memory.

Wendz said...

Hello Enid...

I came to you from Yaxlich and because you have the same name as my mother....I rarely follow links to other bloggers in the comments box.(CB)

Let me just say an English Second Language teacher my mind boggled at your explanation of the third person singular. But..and this is important darlin' was hilarious.

I wish I could explain it like that to my Froggie students but I think they would explode all over me and I don't like froggie goo.

You are being linked immediately - great blog!

And no I don't normally waffle this much in a CB. Count yourself unlucky.

enid said...

antony, enid thought that all children had frontal labotomies instead of o' levels these days.

chris, enid's sure you don't need to cheat. but choose your agricultural implement carefully in readiness.

sorry beccy, enid is just being silly. normal service has been resumed today.

ooo, anonymous, that does sound embarrassing. it reminds enid of her own embarassing moment with a unidexter, which she'll save for later.

wendz, great to meet you, virtually at least. enid has popped over to your place - she hopes that's ok? she lived in france before molvania and really, really didn't want to leave. (that's another post.)

Sally Lomax said...