3.2. THE PERSON ‘YOU’

It is naturally easy, in a standard conversation, to tell if we speak with one or more persons. The pronoun you yet has the same shape, for one person as well as quite a few people.

 

PICTURE: THE PERSONAL PRONOUN ‘YOU’ IN THE SINGULAR
PICTURE: MANY PEOPLE

 

Language grammar does tell, if we talk about many or one, person or another object of thought.

 

The Singular
We use the grammatical singular to talk about one person, thing, object, event, animal, etc.

 

The Plural
We use the grammatical plural to talk about two or more persons, things, objects, events, animals, etc.

 

 

Singular

Plural

First person

I

we

Second person

you

you

Third person

he, she, it

they

 

Words as I, you, we, they, he, she, or it grammatically are personal pronouns.

 

The grammatical persons do not have to be real people. They can be objects of thought, generally. We may recur to CHAPTER 1.

 

The Latin name for a pronoun was “pro-nomen”, which meant “in the place of a noun”. Pronouns can take the same places as nouns, in written or spoken language.

 

Why is it we have the same word shape for one person as well as two or many, in English?

 

Common sense, whenever we would say we are “beside ourselves”, we could be only using a figure of speech. We can interpret the personal pronoun “you” as more or less “not me”.

 

Let us present personal pronouns looking to our core be and have. Everybody is always oneself. We can view personal pronouns as evolving around the first person singular.

 

PICTURE: PERSONAL PRONOUNS WITH THE VERBS TO BE AND TO HAVE

 

We can think about the person we as made of the grammatical persons you and me. The pronoun we happens to be used for a personally neutral figure of speech, by authors. It can help avoid speculation on differences between you and me.

 

In grammar guidance, it might feel cumbersome to tell or read, You need to think about this, or You need the exercise.
(How could I even know you?)

EMOTICON: SMILE

We could describe the third person singular — he, she, and it — as “not you and not me” in the singular. This third person singular is the most different from the first person pronoun I, which has had uses in literature.

 

Both the verb to be and the verb to have differ, for the two persons. By the way, other people would say he or she about us, when they are not in touch with us. Ourselves, we always say I, as everybody is own best permanent company.

EMOTICON: A JOKE

We can think the third person plural they is “not you and not me” in the plural. It is less marked for difference, as we never literally think about ourselves in the plural. We only use figures of speech.

 

Further, we could say, “She told me”. We also could say, “I told her”. The forms “me” and “her” are the objects of the verb. All personal pronouns have the grammatically objective uses.

 

Singular

Plural

First person

me
(I)

us
(we)

Second person

you
(you)

you
(you)

Third person

him, her, it
(he, she, it)

them
(they)

 

Everyday Englishes also have forms as youse, yous, or you’s. Some speakers may use the pronoun “us” figuratively, for “me”.

 

We can try some language psychology. The form us always involves me, which is singular. The form youse always connotes “not me” and can be plural or singular.

 

Dependent on individual speakers, the forms youse, yous, or you’s can put the form “you” in the plural, as for nouns, or combine the verb singular feature ―s, when directed to one person.

 

Feature transfer already has happened, in the history of English languages. For example, the Progressive can be derived from the Middle Ages gerund, as in
He was on reading
(nominal, gerund);
›››
He was reading
(verbal, Progressive).

 

Please mind that forms yous, youse, or you’s continue to be considered informal. Feel welcome to our big chart for all persons and three paths.

BUTTON, 3.3. ALL PERSONAL PRONOUNS AND THREE ASPECTS

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LINK: READ THIS IN A SLAVIC LANGUAGE, POLISH

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