Persons in English: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know what person is? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the grammatical person, including its definition, usage, example sentences, and more!

Your writing, at its best

Compose bold, clear, mistake-free, writing with Grammarly's AI-powered writing assistant

What is first person?

According to Grammar Monster, Person is a category used to distinguish between those speaking, those being addressed, and those who are neither speaking nor being addressed. These are called first person, second person, and third person. From there, we get first person singular, first person plural, second person singular, second person plural, third person singular, and third person plural. Sometimes these terms are gendered and sometimes they are gender-neutral for the addressee. This grammatical category allows us to distinguish the speaker of an utterance from the individual persons being spoken about. 

The word person has been used since Middle English and comes from the Old French persone/persona, from the Latin persōna mask, and Etruscan phersu mask per Collins English Dictionary. The word person is two syllables – per-son, and the pronunciation of person is ˈpɜːsən. Person can also refer to the body of a living being, a soul of the actual self in a moral sense, the individual personality of a human being or modes of being.

Many different languages also contain words that mean person. You may notice that some of these translations of person look and sound similar to one another. These are called cognates, which are words and phrases in different languages that likely have the same root or language of origin, causing them to sound the same. The below list of translations of person is provided by Word Sense. 

What are examples of the persons?

First person can be used in many different contexts in the English language. Trying to use a word or literary technique in a sentence is one of the best ways to memorize what it is, but you can also try making flashcards or quizzes that test your knowledge. Try using this term of the day in a sentence today! Below are a couple of examples of person from Your Dictionary that can help get you started incorporating this tool into your everyday use. 

  • The best a man can get – Gillette
  • Maybe she’s born with it. Maybe it’s Maybelline – Maybelline
  • “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.” – Lou Holtz
  • “Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive.” – Elbert Hubbard
  • It’s the real thing – Coca-Cola
  • Nobody can do it like McDonald’s can – McDonald’s
  • It keeps going and going and going – Energizer
  • Takes a licking and keeps on ticking – Timex
  •  The people in the church of Christianity prayed to the holy ghost and another member of the trinity.
  • It wouldn’t be home without Hellmann’s – Hellman’s
  • When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight – FedEx
  • Plop Plop Fizz Fizz. Oh, what a relief it is – Alka-Seltzer
  • “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi
  • The greatest tragedy is indifference – Red Cross
  •  The individual man was apprehended by law enforcement, and turned out to be the chairperson of police.
  • “Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.” – Michael J. Fox
  • The King of Beers – Budweiser
  • The happiest place on earth – Disneyland
  • Good to the last drop – Maxwell House
  • “If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” – Henry David Thoreau
  • “Hitch your wagon to a star.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • “A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.” – Oscar Wilde
  • A diamond is forever – De Beers
  • Me and my dog traveled through the American South. It was an amazing road trip, and it allowed my dog and I to bond.
  • “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” – Albert Einstein
  • It’s finger lickin’ good – KFC
  • “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” – Henry Ford
  • In July, we are going to the mountains. We are taking a month off of work with our saved vacation time to travel to different national parks around the country.
  • “It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
  • “Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.” – Victor Hugo
  • “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” – Winston Churchill
  • “Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.” – Helen Keller
  • We asked for clarity on the subject of a sentence our teacher wrote on the board. We did not understand what she was trying to tell us about the assignment.
  • “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” – Dr. Seuss
  • I ate the cookies that were cooling on the tray. They smelled so good that I could not wait for them to cool down and had to taste one. 
  • My friend and I wrote a script together. It is a murder mystery set in a creepy old school. We had a lot of fun writing it and learned a lot about screenplays and story structure. 
  •  The missing persons case had clues in the actor’s mask, the reception of the salespeople, and the New York Times from that morning. 
  • The Possibilities are Infinite – Fujitsu
  • “My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” – John F. Kennedy
  • This weekend I plan on going to the grocery store, prepping some ingredients for the week, and getting brunch with a good friend on Sunday morning.  It’s going to be great!

Overall, the persons in English grammar are first person, second person and third person.


  1. Person definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary
  2. Person | What Is ‘Person’ in English Grammar? | Grammar Monster 
  3. Examples of Writing in Second Person | Your Dictionary 
  4. Examples of Writing in Third Person | Your Dictionary