4th Person Plural

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I found out who ‘they’ are. “They” don’t know that I know, either. “They” are not “we,” or “us.” “They” might be “them.” As opposed to, THEM. Why this elementary school English lesson? I’ll tell you. At the end. If you make it that far.

I tell my children, that I may or may not have, everyday; Study the English language. Why? Well, for one, situations like these. Any of you with at least an 8th grade education will know your pronouns, which are not to be confused with, professional nouns. There’s both singular, and plural of the 1st person variety, I or we. Second person gets a little tricky, as it’s you or well, you. And 3rd person is covered in the singular by he, she, or it, and in the plural by they. And that’s just the nominative case. There’s also objective case, as well as possessive.

But this is not the they that “they” are.

Well then, who are “they?”

I’ll tell you.

But first more English lessons, as you know, we speak American. You’re probably all familiar with the 1st person, as these parts of speech are when you’re talking about your favorite subject, namely, yourself. “I went to the store.” “I won the lottery.” “We went on vacation.” Probably because you won the lottery.

The 2nd person is a bit more unselfish, as you’re talking about someone you’re with. “You look great.” “Did you get a haircut?” “You have to checkout this new store!!!” “The rest of you, what do you think?” Well, I think they look great because they got a haircut, and checked out the new store.

Which brings us to the 3rd person: People you’re talking about. Most likely, behind their back. But that’s another column for quite possibly a different website to be named later. “He won the lottery.” “She looks great.” “They went on vacation.” Again, quite possibly because they were with the guy that won the lottery, and he was buying their friendship.

So, now that I’ve given you a crash course in pronouns and their use, have you figured out who “they” are yet?

If not, it’s simple: It’s anyone that’s observing the interactions of the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd persons, and is not even indirectly involved. Hence the term, 4th person plural, as it’s usually always more than one, reporting what they think they see to whomever, and where ever will give them space to do so. Whole industries have sprung up to service this phenomenon, and is nothing new, as I’m sure at least one of you has read a supermarket tabloid lately. Or visited their websites.

So, it is these people, that are “they.” Now, I could list specifics, but you’ve probably visited at least one or two of their sites on occasion. As I stated above, simply because redundancy is the key to learning. Or so my alleged daughter’s teachers would have you believe.

Now, the question becomes, who made “them” (possessive case, see above) the authority on anything? Well, we did, in the editorial sense. As I don’t make it a habit to give authority to anyone who doesn’t deserve it. In fact, I discussed this the last time….
So, in conclusion, “they” have indeed directly or indirectly, taken up my valuable time, and by extension, yours, simply because I’ve decided to talk about them, and if any of my three readers are still reading this far. Of course, I’m providing a valuable service by telling you who “they” are, so when it comes up in conversation, you’ll at least be informed.

My goal with the above has simply been to make you aware of a disturbing trend that I’m seeing, well, practically everywhere. Most are doing, saying, eating, feeling, etc. simply because “they” are doing it as well. No one is actually thinking for themselves. My suggestion to  you is simple: Do your own thing, and then one day, you too, could become one of “them.” Which will actually make you, one of “us.”

Adjust Your Expectations Accordingly.
Disclaimer: Mike does not purport to be an expert on anything, and if you don’t know what that means, look it up.

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