Third-Person Singular – A Helpful Guide With Pictures/Video

Third-person singular English grammar
The pronouns – he, she, it + any name, position or relation that describes one single person or thing.

Examples of third-person singular subjects
He studies English.
Ken studies English.
Ken’s boss studies English.
My sister studies English.

I was working on a verb grammar course last week. While I was writing the lessons I was explaining that third-person singular subjects will add S or ES to the end of the verb describing their action.

For example:
He eats
She brushes
It plays

I thought it would be helpful to explain what we mean in English grammar by Third Person Singular. So I made this English grammar blog post to answer the question…

What is the Third-Person Singular?

You will find a video at the bottom of this post. Use the video to improve your English listening and pronunciation skills.  It’s a great way to review the lesson too.

Third is an ordinal number in English. Ordinal numbers show the position of something that is part of a group of things. Most ordinal numbers are just regular numbers with the letters TH added to the end. Seventh, fifteenth. Twenty-fourth, etc.
With a few exceptions, five becomes fifth, and the number nine drops the e to become ninth. (You can find more spelling changes on the ordinal number chart at the end of this post.)

One, two, and three become the ordinal numbers 1st (first), 2nd (second), and 3rd (third).

You have probably heard these kinds of numbers before. 

Finishing positions in a race or contest use these numbers.
The floors of a building also use these numbers.
And of course, we use them with the days of the month.

Ordinal number examples.

What about English grammar?

Here is an easy way to think about
Third-person English grammar

Use first-person grammar if you are talking about yourself.

I have a new computer.”

Use second person grammar for the person or people you are talking to.

“Are you okay? You look tired.”

We use third-person grammar for the people or things we are talking about. They are not usually part of the conversation.

“Is Peter here? He is not at his desk.”

third-person singular examples

The examples you just read were all singular pronouns. (I, you, he)

First, Second, and Third-person pronouns

First-person uses the pronouns 
I, we

Second-person uses the pronoun
You [Remember the pronoun you can refer to one person or more than one person]

Third-person uses the pronouns
He/She/It/They

First Second and Third-person pronouns

Third-person singular does not include plural subjects

You can see that singular means one. We use the adjective singular to describe nouns that refer to only one thing.

Person is a singular noun
Dog is a singular noun

Countable nouns have a plural form.

People is a plural noun
Dogs is a plural noun

As you saw in the chart above I, we, you, he, she, it, and they are pronouns. Some are used to talk about one thing, and some are used to talk about more than one thing.

1st, 2nd, and 3rd person singular are talking about only 1 person or thing, so it doesn’t include the plural pronouns WE, THEY, or the plural form of YOU.

Third-person singular is the pronouns – he, she, it + any name, position or relation that describes one single person or thing

Do you want to learn real English that native speakers use?

Third-person singular examples

He studies English 
Ken studies English.
Ken’s boss studies English.
My sister studies English.

She plays the piano.
Kim plays the piano.
My classmate plays the piano.
His uncle plays the piano.

These subjects are all talking about a single person, remember that third person talks about someone who is usually not part of the conversation.

Third-Person Singular - more examples

The grammar is called 3rd person singular, but it is not only used with people. It can also be used with other singular things like animals or objects.

Craig’s phone works underwater.

My dog likes to play catch.

It rains a lot in April.

*We use the third-person singular pronoun it when we talk about the weather.

It‘s sunny today.

As I mentioned above Third-person singular English grammar is especially important for using verbs correctly. You can read my Simple present tense verbs at this link.

I want to end this post with some simple FIRST, SECOND, and THIRD-person examples to help you understand this grammar. These examples will use both singular and plural versions.

Other pronoun examples 

First-person

I have a pick-up truck.
We are hungry after rugby practice.

Second-person

You can borrow my truck if you want.
You must be hungry after Rugby practice. (Talking to more than one person.)

Third-person

He eats the same breakfast every day. Oatmeal and orange juice.
They look hungry. I’d better start the barbeque now.

Other first, second, and third person plural examples 

My friends and I like to play video games online. [First person plural]

You and your brother go to the same school as my cousin. [Second person plural]

Keith and his wife are coming over for dinner tonight. [Third person plural]

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Ordinal number list

Below is list of cardinal and ordinal numbers. (Cardinal numbers are regular numbers that we use for counting.)

Cardinal [left column] Ordinal [right column]

1One1stFirst
2Two2ndSecond
3Three3rdThird
4Four4thFourth
5Five5thFifth
6Six6thSixth
7Seven7thSeventh
8Eight8thEighth
9Nine9thNinth
10Ten10thTenth
11Eleven11thEleventh
12Twelve12thTwelfth
13Thirteen13thThirteenth
14Fourteen14thFourteenth
15Fifteen15thFifteenth
16Sixteen16thSixteenth
17Seventeen17thSeventeenth
18Eighteen18thEighteenth
19Nineteen19thNineteenth
20Twenty20thTwentieth
21Twenty one21stTwenty-first
22Twenty two22ndTwenty-second
23Twenty three23rdTwenty-third
24Twenty four24thTwenty-fourth
25Twenty five25thTwenty-fifth
30Thirty30thThirtieth
31Thirty one31stThirty-first
32Thirty two32ndThirty-second
33Thirty three33rdThirty-third
34Thirty four34thThirty-fourth
40Forty40thFortieth
50Fifty50thFiftieth
60Sixty60thSixtieth
70Seventy70thSeventieth
80Eighty80thEightieth
90Ninety90thNinetieth
100One hundred100thHundredth
1000One thousand1000thThousandth

Thanks to MathIsFun.com for this great chart.

Also thank you to Grammarly.com for the helpful explanations.

Listen to the audio from this post and improve your English listening and pronunciation.

Check out these other great blog posts!

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