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Is it wrong to refer to oneself in the third person?

(21 Posts)
BasementBear Sat 19-Jul-08 11:24:29

Was going to put this in AIBU but thought the pedants might be more sympathetic!

DH always refers to himself in the third person when talking to the DCs, for example he will say "Come and brush your teeth with Daddy" or "Help Daddy tidy up".

It drives me mad - he wouldn't talk like that to an adult, and I know most of us are probably guilty of doing this when babies first start to talk, but the DCs are 6.5 and 4.5 for goodness sake!

He is very intelligent and extremely well educated but will not accept that he is wrong. Of course he constantly corrects me when I speak in my regional accept, and saying "gonna" instead of "going to" etc.

Does anyone else have experience of this and do you think I'm right to ask him to stop doing it?

Dior Sat 19-Jul-08 11:28:19

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Tigerschick Sat 19-Jul-08 11:28:43

I refer to myself in the third person when I'm talking to DD but she is 2.4. I do also use the first person and will, hopefully, phase out the third person stuff.

I'm not sure it's necessary, or appropriate, when your DC are old enough to understand who you mean when you say 'I', 'me' etc.
But I guess it's all a matter of taste - I wouldn't say it's 'wrong' it's just not something I would do.

JackieNo Sat 19-Jul-08 11:29:19

It is something that you hear quite a lot (that one hears quite a lotwink). It doesn't bother me, but I can see why it might be annoying. Not sure whether you're right to ask him to stop doing it or not tbh.

FluffyMummy123 Sat 19-Jul-08 11:33:12

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gonaenodaethat Sat 19-Jul-08 11:33:17

Of course it's wrong but does that mean he has to stop? I think it's sweet and if he's anything like my husband if he knows it annoys you he'll just do it even more.

FluffyMummy123 Sat 19-Jul-08 11:33:47

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alibag Sat 19-Jul-08 11:38:52

I do this and am trying to phase it out - I don't think it's wrong to do with small children as it's part of their learning of identity. Wrong between adults though! I scream silently when slebs et al refer to themselves as 'we' when giving interviews and expressing opinions.....

BasementBear Sat 19-Jul-08 18:49:15

I know it is irrational, but it just really annoys me! And yes, I think DH does it all the more because he KNOWS it annoys me! I also know that if the DCs referred to themselves in the same way he would be correcting them.

RoxyNotFoxy Sun 20-Jul-08 20:09:01

It was sometime in the 1980s that athletes started to refer to themselves in the third person singular. I think it was around the time they started being seen with agents and business managers. "Joe Brown gives 110%, because that's what Joe Brown's all about," says Joe Brown. Or "What you saw today was not the Joe Brown that people have come to see," admits Joe Brown.

His manager, on the other hand, talks of Joe Brown in the second person plural. "We'll be trying for the world record later this season," he informs us, as if he and Joe are going out on the track together.

BarcodeZebra Mon 21-Jul-08 20:18:21

BarcodeZebra thinks this is very wrong. The whole referring-to-oneself-in-the-third-person thing really gets on BarcodeZebra's nuts.

FluffyMummy123 Mon 21-Jul-08 20:18:51

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BarcodeZebra Mon 21-Jul-08 20:19:54


FluffyMummy123 Mon 21-Jul-08 20:21:32

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MrsSprat Mon 21-Jul-08 20:25:44

It's excusable with children I think, but not if it becomes prevalent in adult conversation

a la "That's what Lee McQueen's talkin' about" or "George Constanza is getting upset"

Then you come across as a right old muppet

Charmander Mon 21-Jul-08 20:26:44

i sat in on a class of y5 children meeting their new teacher for the next year.
When he asked if they had any questions the first one was

"Why do you always refer to yourself in the third person?"

They had obviously noticed and it drove me mad too.

UnquietDad Tue 22-Jul-08 10:03:37

Craayyyg Dayveeeed
Is gettin' with da laydeeees

Has anyone heard the Ross Noble sketch where he talks about Craig David and decides to start referring to himself in the third person?

thumbsucker Thu 24-Jul-08 11:41:15

I'm so glad someone else finds this irritating. My dh does it too and it drives me mad, especially when he says 'he' e.g. Daddy told you not to do that, didn't he.

I think it's confusing to kids and unneccessary (but I also think teaching them to say 'ta' instead of 'thank you' is wrong - it's not a word I use as an adult, so I don't want them to use it as babies).


MummyToOneForNow Thu 24-Jul-08 11:52:49

I had read somewhere that it is better to use the third person with babies as they don't get personal pronouns until a bit later - I switch between the two at the moment (dd 19 mths) and think it is odd with older children but might be a hard habit to get out of.

BasementBear Thu 24-Jul-08 16:46:00

I'm glad I'm not alone! I'll admit that I did it when the DCs were babies, I think we all do it in the hope they'll start saying "mummy" or "daddy" sooner! Have noticed that DS1 has recently started talking in a silly baby voice, saying "Me want ...." which annoys me nearly as much as DH!

Tigerschick Thu 24-Jul-08 16:52:47

I agree that it is probably the best way to go if you are talking to a baby. Referring to 'me' and 'I' when they know you as 'Mummy' could be very confusing. I think that the annoying side of it starts when the children are plenty old enough to understand pronouns.

Rofl at the "Why do you always refer to yourself in the third person?" question - what a muppet that teacher must have been! grin

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