Proper etiquette...

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Mike Lenthol, Dec 24, 2003.

  1. Mike Lenthol

    Mike Lenthol Second Unit

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    I was always under the impression that using 3rd person pronouns in the presence of the person was inappropriate, but rarely heard anyone follow this rule.

    Simplistic example: You are in the room with Bob and you answer the phone, the caller asks if Bob is there.

    Proper would be to say A.) "Yes, he is here." or B.) "Yes, Bob is here" ?
     
  2. Chris Hovanic

    Chris Hovanic Supporting Actor

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    not sure why your example would be inappropriate answering either A. or B. but.....

    If I were Bob I would rathre you say B. beacuse that would let me know that the phone was for me, and not for Fred, which would give me a head start to move to the phone or signal to you that I dont want to talk to the telemarketer on the phone.
     
  3. Mike Lenthol

    Mike Lenthol Second Unit

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    Or this scenario. You are in a conversation with Bob and Steve, 3 people total.

    When talking to Steve A.) "Bob said..." B.) "He said..."
     
  4. Leila Dougan

    Leila Dougan Screenwriter

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    I'm not a grammar snob by any stretch of the imagination but I don't see anything wrong with either scenario. I have used them both at various times and usually just pick the one that causes the least confusion. If there's a group of men and one woman, once it's established that I am speaking about the woman present I will probably keep using "she" since it's obvious who 'she' is. But if I'm speaking about another man, I may use his name more often so as not to bring confusion on which man I'm talking about.
     
  5. Paul_Sjordal

    Paul_Sjordal Supporting Actor

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    The correct response is "Bob? Bob is a giant poopiehead!"
     
  6. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    Quote:
    If I were Bob I would rather you say B. beacuse that would let me know that the phone was for me...

    I'm not sure why you're assuming that, Bob. [​IMG] The person at the other end of the phone may not be calling for you at all, but may just be nosey. Or wants to know if you're in the room because he's going to say bad things about you and needs to know if Mike can speak freely. [​IMG]

    Mike:

    I think you're applying a social rule too rigidly and in the wrong context. If you, me and Bob are in a room together it would be a bit odd and very rude for you and I to consistently refer to Bob as "him" or "he" as if he were not present. That is different than a total ban on third person pronouns. (If I'm drinking coke and you and Bob are drinking beer, I don't think there's anything inherently rude in my saying, "While you're up why don't you get him a beer, too?")

    Also the rule is really intended to apply to in person situation. If the three of us are in the same room together then using the third person is rude. Because we are all in one shared conversation, and to refer to Bob in the third person is to effectively exclude him and make him an outsider. When you're on the phone with one person and another person is present you're effectively having two private conversations, from each of which one of the people is excluded.

    Imagine it this way: Instead of being on the phone with your other friend, you meet him when you step outside to check the mail. Bob remains in your house. Your second friend asks, "Is Bob inside?" Is it rude for you to say, "Yeah, he's inside?" Of course not. It also isnt' rude when your exclusive two-side conversation is on the phone. Nor is it rude for you to say to Bob, when he asks, "Is that Phil?" for you to say, "Yeah, its him."

    The rule is there for a reason, and it only makes sense if the reason applies.

    This thread reminds me of an example. Most years our family gathers at one or another designated house and has a big breakfast on Christmas morning. One year a bagel burned slightly and stuck to the rack of the toaster oven. I grabbed a fork, jiggled the hot bagel a bit, and freed it from the rack. One of my aunts was just horrified.

    "Don't you know you should never to put a fork or knife inside a toaster; you could have been electrocuted!" I pointed to the inside of the toaster oven and showed her that I had come nowhere near the electrical heating elements of the oven, or even the rack, and had merely touched the non-conductive bagel. "Oh, no", she insisted, "You can still get electrocuted, my father told us how dangerous toasters are."

    I tried, without success to explain that a toaster oven is different than a toaster, that putting a fork inside an open, easy to see oven cavity is different than sticking a fork or knife blindly into the slot of a toaster with a piece of (carbonized and conducting?) bread, and finally that modern grounded appliances are all much less likely to produced fatal shocks. Nothing I said could get her to see that the "rule" she had learned about toasters did not apply universally to every device that had the word "toaster" in its name. She had never been taught the reason for her rule, and therefore could not recognize a situation in which it might not apply. [​IMG]

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  7. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Producer

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    I skipped ahead to the last two paragraphs of Joseph's opus and now think that I may be in an alternate reality. [​IMG] Quote:
    Proper would be to say A.) "Yes, he is here." or B.) "Yes, Bob is here" ?

    Proper would be, C.)"Who is calling? Let me see if I can locate Bob."
     
  8. Paul_Sjordal

    Paul_Sjordal Supporting Actor

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    Quote:
    …oven cavity is different than sticking a fork or knife blindly into the slot of a toaster with a piece of (carbonized and conducting?) bread
    Uhm, graphite (which is what the black stuff is mostly composed of) is a fairly poor conductor. The reason the toaster is not OK and the toaster oven is has to do with the distance between the fork and the heating element.
     
  9. Mike Lenthol

    Mike Lenthol Second Unit

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    Joseph, I was going to, but refrained from joking that we need an electrical engineer to rebut your analogy [​IMG]

    ---

    What bothers me with this rule is that quite often the 3rd person pronoun is used in a situation where it should not be, and as we established it should be used at own discretion. So, it is very possible that some have a lower threshold that others. It personally irks me when I'm referenced to as "he" or "him" within my range of hearing.
     
  10. andrew markworthy

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    I suppose that if you really want to be picky, then you should use 'Bob is here' if there are several people in the room. This allows Bob to be alerted that he is being talked about and that he may be expected to talk on the phone. On the other hand, if there's just you and Bob in the room, then it *perhaps* seems slightly odd to say 'Bob is here' because 'he's here' says the same thing more simply.
     
  11. Paul_Sjordal

    Paul_Sjordal Supporting Actor

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    I still say Bob is a poopiehead.
     
  12. LaMarcus

    LaMarcus Screenwriter

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    I actually just had a test on this in my english class. They are both correct for different scenarios.(b)Is correct if you were writing a story about it, because the reader needs to know of whom you are referring to. It also depends on if your including Bob into to conversation, if your saying it so that Bob can here it would be (b), if your just answering the caller and Bob is not listening it would be (A).

    Either way it goes, Bob is still a poopie head.[​IMG]
     
  13. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    Quote:
    The reason the toaster is not OK and the toaster oven is has to do with the distance between the fork and the heating element.

    True, which is why I indicated that first and made the slightly tongue-in-cheek comment about the burnt toast later. The whole point of the comparison is that it is obvious that the distance between fork and heating element and the fact that you can see both in a toater over makes the two completely different situations and means that the "rule" shouldn't apply. Maybe I should have added a smiley.

    But before you dismiss the notion of graphite carry a current entirely, an arson investigator sometime carbon deposits and their electrical properties. Also lets remember that the element in Edison's first light bulb was a string impregnated with graphite. The graphite glowed because it resisted the electric current, but it still passed enough of it to complete the circuit, which an insulator would not do.

    Quote:
    Proper would be, C.)"Who is calling? Let me see if I can locate Bob."
    Again, only if the person on the other end of the phone was asking to speak to Bob, and the example as given does not say that this was the case. For all we know the person is just nosey and wants to know if Bob is around. [​IMG]

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  14. Paul_Sjordal

    Paul_Sjordal Supporting Actor

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    Quote:
    But before you dismiss the notion of graphite carry a current entirely, an arson investigator sometime carbon deposits and their electrical properties. Also lets remember that the element in Edison's first light bulb was a string impregnated with graphite. The graphite glowed because it resisted the electric current, but it still passed enough of it to complete the circuit, which an insulator would not do.
    Yes, technically graphite does conduct some electricity, but at 1375 mΩ-Cm, it's not gonna conduct much. A chunk of graphite surrounded by metal (the heating element, the grill that keeps the toast from the heating element, the hypothetical knife, etc.), is for all intents and purposes not going to be transmitting any measurable amount of current because the electricity will have so many paths of far less resistance available to it.

    :p) :p)
     

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