There’s a question I’ve been wondering about for a long time and the video below reminded me of it. I think there may be a subtle difference between how acceptable it is to refer to somebody present in the third person in British and ‘merican. Has anyone else encountered this?
So for example, let’s imagine Mary, John and Bob are sitting in a room together and having a conversation. Mary says something about Bob to John, but instead of referring to Bob as ‘Bob’ she calls him ‘he’. Is that more acceptable in ‘merican English than it is in British?
I want to thank Steve Oakes for drawing my attention to this one. Cheers Steve!
And now here’s the video. It’s been doing the rounds recently and I’ve seen it cited as an example of a talk show guest demonstrating better manners and skills that his talk show hosts. The bit I’m interested in is the use of ‘he’ (which comes at about 5.20). Russell Brand calls his hosts out for addressing him as ‘he’ when he is present. I don’t think his hosts behaved very civilly at the start of the interview, but at the same time, I think Russell might have been unbraiding them a little unfairly on the ‘he’ issue. I’m not sure whether British and ‘merican politeness conventions are quite the same on this.
All thoughts welcome. Thanks!