Elmo-LetterI

Why does Elmo refer to himself in the third person? Won't this teach kids improper English?
Elmo mimics the behavior of many preschoolers. Like most three-and-a-half-year-olds, he doesn't always have the mature skills or knowledge to speak "proper" English. However, cast members and many of the other Muppets do demonstrate the proper usage of the English language.


One of Elmo's main character traits is always referring to himself in the third person, but even after it was fully established by Season 17, there have still been occasional instances of Elmo saying "I," "Me," and "Myself."

Songs

Acknowledgements of the speech pattern

  • Elmo is asked about his third person habit in a 2010 "Ask Elmo" video. He claims to get asked that a lot and says he was just born that way.
  • In a May 2011 appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Elmo sings a portion of "His Eye is on the Sparrow," realizing afterwards that he said "me." He adds that he only says "me" in song.
  • In episode 4270, Detective Alfie Betts (Adam Rodriguez) is able to deduce many things about Elmo upon meeting him, including knowing he always speaks in the third person. "Elmo does?" he replies.
  • In ABCs with Elmo, Professor Grover sets up a lesson on the alphabet. When wondering what letter follows H, Elmo states, "I." Grover is shocked, having never heard Elmo speak in first-person before.

Notes

  • Elmo's third-person speech has been similarly adopted by various, younger Muppet characters in many of the show's international co-productions, including Lola, Chaos, Abigail, and Tonton.
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