The person whom the story belongs to is not telling the story, but someone else is telling it on his behalf. In that case, what's one concise word or phrase to replaced the bold part above?

This story is recounted by another person on behalf of the original person that experienced this story.

This phrases is added before the actual story is recounted, so this is pretty much a reminder to the audience that the person they see telling the story is not the real guy. The best I can get to is "This story is recounted by someone else on behalf of the true protagonist," but that still sounds off.

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    – tchrist
    Jul 20 '21 at 3:21

A participant is someone who's involved in an event, who participates or takes part. (Merriam-Webster) Lexico has many examples, including people taking part in politics, active members of organisations, people attending conferences or other events, and subjects in scientific studies.

If the person is not actively involved they might be a spectator "one who looks on or watches" (Merriam-Webster). Merriam-Webster also has experient: "a person undergoing an experience or having experience": this is more passive than participant but it wouldn't be limited to those who watch: it could include more direct experience.

  • Unfortunately, I don't think that participant can convey the meaning "the main character" on its own. Even a side character is a participant.
    – Nicholas
    Jul 21 '21 at 0:10
  • No, a participant is not merely an observer or a spectator.
    – Xanne
    Jul 22 '21 at 1:01
  • 1
    If a story is being told, then, among the participants, there is the protagonist
    – djs
    Jul 25 '21 at 12:18

There is this

eyewitness NOUN
A person who has personally seen something happen and so can give a first-hand description of it.

  • It doesn't say that the person recounting the story saw it happen. People tell stories about other people that they themselves didn't witness all the time. You don't have to have personally witnessed somebody do something or something happen to somebody to that somebody's story. You maybe didn't even hear it from the horse's mouth. Maybe you heard it secondhand. Jul 20 '21 at 1:59
  • @BenjaminHarman - Yes. secondhand. The story is being told secondhand.
    – Jim
    Jul 20 '21 at 6:45
  • HAL pointed out the problem. "Eyewitness" answers the question in the title, not the one in the text of the question.
    – GEdgar
    Jul 20 '21 at 15:38

Sounds like you are talking about a narrator in your question, but an eyewitness in your title.



a person who narrates something, especially a character who recounts the events of a novel or narrative poem.



give a spoken or written account of.

verb: narrate; 3rd person present: narrates; past tense: narrated; past participle: narrated; gerund or present participle: narrating

  • Eyewitness is someone who's seen it. I'm looking for a word for someone who's experienced it. For example, an eyewitness in a car accident is not the one involved in the accident, i.e. the main character of the accident.
    – Nicholas
    Jul 21 '21 at 0:11
  • The main character of an accident is called a "victim". However, I don't think an English word exists to describe "someone who experiences something". In order to use a general term to describe someone experiencing something, we need to know the experience. A child who goes to school is called a student. Student is the term used for someone who experiences school as a child.
    – HAL 9000
    Jul 21 '21 at 3:12
  • Why not just say, "This story is recounted by [NARRATOR'S NAME] on behalf of [PERSON'S NAME]."?
    – HAL 9000
    Jul 21 '21 at 3:28

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