Most academic writing requires the use of third-person language. Rather than first-person words like I and we and the second-person term, you. third-person point of view uses pronouns such as he, she and they and nouns like students and researchers to indicate speakers and those being addressed. This formal tone requires rewording ideas in some cases, particularly when writing a narrative or presenting private research.
Why Use Third Person?
Third-person language is more precise than very first or 2nd person. For example, “You perform better after a good night’s sleep” uses the second-person point of view, even however the idea may not apply to each reader. “Students perform better after a good night’s sleep” creates more specific information, where the word “students” is an example or third-person usage. Academic writing relies on support for credibility, and third-person language presents evidence in the most straightforward way, lending integrity to the entire paper. Shifts in point of view can also be confusing for readers, making your ideas more difficult to go after.
Create a Character
When writing a individual narrative — a story about an event that happened to you — you can write in third person by using your very first name or inventing a name rather than using first-person pronouns like I, me, we and us.
Albeit most instructors permit students to use very first person in such essays, the use of a name like Charles — which is a third-person usage — lets you present your story without using very first person; write as if someone else experienced the situation. This replacement also works when you want to use a individual practice within a research or other formal essay as an introductory hook or for support.
Concentrate on the Research
When writing a paper presenting your own research, the American Psychological Association, 6th Edition permits for very first person, but you may find instructors or publications requiring the use of third person. Writing about the process and results rather than your prep or reaction creates more natural third-person language. For example, instead of writing, “I selected 50 surveys at random and determined most students agreed with the policy,” write, “Fifty randomly pulled surveys exposed that most students agreed with the policy.”
Rephrase Sentences Downright
Revise so that you eliminate the need for pronouns entirely in your sentences, creating the succinct language more adequate for formal writing. For example, as explained by The Lincoln University. the sentence, “The researcher’s method required that students explain their survey answers if they choose ‘unsatisfied’,” could be more effectively written in the third person as, “Respondents needed to explain survey answers if selecting ‘unsatisfied.’ ” Phrases like “this writer” create awkward language.
About the Author
Kristie Sweet has been writing professionally since 1982, most recently publishing for various websites on topics like health and wellness, and education. She holds a Master of Arts in English from the University of Northern Colorado.
You can write about private practice while using third person.