First or Third Person – Which Should You Use in Your Articles?

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In writing, the first thing a writer will do is to figure out in what voice to write in – the first or third person?

In English grammar, there are three different ways to make reference to people or yourself. There are the first person pronouns which are I, me, our and we. The second person uses “you” and “your”, while the third person involves the use of “he”, “she”, “his”, “her”, “him”, “they”, and “their”.

Most articles are written in either the first of the third person voice. Instructional guides and some fictions are often written in the second person.

The question is how does a writer determine which to use in his article?

The consideration of most writers is that they choose the one they are most comfortable with. Since most regular conversations and informal writing are done in the first person, most writers end up writing using first person pronouns. This however does not mean this is the best choice to make in every article.

The first person is a good option when you want to write in an informal or casual way. In fact, you can use the first person even if you are writing a professional or formal piece. It is usually the best choice in some of these cases.

More so, if you are writing about your personal experience, you can choose to use the first person. This may be a story about your life or an event you have experienced before that you want to share. Since you are the anchor point of the story, you always have to refer to yourself in the first person. You have to make the reader understand your experience by writing in the first person.

In some cases, the third person will be the best choice to make. Many professional and academic works demand that you write in the third person because the first person has been known to be suitable only in informal and casual settings. The third person is right in many cases because it takes the attention off the writer and concentrates on the issue at hand than the writer. It is more balanced because it suppresses the opinion and feelings of the writer and presents facts and truths.

The third person also presents more authority and is more convincing compared to the first person because using “I” frequently usually dampens any argument or point of view. Using statements that begin with “I think”, “I know” and “I believe” for example will water down your argument. Changing these words to the third person can give your works more authority and make your readers more convinced.

In order to be a better writer, you must be able use both the first and the third person accurately depending on the structure of your writing. Your choice should not just be based on comfort, but it should be based on what best suits the purpose of your article.

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