First Person Essay Writing Tips and When to Use Second and Third Person
The majority of people probably know how to write a first person essay, even if they are not sure how or when to use the second and the third person in an essay. Here, we take a look at writing from all these perspectives (first, second and third person), and when these should be used in essay writing.
When writing an essay in first person, second person or third person, remember these are all personal pronouns. Also, for the purpose of essay writing, all persons have a different viewpoint, which can take the form of singular or plural. Additionally, they have three forms of case.
The First Person Perspective
In a persons character essay, in cases that are subjective and concern the first person, the word “I” is used to represent the singular form. “We” is used to represent the plural form. Any of these forms can be used as a sentence’s subject and are, consequently, subjective. The above pronouns are used whenever one is talking about themselves or about themselves and others. The following example includes these two first person pronouns:
I always look forward to meeting with my friends at the weekend (singular form).
Every week, we cook something and eat together (plural form).
Generally, in autobiographical-style writing e.g. a memoir, the writer would use first person. Often, those who work in journalism or the sciences try not to use the first person because this perspective can make a written piece sound overly objective while writing in the third person does not. However, in situations where the style of a publication permits, a writer can occasionally use the word “I” or the word “we” when it feels appropriate to do so.
In addition to “I” and “we”, for a persons character essay, there are other singular-form pronouns that can be used to represent the first person viewpoint. These include “my,” “mine” and “me.” The plural versions of these are “our,” “ours” and “us.”
The Second Person Perspective
In a second person essay, which differs from a third person essay, the writer addresses their reader with the pronoun “you” or they may use “your” or “yours” where appropriate. Use of the second person is appropriate in business correspondence, technical documents, emails, presentations, and so on.
The following examples are written in the second person:
If you intend to go hiking tomorrow, remember to have lunch first. I care about you.
Mom. (This sentence is written in the second person (singular)).
Dear first year students,
Do not forget to submit your essays on time. Rachel and John, I am referring to you also. Additionally, are those English books yours? (This sentence is written in the second person (plural)).
The Third Person Perspective
This section explains how to write an essay in third person or from the third person perspective. This person is mostly used in academic texts when referring to a place, object or idea. Or, sometimes, when writing about persons, the writer uses “he,” she” or “it.”
If you are writing an essay in third person perspective, take a look at the following sentences, which are examples of subjective sentences written in the third person (singular):
“John was very law-abiding but he was still accused of the crime.” (“he” being the masculine form of the third person pronoun).
“The girl shows great imagination, especially when she dresses up as different characters.” (“she” being the feminine form of the third person pronoun).
“It was a good time, but it was also a bad time.” (“it” being the neuter form of the third person pronoun.)
To conclude, keep these rules in mind when writing:
- Use “I” when writing narrative essays in the first person;
- Use “you” when writing in the second person e.g. when you want to address your readers;
- Use “he,” “she” or “it” when writing in the third person.