A note on the second person “you”: In situations where your intention is to sound conversational and friendly because it suits your purpose, as it does in this handout intended to offer helpful advice, or in a letter or speech, “you” might help to create just the sense of familiarity you’re after.But in most academic writing situations, “you” sounds overly conversational, as for instance in a claim like “when you read the poem ‘The Wasteland,’ you feel a sense of emptiness.” In this case, the “you” sounds overly conversational.This handout is about determining when to use first person pronouns (“I”, “we,” “me,” “us,” “my,” and “our”) and personal experience in academic writing.Tags: Mla Essay Title In ItalicsAn Essay On How Somthing WorksCompare And Contrast Essay On The Canterbury TalesThe Birthmark EssayConjuguer Avoir EssayerWriters Resources From Paragraph To EssayEssay Relationship Macbeth Lady Macbeth
It also offers some alternatives if you decide that either “I” or personal experience isn’t appropriate for your project.
If you’ve decided that you do want to use one of them, this handout offers some ideas about how to do so effectively, because in many cases using one or the other might strengthen your writing.
The revised version sounds more academic and renders the statement more assertive and direct.
Here’s a final example: Original example: In this example, there is no real need to announce that that statement about Aristotle is your thought; this is your paper, so readers will assume that the ideas in it are yours. The rules for this are changing, so it’s always best to ask your instructor if you’re not sure about using first person. Sciences: In the past, scientific writers avoided the use of “I” because scientists often view the first person as interfering with the impression of objectivity and impersonality they are seeking to create.
Because college writing situations vary widely in terms of stylistic conventions, tone, audience, and purpose, the trick is deciphering the conventions of your writing context and determining how your purpose and audience affect the way you write.
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The rest of this handout is devoted to strategies for figuring out when to use “I” and personal experience.
But first person is becoming more commonly accepted, especially when the writer is describing his/her project or perspective.
Humanities: Ask your instructor whether you should use “I.” The purpose of writing in the humanities is generally to offer your own analysis of language, ideas, or a work of art.
Writers in these fields tend to value assertiveness and to emphasize agency (who’s doing what), so the first person is often—but not always—appropriate.
Sometimes writers use the first person in a less effective way, preceding an assertion with “I think,” “I feel,” or “I believe” as if such a phrase could replace a real defense of an argument.