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Third-Person Writing: A Guide for Effective Academic Writing

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

How To Prepare For Grad School

Third-Person Writing: A Guide for Effective Academic Writing

In this post, we will explore the concept of third-person writing and its importance for academic writing. We will discuss the benefits of using third-person language, provide examples of how it can be used in different types of academic writing, and offer practical tips for incorporating it into your writing. By the end of this post, you will have a solid understanding of third-person writing and how to use it effectively in your academic work.

Academic writing is a fundamental part of any high school student’s education, and mastering the art of writing in a clear and concise manner is essential to academic success. One key aspect of effective academic writing is the use of third-person language, which can help writers create a more objective and authoritative tone.

What is third-person writing?

What is third-person writing? Third-person writing is a style of writing that involves using pronouns such as “he,” “she,” “it,” “they,” or “one” to refer to individuals or objects instead of using first- or second-person pronouns like “I,” “me,” “we,” “us,” “you,” or “your.” Third-person language is commonly used in academic writing to create a more objective and authoritative tone.

For instance, instead of saying “I believe,” third-person writing would say, “It can be argued.” This writing style can be particularly effective when presenting research or making a persuasive argument, as it allows the writer to distance themselves from their ideas and present them as more balanced and objective.

Writing in the third person differs from first- and second-person writing in several key ways. First-person writing involves using pronouns like “I,” “me,” “we,” or “us” to refer to oneself or a group of individuals. This writing style is often used in personal narratives, memoirs, or opinion pieces, where the writer’s personal experiences or opinions are central to the piece.

Conversely, second-person writing involves using pronouns like “you” or “your” to address the reader directly.

a female high school student looking at the camera

This writing style is often used in instructional or self-help texts, where the writer gives advice or instructions to the reader. In contrast, writing in the third person avoids direct references to the writer or reader and instead focuses on the topic or subject. This writing style can be particularly effective in academic writing, where objectivity and a neutral tone are often valued.

The benefits of using third-person writing in academic writing

Using the third-person point of view in academic writing offers several benefits, including creating a more objective and authoritative tone. By using third-person pronouns instead of first-person pronouns, writers can present information more neutral and unbiased. This can be particularly important in academic writing, where presenting a balanced and objective perspective is often valued.

Writing in the third person can also help writers distance themselves from their arguments and present a more balanced perspective. By using third-person pronouns, writers can avoid appearing overly confident or biased. Instead, they can present their arguments in a more measured and thoughtful way, allowing readers to make their judgments about the validity of the arguments presented.

Moreover, it can be especially useful in academic writing that involves research. When presenting research findings or making a persuasive argument, writers may be tempted to rely heavily on first-person language to convince readers of the validity of their claims. However, this can undermine the persuasiveness of the argument.

Using third-person writing instead can help writers present their research findings and arguments in a more objective and authoritative way, ultimately making their work more convincing to readers.

In summary, using a third-person point of view in academic writing can help writers create a more objective and authoritative tone, distance themselves from their arguments, and present a more balanced perspective. By using third-person pronouns and language effectively, writers can make their writing more persuasive and ultimately more successful in communicating their ideas to their readers.

What are the words to avoid in third-person writing?

What are the words to avoid in third-person writing? When writing in the third person, it’s important to avoid using first- and second-person language, as these types can make the writing appear less objective and authoritative. Here are some examples of words and phrases to avoid when writing in the third person:

  • First-person pronouns: This includes words like “I,” “me,” “my,” “we,” and “us.” Avoid using these pronouns in the third-person point of view.
  • Second-person pronouns include words like “you” and “your.” Avoid using these pronouns, as they can make the writing feel more direct and less objective.
  • Imperative verbs: Imperative verbs are those that give commands or instructions, such as “do,” “make,” or “take.” These verbs should generally be avoided as they can make the writing feel less objective and more directive.
  • Personal opinions: It’s important to avoid including personal opinions or biases. Instead, focus on presenting the facts and allowing readers to draw their conclusions.

By avoiding these words and phrases, writers can create more effective and authoritative third-person writing better suited for academic and professional contexts.

Examples of third-person writing in academic writing

The third-person point of view is commonly used in various academic writing contexts, including research papers, literature reviews, and essays. Here are some examples of how third-person writing can be used effectively in these contexts:

Young woman using a laptop on a couch.

  • Research papers: In research papers, it can be used to present research findings and conclusions in a more objective and authoritative manner. For example, instead of saying, “I found that,” a third-person point of view would say, “It was found that.” This helps to create a more neutral tone and emphasizes the importance of the research itself rather than the researcher’s personal experience.
  • Literature reviews: In literature reviews, it can be used to summarize and analyze existing research in an objective and authoritative way. For example, instead of saying, “I think that this study is important,” third-person writing would say, “This study has been found to be important by previous researchers.” This helps to emphasize the research’s importance and present it more objectively and neutrally.
  • Essays: In essays, it can be used to present arguments and evidence in a more balanced and persuasive manner. For example, instead of saying, “I believe that,” a third-person point of view would say, “It can be argued that.” This helps to present the argument in a more objective and authoritative way, which can be particularly important in persuasive essays.

The potential benefits of using third-person writing in each of these contexts include the following:

  • Creating a more objective and authoritative tone.
  • Emphasizing the importance of the research or argument rather than the writer’s personal experience or opinion.
  • Presenting information in a more balanced and neutral way.

By writing in the third person effectively, writers can make their academic writing more effective and persuasive, ultimately helping to communicate their ideas more effectively to their readers.

Tips for using third-person writing in academic writing

To effectively incorporate third-person writing into academic writing, consider the following tips:

  • Use active voice: Using active voice can help to make the third-person point of view more engaging and direct. For example, instead of saying, “It was found that,” say, “Researchers found that.” This can make the writing feel engaging rather than passive and dull.
  • Vary sentence structure: To avoid overusing third-person pronouns, try to vary sentence structure. For example, instead of repeatedly using “he” or “she,” try using more descriptive phrases or words, such as “the researcher” or “the author.”
  • Avoid personal opinions: In third-person writing, it’s important to avoid personal opinions or biases. Instead, focus on presenting the facts and allowing readers to draw their own conclusions.
  • Use reliable sources: In academic writing, it’s important to use reliable and trustworthy sources to support your arguments. Make sure to cite your sources properly and avoid using biased or unreliable sources.
  • Proofread carefully: Finally, proofread your writing carefully to ensure you’ve used third-person language consistently and effectively. Look for instances of first- or second-person language and replace them with third-person language, as necessary.

Common mistakes to avoid when using third-person writing in academic writing include overusing third-person pronouns, failing to vary sentence structure, and using vague or ambiguous language. Additionally, it’s important to avoid using personal opinions or biases, as this can undermine the objectivity and authority of your writing.

students writing on their notebooks

By following these tips and avoiding common mistakes, you can effectively incorporate third-person pov into your academic writing and create more persuasive and authoritative pieces.

Conclusion

In conclusion, using third-person writing can be a powerful tool for high school students looking to improve their academic writing. Students can create a more objective, authoritative, and balanced tone in their writing by avoiding first- and second-person language and using third-person pronouns and another language.

The benefits of using third-person writing include presenting research findings and arguments in a more neutral and objective manner, emphasizing the importance of the research or argument rather than the writer’s personal experience or opinion, and presenting information in a more balanced and neutral way.

By incorporating these tips and avoiding common mistakes, students can make their academic writing more effective and persuasive.

Having all the necessary information is important before choosing any course of action. AdmissionSight is always here to assist you with any questions or concerns. We have more than ten years of expertise assisting students in successfully navigating the challenging admissions process.

Consult with AdmissionSight and find out what we can do to help you get into the school of your choice by ensuring that you are sufficiently aware and well-prepared for the application process.

 

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