Academic and Formal Writing Style Guide

Style Continued: Point of View

When writing an academic essay, the writer should write from the 3rd person point of view and avoid 1st and 2nd person point of view.

Only use first person point of view (I, we, our, me, my etc.) when using a specific personal example, which is rarely appropriate in academic writing.

Avoid clauses like:

I think...

I feel...

I believe...

"...because as the writer your ideas are the implicit focus of the essay and the clause becomes redundant" (Vaughn Payne 62-63).


I think Mr. Eldridge is really scary.

Mr. Eldridge is really scary.

Which is clear and concised and eliminates unnecessry words?

If you include yourself in one of the topics or subjects of the essay, for example using "we," "us," or "our" when referencing students, Americans, or other categories that you feel represents you, you are introducing a subjectivity to a purpose that generally should be objective.


We value freedom.

Americans value freedom?

Which avoids subjectivitiy and is more clear and precise?

Many people use the word "one" to solve the problem.  Also avoid this solution as it is unsophisticated and repetitive.


One never knows what may happen.

Anything might happen.

Never use 2nd person (you) unless you are directly addressing an individual, as you would in a personal letter, or if you ar consciously attempting to put your audience in a hypothetical situation...

... but really don't do it at all because Mr. Eldridge hates to see 2nd person in academic essay.  


When you look closely at the text, you will find a dark tone that illustrates the main characters attitude.

The text illustrates the character's attitude through a dark tone.

Which one is less cluttered, more objective, and more concise?

Also avoid overuse of Hypothertical questions.  Like exclamation points, you might get one or two an essay.

Review your rough draft of your personal argument essay and highlight and revise any use of 1st and 2nd person.


2 of 5