Third person in academic English

From Hull AWE
Jump to: navigation, search

Third person is the term used in grammar to mean 'the person [or thing] being talked about'. (See person in grammar.) So the third person is expressed by the words 'he', 'she', 'they' and 'it' (and 'her', 'him', 'his' etc).

  • The third person is the proper way to write most academic prose. As a general rule, you should not use the second person you (as I just have). Some academics dislike the first person in any circumstances; others regard it as proper when the writer is talking about personal experience. But if you are trying to write objectively and dispassionately (as you should be in most assignments), you should aim to stay in the third person. It may be helpful to you to suggest using the passive voice, or the impersonal pronoun, one.