How to Write an Essay About Yourself in Third Person
If you do not know how to write an essay about yourself in third person, there is no need to panic. With practice, writing this kind of essay can be quite simple. For academics, writing in third person simply means you must avoid the use of subjective pronouns such as “I” or “you”.
For creative writing differences exist between third person limited, episodically, omniscient and objective viewpoints. Select the one that fits the writing project you are working on. Third person tone uses formal language and requires rewording of ideas in certain cases, especially while writing narratives or making presentation of a personal research.
Tips on how to write an essay about yourself in third person
To effectively know how to write an essay about yourself in third person, there are a couple of tips that come in handy:
- Always use correct pronouns
When asked to write in third person, remember it refers to people “on the outside.” This means you can write about an individual by name or alternatively use third person pronouns.
- Some of these third person pronouns include: himself, he, she, it, her, his, its, it, him, them, they, herself, itself and they etc.
- Other peoples’ name are also considered as appropriate when writing in third person. For instance “Susan believes differently. According to her research, earlier claims made on the subject are not correct.”
An excellent example can be found at fictionwriting.about.com. The example of Jane Austin for instance, provides a good sense on how to write an essay about yourself in third person.
- Do not use first person pronouns
First person is a form of writing in which the writer says things from their own personal experience. This form of writing is not only too personal but opinionated as well. It is important to void use of first person while writing your essay.
- First pronouns include: me, ours, our, ourselves, I, me, myself, us, we and mine etc.
- The main problem associated with use of first person in essays is that it sounds too subjective and personalized. This means it can be difficult to convince your reader ideas and views you express are not tainted or biased by your personal feelings. While using first person, it is likely to use phrases such as “in my opinion”, “I think” or “I believe”
Incorrect Example-Even though Susan thinks this way, I think his argument is incorrect.
Correct example-“Even though Susan thinks way, others in the field disagree.
- Avoid use of second person pronouns
Second person is a point of view directly addressing your reader. It is an indication of a lot of familiarity with your reader as you directly speak to them. Second person should not be used in your essay:
- Some second person pronouns include, yourself, you, yours or your
- The main problem with this form of writing is that it sounds accusatory hence it can place a lot of responsibility on the readers shoulder.
Incorrect Example: “If you still disagree today, then you must be ignorant of the facts”
Correct Example: “Someone who still disagrees today must be ignorant of the facts.”
- Refer to your subject in general terms
There are instance when you might need to refer to someone in terms that are indefinite. This means you might have to generally speak about an individual or address them. In such instance, use of indefinite noun or pronoun is more appropriate.
- Indefinite third person nouns include: the reader, the writer, individuals, a student, an instructor, woman, researchers, child, a man, experts, people, experts etc.
- Example: “Regardless of challenges involves, researchers continue in their claims.”
- Indefinite third person pronouns examples are everyone, one, someone, another, everybody, anybody, neither, either, each, anyone, everything and other etc.
Incorrect example: You might be tempted to agree without all the facts.”
Correct example: “One might be tempted to agree without all the facts.”- wikihow.com
- Keep an eye on plural and singular pronoun use
If you already know how to write an essay about yourself in first person, you know there are mistakes that must be avoided. The most common mistake made by writers using third person is making a switch to plural pronoun when the subject is supposed to be singular.
- Often, this is done to avoid gender specific “she” and “he” pronouns. In this instance, the mistake would be using plural “they” pronoun in place.
Incorrect Example: “The witness wanted to offer anonymous testimony. They’ were afraid of getting hurt if their name was spread.”
Correct Example: “The witness wanted to offer anonymous testimony. He or she was afraid of getting hurt if his or her name was spread.”
You can find more samples at examples.yourdictionary.com.
Three important guidelines to remember as you write your essay in third person
- Create a character
While writing a personal essay, you can do so by use of your own name or inventing a name instead of using first person pronouns such as us, me, us and me.
Using third person gives you the chance to write as if you were talking about someone else making it more interesting.
- Focus on your research
While writing in third person instead of using third person makes it easy to project your ideas. For example, rather than writing, “I selected 50 surveys a random and determined most students agreed with the policy,” write “Fifty randomly picked surveys revealed that most students agreed with the policy.”
- Rephrase your sentences completely
Always ensure that you revise your essay in order to get rid of the need for use of pronouns in sentences thus creating a formal style of writing that is more appropriate.
Incorrect Example: “The researcher’s technique required students to explain their survey answers if they choose ‘unsatisfied’. “
Correct example: Respondents needed to explain survey answers if selecting ‘unsatisfied’.”
Phrases such as ‘this writer’ create language that is awkward.
Additional tips on how to write an essay about yourself in third person
If you want to know how to write an essay about yourself in third person, these additional tips will come in handy:
Follow actions of many characters
While using third person, you can describe words or actions of a character at any place or time within your story.
- There is no need for a single main character for you to focus on. You have the freedom to switch between characters, following different characters through the narrative as the need arises
- Do not use first person terms such as “I” and second person terms such as “you” in the story.
Never make the attempt to get into a character’s head
While using this form of writing, you should not make any attempts to get into the mind of your subject. You are supposed to be the invisible bystander who observes the dialog and actions of characters within the story.
Incorrect example: After class, Jane raced from the room and went to the back of her dorm room. The lecture has made her so mad that she felt she could snap at the next person she met.
Show rather than tell
Though you cannot share the inner thoughts of a character while writing in third person, you can make some external observations suggesting what such internal thoughts could be. Describe what is happening rather than describe the facial, tone, body language or facial expression of the character.
Incorrect example: Jane was very prideful to cry in front of other people, however, she felt completely heart broken and began to cry once alone”
Correct example: “When no else was watching her, Jane began to cry.”
Do not insert your own thoughts
The reason behind use of third person is for you to act as a reporter rather than a commentator. Therefore:
- Let your reader draw his/her own conclusions. Present actions of your character without explaining or analyzing how the actions need to be viewed.
Incorrect example: “The action might seem strange but, Jane looked over her shoulder at least 3 times before she could sit down. This compulsive habit indicates her paranoid state of mind.
Correct Example: “Jane looked over her shoulders 3 times before sitting down”.
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