Writing tip: point of viewThe differences between first person and third person points of view.
Do point of views and perspectives perplex you?
An example of the first person tense:I want to help you understand how the importance of using both tenses is critical to a writer.
An example of the third person tense:By reading this article, hopefully you will see the importance of using both tenses at the appropriate time.
Many writers like to write about their personal experiences, which is good, but too many writers tend to write only from only their own perspective.
It is a good idea to create a habit of thinking in the third person when you create an article. It is fine to use a few references to personal experience for effect, depending on your audience, but you should refrain from allowing your story to take on the quality of a personal testimonial.
You can reach out and pull your reader into your world by using the first person perspective with care. By using a delicate combination of first person and third person point of views, by telling anecdotes, and through personal experiences told in a professional manner, you can touch your reader with your knowledge of the subject matter. You can help them to see things from your point of view, while allowing them to draw their own conclusions.
Writers must be very careful with the first person point of view, though.
Try this exercise:
1. Write one small article in the 1st person point of view or perspective. In this style, you use many sentences with "My" and "I".
2. Re-write it now using the 3rd person perspective only. This is when you use "we" or "you" primarily.
3. At this point, you will probably feel that you do not like either of them very much.
4. Now write the article again with the two intro paragraphs citing a few first person passages. Make sure that these are useful in making your point. Be sure to write the next few paragraphs mostly the third person except for references to personal tips or occurrences that can give insight to your reader, helping them to understand the topic more in depth.
5. Use the first person very sparsely throughout, but be sure to use it again near the end of the article for a personal effect.
As writers, we must step back and look at what we have written from outside. Try to look at your writing objectively. This may make the realization a little more concrete to you.
Writing in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Person
Here are some tips to help you determine when it is more appropriate to use 1st person (I/we), 2nd person (you),
or 3rd person (he/she/it/they) in your writing.
Writing from a specific point of view alters the reader's perception of what you write. It can be confusing to the reader if you shift the point of view in your writing (meaning starting in the 3rd person, moving to the 2nd person, then switching back to 3rd). Look at this example of switching points of view:
Increasing one's [3rd person] workload is taxing on both your [2nd person] physical and mental health. Unless someone [3rd person] is in a physically-intensive profession, your [2nd person] body is wasting away while you [2nd person] are working. Additionally, diet [3rd person] also suffers as you [2nd person] spend more time at work. No longer do you [2nd person] have the time to prepare healthy meals at home or even worse, we [1st person] may not have time to eat at all.
After reading this passage, a reader must wonder who is being addressed in the passage. Is it the reader? Is it a general audience? The shifting back and forth confuses the reader. Thus, it is important to maintain the same point of view in your writing.
You should use particular points of view in particular situations. To help you with this, keep these three things in mind:
Use 1st person to indicate personal experience, evaluation, and/or opinion.
Use 2nd person to instruct or address the reader.
Use 3rd person to generalize the experience or situation.
A good idea is to write in 3rd person whenever possible. This way, you avoid shifting points of view and confusing the reader.
Here are some examples of the same passage written in the three different points of view. Read them to understand the difference in tone and purpose.
Also note the grammatical changes in subjects ("I" vs. "increasing" vs. "increasing workloads"; number (singular vs. plural); and verb tenses (perfect forms in 1st person "have found"; simple be forms in 2nd person "is" and "are"; and simple active forms "tax" in 3rd person).
Increasing your workload is taxing on both your physical and mental health. Unless you are in a physically-intensive profession, your body is wasting away while you are working. Additionally, your diet also suffers as you spend more time at work. No longer [do you] have the time to prepare healthy meals at home or even worse, you may not have time to eat at all.
Increasing workloads tax both physical and mental health. Unless a person is in a physically-intensive profession, a body will waste away with inactivity. Additionally, diet suffers as more time is spent at work as people do not have the time to prepare healthy meals or, even worse, may not have time to eat at all.Review what a "point of view" really is:
1.A term from literacy which describes the perspective or source of a piece of writing.
2. The angle from which you are writing a piece, particular in fiction. You may take an omniscient point of view, allowing the reader to know everything that is happening, or you may filter your writing through the perceptions of one or more of your fictional chracters.
3. It is the realitive identification of the narrator with the chracters.
4. The perspective from which a story is narrated or a scene is decribed. Point of view can refer to narrators or chracters through which an event is focalized.
5. A mental position from which things are viewed.
Assignment 1: Chapter 8
Write a short paragraph on your topic in:
The 1st Person
The 3rd Person