How to Use Third Person in a Paragraph Essay

Written by steven wilkens
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How to Use Third Person in a Paragraph Essay
Using the third person is a common technique in writing an essay. (writing image by DBarby from Fotolia.com)

Writing in the third person is more formally known as using the third-person objective point of view. The third person point of view in an essay is characterised by the use of personal pronouns such as he, she, they or one rather than I, we or you. Formal essays as well as some types of informal essays are typically written in the third person. The third person can apply to single-paragraph essays as well as more common, longer essay formats.

Skill level:
Easy

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Use the words he, she, it and they for your personal pronouns in the nominative case, meaning when they're the subject of a sentence or clause. Eliminate any references to I, we, or you. "A man's clothing affects how he looks," for example, is written in the third person. "Your clothing affects how you look" is written in the second person. "My clothing affects how I look" is first person.

  2. 2

    Use the words him, her, it and them for your personal pronouns in the objective case. Eliminate any references to me, us or you in this case. "Clothes are important to them," for example, is written in the third person. "Clothes are important to you" is in the second person, while "Clothes are important to me" is written in the first person.

  3. 3

    Use the words his, her, hers, it, their and theirs for your personal pronouns in the possessive case. Eliminate any references to my, mine, our, ours, your or yours in this case. "The clothes are theirs," for example, is written in the third person. "The clothes are yours" is written in the second person. "The clothes are mine" is first person.

  4. 4

    Use indefinite pronouns such as anybody, anyone, both, each, everybody, somebody, someone and several. "Anybody can state an opinion," for example, is written in the third person. "I can state an opinion" is written in the first person.

  5. 5

    Review your essay to ensure it remains in the third person throughout. "Unless someone trains harder, your fitness level will hit a plateau," for example, mixes third person with second person. Instead, write: "Unless someone trains harder, his fitness level will hit a plateau."

Tips and warnings

  • Using the third person can add a feeling of objectivity and authority to your essay. This is important when you're writing a persuasive or expository essay. The first person is more suited to a personal essay or informal creative writing. The second person is more suited to instructions or certain specialised forms of creative writing.

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