Is using first person in academic/technical essays always bad?

Asked by: Lisa Vera

I love this question, because the answer is always a pleasant surprise: I or we is perfectly acceptable in APA Style! In fact, the Publication Manual actually recommends using first person, when appropriate, to avoid ambiguity.

Is it OK to use first person in academic writing?

APA prefers that writers use the first person for clarity and self-reference. To promote clear communication, writers should use the first person, rather than passive voice or the third person, to indicate the action the writer is taking.

Why do you avoid first person in academic writing?

The first person point of view is considered informal, and is not encouraged in academic writing. First person can appear to weaken the credibility of the writer in research and argument, as it reads as the writer’s personal opinion.

Should you avoid first person in an essay?

First and second person should not be used in formal writing, such as a term paper. First person is the use of “I, me, my, we” etc. Second person is the use of “you, your,” etc.

Why you shouldn’t use first person?

Novice researchers are often discouraged from using the first person pronouns I and we in their writing, and the most common reason given for this is that readers may regard such writing as being subjective, whereas science is all about objectivity.

Should I use first person in an essay?

Most academic papers (Exposition, Persuasion, and Research Papers) should generally be written in third person, referring to other authors and researchers from credible and academic sources to support your argument rather than stating your own personal experiences.

Can you use first person in an analytical essay?

Use formal, academic diction (word choice) in a literary analysis. Therefore, write in the third person. First person (I, me, our, we, etc.) and second person (you) are too informal for academic writing, and most literature professors prefer students to write in third person.

Is it okay to use I in a research paper?

In academic or college writing, most formal essays and research reports use third person pronouns and do not use “I” or “you.”

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Can you use first person in a research paper apa?

When writing in APA Style, you can use the first person point of view when discussing your research steps (“I studied …”) and when referring to yourself and your co-authors (“We examined the literature …”). Use first person to discuss research steps rather than anthropomorphising the work.

In which type of writing should you avoid the use of first person pronouns?

The fields of medicine, biology, and mechanical engineering tend to avoid first-person pronouns, while sociology, philosophy, and literary studies tend to use them more frequently.

Is it better to write in 1st or 3rd person?

While first-person writing offers intimacy and immediacy between narrator and reader, third-person narration offers the potential for both objectivity and omniscience. This effectively makes both forms of narration appealing to both first-time and seasoned writers.

Does Stephen King write in 1st person?

While good ol’ Stephen King here begins his novel in the first-person point of view, the story is in three parts, and the middle part is in the third-person point of view.

How do you refer to yourself in academic writing?

Use first-person pronouns in APA Style to describe your work as well as your personal reactions. If you are writing a paper by yourself, use the pronoun “I” to refer to yourself. If you are writing a paper with coauthors, use the pronoun “we” to refer yourself and your coauthors together.

Should writers ever remove all uses of I or we from their writing?

Do not use first-person pronouns (“I,” “me,” “my,” “we,” “us,” etc.). Using these expressions in analytical and persuasive essays can make the writing wordy, can make the writer seem less confident of his or her ideas, and can give the essay an informal tone.

How do you avoid using I when writing about yourself?

State your claim directly instead of using “I think.” Sometimes, all you need to do is drop a clause such as “I think” or “I believe” from the beginning of a sentence. Getting rid of the personal pronoun is more objective, and it makes your statement sound more confident.

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Why is academic writing in the third person?

If you are working on anything formal such as argumentative papers or a research essays, then you must use third person pronoun. This is because it gives your work a picture of objectivity rather than personal thoughts. This aspect of objectivity will make your work look more credible and less biased.

Which is not acceptable in academic writing?

You should try to avoid expressions that are too informal, unsophisticated, vague, exaggerated, or subjective, as well as those that are generally unnecessary or incorrect. Bear in mind, however, that these guidelines do not apply to text you are directly quoting from your sources (including interviews).

Should research papers be written in first or third person?

In general, it is acceptable in to use the first person point of view in abstracts, introductions, discussions, and conclusions, in some journals. Even then, avoid using “I” in these sections. Instead, use “we” to refer to the group of researchers that were part of the study.

Which voice should be used in academic writing?

active voice

Generally, in scholarly writing, with its emphasis on precision and clarity, the active voice is preferred.

How do you avoid passive voice in academic writing?

To avoid using the passive voice, make sure the subject of your sentence is doing the action. For example, “The tail was wagged by the dog” is passive, but “The dog wagged its tail” isn’t because the subject of the sentence, the dog, is doing the action.

Is passive voice unethical?

Whenever you have the choice, you should use the active voice. In formal discourse, the passive voice is unacceptable if it is being used to avoid saying who did some thing.

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Is it bad to write in passive voice?

The passive voice isn’t a grammatical error; it’s a matter of style. Use the active voice if it makes your sentence sound clearer and more natural. Forming passive voice requires the verb “to be” and a past participle.

What percentage of passive sentences is acceptable?

If your Passive Sentences score is below 10%, you’re doing well. Obviously the lower the better, but you don’t need to eliminate your passive voice completely. Aim for less than 10%. If your Passive Sentences statistic hits 20%, consciously focus on writing in the active tense until it becomes a habit.

What is passive voice in academic writing?

In passive voice, the subject (the paper) does not have an active relationship to the verb (was written) i.e. the paper did not do the writing, but was written by someone else. The subject of this sentence is the thing begin acted on.

Should I use passive or active voice?

In writing, always consider whether you should use the passive or active voice. It will depend on what you, the writer, want to convey: if you want to draw attention to the doer, use the passive voice; if your intent is to put the focus on the action, then you should go for the active voice.

What is passive voice misuse?

Passive voice misuse occurs when a writer simply tells a story, as in the example we just used: Peter was going to the store. The afternoon sun was hot. His mother had told him to buy eggs. His teacher had told him to bring cookies to class.

How do you correct passive voice misuse?

How to Fix Passive Voice in 5 Simple Steps

  1. Look for sentences that turn the object into the subject. …
  2. Identify the meaning of the sentence. …
  3. Try putting the subject (the one doing the thing) in its rightful place. …
  4. Decide whether the sentence needs changing. …
  5. Correct passive voice misuse by rearranging the sentence.