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Writers' Center

Eastern Washington University

Writing Your Paper: Point of View

Point of View

When writing an academic paper, it is important that you choose a point of view. Sometimes the point of view may change, but for the most part it should stay consistent throughout your paper in order to achieve clarity. Bouncing between different points of view can be confusing for your readers.

Deciding which point of view to use often comes down to the context of the assignment and how formal your writing needs to be. Here are your three options:

First-Person Point of View

1st-Person Point Of View (often preferred for reflection papers and personal essays or narratives): I, we, my, our, us

I think I need to get some rest, so we should leave the party early.

Side Note: Usually in academic writing, it is advised to avoid the pronoun “we,” and instead you should be specific. So ask yourself, whom are you referring to when you write “we”? However, some instructors may be okay with the use of “we”—if you’re unsure, you can ask your instructor his/her preference.

Second-Person Point of View

2nd-Person Point Of View (the most informal way of writing): you, your

You need to get some rest, so you should leave the party early.

Side Note: The imperative tense (making a command or persuading someone) often implies a 2nd-person point of view because you are speaking directly to someone else.

Leave the party early because you need to get some rest.

Third-Person Point of View

3rd-Person Point Of View (the most formal way of writing; often preferred for analytical, research, and most academic papers): he, she, it, they, people, any noun

They need to get some rest, so they should leave the party early.

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Practice Point of View

For further explanation and more examples, click HERE.