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Should we be Writing in First or Third Person?

  1. Will Apse profile image92
    Will Apseposted 17 months ago

    A couple of simple examples first:

    http://www.instructables.com/id/Simple- … y-Shelves/

    The indestructibles style is 'I, me mine'. Wikihow is 'you, yours'.

    WIkihow focuses on the info which makes for brevity and lucidity.

    What is indestructibles about?

    I would guess the first person is about trying to put people at ease, engage interest at a human level and establish trust. The guy say he has done this, he has pictures, and still seems to be alive after the ordeal, so one (lol) should trust him.

    What works best in terms of subject area/target audience?

    1. promisem profile image99
      promisemposted 17 months agoin reply to this

      My teachers always told me to write in third person whenever possible, especially if the focus of the article is objective and informational.

      But if I write an article about a subject in which I am not an expert, such as surgery for a detached retina, I think it is better for me to write it in first person because so many other articles on the subject have been written by medical experts. In that case, a first person article reaches a different audience.

      So it depends.

      1. Will Apse profile image92
        Will Apseposted 17 months agoin reply to this

        With health issues, it is probably best to go for personal accounts of recovery. Having said that, my only health hub is written in an impersonal style. I grilled an orthopedic nurse from the US on hospital procedures and recovery problems and just wrote it up without personalization. It would have taken up too much time to explain where I got the info and she had no desire to be named.

        Also, I notice in the intial post I was wrong about first and third person. I probably shouldn't be allowed out on my own, at present.

        I had it in my mind that wikihow used the passive voice and 'it' rather than anything personal and went wrong from there.

        Third person is 'it' not 'you'. 'You' is second person.

        We need some English teachers here.

    2. Cardisa profile image94
      Cardisaposted 17 months agoin reply to this

      It's recommended when writing informative articles to use conversational style and that would be using second person.

      Example: "You can get best result for your skin using lemon juice to clear acne."

      To increase the conversation-ability of the article, add a few instances of first person. "I found that lemon juice worked best when applied in the mornings."

      Readers want to know that you have first knowledge of what you are presenting, but they don't want to feel that you are talking about yourself all the time. Drawing the reader in is the most important thing.

  2. Marisa Wright profile image99
    Marisa Wrightposted 17 months ago

    At one time, sites were recommending to use third person and avoid first person.

    I believe that advice was an over-reaction to the flood of "purely personal" posts that were appearing on such sites.  Obviously, pieces about your personal life have no place on a site like HP unless your experience offers valuable insight to others - but to say that you have to avoid first person altogether is just plain silly.

    As you say, pieces in first or second person sound warmer and more personal and can engage the reader better IMO.

  3. Will Apse profile image92
    Will Apseposted 17 months ago

    Personally I don't like first person stuff much. Mostly it is patronizing and just takes up space.

    Given that HP is not a high authority site, it has a place in establishing some trust
    -- you can set out some credentials. Problem there is that some people will lie.

    I reckon an impersonal style can convey authority if the text addresses the issues that concern the reader, succinctly.

    I throw in a personal touch mostly if I think kids will be reading. The target for my science stuff is the sixteen year old me, for example.

  4. WryLilt profile image91
    WryLiltposted 17 months ago

    I prefer to avoid first person. She agrees.

    1. promisem profile image99
      promisemposted 17 months agoin reply to this


      He agrees with she.

  5. Sherry Hewins profile image98
    Sherry Hewinsposted 17 months ago

    I almost always write in first person, because I am usually writing about something I have experienced or done. I like a more conversational style.

    Sometimes I write in third person, if I am writing about something I have researched and gathered information about. Then I'm not part of the story, so I am writing more objectively and factually, like a magazine article.

    I rarely write in second person.

  6. ProBeatStudio profile image60
    ProBeatStudioposted 17 months ago

    I suppose it entirely depends upon in which your more fluent? and the subject matter

  7. makingamark profile image48
    makingamarkposted 17 months ago

    I've always tended to write in the same way as I write on my blog - in the first person when it is about my views and my experiences.

    If I'm reporting facts about something I might well use the third person - however I might also top and tail it with a first person comment which gets engagement from others

  8. wilderness profile image97
    wildernessposted 17 months ago

    Given the blurb HP wants on each hub touting our experience and knowledge, are they suggesting first person?

  9. paperfacets profile image89
    paperfacetsposted 17 months ago

    I like to write in first person, but after reading "The Living Art of Writing" I realized the word I came up much too often in all previously written pages.

    So the next thing to do was go through most of my pages and reduce the word "I" by rewording and eliminating more than half of the word appearing in each page. If you are using first person be sure to not to use it over extraneously.