Other writing situations: If you’re writing a speech, use of the first and even the second person (“you”) is generally encouraged because these personal pronouns can create a desirable sense of connection between speaker and listener and can contribute to the sense that the speaker is sincere and involved in the issue.
Other writing situations: If you’re writing a speech, use of the first and even the second person (“you”) is generally encouraged because these personal pronouns can create a desirable sense of connection between speaker and listener and can contribute to the sense that the speaker is sincere and involved in the issue.If you’re writing a resume, though, avoid the first person; describe your experience, education, and skills without using a personal pronoun (for example, under “Experience” you might write “Volunteered as a peer counselor”).It also offers some alternatives if you decide that either “I” or personal experience isn’t appropriate for your project.
Avoiding “I” can lead to awkwardness and vagueness, whereas using it in your writing can improve style and clarity.
Using personal experience, when relevant, can add concreteness and even authority to writing that might otherwise be vague and impersonal.
Because college writing situations vary widely in terms of stylistic conventions, tone, audience, and purpose, the trick is deciphering the conventions of your writing context and determining how your purpose and audience affect the way you write.
The rest of this handout is devoted to strategies for figuring out when to use “I” and personal experience.
This handout is about determining when to use first person pronouns (“I”, “we,” “me,” “us,” “my,” and “our”) and personal experience in academic writing.
“First person” and “personal experience” might sound like two ways of saying the same thing, but first person and personal experience can work in very different ways in your writing.Avoiding the first person here creates the desired impression of an observed phenomenon that could be reproduced and also creates a stronger, clearer statement.Here’s another example in which an alternative to first person works better: Original example: Although you may run across instructors who find the casual style of the original example refreshing, they are probably rare.But first person is becoming more commonly accepted, especially when the writer is describing his/her project or perspective.Humanities: Ask your instructor whether you should use “I.” The purpose of writing in the humanities is generally to offer your own analysis of language, ideas, or a work of art.In many cases, using the first person pronoun can improve your writing, by offering the following benefits: The original example sounds less emphatic and direct than the revised version; using “I” allows the writers to avoid the convoluted construction of the original and clarifies who did what.Here is an example in which alternatives to the first person would be more appropriate: Original example: In the original example, using the first person grounds the experience heavily in the writer’s subjective, individual perspective, but the writer’s purpose is to describe a phenomenon that is in fact objective or independent of that perspective.Students often arrive at college with strict lists of writing rules in mind.Often these are rather strict lists of absolutes, including rules both stated and unstated: We get these ideas primarily from teachers and other students.So when it suits your purpose as a scholar, you will probably need to break some of the old rules, particularly the rules that prohibit first person pronouns and personal experience.Although there are certainly some instructors who think that these rules should be followed (so it is a good idea to ask directly), many instructors in all kinds of fields are finding reason to depart from these rules.