Using 'I' In Essays

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To write a successful opinion essay, make sure to follow these stages: pre-writing, writing and proofreading.

Before starting to write your essay, you need to gather information to support your opinion.

Start every paragraph with a topic sentence – the main idea you will back up with arguments.

Make sure you don't begin a new paragraph because the one you are writing right now is too long.

Take the following: “A study was conducted on animals. This paper will examine the mating habits of the fennec fox.” What at first seems like a nice formal start to a paper is actually quite ambiguous. The third sentence turns the paper into the researcher. The is also in favor and says under 5.220 (16th ed.), “When you need the first-person singular, use it.

It’s not immodest to use it; it’s superstitious not to.” MLA (used for the humanities) has skirted the issue, but seems to prefer the formality of third person.

Scientists thought it was better to favor the research, not the researcher, so “I conducted a study on” was changed to “the researcher conducted a study on.” This business of having to use third person, however, can result in imprecise language and, worse, ambiguity. The second sentence uses third person, but if your paper is talking about other studies and sources, then you might confuse your reader. In this situation, the truly clear sentence is, “In this paper, I will examine . .” For these reasons and more, first person is now more often being recommended.

Most academic styles now recommend first person, with APA leading the way. Is this your term you’re talking about, or one of the past researchers? Of the “big three” (APA, Chicago, MLA) style guides, APA urges first person.

Is all formal writing done in third person (he/she/they/one)? Second person is aimed at the audience, as in advertising (“You should buy this car now!

Why does the teacher keep crossing out second person (you/your) in student essays? ”), or is quite informal, as in e-mails to a friend (“So, you know how it is when you don’t have any money? Third person doesn’t target anyone, and so it’s the most distant and universal.


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