Monday, May 14, 2012

Q: When is it ok to use the first person (“I”) in a formal, academic essay?

Hong Kong: When you write "I", who do you mean, exactly?

A: I've written about why to write in the third person and why to avoid using less confident, first-person phrases (for example: “I believe that”) to introduce your research and ideas.

With that in mind, if you are using your own personal experience as evidence for your thesis statement, you may describe that experience in the first person (it would be super awkward in the third person, right?)

However, the resulting analysis of how your experience supports the thesis should be in the third person. You can remember this because the analysis applies to more situations than just your own. Your situation was one of many examples, therefore the analysis should be in the third person.

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