Third Person Perspective Essay Rubric

When is third-person point of view used?

Third person is used when a degree of objectivity is intended, and it is often used in academic documents, such as research and argument papers. This perspective directs the reader’s attention to the subject being presented and discussed. Third person personal pronouns include he, she, it, they, him, her, them, his, her, hers, its, their, and theirs.

Examples of sentences written from the third person point of view:

  • She went to the library to consult with the reference librarian about her paper’s topic.
  • When he got to his car, he was glad to see that his friend was waiting for him.
  • The students entered the classroom nervously on the first day of class; they had not had the opportunity to become acquainted with their professor or with each other.
  • Jenny and her friend used backpacks to simplify the task of carrying books, notebooks, writing tools and a laptop around campus.
  • Human sex trafficking is a social problem that requires decisive action; its victims should be given the opportunity to escape the cycle of exploitation to which they have become slaves.

Third Person Personal Pronouns

 Subjective ObjectivePossessive
3rd personhe, she, it, theyhim, her, it, themhis, her, hers, its, their, theirs

Problem with Point of View: Beginner writers usually mix 1st, 2nd, & 3rd person into one paragraph.

Incorrect Example: It can be confusing to the reader if you shift the point of view in your writing (meaning starting in the 3rd person, moving to the 2nd person, then switching back to 3rd). 

Increasing one's [3rd person] workload is taxing on both your [2nd person] physical and mental health. Unless someone [3rd person] is in a physically-intensive profession, your [2nd person] body is wasting away while you [2nd person] are working.  Additionally, diet [3rd person] also suffers as you [2nd person] spend more time at work.  No longer do you [2nd person] have the time to prepare healthy meals at home or even worse, we [1st person] may not have time to eat at all.

Solution: Decide what type of writing project you're working on, and determine what point of view is most appropriate

Correct Examples: Below are samples of properly using point of view for various writing occasions

1st person, indicating a personal experience

I have found that increasing my workload is taxing on both my physical and mental health. Unless I am in a physically-intensive profession, my body is wasting away while I work.  Additionally, my diet has also suffered as I have spent more time at work.  No longer do I have the time to prepare healthy meals at home or even worse; I sometimes do not have time to eat at all.

2nd person, instructing the reader

Increasing your workload is taxing on both your physical and mental health. Unless you are in a physically-intensive profession, your body is wasting away while you are working.  Additionally, your diet also suffers as you spend more time at work.  No longer [do you] have the time to prepare healthy meals at home or even worse, you may not have time to eat at all.

3rd person, addressing a general situation

Increasing workloads tax both physical and mental health.  Unless a person is in a physically-intensive profession, a body will waste away with inactivity.  Additionally, the diet suffers as more time is spent at work because people do not have the time to prepare healthy meals or, even worse, may not have time to eat at all.

Using 3rd person in an essay, but including 1st person to give a personal example as evidence:

As mentioned above it can be appropriate to use 1st person in a formal academic essay ONLY WHEN giving a specific personal experience as a form of argumentative evidence.

Increasing workloads tax both physical and mental health.  Unless a person is in a physically-intensive profession, a body will waste away with inactivity. [Begin personal example in 1st person] For example, when I began working as an accountant, I experienced a noticeable decline in my physical health. I found that I could not engage in sporting activities as easily as I had done in the past. [Now that the example has concluded, return to 3rd person] In addition to a decline in physical health, the diet suffers as more time is spent at work because people do not have the time to prepare healthy meals or, even worse, may not have time to eat at all.

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