How to Write Essay in Third Person

What is writing in a Third Person and How to Master it?

Writing essays can be a difficult task. Usually, students struggle with references or the absence of awareness of the topic. However, a few other problems are just as common as not knowing from what to start a paper. One of these is the need to follow an exact perspective in writing. The academic writing requires the students to be mindful of the persona, but it may not be as simple as it looks. In this article, we’ll talk about the third person definition and will try to answer to the most frequently asked question: what is writing in a third person really mean?

What Is Third Person Point of View

Third person writing is a type of writing when one uses the pronouns of third person, i. e. “he”, “she”, “it”, or “they” and all derived from them. Many academic papers demand using third person, because this approach stresses on points, and has influential and powerful tone. Moreover, most of academic papers do not allow the writer to use the first person as the information, delivered in such way sounds too informal and personal. Thus, it is way better to write “Researches found out, that…”, than “I found a research, that proves…”.

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Among third person points of view, we should distinguish an omniscient one and a limited one.

The first refers to the situation, when a storyteller is aware of all the information about the thoughts and emotions of the character. The writer knows everything about all the characters.

When one uses a limited third person point of view, it means that the writer knows the information about the only one single character of the story. He or she can fully describe the feeling and emotions of this person, although the thoughts of other characters remain unknown. It does not mean that those “others” have the lack of attention. The writer can describe their actions, words, but not the emotions and thoughts.

If you are struggling when choosing one of those approaches, or if you’re scared of making a mistake, we can provide you with a tip. By writing in omniscient third person, you can think of yourself as, let’s say, the one, who has supernatural power. You are able to read other people’s thoughts, understand their emotions and feelings. At the same time, this approach can be applicable to one single character only.

First Person vs Third Person

There is no doubt that first person point of view is much easier approach to telling a story. The writer is focused on his own character, his or her feelings and emotions. In addition, this way of writing is considered to be more intimate, than writing in the third person. This is achieved by direct talking to the reader from the person of author. When writing in the third person this connection is absent.

First person is much more subjective comparing to the third one. The later gives you the freedom of writing. This is achieved due to the fact that you do not look at the events from the perspective of strictly one character. Your camera can move freely all around the characters and events, and provide the readers with more details and information about the story itself.

If you are struggling with choosing either the first or the third person, we would advise you to go with the latter. In this way, you can challenge yourself with a more difficult task. It is also worth mentioning that most of the beginners start their writing career with the first person writing approach. Do not be ordinary and try something different!

Third Person Perspective

As it was already discussed, third person writing gives you more freedom. At the same time, you should not forget, that the writer must identify himself or herself with a protagonist throughout the whole story.

You tell your story jumping from one character to another, but remain fully attached to the main character. Thus, it is extremely important to distinguish this very character in your story. Your readers must feel it from the very beginning. To achieve this goal, we recommend you to describe the feelings and emotions of your character, and only afterward to focus on his or her actions.  It is also important for you to describe the thoughts of this character as deeply as possible.

To understand the main sense in writing from the third person perspective, people usually advise a writer to try to imagine himself or herself as a camera that shoots a movie. At the same time, it is not a usual camera. This one can record not visual information only, but smells and textures as well.

At the same time, one should be extremely careful when imagining himself or herself as a shooting camera. Remember that you do not want your camera to move to frequently and change the scenes of your “movie” too often. By doing this, you can lose your readers’ too quickly and he or she will not be interested in the story anymore.

If your work demands shifting from one character to another, then we advise you to focus mainly on action, not on the thoughts themselves. This will help increase the curiosity of your readers. They will continue reading until the scenes stop changing and the thoughts of particular character start describing the whole sense of recently read passage.

Third Person Example

To understand the approach of writing in third person, we would like to provide you with examples.

When the story is told from the third person, the personal pronouns such as “you” or “I” are written only in the dialogues:

The girl was extremely upset. It seemed that she was about to burst into tears.

‘Oh, dear, ‘she started indecisively, with a trembling voice, ‘I wish I could turn back the time and talk to him. I thought I had the time…Why is this life so cruel to us? I was just going to call him the minute I’d get back home, but I couldn’t –‘

She started weeping desperately. Never in her lifetime had she felt so bad.

As we can see in this passage, the author used “she” as a third person pronoun.

The reader can definitely understand that the author used omniscient third person writing approach. We all are able to easily get into the thoughts of the protagonist.

Here is the other example a story written with the use of third person approach.

We can see how the author jumps from character to character.

With each conversation, Mary was more engaged. She found John extremely interesting. There were many things about this guy that fascinated her: his abrupt manner of speech, the unusual topics that he raised, and the passion with which he defended every idea of his. Although Mary denied it, she started feeling something deeper to this person, but she wasn’t ready to acknowledge it even to herself.

‘No way! You heard that too! This is awesome, what do you think? I think this song is awesome,’ John was obviously in the mood today, and everybody could see that.  

As with the previous example, the pronouns of the first person can be seen only in dialogues.

Once you decide to write an essay in a third person, just remember useful tips:

  • This is the approach to choose if you’re writing the academic papers.  The third person is most appropriate for writing the formal pieces, such as the academic essays, the official documents, etc. If you’re about to compose a professional text, this is your go-to perspective. It will enable you to stay formal and convey all the necessary information at the same time.
  • Remember the rules as to the use of pronouns. Don’t make mistakes while referring to the other people within the text and while talking about them. Names of the people also count!
  • Do not use first person pronouns if you decided to pursue a third person. Most importantly, don’t confuse things with writing texts for fiction and see the examples one more time. In these cases, the “I” pronoun can only be used in the dialogues between the characters.
  • The same goes about the second person. Don’t use “you” in the third person unless this is a fiction and a dialogue.
  • This is especially important in the formal writing: address the subjects of the text in general form. Don’t be too specific and try to use indefinite third person nouns, like people, a student, the board, etc.

If you are attentive and if you mind the aforementioned tips every time you get down to writing, you’ll definitely compose a high quality text. Good luck in your future writing endeavors!

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