Writing Essays Opinion

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.

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Often these ideas are derived from good advice but have been turned into unnecessarily strict rules in our minds.

The problem is that overly strict rules about writing can prevent us, as writers, from being flexible enough to learn to adapt to the writing styles of different fields, ranging from the sciences to the humanities, and different kinds of writing projects, ranging from reviews to research.

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”).

You might choose to use “I” but not make any reference to your individual experiences in a particular paper.

Or you might include a brief description of an experience that could help illustrate a point you’re making without ever using the word “I.” So whether or not you should use first person and personal experience are really two separate questions, both of which this handout addresses.

While your audience is generally interested in your perspective in the humanities fields, readers do expect you to fully argue, support, and illustrate your assertions.

Personal belief or opinion is generally not sufficient in itself; you will need evidence of some kind to convince your reader.

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.

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