Writing

Answer the Great Pronoun Debate

Posted on November 02, 2013
Answer the Great Pronoun Debate

Answer the Great Pronoun Debate

Posted on November 02, 2013

Answer the Great Pronoun Debate

QUESTION: Is it ever okay for students to write with I or you in persuasive or argumentative writing?

ANSWER: In persuasive writing, the writer addresses his request to a specific audience. Since the writer is communicating directly to an individual, group, or organization, it is appropriate to use first-person and second-person points of view. Persuasive writing becomes more personal and emotional when the writer speaks directly to the audience using I and you.

However, argumentative writing doesn't have a specific audience. This more formal writing addresses the multiple sides of an issue using the more objective third-person point of view. The personal I and you are replaced with words like advocates, supporters, experts, opponents, etc. This more standoffish and report-like word choice helps to maintain a tone of fairness and reasonableness.

For additional differences between persuasive and argumentative writing, check out this detailed T-Chart.