Pronouns are used in both ordinary speech and formal writing. First and second person pronouns are most commonly used in everyday life, while third person pronouns are more appropriate in an academic setting. Just as a writer should avoid switching between past/present/future tense without purpose, so too must they avoid switching between first, second and third person. If an author makes the mistake of writing in first or second person, this can easily be remedied by reworking sentences or changing words. Pronouns are an important way for the author to establish a point of view. 

First Person


Pronouns:  I, me, my, mine, myself, we, us, our, ourselves

Second Person


Pronouns:  you, your, yourself

Third Person


Pronouns:  he, him, himself, she, her, herself, they, their, them, themself, themselves, it, its, itself

Tips and Tricks

Example: “I think Dallas University is a great school” could easily become the third person sentence “Dallas University is a great school.”

Example: “I believe a global language is necessary” becomes a much more objective claim when written as “There is strong evidence to suggest that a global language is necessary.”

Example: “You should make sure your students all have pencils before handing out tests” can become “A teacher should make sure their students all have pencils before handing out tests.”

Example: “When I was little, I was bitten by a dog, and now I am afraid of them” can become “Many children are bitten by dogs at a young age, leading to adult fears of these household pets.”