Can You Use Personal Pronoun in an Argumentative Essay?

February 16, 2023

personal pronouns argumentative essay

Back in high school, your teacher told you not to use first person in writing your essay. But things change at college level and students break this rule more often than they can count – in the case where it’s absolutely necessary. The question is can you use personal pronoun in an argumentative essay?

You can use personal pronouns in an argumentative essay to state your opinion on an issue. Your audience wants to know where you stand, and it’s difficult to express your position without adding personalization. However, use personal pronouns sparingly so you don’t inundate your readers.

By using personal pronouns to express your thoughts on an issue based on the research you’ve conducted, you make it clear to your readers that you can be a trustworthy source on the issue in question.

Can You Use Personal Pronouns in an Argumentative Essay?

The use of personal pronouns in an argumentative essay is a concern that many students have. So it’s important that we address the issue by giving you a concrete answer that you can use to tackle the assignment.

Here’s the thing:

You’ve probably written a college admissions essay, memoir, or personal narrative essay. All these require the use of first person without which it’s would be difficult to express yourself.

Argumentative essays are different. They require in-depth research and a more formal tone, which leaves very little room for personal pronouns. Many students even shy away from using personal pronouns because they’re afraid their essays may sound too informal for an intellectual professor.

However, there are moments when you just can’t avoid using first personal pronouns in an argumentative essay. In fact, your essay might end up incomplete without the use of such pronouns.

Below are instances where you have to use a personal pronoun when writing your argumentative essay:

Clarify Your Position

It’s hard to state your position in an argument without actually using a personal pronoun.

If you remember what we said earlier, your audience not only wants to know your position on an issue but also want to know what you hold that stance in the first place.

You will have to put your personal opinion into the essay and there’s no better way to do that than to use personal pronouns.

While stating, demonstrating, and clarifying your position requires the use of personal pronouns, it’s important to use these sparingly. In other words, use what’s enough to communicate your point without overwhelming your audience with personalization.

Hook Your Reader

The introduction of your argumentative essay has to be good enough to draw in the attention of your reader.

To do that, you have to write a strong hook before you state the thesis of your argument.

Sometimes the best way to grab the attention of your audience is to share a personal anecdote, in which case you will need to use the first person pronoun “I” in the essay.

Here, you’re creating a personal touch that readers can’t help but appreciate. That appreciation further translates into the interest of reading the essay further to discover how you unpack your evidence to defend your stance.

Establish Your Credibility

Ethos is a common term in academic writing. In the Ancient Greece, intellects used the term to refer to character in the sense of credibility.

In argumentative essay writing, the term means the ability to establish trustworthiness with the information you provide you provide to your audience.

To establish your ethos, you have to convince your audience that you can be their trustworthy source of information. Quite too often, the best way to do that is by getting personal.

In this case you’ll have to tell your readers about yourself in a way that shows your audience that either you’re an authority in your topic or you have a personal experience in an issue.

To Avoid Passive Constructions

Another reason to use personal pronouns in an argumentative essay is to avoid passive sentences in your work.

A passive sentence is an instance where there’s an action going on but we don’t know who does the action. This can cause a lot of confusion and it’s best to avoid completely.

In some stances, using the first person pronoun is the best way to avoid passive construction and make your ideas clear. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you write your personal opinion in an argumentative essay?

Yes, you’re allowed to write your personal opinion in an argumentative essay. Remember, you’re taking a stance and defending your position using logic and evidence. It’s hard to do that without expressing your personal opinion in the essay.

What’s the difference between an argumentative and an opinion essay?

In an argumentative essay, you take one side of an issue and support it using evidence to get readers to accept your side of the argument. The essay requires you to recognize counterclaim from a logical standpoint and then use strong reason and evidence to refute such claims.

An opinion essay, on the other hand, is an assignment that requires you to give your thoughts about a particular topic. This essay doesn’t require you to take any position. Just state your opinion on the topic and let readers decide what to choose.

Where can one find help with argumentative essay writing? 

While there are many academic writing platforms out there, Help for Assessment is the best go-to platform for professional help. Check out our argumentative essay help and let us know how we can help you.

What is the best way to write an argumentative essay?

The best way to write an argumentative essay is to:

Also, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide that you can read if you want to learn how to write an argumentative essay. Go read that guide if you’re just getting started.

About the author 

Antony W is a professional writer and coach at Help for Assessment. He spends countless hours every day researching and writing great content filled with expert advice on how to write engaging essays, research papers, and assignments.

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