Can You Use First Person in an Argumentative Essay?

September 24, 2023

first person argumentative essay

It’s tempting to use first person pronoun to write an argumentative essay. And if it’s your first time to write this type of an essay in college, the temptation can be real and intense.

After all, doesn’t writing an argumentative essay require you to choose a topic, do in-depth research, choose a standpoint and support it with reasonable evidence?

It does, but there are rules to follow when writing an essay that argues your claimsThat includes choosing and using the correct kind of pronoun as expected in formal academic writing.

Can You Use First Person in an Argumentative Essay?

We don’t recommend using the first person pronoun in an argumentative essay. Unless your instructor suggests that you do so, omit it from the assignment because your writing will read better without it. 

From an academic standpoint, your professor expects the essay to speak facts, be 100% free from personal feelings, and academically reflect arguments that correspond with your opinion. 

Besides, using the first person pronoun makes an argumentative essay sound subjective, therefore spoiling its overall purpose.

You need to understand that an argumentative essay is completely different from persuasive essay or opinion writing.

Often, the goal is to provide arguments that you’d like the targeted readers to consider.

In particular, you present arguments based on facts provided in news articles, established research studies, books, and academically acknowledged sources.

Therefore, constantly using the first person statement not only make the essay sound somewhat biased but also tends to make it read like a personal narrative essay.

When to Use First Person in an Argumentative Essay

While it’s not appropriate to use first person in an argumentative essay, there are instances when it would make a lot of sense to do so. 

You can use it when: 

  1. 1Talking about a research you’ve conducted and its impact on the topic under investigation
  2. 2You want to share a personalized practice or life experience provided it fits the subject matter
  3. 3Using the results of your personal research as an argument in the essay
  4. 4You want to provide an anecdotal evidence that you can only tell well in first person
  5. 5Your instructor has asked you to give your personal reflection or opinion about the argumentative essay topic in question

As you can see, it’s impossible to explain some matters clearly without using the first person pronoun.

Most of the times, however, it’s best to use a neutral tone to present your arguments.

What Pronoun Should I Use in an Argumentative Essay?

You should only use the third person pronouns when writing an argumentative essay. These pronouns are he, she, theirs, its, they, it, hers, and them.

The third person is the best to use in academic writing because it not only has an authoritative stance but also makes your writing less personal and more credible and objective.

There are three type of third person point of view that you can use to write a killer argumentative essay. These are:

Third Person Omniscient

This third person point of view allows you to jump from one character to another.

Readers assume that you know a lot about each character and you can easily withhold or reveal actions, feelings, or thoughts.

Since you can move freely from thought to thought, this point of view allows you to give your observations and opinions as well as those of the characters.

Third Person Limited

This is where you identify a single character and focus on their beliefs, thoughts, characters, actions, and feelings.

This approach allows you either to limit the perspective of your reader or control the amount of information you’d like them to know in the essay.

Keep in mind that you can’t switch between characters in this point of view.

Third Person Objective

The third person objective allows you to describe a character at any place and time in your argumentative writing.

Again, you don’t confine yourself to a single character. Instead, you’re free to switch between characters in your essay as many times as required.

You shouldn’t use the second person pronouns in argumentative essay writing either.

Since they demonstrate familiarity with an audience, they tend to sound accusatory and therefore place unnecessary responsibility on the reader.

The trick to resisting the temptation of using a second person in writing an argumentative essay is to use general terms to refer to the subject.

Why Write an Argumentative Essay in Third Person Pronoun? 

Writing an argumentative essay in third person allows you to use relevant sources to complete the assignment.

The approach even allows you to list all the relevant sources used in writing the essay, which is necessary in academic writing.

Furthermore, using the third person point of view gives you the freedom to present concrete evidence to your readers without sounding too biased.

Get Essay Writing Help from Help for Assessment

Do you need help with essay writing but don’t know which academic writing agency to work with?

Or maybe you’re running out of time and you have an urgent assignment waiting for you?

Get in touch with Help for Assessment. Our writers work hand in hand with students to help them get their essays completed on time.

 Therefore, we can help you to write great argumentative essays even if the assignment is urgent.


The last mistake you want to make is to fill your argumentative essay with first person pronoun. Unless it’s necessary to do so, it makes perfect sense to avoid it.

Remember, arguments are facts, not opinions based on personal perspective. Terms such as “I believe”, “I think”, and “I feel”, can weaken your writing voice and make your arguments sound vague.

So even if you feel like you can explain a claim well with a more personalized line of defense, first write the statement without the first person pronoun and see what it sounds like.

You’ll realize that you don’t need the first person pronoun most of the time. 

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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