How to Replace I in Essays: Alternative 3rd Person Pronouns

Learning how to write an essay without using the pronouns ‘I,’ ‘We,’ or ‘You,’ and other personal pronouns can be difficult for students. The best writing abilities advise against the use of such pronouns. This guide will discuss how to substitute ‘I,’ ‘We,’ or ‘You’ in an essay and how to avoid them.

For those who have overcome this, you will agree that there was a time when finding alternatives to clauses such as “I will argue” or “I think” was difficult.

The good news is that there are several ways to convey your message without resorting to personal language, mainly “I.”

Why Avoid Using Pronouns in Formal Writing

Before discussing how to communicate without personal pronouns such as “I,” it’s important to understand why we should avoid using such language when writing essays.

The primary reason to avoid such language is that it is inappropriate for formal writing such as essays. Professional English should be free of personal pronouns and language.

The second and equally important reason to avoid personal language when writing an essay is to appear impersonal, functional, and objective.

Personal pronouns contradict the idea of impersonality, functionality, and objectivity in formal English because they make redundant references to the writer and other people.

Personal pronouns will cause an essay to contain only the writer’s perspective and that of others they have specifically chosen. Once again, they will cast the work in a subjective light.

Another reason to avoid using personal language when writing an essay is to avoid sounding as if you’re in a hurry to impress the reader with your word choice.

Personal pronouns such as “you” and “I” frequently imply something significant unrelated to the subject of the writing.

By repeatedly using “I,” “we,” or “you,” you divert the reader’s attention away from the essay and toward other personal concerns. The essay devolves into a self-contained monologue about the author.

With that in mind, let us look at replacing “I” in an essay.

Ways of Avoiding Pronouns “I,” “You,” and “We” in an Essay

You can omit the pronouns ‘I,’ ‘You,’ and ‘We’ by substituting acceptable language or using passive voice instead of pronouns. Third-person perspective, objective language, and strong verbs and adjectives.

In our previous guide, we discussed the best practices for avoiding the use of ‘you’ in essay writing and utilizing academically sound language. Let us take a closer look at each of these strategies.

  1. Replacing it with an acceptable wording

This is an excellent strategy for omitting “I” from an essay. Finding the appropriate word to substitute for the personal pronoun is frequently challenging. While this is true, “I” does have some alternatives.

For instance, if the following verb is about writing and research, such as “…will present” or “…have described,” it is preferable to substitute text-referencing nouns for “I,” such as “the essay.”

If you wanted to say “I will present” or “I have described,” you could also say “the essay will present” or “as described in the essay.”

Another way to substitute “I” for “this writer” in an essay is to use appropriate wording such as “this writer” if the verb’s action is not contained within the text.

While this is occasionally acceptable, it is preferable to avoid using words altogether by employing passive verbs or equivalents.

Another phrase that may be used but is rarely appropriate is “the researcher.” This option is only appropriate when your writing actions are entirely unrelated to the writing.

  1. Using passive voice instead of pronouns

Another technique for avoiding using “I” and other personal pronouns in an essay is to employ passive voice. This is accomplished by passively modifying an active verb.

While this is true, the strategy is frequently challenging to implement and may result in inappropriate sentence structures for formal writing and language.

When an active verb describing an object is transformed into a passive, this strategy successfully replaces “I” in the sentence.

  1. Using a Third-Person Perspective

This is a critical and applicable strategy when substituting “I” for “I” in an essay. This is the section where you avoid first- and second-person perspectives.

When addressing the subject, use the third person to address them directly. For instance, if you write “I believe regular exercise is beneficial to the mind and body,” you can substitute “Regular exercise is beneficial to the mind and body.”

  1. Use of objective language

Objective language is lost when a person uses informal expressions such as colloquialisms, slang, contractions, and clichés. This is why we discourage using contractions in essay writing to maintain a formal tone.

While informal language is appropriate for casual writing and speeches, it is not suitable for essay writing. This is because you will be tempted to convey your message in the first person.

  1. Being specific and using strong verbs and adjectives

Generally, essays that contain a high number of personal pronouns are imprecise. When avoiding using “I” in your essay, strive to be precise and direct.

Personal pronouns convey a subjective message, and it is up to the writer to articulate their viewpoints in writing.

Here, a writer will frequently use the phrases “I believe…” or “I believe…” to express their point of view. As a result, the writer will waste considerable time explaining a concept.

Rather than that, it is preferable to seek out appropriate verbs and adjectives to illustrate the points. Additionally, employ objective language. Consider the suggestions made by credible evidence rather than basing your arguments on your assumptions.

Words To Use Instead of Personal Pronouns Like “You” and “I.”

As previously stated, when writing an essay, it is critical to avoid using personal pronouns such as “You” and “I.”

Your essay will be more formal and objective by omitting or substituting them. You may choose to omit them from a sentence.

For instance, you could have a sentence like “I believe the author makes a valid point about capitalism.”

In this case, you can omit the personal pronouns and write, “The author makes an important point about capitalism.”

The second sentence is brief and objective.

When personal judgment words like “you” and “I” are avoided, other words that can be used in their place can be generated.

Rather than that, it is preferable to substitute words that refer to the evidence.

Examples of Ways to Replace Personal Pronouns.

The following examples show how to replace personal judgment words with evidence-based language.

  1. I feel – In light of the evidence
  2. From I think – According to the findings
  3. I agree – It is evident from the data that
  4. I am convinced – Considering the results
  5. You can see that – From the results, it is evident that

Third-person or “it” constructions may be used in place of personal pronouns such as “You” or “I.” Additionally, these words assist in reducing the word count of your essay and ensuring that it is concise and precise.

For instance, if you write “I conclude that,” substitute “it could be concluded that.” “It” constructions are used to help replace personal pronouns in this sentence, making it more objective and precise.

To be more specific, words that can be used in place of personal pronouns such as “I” include “one,” “the viewer,” “the author,” “the reader,” and “readers.”

However, avoid overusing these terms, as they will make your essay appear stiff and awkward. For instance, if you write “I am capable of perceiving the plot’s confusion,” you can substitute “Readers are capable of perceiving the plot’s confusion.”

Alternatives to personal pronouns such as “You” include “one,” “the viewer,” “the reader,” and “readers.” It is analogous to words that are used in place of first-person pronouns.

For instance, if you write “you can tell the poet’s tone is serious and urgent,” you can substitute “readers/one can tell the poet’s tone is serious and urgent.”

Words To Use Instead Of “My” In an Essay

Because “my” implies ownership of something, in this case, the contents or thoughts contained within an essay, it renders the writing subjective. Experts believe that writing should use objective language. To accomplish this, it is critical to replace it.

You may substitute “the” for “my.” For instance, if you write “My final thoughts on the subject are,” you can substitute “The final thoughts on the subject are.”

The article “The” establishes the sentence’s formality and objectivity in this case.

Another option is to omit the word “My” from the sentence, which will make it more objective and direct.

In the same example above, instead of writing “My final thoughts on the subject are,” you can write “Final thoughts on the subject are.”

The critical distinction here is that using the word “my” in the first example makes the sentence subjective, whereas omitting it makes it sound formal and objective.

Final Advice

As a result, it is critical to avoid using personal pronouns such as “You,” “I,” and “My” when writing an essay. Not all papers are written in the third person. Different types of essays have varying formats; a five-paragraph essay is not the same as a four-page paper, but both use third-person tones.

This is because an essay should be written in formal language, and personal pronouns give the essay an informal appearance and sound.

Using formal language lends your essay an air of objectivity and precision. However, writing about personal experiences in an article or a paper does not eliminate the first-person language. This is because it is more appropriate and formal in this manner.