The Use Of Personal Pronouns And Emotional Language In Academic Writings

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The Use of Personal Pronouns and Emotional Language in Academic Writings

The Use of Personal Pronouns and Emotional Language in Academic Writings


When writing a scholarly piece of work, one has to use language that is different from day to day language. One has to be formal in academic writings. The use of impersonal and impartial language is the rule to academic writings (Larkin 2001, 30). Although most of the times in academic writings the author is expressing his/her views and opinions, but it is considered appropriate to avoid using personal pronouns and emotive language. It is done this way to refrain from depicting the paper as arrogant or biased.


Most of the work done in academic writing requires using third person. That means that pronouns indicating the 1st and 2nd person should not be overused (Woodward & Thomson 2000, 74). However, as an academic writer, there are contexts where 1st and 2nd person inappropriate and can be used as an effective rhetorical strategy.

Here are the three types of pronouns.

* 1st person pronouns, I, me, my, mine, we, us, our, and ours. * 2nd person pronouns, you, your, yours. * 3rd person pronouns, they, them, their, theirs.

When a student is drafting an academic piece of work, he is actually expressing his viewpoint about the topic. However he is required to give the opinion in the form of an objective, fully backed by educated foundation and considerable evidence. The evidence should be cited and duly referenced (Donald 1995, 150).

The traditional principle in most of scholarly writing is not to use the reference of the author in first person (Swales & Feak 1994, 74). The major basis of this principle is that the research work is highly objective; it must have an impression that the author is not interested in the topic or is unbiased.

Therefore, a very obvious aspect of scholarly writing is to refrain from using the first person pronoun “I”. This is not an easy job, as most of the time the author has to express his/her personal opinion (Fowler & Aaron 1992, 12). Here the personal opinion must be given as a logical statement. Due to this reason, emotive language is also avoided; the academic writing offers more of factual information than emotional exaggerations.

It is important to note that while the avoidance of "I" has long been part of ...
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