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Should you use “I” or “we” or neither in your thesis or paper? Traditionally, using personal pronouns like “I” and “we” was frowned on.
(Example: “Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13 that love is greater than any spiritual gift.”) But try to be as precise as you can with your language. Far better to write: “Ephesians 1:3 says…” or “Paul writes in Ephesians 1:3…” In Fitzgerald’s opening to Nick Carraway says, “In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.
I think it’s better to word it: “Paul in 1 Corinthians 13 that love is greater than any spiritual gift.” This one’s hard to catch. “In Ephesians 1:3 it says, ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.’” “In it says, ‘Whenever you feel like criticizing any one… Whenever you feel like criticizing any one, he told me, just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.” I’ve been seeing this a lot in the last year or two. If I’m a news reporter and I am introducing someone I have interviewed or researched for a general quote to a general audience, it’s totally appropriate to say, “Author Ken Blanchard…” or “Ken Blanchard, co-author of …” But if you are citing someone in a paper, guess what? Want to turn your name into a flashing neon sign that says, “ROOKIE”?
If a chapter is essentially a co-authored paper, many universities require a signed statement from all authors.
One area where “we” is useful is in referring to the reader and author together.
And they’ll think you’re less than intelligent if you address them as “you.” Are there exceptions to this? Since I teach for Christian universities, I like to blame the preachers for this because preachers frequently refer to themselves as “we.” Or when they teach/preach, they may say something like, “Today we’re going to look at some of the most beautiful words ever written – the 23 psalm.” In that setting, they’re correct.
Only one – when you’re quoting someone verbatim and they use it. Some more traditional styles also forbid the use of any kind of first person, which includes “we” and “I.” They do this sometimes to the point of absurdity, forcing people to refer to themselves as “the learner” or “the writer” or something. But when a student sends me a paper that refers to one author (namely themselves) as “we,” the penalty flags will start to fly. Unless you’re submitting a group project, never refer to yourself as more than one person.
It’s not a death knell to your paper, but if you can avoid it, I promise you somebody will be impressed with the quality of your work. just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.’” It makes the point, and can even make for good preaching because it flies by so quickly, but it’s terrible writing. Everybody already knows they’re an author, and it’s silly and redundant and redundant (couldn’t resist) to refer to someone as “Author” anybody. Oh, and if it’s an APA paper, they don’t even want to know the author’s first name. Start your paper with the words, “For this assignment…” First of all, of course it’s an assignment unless you’re a Ph. And you already know this stuff, so why are you still reading this?
There you would simply write something like, “Blanchard and Johnson (1985) refer to three simple management practices anyone can perform.” Never, ever write in a formal paper, “In an article…” Name the author and move on. If you want to send your teacher into muttering hysterics, put this in your paper: “In an article I read in the library…” Yes. Second and more importantly, anything you write should make sense to some degree to a general audience. Most people don’t know what the assignment is and don’t care.
(I edited all chapters to consistently use “we” before it went to print.) There are still some journals and research supervisors who insist that research writing must be in the passive voice.
However, the situation is slowly changing and now many journals accept, or even encourage, the use of personal pronouns.