Writers Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for authors, editors, reviewers, professional writers, and aspiring writers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

1) Working in a wide range of positions can improve a person’s experience and make him more successful.

2) Working in a wide range of positions can improve your experience and make you more successful.

What's proper way to use pronoun in an essay in above sentences? Which one looks correct?

share|improve this question
Who is the essay for? Writing on your blog might be different from writing for a newspaper or a book. If there's a publisher involved, do they have a style guide? – Monica Cellio Sep 29 '13 at 16:32
It's just for an examination but having no other purposes. And I think there is no such a general guide about its style. – canoe Sep 30 '13 at 7:20
them or at worst her, not him. In this gender-neutrality-obsessed society you don't want to tick off a wrong person. – SF. Oct 2 '13 at 7:19
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Either is fine. It's a matter of style.

(a) Be consistent. Don't write, "Working in a wide range of positions can improve your experience and make him more successful." Okay, maybe that sentence sounds so obviously wrong that you wouldn't do that. But I've read plenty of things where the writer hops back and forth between second and third person from paragraph to paragraph.

(b) It does create a difference in tone. Saying "you" makes it more personal. I generally avoid using "you" when an article could be construed as critical of the subject. Like, "If he is lazy and irresponsible ..." rather than "If you are lazy and irresponsible ..." Unless, of course, my goal is to be direct and challenging. Also, "you" tends to sound more personal and informal. That could be good or bad depending.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.