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How to Use Writing Commons

Welcome to Writing Commons, the open-education home for writers. Writing Commons helps students improve their writing, critical thinking, and information literacy. Founded in 2008 by Joseph M. Moxley, Writing Commons is a viable alternative to expensive writing textbooks. Faculty may assign Writing Commons for their compositionbusiness, STEM/Technical Writing, and creative writing courses. 

Writing Commons houses seven main sections: Information Literacy | Research Methods & Methodologies | Writing Processes | Collaboration | Genres | New Media | Style 

The two best ways to navigate through Writing Commons are using the top menu navigation, called Open Text, or the left-hand navigation menu system.  

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Avoid First-Person Point of View

When is first person point of view used?

First person point of view is often used in personal narrative—when the writer is telling a story or relating an experience. This perspective is writer’s point of view, and the writer becomes the focal point. First person personal pronouns include I, we, me, us, my, mine, our, and ours.

Examples of sentences written from the first person point of view:

  • I was only seven years old when my family moved to the United States.
  • We took a vacation that allowed us to explore our nation from east to west and north to south.
  • My friend and I finally relaxed once we got to the beach and waded into the ocean.
  • How long will it be before our car is repaired and we can continue our trip home?
  • Our ability to construct a convincing argument grew after our participation in a rousing debate.

When should first person point of view be avoided?

Writing from the first person point of view can, at times, weaken the credibility of the writer in research and argument papers. When the paper is written in first person, the work may sound like it is based only on personal opinion.

Weak: I am writing this paper to let you know how bad I think bullying is. (1st person)

Stronger: Bullying is a social issue that may result in devastating physical, mental, and emotional consequences for its victims. (3rd person)

First Person Personal Pronouns

  Subjective  Objective Possessive
1st person  I, we me, us my, mine, our, ours

Photos on this page courtesy of University of Pennsylvania, University Communications.

Plugs Play Pedagogy Blog

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Kyle Stedman is assistant professor of English at Rockford University, where he teaches first-year composition, digital rhetoric, and creative writing. He studies rhetorics of sound, intellectual property, and fan studies. On QuizUp, his highest scores are in Lost (the TV show)..."

Oscar Wilson's draft card
Episode 10: Exploring the Past
Plugs, Play, Pedagogy Podcast
  Transcript available here as a Google Doc full of links. If you see edits I should make or links I should add, go ahead and leave a comment. Part 1: Researching My House I'm obsessed with my 99-year-old house. So I made a 27-minute audio piece exploring my relationship to it. That's it. Music you hear in this segment, all estimated to be from 1916 (the year the house was built): William Thomas, “Rose of No Man’s Land” Bresnen, “You’re a Dangerous Girl” Don Richardson, “Arkansas Traveler” Imperial Quartet of Chicago, “...
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