Narrative Writing Using Pronouns - Orchids The International School
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Narrative Writing Skills

Concept: Narrative Writing Using Pronouns

How to use pronouns in Narrative Writing?

If you are narrating an incident or a story or an event in which you were a part of, then you should use the pronouns or first-person pronouns like we, us, our, ourselves, I, me, my, mine and myself. This is also known as the first-person point of view.

Example:

Javed, Meera, and I wanted to watch a movie, but we couldn’t decide on which movie to go for.

  1. If you are narrating an incident or a story or an event in someone else’s life, use third person pronouns like he, his, him, himself, her, she, hers, herself, it, itself, its, they, their, them, theirs, and themselves. This is also known as the third-person point of view.

    Example:

    He is preparing for his exams.

    Example in English Literature

    "He is just what a young man ought to be," said she, "sensible, good humoured, lively; and I never saw such happy manners!-so much ease, with such perfect good breeding!" - Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

  2. Second person pronouns are used in a narrative writing where the author tells a story to the reader using ‘you’. It is also known as the second-person point of view which is rare. However, many authors have used this technique. If you want to connect with your readers in a different way, you can use it. The reader is considered as the main character in the story. Pronouns like you, yours, your, yourselves and yourself are used.

    Example:

    Saira, did Jia give the book to you?

    Example in English Literature

    This is the opening passage of Jay McInerney’s Bright Lights, Big City

    “You are not the kind of guy who would be at a place like this at this time of the morning. But here you are, and you cannot say that the terrain is entirely unfamiliar, although the details are fuzzy. You are at a nightclub talking to a girl with a shaved head. The club is either Heartbreak or the Lizard Lounge. All might come clear if you could just slip into the bathroom and do a little more Bolivian Marching Powder”.

Common Mistakes

  1. In first person, avoid writing phrases like for instance, “I felt” or “I thought.”
  2. Avoid starting every line with “I” as it becomes repetitive.

    Example:

    Instead of writing “I felt tired” try writing “every step feels like a mile.”

  3. Be careful about how and when you switch. Shift the narrator’s focus from one time, place, or character to another at the start of the story or when there is a break in the narration. Ensure to give your readers clues to indicate that you’ve changed your point of view. This happens mostly in third-person narrative writing.
  4. Author using third person pronouns, knows only what the character knows. So avoid writing too much on how your character is feeling.
  5. Writers change from using the second person pronouns to the first or third without realizing. Ensure you go through over the story to check the consistency.
  6. Decide on the tense to be used. A first-person narrative can switch between present tense and past tense. It depends on what the event or the story is about. If your story is a reflection on past then use past tense. If it is a narration of events in the order in which they occurred then present tense.
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