Should I Use “I”?

Despite the formal nature of academic writing, personal pronouns frequently appear in high school and college papers. While your first instinct may be to cross them out, sometimes it's okay to use them, an idea covered in a handout that explains how personal pronouns affect writing. The reference sheet offers examples of when to keep personal pronouns in and when to omit them.

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas
  • Practice writing a sentence in two to three different ways, at least one of which incorporates the word I or another personal pronoun
  • Read two pieces on the same topic (one formal and one more informal), then discuss the effectiveness of the two styles
Classroom Considerations
  • Focuses less on grammar and more on stylistic elements
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  • Shares thoughts on the topic using a subject-by-subject approach to account for different requirements
  • Strays from the topic in the beginning paragraph