Can You Use His Or Her In Formal Essays?

It is reasonable that the first thing one can never do when writing a formal or academic essay is to avoid any type of plagiarism. Next to avoiding plagiarism is the issue on the personal bias which entails the never-ending question: Can you use his or her in formal essays? In fact, the concerns on personal bias, and the tricky way out of opinionated formal essays are the main reasons which are why one cannot use his or her in formal essays. Not even any other personal pronouns.

List of personal pronouns

What do we mean by personal pronouns, anyway? As a refresher, it is important to note that personal pronouns do not only mean his and her, but generally the first and second pronouns, which means it is also not advisable to use I, me, you, your, us, we, our, ours, my, or mine informal essays and formal essays include academic essays except for those essays which require self-description or narratives. This is because using his or her or any other personal pronouns in a formal and academic essay allows a hint of opinion or personal bias which is not healthy especially if the topic is objective in nature such as the validity of laws in respect to a certain culture or the effect of homeschooling to the socialization abilities of a child. The problem is, trying to avoid pronouns can disrupt the flow of thoughts due to the effort of finding an alternative for the pronoun. Such instances may include citations and the necessity to mention a significant name in your research topic. In this case, the surname of the person can be utilized as an alternative for the pronoun. For example, there is a need to mention Eugène Delacroix as a relevant part of the romanticism period for the “Women of Algiers” artwork, so, instead of utilizing “him”, “his”, or “he” on the next sentences that pertain to Delacroix as the subject, the subject’s surname can be used as an alternative to the pronoun. With this, the question “can you use his or her informal essays” can be dropped.

“I” and “you” are also another set of pronouns that are quite difficult to avoid in writing any type of essay, particularly in writing argumentative essays which relies heavily on the author’s position toward the topic. In this case, one can use “one” as an alternative to the pronoun – like how it was just used in this very sentence, in which case, the “one” is referred to whatever the subject is.

Now, to answer that question, can you use his or her informal essays? No. But, you may use actual names, surnames, and “one”.  

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