Can you use word “We” in a term paper – Specifics of academic language
If you are a student, you cannot imagine your studying process without completing different types of term papers. There is a wide list of such papers that you are supposed to complete during the term, and it includes various assignments, essays, course works, and different other. The quality of all these papers influences your general success, so it is not surprising that you are struggling to complete them as good as it is possible. Completing any term papers requires well-developed writing skills and full knowledge of the specifics the academic language has.
First of all, you should understand that it is not appropriate to use in academic writings any colloquial or conversational language. You should sound considered and persuasive, and this could be achieved only by using appropriate language. Some of the words may lessen the quality of your term paper and others can make it sound perfect.
Different views on using the first-person and third-person pronouns
Speaking of the rules that are supposed to regulate the use of language in academic papers, it is important to mention that one of the most confusing questions that bother students is “Can I use first-person and third-person pronouns in my term paper.” Throughout the time while term papers have been existing, the view on this problem had been changed so many times. So, if you are struggling to find the strict answer on the question: “Can you use We in a term paper?” you might be disappointed having found the opposite views on this problem.
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If one work with the traditional views, one can find out that they strictly forbid to use any first-person pronouns in the academic paper. Modern educators state that these words can be used if they accurately fit the content and recover their original meaning in the text. Those who stick to the traditional view on the problem consider replacing first-person pronouns with the passive voice sentences. For example, instead of saying: “I have compared the importance of two different methods” you need to say: “The importance of two different methods has been compared.” They also require using different phrases that help to rephrase the sentences with “I” or “We” such as “It is thought that…”. However, those who claim for using the first-person pronouns fairly find such phrases meaningless and unimportant.
Arguments against using the pronoun “We”
Throughout the years, educators used to think that the first-person and third-person pronouns (to which the word “We” belongs) should be completely avoided in the academic papers. The reason for this statement is very simple: if the student uses the first-person pronoun, he accentuates the reader’s attention on his own experience. This is not appropriate as term papers are supposed to be objective and make the focus on the results, not on the person. It could be explained by the peculiarity of the science: it is objective, and all papers need to be objective too. Using the first-person pronoun could sound too informal, and the author would not sound persuasive.
Avoiding first-person pronouns can help to sound more detached and help the audience to realize the facts, results, and details not paying much attention to the author of the academic paper. Those who stick to the traditional view, require that all term paper as any other kind of academic writing should be completed in the passive voice.
Arguments for using “We”
On the other hand, lots of scientists advocate the use of first-person pronouns. They claim that because of the avoiding first-person, authors of the scientific papers (to which the term papers belong) are forced to use imprecise long sentences that are meaningful and make the false tone. To protect their rightness, they stated that many famous and reliable scientists had used the first person in their science works. Among these names, there are Darwin, Curie, Lyell, Einstein, and others. They explain that there is a difference between focusing on the author and focusing on the author who has completed this work. It is okay to use “I” or “We” as long as the accent is made on the person’s work and its results, not the person himself. Additionally, avoiding the names of people who discovered any ideas is not always appropriate. Sometimes it is important for the audience to know who the author of the idea or the complete research is. They may find it more reliable and will be able to cite it later in their papers.
It is necessary to mention that those who allow using the first person on the academic writings do not mean using them without any borders. The best option is to realize whether this word would be appropriate specifically in your context and never overfill your paper with “I” and “We” words.
So, can you use the word We in a term paper? You may be slightly confused by the variety of thoughts on this point, but if you are attentive, you can easily understand where to use the word We and where it is inappropriate. You can also ask your instructor to find out how he or she understands this problem. By the way, if you still are not sure whether the word “We” is allowed in your context, you will never harm if you decide to omit any personal pronoun at all. This will be the best solution if you are a beginner writer, but after small practice, you will surely know how to use the word “We” in your term paper.