What’s your point of view?
The answer to that question, for the purposes of this newsletter, has nothing to do with politics or life choices of any kind. The topic is writing point of view: first, second or third person.
First person: the I/we perspective
Using the first person means choosing pronouns such as I, me, my, mine, we, us and our to present information directly from the writer’s perspective.
- I usually put this newsletter together on Saturday.
- We have all pivoted to deal with the pandemic.
Second person: the you perspective
Using the second person means choosing pronouns such as you, your, yours and yourself to present information from the audience’s perspective.
- You must wait your turn to get the vaccine.
- Your life might be enhanced by a dog.
Third person: the he/she/it/they perspective
Using the third person means choosing pronouns such as he, him, his, himself, she, her, hers, herself, it, its, itself, they, them, theirs and themselves to present information from the perspective of those being talked about.
- Cubbie will celebrate his sixth birthday this year.
- Many companies are reassessing their use of office space.
In business writing, it’s more common to use second or third person, but not unheard of to use first as well.
A tricky issue
I found myself looking up the difference between home and hone recently, and what I found surprised me. You home in on something to find it or get closer to it, while you hone (sharpen) your skills. Thus, it’s correct to write:
We are homing in on the solution to our problem.
He is honing his skills as a writer.
Long term or long-term?
Whether long term needs a hyphen depends on how it’s used. If you’re studying a situation over the long term, no hyphen is required, but if you’re reporting the long-term effects of something, a hyphen is needed. In the former, the adjective long is modifying the noun term, while in the latter, long-term is a compound adjective modifying effects.