When writing about past accomplishments on a resume on my native language (Portuguese), it is usual to refer to them using a "hidden subject", a phrasal structure I've been told does not exist in English.

The final result is something like this:

FFN's resume

  • Asked a question on SE

  • Answered a question on SE

Is this structure really wrong (or at least confusing/frowned upon) in English? What are some alternatives I could use?

2 Answers 2


It's not formally correct sentence structure, but it occurs in many types of writing and I've not heard of anyone being confused by it.

In a novel, it could be considered part of the narrator's style or character, for example :

I went into town this morning. Walked along the street and went into a shop. Left after finding there was nothing there that was any good.

In a list - particularly a bullet point list of activities - the subject can be considered implied. Not many people would find it odd if, in a piece of writing that was about Jack and his career in Nursery Rhymes, you were to say :

  • Worked closely with Jill to ascend a local geographic feature.
  • Was instrumental in the project of obtaining liquid in a vessel.
  • Was involved in an industrial incident and suffered a notifiable injury.

[I'm not sure the Nursery Rhyme exists or has an equivalent in Portguese - a search on "Jack and Jill" will give the story.]

Personally (native UK English), I'd find it more noticeable if there was a constant repetition of the pronoun "I", and taking the subject as implied (by the writer) and inferred (by the reader) would come across less strangely than someone referring to themselves in the third person.

It's not formally correct, but it's not wrong and it's not unusual. I'm sure other applicants will also do it.

  • 2
    +1, in my resume (USA English) I head my job description with a standard phrase, "Responsibilities included" or "Projects included", or "Duties included", followed by a list without any personal pronouns. Likewise (as a professor) I have a section that is just titled "Publications", another "Conference Contributions", "Courses Taught", etc. Not "I Have Taught".
    – Amadeus
    Jan 27, 2018 at 13:02

Context is key to what the rules of grammar are. Any grammarian who tells you English lacks hidden subjects is talking about how a complete sentence looks. But the rules for bullet points can be a little different.

In English verb conjugations often don't make the subject clear, because present-tense verbs conjugate one way for third person singular and another for all alternatives (except to be, which also has an exceptional first-person singular variant), and in other tenses even this much variation is unseen. Languages in which conjugations vary enough to imply the subject differ in whether they permit the speaker to omit a subject pronoun - for example, Spanish lets you do this while French doesn't - but again, this is a statement about how sentences work.

It's unsurprising English usually "can't afford" to omit subjects. (Why French insists on subjects but Spanish doesn't, I don't know; that's probably a question for linguistic historians.) But what you've done is fine, because every reader knows that the human being described is FFN.

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