I really like to write but I have a problem. I am starting to write and I want to make it mostly in 3rd person, but I don't know if I can do that and not repeat the pronouns she or he a lot. I am going to leave a little example here:

It was 7 in the morning and has she opens her eyes she saw complete darkness, she turn to her bedside table and turn on the light, she put her feet on the ground and shiver as the cold ground met feet, she walked to her bathroom and looked in the mirror, it was to say that she didn’t hate what she saw but wasn't very happy about it. After washing her teeth she started wondering how her day would be. She walked to her closet and put her clothes on.

How do I not repeat she so much?

I am trying to write in 3rd person.

  • 1
    Does this answer your question? Alternative word for "she"
    – Laurel
    Sep 28, 2021 at 21:47
  • Have you tried studying the way the authors of your favourite books do this? Sep 29, 2021 at 0:16
  • I would add that my editor advises to use the pronoun for someone every other usage. so "Jane...she...jane...her...jane...she..." This breaks up the pronoun overuses and continuously reinforces who the "she" is. I also noticed you were shifting from present to past tense and back unexpectedly, and it was kind of jarring.
    – DWKraus
    Sep 29, 2021 at 1:01
  • 1
    Does this answer your question? How to replace overuse of "I" in a short story, fiction, written in the first person
    – Erk
    Sep 29, 2021 at 4:47
  • 2
    Shifting between past to present tense and the over-use of "she" are the smallest problems in that text.
    – JRE
    Sep 29, 2021 at 9:59

3 Answers 3


You can carry the same subject through multiple actions in the same sentence without repeating "she" (or her name) over and over again; the subject in each additional clause should be clear to the reader. Something like:

Jane opened her eyes and reached out toward her screeching alarm, fumbling as always to silence it before it woke the neighbor's dog, then swung her feet toward the cold wood floor.

In a similar way, you can wait and place your subject later in the sentence, increasing the distance between your repetitions:

Shuffling slowly across the cold floor to the bathroom, she squinted at her reflection in the harsh vanity light while fishing for her toothbrush.


Write the first draft.

Then go back and revise according to whether it sounds right, and all the pronouns have a clear referent.

After you revise to make sure you have a coherent plot and clear characterization and a distinctive setting.

This is because you could revise this passage twenty times to get the pronouns right, and then realize the whole thing has to go because it does not advance the story.


You can either use the character's name or some noun ("female", "woman", "girl", "teenager", that person's profession).

HOWEVER, I should mention it's not something really necesary.

It can feel you are being repetitive, but only because you are writting and reading the text over and over. For the reader, it's not that obvious. The fact you are repeating "she" won't even register to them because its a quite normal but vital word.

Same with dialogue tags, while using "she said" or "he said", most of the timse we just read over it and our minds understand immediatelly what the text is conveying. And we never think the author is being repetitive, even when dialogue tags are repeated a huge number of times

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.