1) Working in a wide range of positions can improve a person’s experience and make him more successful.

2) Working in a wide range of positions can improve your experience and make you more successful.

What's proper way to use pronoun in an essay in above sentences? Which one looks correct?

  • 1
    Who is the essay for? Writing on your blog might be different from writing for a newspaper or a book. If there's a publisher involved, do they have a style guide? Sep 29, 2013 at 16:32
  • It's just for an examination but having no other purposes. And I think there is no such a general guide about its style.
    – canoe
    Sep 30, 2013 at 7:20
  • them or at worst her, not him. In this gender-neutrality-obsessed society you don't want to tick off a wrong person.
    – SF.
    Oct 2, 2013 at 7:19

1 Answer 1


Either is fine. It's a matter of style.

(a) Be consistent. Don't write, "Working in a wide range of positions can improve your experience and make him more successful." Okay, maybe that sentence sounds so obviously wrong that you wouldn't do that. But I've read plenty of things where the writer hops back and forth between second and third person from paragraph to paragraph.

(b) It does create a difference in tone. Saying "you" makes it more personal. I generally avoid using "you" when an article could be construed as critical of the subject. Like, "If he is lazy and irresponsible ..." rather than "If you are lazy and irresponsible ..." Unless, of course, my goal is to be direct and challenging. Also, "you" tends to sound more personal and informal. That could be good or bad depending.

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