Answer the Great Pronoun Debate
QUESTION: Is it ever okay for students to write with I or you in persuasive or argumentative writing?
ANSWER: In persuasive writing, the writer addresses his request to a specific audience. Since the writer is communicating directly to an individual, group, or organization, it is appropriate to use first-person and second-person points of view. Persuasive writing becomes more personal and emotional when the writer speaks directly to the audience using I and you.
However, argumentative writing doesn't have a specific audience. This more formal writing addresses the multiple sides of an issue using the more objective third-person point of view. The personal I and you are replaced with words like advocates, supporters, experts, opponents, etc. This more standoffish and report-like word choice helps to maintain a tone of fairness and reasonableness.
For additional differences between persuasive and argumentative writing, check out this detailed T-Chart.