First Person Essay

Writing in first person means writing from the author’s point of view or perspective. This point of view is used for autobiographical writing as well as narrative. The first person is an alternative to second person, which uses "you," as in the sentence "You are the smartest person in the room." The first person is also an alternative to third person, which uses "he," "she," or "it," as in the sentence "He is the most handsome person in the room." 

First Person Writing Examples

From Literature

  • “It was times like these when I thought my father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived.” - To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • “I cannot but conclude that the Bulk of your Natives, to be the most pernicious Race of little odious Vermin that Nature ever suffered to crawl upon the Surface of the Earth.” - Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
  • “I could not unlove him now, merely because I found that he had ceased to notice me.” - Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
  • “And I like large parties. They’re so intimate. At small parties there isn’t any privacy.” - The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • “I'm nobody! Who are you?

Are you nobody, too?
Then there's a pair of us -- don't tell!
They'd banish -- you know!” - I'm Nobody! Who are You? by Emily Dickinson

  • “Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore” The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe
  • “I wandered lonely as a cloud, That floats on high o'er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd, A host, of golden daffodils;” I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud by William Wordsworth

  • “I knew a man by sight,

A blameless wight,

Who, for a year or more,

Had daily passed my door,

Yet converse none had had with him.” I Knew a Man By Sight by Henry David Thoreau

From Songs

  • “All I'm askin' is for a little respect when you come home.” Respect - Aretha Franklin
  • “Oh yeah, I'll tell you something, I think you'll understand

When I say that something, I wanna hold your hand” - Beatles

  • “My mother was a tailor. She sewed my new bluejeans

My father was a gamblin' man down in New Orleans” House of The Rising Sun - Animals

  • “Under the boardwalk, Down by the sea, yeah

On a blanket with my baby, Is where I'll be” Under The Boardwalk - Drifters

  • “I keep the ends out for the tie that binds 

Because you're mine, I walk the line” I Walk the Line - Johnny Cash

  • “They say we're young and we don't know, We won't find out until we grow” I Got You, Babe - Sonny and Cher
  • “Then I saw her face, now I'm a believer, Not a trace of doubt in my mind.” I'm A Believer - Monkees
  • “I know you've deceived me, now here's a surprise

I know that you have 'cause there's magic in my eyes” I Can See For Miles - The Who

  • “I love the colorful clothes she wears

And the way the sunlight plays upon her hair” Good Vibrations - The Beach Boys

  • “I heard it through the grapevine not much longer would you be mine.” I Heard It Through The Grapevine - Marvin Gaye
  • “Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy, sunshine in my eyes can make me cry.” Sunshine on My Shoulders - John Denver

These examples help to show how to write in first person.

Do you have a good example to share? Add your example here.

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Examples of Writing in First Person

By YourDictionary

Writing in first person means writing from the author’s point of view or perspective. This point of view is used for autobiographical writing as well as narrative. The first person is an alternative to second person, which uses "you," as in the sentence "You are the smartest person in the room." The first person is also an alternative to third person, which uses "he," "she," or "it," as in the sentence "He is the most handsome person in the room." 


First-person essays are aimed at sharing an experience, letting your reader see and feel it. They show how that experience changed your mind, affected you, educated you. Your essay is your personal journey of discovery. And your main task while writing your essay is to engage a reader to take that journey with you.

To make your thoughts and emotions run in the right direction, you need to follow the basic rules. Here is how to write from your perspective and show your reader the true sense of the story.

Choosing an Experience to Share

The topics are endless. Almost anything can be the subject material for your essay – relationships, nature, climbing, death, traveling – just ask yourself what you have experienced that has emotional appeal. Your topic can be funny, compelling or touching. If you cannot decide what to write about, ask yourself what makes you happy or what makes you sad. All topics are at your fingertips, you simply need to choose a great illustrative one that will make your reader care.

When you have a clear idea of what you want to share, go to the next important step – writing the first draft.

Preparing the First Draft

The first draft of your essay is your first step in creating a thoughtful and focused writing piece. Let your emotions and ideas flow! Don't critique your first draft, after all, you'll have time to improve it later. All you need to do right now is to describe the things that are crucial for your story – people, places, events. You need to find the balance in giving the reader enough information so they can understand your actions or decisions.

While writing your first draft, it is OK to pause, recollect your thoughts and remind yourself of your goal. When you think you've said all you can say, close your notebook and walk away. In several hours, in a day, or so, read your essay. You'll find information that shines with brilliance and you'll see plenty of unnecessary details. It's good to recognize this before you submit your work.

Style and Voice

The goal of your first-person essay is to connect with a reader, so they can visualize your point of view. You need to write in a personal, engaging, understandable and revealing way.

  • Personal – You are the main protagonist, so make your essay intimate and revealing to show the reader your personal world. The best essays are written like a conversation with a smart friend, in a real and genuine way.
  • Engaging – To make your essay interesting, include intriguing details, humorous experience and descriptive language. Your essay shouldn't sound like a science report, so make sure your writing style is appealing and entertaining.
  • Understandable – Write in a straightforward and understandable way. Avoid using unclear references or dubious phrases. Use simple, clear and concise language that will easily connect you with a reader.
  • Revealing – It is very important to make your first-person essay revealing. Personal references establish the setting, mood, theme and historical relevance. If you fail to do that, you'll find it really difficult to disclose all necessary information in your essay.

Perfecting Your Essay

The last step in crafting an effective essay is to thoroughly revise your writing piece. You've written what you think is close to a perfect work, but don't rush to submit it at once. Take time to reread your essay and ensure that it doesn't contain the common pitfalls.

A good essay is one that appeals to the five senses. Make sure you offer enough details, so your reader can see, hear and smell what you're writing about. Don't just tell the audience what's going on, use the verbs to show that. However, avoid being too emotional. It's fine to show happiness, anger or sadness, but you need to find a balance.

In addition, check your essay for grammar, punctuation, repetitions. You don't want to spoil your personal journey by silly typos or mistakes. Ask yourself if your writing is clear and to-the-point and whether you share your thoughts in the most understandable way.

Write in detail, be honest, talk about emotions and your first-person essay will surely engage your reader!

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