English Grammar

Second person narration characteristics with examples

Second person narration

The second person narration is one in which the reader is involved. He is part of the story and can become the protagonist. This is a variation of the first person. In some cases, the narrator may address the reader as a conscience. Second person narration characteristics

The story can be singular or plural, using words or phrases such as “you”, “you”, “we” or “you”. The narrator also tends to speak to himself and recount lived situations. In addition, the narrator makes the reader feel that it is he or she who lives the story.

In some cases, the narrator may present himself as someone who is telling the story to the characters. However, you communicate with them as if they were present. In this way, he is able to address the reader directly, this is how he enters the narrative and makes him part of it.

When is second person narration used?

Second-person narration is often used when telling an epistolary tale. They are works where the sending and receiving of letters by their protagonists is common. Through these readings the plot develops.

This type of narrative is more difficult to find in fictional stories. However, the use of this perspective in the stories can give them an interesting touch, since it allows the reader to feel part of the text. This is achieved by making the protagonist’s actions his own, thereby generating greater interest in reading. Second person narration characteristics

Autobiographies are the works in which we can commonly find the second-person narrative. The author tells of his everyday experiences and emotions, which can happen to anyone. In turn, these actions make the reader identify with them and feel that their own story is being told.

Characteristics of second person narration

1-The reader can become the protagonist

Generally, the narration in the second person is done in such a way that whoever reads it feels it is theirs. In the story, the author addresses a “you” that makes the reader feel that it is he who is performing the action or around whom the plot revolves. We could say that this is the primary effect that this type of narration should have.

2-Appropriate environment

It is of the utmost importance that a true environment is described. This is key to getting the reader to feel comfortable, excited, saddened, and to be trapped in the story.

3-Present time

It is essential that the story be described in the present of the second person. This is due to the fact that the reader does not have memories of what they have not experienced, but they have to be presented with the new experiences that they are going to live.

Verbs in the present must necessarily be used to develop the action, and this is experienced as you read.

4-Good description

When it is narrated in the second person, it is very important to describe all the facts well so that the reader is placed in that situation. The person reading must be clearly located in what is happening and lead him to the feeling he should have at that moment.

If you want to generate joy in the reader, describe in great detail each situation. If possible, odors, tastes, textures, sensations and feelings should be described . Remember that the one who reads is the one who is living the experience.

Types of second person narration

1-Homodiegetic (internal)

In this variant of second-person narration, the narrator is the protagonist of the story. He talks about his experience in the present tense. It cannot emit any type of thought or experience of another character. Second person narration characteristics

There are two types of homodiegetic narrators that are narrated in the second person:

  • The epistolary

It is when letters are presented in the narrative. These are written by the reader or he receives them. It is combined with the first person, since it is the protagonist who writes the letters.


I am writing to keep you up to date on the situation. I know that you are busy, that the family complicates everything, but I am not well. I haven’t eaten for 5 days, and it’s not for lack of resources. My body can only take water… I don’t know how long I can take.

  • The accomplice

As an accomplice narrator, he tells of himself, but in the second person. In this way he unconsciously leads the reader to complicity and includes him in the action.


During all that time I was calm. There were only two options: die or live, the same ones that everyone has at all times. I was not someone else. But I know if it happened to you, you wouldn’t hold out. You are not of this lineage, you would not bear a piece of what I have lived.

2-Heterodiegetic (external)

He is a second person narrator who is not part of the story. It is a type of “being” or “god” who knows everything that happens. It narrates omnisciently, but in the second person.

There are two types of these narratives:

  • The puppeteer

This narrator is in charge of giving direction to the protagonists, just as if he were handling a puppet. In addition, it tells the story of the reader, who is the protagonist.


You know that she will come for you. That’s why you just sit there, without guilt, without fear. But that tummy ache starts to bother you, it doesn’t take five minutes and you’ll run to the bathroom. And yes, maybe she comes and does not see you, but is that or do you over …

  • The mirror-consciousness

In this case, the person who tells the story is the conscience of the protagonist, narrated in the second person. The plot unfolds through reflective dialogues directed at the protagonist, who in turn is the reader.


 How could this happen !? It can’t be… everything was planned…   he told himself .

 And what did you expect, Juan? I told you, I always reminded you, but you don’t stop me much. Go see if you listen to yourself from time to time – it was heard in his mind.

 Shut up! Don’t ever leave there again, did you hear me! …  – he replied.

3-Narration that engages the reader

It is the mixture of the two previous types. In it, the narrator is involved both internally and externally. You can act directly and indirectly, always knowing what situation you are in and what you should do and feel about it. Second person narration characteristics


It’s your moment, you know it. You cannot miss this opportunity. Total, what is life but a sigh? I see you, right now, from my balcony. No, don’t turn around, don’t lose focus. Hang up the phone and do your job. See you later.

Examples of second person narration

1-The prophecy (second person singular, Juan Ortiz)

I knew that you would come, that you would sit where you now occupy, and that you would take this book. That’s how it was written before you even had a conscience, or your father, or your grandfather … hundreds, thousands of years ago. And yes, make yourself become what you hate so much, what you fear so much, and you will notice it after each word, at the turn of each page. It will be inevitable.

2-Steps of death (second person plural, Juan Ortiz)

Before you arrived, everything was different. The river was drinkable, the earth gave trees of all possible fruits, the sky was inhabited by dreamy birds. But they came, with their ego, with their gloomy footsteps, and they changed everything.

Yes, you guys changed everything. What can I tell you? They are the culprits of every current misfortune that happens to them; what they live today are the simple consequences of their actions.

3-Judge tried (second person singular, Juan Ortiz)

I know well what you do there. You listened to what they told you without questioning anything; you repeated everything with yours, without investigating if it was true; you threw me to the ground with your words, you kicked all my work, all my effort, you became a judge. You are there now, helpless and weak, at the mercy of your own words because you wanted it that way. Eat now of every word you threw. Second person narration characteristics

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