Language and Linguistics

Writing in the third person characteristics in detail

Writing in the third person

Texts written by a narrator who is not involved in what he writes are known as third-person writing. That is, the narrator is oblivious to the facts. This is why he tells them from the point of view of the exterior of the events. It is used for different reasons depending on the interest of the writer. In literature and narrative, it works to create an atmosphere in which the narrator knows everything. Writing in the third person characteristics

In journalism, it is almost mandatory to use it, because with this it is shown that the facts outlined are objective. For its part, in academic texts it works to give truth to what is said.

Example of third-person paragraphs

1- Writing academic texts

Excerpt from the text Human rights. An essay on its history, its foundation and its reality, by José Martínez de Pisón

“Few issues have been more debated in recent times than the correct use of the term ‘ human rights ‘. However, few are more used in normal speech, in conversations, in international forums and seminars with a more precise meaning.

In all probability, any citizen who lives in societies belonging to the Western cultural tradition knows perfectly what is meant when reference is made to human rights ”.

2- Witness narrator

With this narrator, the only inclusion in the text is as an observer. That is, it is a character in the story who narrates what he observes or what was told to him. Writing in the third person characteristics

His work does not change history, it may not even be taken into account. Since he only knows what he sees or is told, he is a narrator with limited information.

In his novel In Cold Blood  Truman Capote writes from the perspective of a witness narrator

“All the materials in this book that are not derived from my own observations have been taken from official archives or are the result of interviews with people directly affected; interviews that very often spanned a considerable period of time ”.

3- omniscient narrator

In the following text, a narrator is a third person who is not involved in the events that he narrates.

His identity and the source of his knowledge are unknown, although he appears to know everything, including what the characters remember. This is the so-called omniscient narrator.

The opening paragraph of One Hundred Years of Solitude, by the Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez

“Many years later, in front of the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía would remember that remote afternoon in which his father took him to see the ice.

Macondo was at that time a village of 20 houses made of clay and cañabrava, built on the banks of a river with clear waters that fell on a bed of huge, polished white stones, like prehistoric eggs ”.

4- Equiscient Narrator

The quiescent narrator is the one who tells the facts in the third person but who, unlike the omniscient, has limited knowledge. That is, he does not know everything, but only what the reader himself knows.

Excerpt from the story The night face up , by Julio Cortázar

“In the middle of the long hallway of the hotel, he thought it must be late and he hurried out to the street and took the motorcycle out of the corner where the doorman next door allowed him to store it.

At the jewelry store on the corner, he saw that it was ten minutes to nine; he would get to where he was going in plenty of time. The sun filtered through the tall buildings in the center, and he —because he didn’t have a name to himself, to go thinking— mounted on the machine savoring the ride. “

5- Multiple third person

This type of writing in the third person is the one that jumps from one character to another when he changes chapters. When he is with you, he is omniscient in that character’s universe; you know what you think and feel.

But when he goes to another character, he only knows his universe, as in the example given, in which the narrator changes with the beginning of each chapter of the book. Writing in the third person characteristics

Excerpt from the prologue of A Song of Ice and Fire; Game of Thrones , by the author George RR Martín

Will sensed the tension around Gared’s mouth and the barely contained anger in the eyes under the thick black hood of the cloak.

Gared had been in the Night’s Watch for forty years, much of his childhood and all of his adult life, and he was not used to being mocked.

But that was not all. Will sensed something more about the old man than wounded pride. A tension too similar to fear was almost palpable in him ”. Writing in the third person characteristics

Excerpt from the first chapter of A  Song of Ice and Fire; Game of Thrones, by the author George RR Martín

“There were twenty of them in all, and Bran rode among them, nervous and excited. It was the first time that he had been considered old enough to accompany his father and brothers to witness the king’s justice.

It was the ninth year of summer and the seventh of Bran’s life. “

6- Third-person plural

“At the residence the claims were different. They valued tranquility very much. They were just looking for a space in which to pray, reflect and rest. At the same time, they wanted a common meeting point where they could chat until late ”.

7- Third-person singular

“The bohemian went into the forest without really knowing where to go. I had read something in the local books about the roads that led to the hermitage of San Cristóbal, but geography was not exactly its strong point ”.

8- In the past

“They met after a vacation with their parents in Rome. While the Carneiros were looking for adventure, the Pedrotes visited the eternal city to discover the local gastronomy. Ana Belén and Rosa met in line at a very famous pizzeria and the crush was instantaneous ”.

9- For a thesis

“In the United States, until the arrival of the 2016 Presidential Elections, the candidates’ communication consultancies showed no interest in the well-known fake news. Until that moment, the Democratic and Republican parties focused on doing politics in the most traditional way, with social networks being the small indication that something was changing. So, Obama laid the foundations, but it was with Donald Trump that the way of campaigning took a 180-degree turn ”.

10- For an essay

Capitalism began to be practiced consciously from the Industrial Revolution and  The Wealth of Nations ( The Wealth of nacione s) developed by Adam Smith in 1776.

Scholars, especially Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, warned about the dangers of it and the need to establish a new economic order: Writing in the third person characteristics

“Until today, anti-capitalist movements spread throughout the world, but it seems that the economic and social system based on private property triumphs unconvincingly.”

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