What is the Third-Person narrative?

The third-person narrative is written from another person’s point of view or as an outsider looking in.

Third-person uses pronouns such as ‘he,’ ‘she,’ ‘it,’ or ‘they.’

It differs from the first person, which uses pronouns such as ‘I’ and ‘me,’ and from the second person, which uses pronouns such as ‘you’ and ‘your.’

How do you write in the third person?

Sentences and stories told in the third person are written from an ‘outside’ perspective.

The third person is considered more objective because a character’s thoughts or feelings don’t influence the narrative. This contrasts with the first person, where the history is written about how the character thinks and feels.

Names and third-person pronouns are used to identify characters in the text. The narrator can sometimes be considered a character in the text, but it varies from text to text.

There are also different ways that the third person can be written.

Third-person objective / observant

This is where the narrator tells the story without describing any thoughts or feelings of the characters. They’re only an observer and explain what they see. This is an unbiased storytelling device.

Third-person omniscient

Third-person omniscient is where the narrator tells the story while also describing the thoughts and feelings of the characters. This literary device is great to use for character development.

Why is the Third Person effective?

Writing in the third person provides objectivity to each character, meaning information can be given to the reader, which individual characters may not know anything about, creating dramatic irony.

Examples of Third-Person

The best way to help pupils recognize the third-person narrative is to get them to identify if third-person pronouns have been used. These include:

  • He/She/It/They (subject, singular/plural) For example:

‘She likes to go to the gym.’

‘They prefer to go walking.’

  • Him/Her/It/Them (object, singular/plural) For example:

‘Dave laughed at her.’

‘Dave laughed at them.’

  • His/Hers/Its/Theirs (possessive, singular/plural) For example:

‘The dog was his.’

‘The dog was theirs.’

  • His/Her/Its/They’re (possessive, modifying a noun, singular/plural). For example:

‘That is her coat.’

‘That is their coat.’

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