How do you write a philosophical paper about being human without using personal pronouns?

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Many lecturers in colleges and universities insist on students avoiding “personalising” essays by writing things like “I think that…” or “I’ve heard that..” or “People say that…”. Often, using such phrases can result in subjective and therefore “not academic” work, although a total ban on such phrases can sometimes also result in stilted work. Overall, a good rule is to support any “statements of fact” by use of references.

There are some “writing tricks” which can be useful in helping you avoid “personal pronouns”…

“I feel that…” can be replaced by “in the writer’s experience…”

“I believe that…” can be replaced by “it could be argued that…”

“I prefer…” can be replaced by “some people prefer…”

“I have always heard that…” can be replaced by “it is commonly said that…”

Supporting any such “statement” by the use of a relevant reference is important in order to convince your lecturer that you aren’t just “making stuff up as you go”.

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