Writing in Second Person – Examples & Worksheet

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| Candace Osmond

Photo of author

Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

With all writing mostly done in the first and third person, it’s confusing to think (and apply) the second person POV. Using the pronoun “you,” the writer comes “face to face” with the reason, addressing them directly in a more interactive literary experience.

I’m not a fan of this perspective and don’t often use it. I always thought of it as a way to write non-fiction, video games, or instructional guides rather than fiction. Learn what the 2nd person POV is, when to use it, and what are some tried and true tips.

What Is Second Person POV?

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The second-person POV revolves around the “you” pronoun. You don’t see it often because writers don’t usually address the reader directly unless it’s an advertisement text, a speech, a political discourse, or a song.

This perspective is commonly used in non-fiction writing, such as in self-help books, advertising texts, song lyrics, video games, or political discourses. But I’ve seen it used in fiction in rare cases for a stylistic choice. A love letter to the reader, a fun interactive choose-your-own-adventure story, etc. It can be done; you just have to get clever with it.

The narrative voice that is in the second person is one that is used less frequently and is one that comes more effortlessly while speaking than when writing. You may have forgotten about it, but that does not mean that you cannot make use of it.

Copywriters employ the second-person point of view to create a connection and a sense of familiarity with the reader. This helps the reader feel as though the author truly understands the circumstances they find themselves in.

A narrative voice told from the second person is an intense experience for readers of fiction. They’re thrust into the middle of the action and made a participant in the unfolding events that take place. As a writer, you can turn a character become a buddy, a confidant, or even a participant in a crime.

How Do You Write in 2nd Person?

Although it’s not widely used, it’s fairly simple to remember. Just pretend you’re writing directly to the reader and refer to them as ‘you’. Instead of writing, Agatha loved rainy days so she could curl up with a good book, you would write, You love rainy days and curling up with a good book .

Practice is key to becoming a better writer in any genre or medium. You might want to try writing lines changing the first and third person to the third person POV.

Investigate several tenses as well, don’t leave that out. Experiment with writing in the second-person perspective, both in the present and in the past tense, and think about the effect that this has on the reader.

Reading published works written from the second-person POV will help you develop the skills necessary to write in this perspective successfully yourself. Look at some examples, particularly those presented to you through advertising, and dissect their impact on you as a reader.

When you are writing, you should focus on the voice of the story you are telling rather than your own voice. It is so simple to lose one’s sense of perspective.

Keep in mind who is now making the statement. Include descriptive details so that the reader may put themselves in the setting and experience a sense of increased plausibility.

Is the Word We 2nd Person?

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“We” is a first-person plural word, which isn’t common when writing or talking in the second person.

For second-person pronouns, you can use you, your, yours, and yourself (for the second-person singular) and add yourselves (for second-person plural).

Tips for Writing in Second Person

Writing from the point of view of the second person presents some problems. The biggest one is the requirement that the reader suspends their disbelief to the extent that they perceive themselves as a character in the narrative.

Look at the Classics

Granted, second-person POV stories are not as common as those presented in the first or third person. However, you can still find literary works showing how it’s done. Works such as If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino and Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas by Tom Robbins deserves your time and attention.

Use Descriptive Details

When reading a book, it is common practice for people to make observations. If you want the reader to take on the role of a character, it is your responsibility to ensure that they can do so credibly.

Create a universe for them by providing more specifics about the setting. Appeal to the audience’s senses and emotions by providing descriptions of the scene, other characters, and events that are rich in depth.

Be Consistent with the POV

The point of view of the second person can be challenging to convey, and it’s easy to make the mistake of writing from your own point of view. Remember who the character is at all times, and take yourself out of the scenario.

It’s easy to slip and use first-person pronouns and third-person pronouns when trying to write second-person POVs because those are the more commonly used and seen in forms of writing.

Second Person Pronouns in Different Cases

If you’re confused about how to use second-person pronouns, here is a short clarification: The second-person singular and plural pronouns have the same form, so you have to rely on context to figure out if they address one or multiple people.

Here are some second-person writing examples to clarify a few notions:

  • Subjective case: You brought me that book yesterday.
  • Objective case: I like you a lot.
  • Possessive case/possessive determiner: Doing the dishes was your responsibility.
  • Possessive case/possessive pronouns: The books on the table are yours.

The Bottom Line

When writing about professional matters, addressing the reader in the first person lends an air of familiarity, whereas writing in the third person lends an air of authority. Addressing the writer directly using the second person POV is a bald move, especially if you’re looking to write fiction, but it’s not impossible.

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Writing Explained

First, Second, and Third Person: Definition and Examples

Home » The Writer’s Dictionary » First, Second, and Third Person: Definition and Examples

Point of view definition: First, second, and third person are categories of grammar to classify pronouns and verb forms.

  • First person definition: first person indicates the speaker.
  • Second person definition: second person indicates the addressee .
  • Third person definition: third person indicates a third party individual other than the speaker.

What is the difference Between First Person, Second Person, and Third Person?

First, second, and third person refer to pronouns and their verb forms.

What is First Person?

3rd person point of view definition

First Person Example:      

  • I prefer coffee to hot cocoa.

In this example, “I” am the speaker. This is first person.

What is Second Person?

Second person point of view: Second person refers to the addressee. It uses the subject pronoun “you.”

Second Person Example:  

  • You prefer coffee to hot cocoa.

In this example “you” is the addressee. The speaker is addressing “you.” This is second person.

What is Third Person?

1st person point of view definition

Third Person Example:

  • He prefers coffee to hot cocoa.

In this example “he” is the third party. The speaker is referring to him as the addressee. He prefers coffee to hot cocoa.

When using the different points of view, verbs need to be conjugated appropriately to fit the pronoun use.

Note: Pronouns are only used in English when an antecedent has been clearly identified.

What Are First Person Pronouns?

First person pronouns always refer to the speaker himself. These pronouns are only used when the speaker is making a statement about himself or herself.

First Person Pronoun List:

Here is a list with examples of the first person words we use in writing and speech.

  • I prefer coffee to hot cocoa. (First person singular)
  • We prefer burgers to pasta. (First person plural)
  • Jacob embarrassed me.
  • Jacob embarrassed us.
  • The hat is mine.
  • The hat is ours.
  • That is my hat.
  • That is our hat.

What Are Second Person Pronouns?

2nd person point of view definition

When you are writing, a good way to think about the second person’s point of view is that it addresses the reader (as I just did in that sentence).

Second person pronouns are only used when the speaker is making a statement to the addressee, i.e., to someone.

Second Person Pronoun List:

Here is a list with examples of the second person words we use in writing and speech.

  • Jacob embarrassed you.
  • The hat is yours.
  • That is your hat.

Note: In each of these examples, “you” can be an individual (singular) or multiple people (plural).

What Are Third Person Pronouns?

Third person pronouns always refer to a third party. These pronouns are used when the speaker is making a statement about a third party.

Third Person Pronoun List:

Here is a list with examples of the third person words we use in writing and speech.

  • He prefers coffee to hot cocoa. (Third person singular)
  • They prefer tea to coffee. (Third person plural)
  • Jacob embarrassed her.
  • The hat is theirs.
  • That is their hat.

First, Second, and Third Person in Writing

what is third person point of view

Writing in first person: Literature in the first person point of view is written from the speaker’s perspective. This point of view uses first person pronouns to identify the speaker/narrator. First person point of view is generally limited in that the audience only experiences what the speaker/narrator himself experiences.

Writing in third person: Literature in third person point of view is written from an “outside” perspective. This point of view uses third person pronouns to identify characters. In third person writing, the narrator is not a character in the text. Because of this, he can usually “see” what happens to all of the characters.

Writing in second person: In non-fiction writing, a speaker will often switch between pronouns. Writers do this only for effect. For example, if a speaker wants to be clear and “get through” to the audience, he might say “you” (second person) throughout the text even if the text is mostly in third person. Again, this is strictly for rhetorical effect. Experienced writers use this as a literary tool.

Common Questions and First, Second, and Third Person

Here, I want to go quickly through a few questions I get about first, second, and third person pronouns.

Questions About the First Person

Is our first person? Yes, our is one of the first person pronouns.

  • Are you coming to our wedding?

Is you first person? No, you is a second person pronoun.

  • You are a great friend.

Is we first person? Yes, we is a first person pronoun.

  • We are great friends.
  • We polled this group of political observers and activists each week prior to the Iowa caucuses to produce the USA TODAY GOP Power Rankings and went back to them this week to ask who is the best choice for Trump’s running mate. – USA Today

Is my first person? Yes, my is a first person pronoun.

  • My glasses are broken.

Is they first person? No, they is a third person pronoun.

  • They can’t find parking.
  • For frugal travelers, there are some smart alternatives if they are willing to do a bit of homework. – The New York Times

Is us first person? Yes, us is one of the first person pronouns.

  • The president congratulated us.

Questions About the Second Person

first person narrative

  • You are causing a scene.

Is they second person? No, they is a one of the third person pronouns.

  • They are our neighbors.

Is we second person? No, we is one of the first person pronouns.

  • We are going to get groceries.

Questions About the Third Person

Is their third person? Yes, their is a third person pronoun.

  • Their hat is over there.

Is we third person? No, we is a first person pronoun.

  • We are going to the beach.

Is our third person? No, our is a first person pronoun.

  • This is our cake.

Is you third person? No, you is a second person pronoun.

  • You are a nice person.

Is they third person? Yes, they is a third person pronoun.

  • They are nice people.

Is he third person? Yes, he is one of the third person pronouns.

  • He is a great man.
  • Last week, he restated that he believes he deserves a maximum contract. – The Washington Post

Trick to Remember the Difference

what is 3rd person POV

Here are a few helpful memory tricks that always help me.

In the first person writing, I am talking about myself.

  • I enjoy singing.

In the second person writing, I am talking to someone.

  • You enjoy singing.

In the third person writing, I am talking about someone.

  • He enjoys singing.

Summary: What is the First, Second, and Third Person Perspective?

Define first person: The definition of first person is the grammatical category of forms that designate a speaker referring to himself or herself. First person pronouns are I, we, me, us, etc.

Define second person: The definition of second person is the grammatical category of forms that designates the person being addressed. Second person pronouns are you, your, and yours.

Define third person: The definition of third person is the grammatical category of forms designating someone other than the speaker. The pronouns used are he, she, it, they, them, etc.

If this article helped you understand the differences between the three main English points of view, you might find our other article on English grammar terms helpful.

You can see our full list of English grammar terms on our grammar dictionary .

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How to Write in the Second Person Point of View: Definition & Examples

writing in 2nd person example

by Alex Cabal

Learning how to write in the second-person point of view offers a powerful and unique way of connecting with your readers. By breaking down the fourth wall and addressing the reader directly, you make the reader feel like they’re living in the world of your story.

We’ll illuminate the nuances of second person by defining this elusive narrative choice, exploring how it compares to other viewpoints in fiction writing, and looking at examples of stories and books that have used second-person point of view successfully.

Here’s a quick example of second-person point of view to get started:

Your eyes drink in the page as you read an article to learn how to write in the second-person point of view. Maybe you’re wondering, are you strong enough to master this wild card of the writing craft? Is second person the best way for you to tell your story? You feel the tension in your shoulders ease. Finally, you begin to believe there is hope for your fiction writing. You decide to read the full article in order to learn how to master this interesting choice of perspective.

What is the second-person point of view?

Second-person point of view (or PoV) is a literary technique in which the author creates a sense of intimacy by directly addressing the reader or audience as “you.” It’s an uncommon perspective that treats the protagonist as if they’re in the real world. Second-person PoV stories allow the reader to immerse and live fully in the world of your story.

By writing in the second-person narrative voice and speaking directly to the reader, you immerse them in the plot as if they’re experiencing it for real.

Second-person PoV treats the reader as a character in the story by using the pronoun “you.”

So you, as the writer, must craft a narrative where the reader feels as if they’re telling their own tale. It’s a very intimate and close approach to writing a story, and when done well, can be a unique, nontraditional, and immersive experience.

Because there’s no distinction between the reader and the character, this perspective can be difficult to master and calls for a lot of trust from your audience. They want to know that even if you take them deep into danger and darkness, you’ll bring them back out safely by the end.

First, second, third, and fourth-person point of view

You have four narrative choices when selecting which point of view to use for your story. Each of these uses different word choices within the text to position the reader’s perspective.

First person PoV: “ I rode the bicycle.”

Second person PoV: “ You rode the bicycle.”

Third person PoV: “ He rode the bicycle.”

Fourth person PoV: “ We rode the bicycles.”

The point of view can change the tone of an entire piece. The most common points of view in literature are third and first, or the habitual “He, she, they” and “I.” But every once in a while we’re tempted to reach for second person, or “You,” to address readers. Consider the following examples:

First person vs. second person:

First-person point of view: “Walking down the path, I come to a fork. No signs are telling me where to go, so I decide to take the path to the beach.”

Second-person point of view: “You walk down the path and come to a fork. There are no signs to tell you where to go, so you decide to take the path to the beach.”

Second person vs. third person:

Second person: “You asked him whether he really meant it when he told you he thought your sister resembled a vulgar manatee.”

Third person: “Jen asked Adam if he really meant it when he said that he thought her sister resembled a vulgar manatee.”

Second-person point of view is a powerful perspective with the ability to influence your reader in ways that first and third person can’t. As you can see in the previous examples, second person puts the reader directly into the action— you chose the path to the beach; you asked him the question.

There are four broad types of narrative point of view in writing: First person, second person, third person, and fourth person.

Is the second-person point of view an omniscient point of view?

In general, the second-person view in a fictional story is omniscient.

With “you” as the authoritative voice of the story, the reader is seeing and understanding everything directly from the main character’s perspective. But the reader isn’t the narrator—they’re the protagonist. The narrator is someone who can see and hear everything the main character is thinking.

However, this doesn’t mean you can’t surprise your reader! The narrator knows everything about this world—but they may hold some information back until the very end.

Why choose second-person point of view?

Using a second person voice within a story narrows the gap between the narrative and the reader. When done successfully the reader feels as if they’re fully present within the story, and are experiencing it first-hand.

Reasons for choosing the second-person perspective include:

Immersion : In a second-person narrative, the reader becomes the heart of the story. Rather than having a world and its events described to them, the reader gets to actually live it.

Interaction : This is generally done with “choose your own adventure” novels, where the writer constructs a second-person narration that allows the reader to make choices for how the story will unfold.

Instruction : Other forms of second-person point of view may include directions for how to do something, such as a tutorial that walks the reader through a series of steps.

Advantages of second-person point of view

A few advantages of second-person writing include:

The intimacy of the second-person narrative voice can encourage a reader to deeply empathize with the story, and maybe even offer them an experience from a new perspective they may not have encountered otherwise.

A second-person perspective can create a highly immersive, sensory experience for the reader, as they see themselves directly experiencing the story the writer has created.

Because stories are not often told in second-person point of view, this perspective can be a unique and engaging experience for your readers. It can distinguish your story from the work of other writers and make the act of reading it incredibly powerful and memorable.

Second-person point of view provides writers the opportunity to try on and explore a new perspective and style of writing. Writing from a perspective that you’re not familiar with can be a great way to enhance your writing skills and force you to stretch outside your creative comfort zone.

Second-person point of view engages the reader in an intimate, visceral, and startling way.

Disadvantages of second-person point of view

A few disadvantages of second-person writing include:

Some readers may be uncomfortable with second-person point of view. It can require a level of empathy and imagination that not all readers are willing to invest in—some readers want to be told a story rather than experience one.

If your reader dislikes your narrator or the voice of either the protagonist or the narrator, they’ll immediately disengage with the story. There is less room for nuance than there is with third or even first-person characters. If the reader dislikes the choices the character makes, they may struggle to empathize with or invest in the story at all. In this instance, third-person point of view may be a better choice.

Reaching publication for a second-person work can be challenging. Professional editors and publishers may be wary of any book told from this perspective, as it is an uncommon narrative choice that readers may not be familiar with or prepared to commit to.

Tips for writing in second-person point of view

Consider the following tips when writing a second person narrative:

Avoid repetitive language and overusing the second-person pronoun “you.” It may help to break up some of the text with the imperative form—that is, instructing the reader to take the next step in the story. For example:

Explicit example: “You look out the window at the snow-covered mountains.”

Implied example: “Look out the window at the snow-covered mountains.”

Consider using present tense in your writing. Present tense makes the story feel more immediate and engaging, rather than reflective.

Make sure to adhere to the old adage “ show and not tell ” to develop a highly rich sensory experience for the reader that they can see, feel, and imagine themselves in.

A second-person perspective may be best suited to short stories, rather than long-form work. Try getting comfortable in this type of writing in a smaller space before attempting it in a larger one.

Play with using different points of view in different chapters and with different characters to create a highly dynamic and complex story. For example, in a crime or thriller novel, you may use the second-person PoV to describe the actions and thoughts of the person who committed the murder, and third-person PoV for the detective who is solving the mystery.

Ensure that the narrator is a full-fledged character with a rich and detailed identity. If your second-person narrator is doing things and making choices, your reader, as that character, will want to empathize and better understand the motivations, preferences, goals, and driving forces for those choices and actions.

Stream of consciousness writing—or an inner monologue that tells a story—can be an effective technique when crafting a second-person narrative. This is used to explore the inner workings of a character’s mind and describe actions as they unfold.

Consider blending points of view, like second person and third person, to create a more dynamic and nuanced story.

Should you write your story in second person?

Second-person narration is an unusual and rewarding tool in fiction writing, but it may not be the right choice for every story. Here are a few things to consider when searching for the perfect narrative voice.

The length and scope of your story

Are you writing a short story, poem, novella, novel, or book series? How much time, space, and characterization will this plot encompass? Second-person language is effective for drawing a reader into your writing, but it can be demanding and draining on them as well.

Readers naturally think in first-person pronouns—“I’m exhausted”—or third-person pronouns—“He’s exhausting.” The pronoun “you” can feel jarring or alienating, which is why it should be used with care.

This is why the trick of interspersing second-person point of view with third- or first-person narration can be an effective way to engage this narrative voice. It breaks up the unusual PoV choice in a compelling and manageable way.

If you’re writing an entire novel that remains focused on just one character all the way through to the end, a first-person perspective or a third-person limited point of view might be a stronger choice.

Your story’s effect on the reader’s emotions

What are you trying to achieve by using this narrative point of view? A fiction writer can use both first and second person to have a conversation with the reader, while third person keeps the reader at a distance.

The second-person narrative voice takes the intimacy of first-person narrative even further—in this narrative point of view, there is no distance between the reader and the story. Your reader isn’t just watching the plot happen—they’re living it. This can take them to some uncomfortable places as the narrator describes their own actions back to them, but it can also offer a sharp and visceral reading experience.

Your story’s message and underlying theme

Using second person can be a great way to encourage the reader to examine their own preconceptions and biases. The reader starts to ask themselves, “Would I really make this choice?” “What would I do if this happened to me?”

By bringing them so directly into the piece, you engage them on a conscious level with the material. This is especially useful for things like political or social commentary.

At its foundational level, second-person PoV serves as an invitation for the reader to come fully into a piece with all of their baggage, all of their expectations, and, for a moment, to become fully immersed as a character in the work.

When choosing a narrative point of view, consider the key message of your work.

Examples of second-person point of view in novels

For a deeper look at using second-person PoV in writing, let’s look at a couple famous examples of books that have effectively used this technique.

The Dark by John McGahern

John McGahern’s short novel is a depressing portrait of a young boy growing up in Ireland. Half of the chapters are written in second person while the rest are split between third and first, with a smattering of chapters where the voice is so passive it doesn’t even seem to have a perspective. And the chapters aren’t chosen at random, either; each change in PoV serves a purpose.

The first-person chapters, which account for only three out of the thirty chapters, are all ones where Mahoney, the young protagonist, is enjoying himself.

The third-person chapters are all instances of brutal humiliation, failure and abuse.

The second-person chapters are all instances where Mahoney is trying to amp himself up or change his life.

McGahern juggles these viewpoints to alternately distance his protagonist and the reader from the horrors of the book, then invite the reader into Mahoney’s head to witness his pleasures and growth.

This is a perfect example of using contrasting points of view to enhance a novel. It’s an effective tool and really works to highlight the emotional turmoil of Mahoney’s life by inviting the reader to experience the protagonist’s struggle to defend himself, and his eventual triumph. At the same time, the third-person chapters serve to show Mahoney’s trauma while not overwhelming the reader with it.

Redshirts by John Scalzi

A more consistent use of second person is in the “codas” of John Scalzi’s Redshirts .

After the novel’s plot finishes, the reader is presented with a series of short stories—codas—following one of the minor characters through the aftermath of the novel, and each in a different point of view. One of these follows a young man who was in a coma for the entirety of the novel, and is just now coming awake to realize that things don’t exactly add up.

Having constructed the piece in second person, Scalzi invites the reader into the novel to directly experience the rude awakening of this supporting player. And it works as a fun device to more fully integrate the audience into the reading experience and vividly reflect his confusion and curiosity.

A few more books that use the second-person PoV include:

The Malady of Death , by Marguerite Duras

Bright Lights, Big City , by Jay McInerney

Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas , by Tom Robbins

Stolen , by Lucy Christopher

How to Become a Writer , by Lorrie Moore

Examples of second-person point of view in short stories

Short stories are a faster read, allowing you to gain an insight into how different authors approach the second-person point of view. Consider the following short stories as a starting point for more context, and for understanding how you can incorporate the second person PoV into your own story or novel.

“A Cure for Ghosts,” by Eden Royce

“All the Colors You Thought Were Kings,” by Arkady Martine

“Black Box,” by Jennifer Egan

“Conversation of Shadows,” by Yoon Ha Lee

“Little Man,” by Michael Cunningham

“Chimeras,” by Jae Steinbacher

“On the Day You Spend Forever With Your Dog,” By Adam R. Shannon

“The Sorcerer’s Unattainable Gardens,” by Merc Fenn Wolfmoor

And just for fun, here is a list of second-person point of view children’s books:

Princess Island , by Shannon Gilligan

Song of the Old City , by Anna Pellicioli

It’s Up to You, Abe Lincoln: How I Made the Biggest Decisions of My Life , by Tom and Leila Hirshfeld

The Cave of Time , by Edward Packard

Space and Beyond , by R. A. Montgomery

If you’re writing fiction, second-person perspective can help you push your limits and develop new skills.

Use second person to push the limits of your writing

Whether you’re approaching a short story, novella, novel, exploring poetry or song lyrics, or just looking elevate your business writing, second-person perspective can be an exciting and genre-bending narrative technique. You can smash through walls between you and the reader in ways that are out of reach with other points of view.

In your next writing session, try stretching your creative muscles with second-person PoV.

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The Write Practice

Why You Should Try Writing in Second Person

by Melissa Tydell | 175 comments

Fiction writers tend to depend on first person or third person point of view —you’ve been there, done that. But what about writing in second person ? It may seem strange, unconventional, or confining, but playing with point of view is one way to transform a story.

Point of view affects a story in that it offers readers a very specific perspective of the story events. Second person narration is no different. In this post, let's define second person point of view and then talk about three reasons why you should try writing in second person.

writing in 2nd person example

What is second person point of view?

Second person point of view is when you tell the story from the perspective of someone else– the reader. It's like being a fly on the wall as someone else experiences something. You're not in their head, but rather observing and narrating their actions and feelings from outside of them.

It can be a bit tricky to write in because it requires that you take on a different narrative voice and be conscious of the words that you use. It assumes a sense of intimacy as you direct the reader.

Questions about point of view? Check out our full guide here .

How do you know something is written in second person POV?

It will use second person pronouns to capture the action: you, your, yours. It projects the action and thoughts of the reader in an immersive experience.

Here's an fiction example from Margaret Atwood's short story “Bread”:

Imagine a piece of bread. You don't have to imagine it, it's right here in the kitchen, on the breadboard, in its plastic bag, lying beside the bread knife. The bread knife is an old one you picked up at an auction; it has the word BREAD carved into the wooden handle. You open the bag, pull back the wrapper, cut yourself a slice.

Notice how the Atwood tells you the reader what you see and how you're acting. She puts you inside the story as the second person narrator.

Why try writing in second person?

Here are three reasons:

1. Second person pulls the reader into the action.

Especially if you write in the present tense, second person allows the reader to experience the story as if it’s their own. To avoid a “choose your own adventure story” feel or an aggressive tone, mix up sentence structure and add in description and dialogue. Using the second person pronoun “you” and describing action as it happens supplies a personal sense of immediacy or urgency, propelling the story—and the reader—forward.

Example: You’re late. Heart pounding, you race up the stairs as the train enters the station. With a deep breath, you weave around the slow-moving people milling on the platform and dash towards the train, throwing your body through the doorway with only a moment to spare.

Notice how the sensory experience is heightened here for the reader because the narrative perspective projects the action on you.

2. Second person gets personal.

One way to experiment with second person is to write as if the story is a letter from the narrator to “you,” reflecting on past events and current feelings, asking questions. (It doesn’t have to be in an actual letter form; the idea of a letter is simply a way to describe the intimate tone.)

This technique isn't necessarily “pure” second person POV, as it pairs “you” with the narrator’s first-person point of view, but it allows you to dip a toe in the second-person perspective. At the same time, it gives readers a peek into a relationship, a memory, and a character’s emotions.

Example: You told me to meet you at the bar. Things hadn’t been going well, but I couldn’t put my finger on what exactly was wrong. Did you plan on breaking my heart that night? We locked eyes as I walked through the entrance, and I knew things were coming to an end.

3. Second person stretches your skills and surprises readers.

Because it’s not often used, the second person point of view can feel fresh to readers. And for writers, it means a new way of telling a story, a different way of revealing character. In this way, it offers a new perspective for writers and readers alike.

Second person might not be the right fit for every story. (And there are always readers who don't love second person for fiction writing!) But it's worth the time to play with the voice and urgency that second person narratives require, if for no other reason than to expand your writing prowess.

Second person writing and your choice of perspective

Choosing your viewpoint character matters because it dictates how your reader will experience the story. A second person POV story blurs the lines between story and personal experience in a way that can be interesting and maybe uncomfortable.

But if you are after an engaging experience, and you can carefully curate the second person voice in a way that resonates with readers, a second person narrative voice may be a choice that transforms your next story. Give it a try and let us know how it goes!

Need help deciding on your point-of-view? Unsure about the differences between first-person, third person limited and third person omniscient perspectives? Read our full article on Point of View and download our handy POV cheatsheet here . 

Have you written a story in the second person point of view? Tell us how it went in the comments . 

Write for fifteen minutes in the second person point of view.

When you’re finished, please share your practice in the Pro Practice Workshop . And if you post, please respond to some of the other comments too!

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Melissa Tydell

Melissa Tydell is a freelance writer, content consultant, and blogger who enjoys sharing her love of the written word with others. You can connect with Melissa through her website , blog , or Twitter .

  • Melissa Tydell https://thewritepractice.com/author/melissatydell/ July 29, 2013 What I’ve Learned from Writing for The Write Practice
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  • Melissa Tydell https://thewritepractice.com/author/melissatydell/ July 1, 2013 How to Integrate Travel into a Story
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What Is Second-Person Point of View (POV) in Writing?

Helly Douglas

Helly Douglas

what is second person point of view?

If you’re a fiction writer, you may have been told never to write in the second-person point of view. Or perhaps you’re a business writer who’s been told to always use it?

But what exactly is second-person narration and why do people have such fixed opinions about when it’s okay to use it?

This guide gives you everything you need to know, including helpful examples and practical exercises so you can get it right.

What Is Narrative Point of View?

First, second, and third-person point of view example sentences, what is second-person point of view, why writers use the second person, problems with using second-person point of view, should you write fiction in the second person, famous examples of second-person point of view in fiction, how do you write in the second-person point of view, can you switch pov when writing, second-person point of view quiz.

Point of view is the narrative voice you use to write in. It tells us who is speaking and is split into first, second, and third person.

You might hear people talking in different terms to describe narrative point of view, including the acronym "POV", "narrative voice", and "perspective". They all mean the same thing.

You can usually tell the narrative voice easily by looking at the pronouns used:

  • First person: I
  • Second Person: You
  • Third person: she, he (or a character’s name)

table showing pronouns for each POV and example sentences

First Person Perspective

In the first person point of view, a character is telling their own story. It creates an intimate atmosphere, making the reader feel as if they know the character well already. First person can also intentionally restrict the information shared with a reader.

The narrator is limited to their own perspective on events and can only talk about the things they have experienced.

Second-Person Perspective

With second-person point of view, the writer addresses the reader using the pronoun "you". It forces the reader into the story, making them part of the action and complicit in events. This is hard to sustain over longer pieces of writing, which is one reason it is rarely used in narrative texts.

Third Person Perspective

In the third person point of view, the author is telling the story of different characters, but is not part of the action themselves. This perspective is further divided into "omniscient", "neutral", and "limited" perspectives .

point of view definitions

Looking for more guidance on using pronouns to construct point of view? Check out our guide to commonly confused pronouns to learn when common pronouns are used.

Why Is Second-Person Perspective Less Well-Known?

In school, you probably spent most of your time writing either in the first or third person point of view. These perspectives are well suited to writing stories, diaries, and recounts of events, the type of tasks teachers often use to improve writing skills.

Second-person narrative voice is used less often, and it comes more naturally in spoken language rather than writing. It can feel forgotten about, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use it.

Remember, looking at the pronouns of a sentence is an easy way to distinguish the narrative point of view being used.

First-Person POV Example Sentences:

  • I didn’t know where I was going.
  • Should I meet him?
  • We went to the movies.

In the third example, you may have spotted the plural pronoun "we", which is also a sign that first person narration is being used.

Second-Person POV Example Sentences:

  • You walk down the road, glancing behind you.
  • You rub your feet at the end of the day.
  • After finishing work, you decide to go for a drink.

the narrative pronouns you, your and yours indicate the second person

Third-Person POV Example Sentences:

  • He was mean, but she tried to ignore it.
  • They were the perfect couple.
  • Tommy worked at the bank.

Characters’ names and the pronouns they and he / she help you spot a third-person narrative voice.

A Warning About Deciding POV

Avoid deciding which narrative perspective is being used based on a single sentence as this can be misleading.

For example, the sentence "they were the perfect couple" suggests a third person point of view. But what if we read it as a part of a longer extract?

full extract: They were the perfect couple. It made me sick to watch them. He stroked her leg when he thought no one was watching, but I saw everything. I couldn’t wait to split them up.

By reading a longer extract, we can see that this is written from a first person point of view. We can hear the character speaking to us about their feelings for the other characters.

To make sure you have correctly identified the narrative voice used, try to read at least a few other sentences to make sure.

Second-person perspective means addressing the reader directly. You’ll spot the pronouns you , your , and yours being used.

For example:

  • Are you always running late for work?
  • Your family means the world to you .
  • You realise a moment too late that the purse is yours .

We often use a second-person perspective in sales and business writing because it can be persuasive. You’ll see it in slogans and adverts that are trying to make you take action, often using rhetorical questions for impact.

Copywriters use a second-person point of view to establish a bond and intimacy with the reader, to make them believe the writer really understands their situation.

This type of writing differs significantly from fiction writing because readers stay as themselves rather than imagining themselves as a character within a story.

the second person is often used in speeches

Speech writers often use the same approach. If they stick to a first person perspective, they can inadvertently seem too interested in themselves or removed from their audience. Second person shows they understand their audiences’ problems and want to help.

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world." - Mahatma Gandhi

You’ll also spot second-person perspective used in instructional writing, song lyrics, and video games.

These types of writing may seem very different from one another, but they all want to create an immersive feeling where you are at the center of the experience.

Second-person narrative voice is intimate. It creates a conversation, immediately making you feel as if you know the person speaking. This inclusive experience can create feelings of trust, which are ideal for persuasive sales writing.

You work hard every day. When you get home, you want to relax, not work through a long list of chores. That’s why you need Daily Maids.

For fiction readers, a second-person narrative voice is an intense, immersive experience. They’re thrown into the action and become a part of the events that happen. As a writer, you can make them a friend or confidant, or even complicit in misdeeds.

Alternatively, the second-person narrative can create a sense of mistrust. The reader asks themselves, is the writer telling me everything? Can I trust what they’re saying?

reasons for using the second person

A second-person narrative voice can feel unrealistic if you don’t have a clear idea of your reader, although this can be useful if you’re trying to appeal to a specific type of customer. Second-person point of view can seem accusatory and suggest that you’re looking down on your reader.

This perspective is not often used in fiction writing because it is hard to maintain consistently over time. Readers enjoy feeling immersed in a story, but it’s hard for them to suspend their disbelief completely and become a part of the action.

Your reader may enjoy hearing about the life of a bank robber, astronaut, or knight, but can they actually imagine being them?

You may have been told that fiction writing should only ever use the first and third point of view.

Many editors actively advise against using a second-person narrative voice at all. If you look at published works of fiction, you’ll notice how few of them ever use it.

Writing in second-person point of view can be:

  • Distracting and jarring for the reader
  • Repetitive and boring—only using the pronoun "you"
  • Unrealistic

But does that mean you shouldn’t use it?

That’s for you to decide. While there are fewer examples in literature of second-person point of view, they do exist. Your story may only work if it’s told from this perspective.

Before using second-person perspective, ask yourself:

  • Can my story be told from a different perspective?
  • Why is second-person POV essential to my story?
  • Can I sustain this narrative voice for the entire text?
  • How will I prevent it from becoming unrealistic or repetitive to read?

Using a second-person perspective creates a unique and distinctive voice. It helps you stand out from the many other stories being told.

While it’s probably best not to pick it just to get you noticed, there is a place for second-person point of view in fiction writing. Just be aware that it could make it harder to get your writing published unless you’re seeking a self-published route .

You’ll see second-person point of view most often used in short stories, flash fiction , poetry, and writing for children.

It works particularly well for "choose your own adventure" type stories. Maybe your writing needs to use this perspective too?

covers of books written in the second person

The famous examples of second-person point of view are, in part, well-known because they are striking and unusual deviations from the "rules" of fiction writing.

These popular examples are well worth a read:

  • Bread by Margaret Atwood (short story)
  • Complicity by Iain Banks
  • If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino
  • The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid
  • Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney
  • There’s a Dragon in Your Book by Tom Fletcher (children’s fiction)
  • Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas by Tom Robbins
  • The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty by Vendela Vida

If you are considering using second-person point of view, it’s useful to read examples of published authors so you can uncover the techniques they use and make it work effectively for you.

As with all writing, practice makes perfect. Try changing sentences written in the first and third person into the second-person point of view.

Don’t forget to explore tense too. Try writing in second-person perspective in the present and past tense and consider the effect it creates.

Reading published examples of second-person point of view writing will help you learn how to do it successfully yourself. Look for examples, especially in advertising, and unpick the effect they have on you as a reader.

Stay aware of narrative voice while you write, rather than your own voice. It’s very easy to slip out of perspective.

Keep in mind who is speaking. Add description so your reader can imagine themselves there to make it feel more believable.

writing in second person checklist

Generally, it’s best to keep to the same point of view throughout a piece of text. It can feel jarring for the reader if it changes, so when it’s used, it is for a deliberately unsettling effect.

For example, an opening to a murder mystery could be written in second person to make the reader feel part of the action during the murder, giving them tantalising clues (and red herrings) before switching to a traditional third-person narrative voice.

If you do want to deliberately change narrative voice, make it clear to the reader:

  • Limit it to a prologue and/or epilogue
  • Use deliberate changes of font and style
  • Use chapter breaks and titles to signal the change

Copy and speech writers do get to regularly break the unwritten rule of maintaining the same narrative voice, but they do so in a deliberate (and limited) way. They often move between second person singular and inclusive first person plural.

For example: You want the best for your children. We all do. That’s why you’re investing in their future.

By shifting to an inclusive first person POV, they create a rapport with their reader and avoid sounding superior or aggressive.

Maintaining Second-Person Point of View

Writers often drop out of the second person without realizing. If you want to write in the second person, run your document through ProWritingAid’s Pronoun Report to check your point of view is consistent.

pronoun report in prowritingaid showing a third person pronoun

You'll spot any rogue first or third person pronouns quickly so you know which sections you may need to fix. In the example above, you can see I've used the third person "them" in the last paragraph. By scanning the list of pronouns to the left of my screen, I can jump to the potential POV problem areas quickly.

For each of these questions, can you correctly identify which one uses the second-person narrative voice?

Question 1:

A: She walked slowly towards him.

B: You walked slowly towards him.

C: I walked slowly towards him.

The correct answer is: B. The pronoun "you" shows this sentence is in the second-person POV.

Question 2:

A: It’s hard for me to speak about it.

B: It’s hard for Tommy to speak about it.

C: It’s hard for you to speak about it.

The correct answer is: C. The pronoun "you" is used in both past and present tense writing.

Question 3:

A: Dip the chicken pieces into the breadcrumbs.

B: I dip the chicken pieces into the breadcrumbs.

C: Tracy dips the chicken pieces into the breadcrumbs.

The correct answer is: A. Although the pronoun "you" is not used in this sentence, it is implied. This is often seen in instruction writing.

Question 4:

A: Do I have enough money saved?

B: Does Sarah have enough money saved?

C: Do you have enough money saved?

The correct answer is: C. Rhetorical questions are often used by copywriters and generally written in second-person POV because they’re designed to make the reader think.

Question 5:

A: She is an adorable puppy. You want to take her home.

B: She is an adorable puppy. I want to take her home.

C: She is an adorable puppy. They want to take her home.

The correct answer is: A. Although the pronoun "she" is used in the first sentence, the second one reveals the narrative point of view using the pronoun "you".

quiz answer key

It can be difficult writing in the second-person point of view and you should use it for a specific purpose rather than as a random choice. It’s very suited to some forms of writing such as copy, instructions, lyrics, and speeches. It’s far less commonly used in fiction writing, because it can feel unrealistic and is hard to maintain over a long period.

If you want to get published traditionally, writing in this narrative voice is generally not recommended unless your story can’t be written any other way.

Learning to write from a second-person perspective takes practice. Reading published examples and experimenting with switching the point of view of sentences will help you get used to using it.

Now is a wonderful time to be a copywriter. Download this free book to learn how:

Turn Yourself Into a Prosperous Copywriter

This guide breaks down the three essential steps you must take if you think copywriting is the career for you.

This article contains an affiliate link for Masterclass.

writing in 2nd person example

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Helly Douglas is a UK writer and teacher, specialising in education, children, and parenting. She loves making the complex seem simple through blogs, articles, and curriculum content. You can check out her work at hellydouglas.com or connect on Twitter @hellydouglas. When she’s not writing, you will find her in a classroom, being a mum or battling against the wilderness of her garden—the garden is winning!

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Point of View — First, Second, & Third Person

Malcolm McKinsey

Point of view definition

In English, the point of view is the narrator's position or perspective through which the story is being communicated. An author's point of view tells the reader who the person is experiencing the event or the topic of the writing.

All types of writing — fiction, song lyrics, nonfiction — are written from a point of view.

First, Second, And Third Person

First, second, and third person are the three main types of point of view.

First person is the I / we perspective

Second person is the you perspective

Third person is the she / he / they / it perspective

The author chooses a point of view to relate the story as if you were experiencing it, to force you into the story, or to allow the author to show different points of view.

Point of view examples

First Person POV (You are experiencing it) – " My heart leaped into my throat as I turned and saw a frightening shadow."

Second Person POV (Force you into the story) – " You turn and see a frightening shadow."

Third Person POV (Show different points of view) – " The children turned and saw the frightening shadow. They were unaware a cat had walked close to the low-hung lantern."

How to identify point of view

Identifying  a point of view in a writer's work can sometimes be challenging. The best way to find the point of view is to skip the dialogue, go to the narration, and look at the pronouns used in the narrative:

I, me, my, mine, myself, we, our, ours, ourselves — First person

You, your, yours, yourself — Second person

She, her, hers, herself, he, him, his, himself, they, them, themselves, their, theirs — Third person

You skip the dialogue because a character in any voice can speak and will almost always speak in first person voice.

Identifying a point of view

First person point of view

Usually, we speak in the first person when we talk about ourselves, our opinions, or our experiences.

Anytime a writer wants to share another person's life, you will see the first-person perspective. With a first-person view, every person reading the passage sees into the character's life.

First person pov

The first-person point of view is identified by singular pronouns such as;  me, my, I, mine, and myself  or plural first person pronouns like  we, us, our, and ourselves .

John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote the song, “In My Life” in first person:

There are places I'll remember All my life, though some have changed Some forever, not for better Some have gone and some remain All these places had their moments With lovers and friends, I still can recall Some are dead and some are living In my life, I've loved them all

New Yorker magazine writer and children's book author E.B. White often wrote in the first person, especially in his nonfiction essays. This excerpt is from "Goodbye to Forty-Eighth Street":

One day a couple of weeks ago,  I  sat for a while staring moodily at a plaque that had entered my life largely as a result of some company's zest for promotion.

Choose first person when you want the reader to go along for the ride with you. You direct the action, sure, but the reader  feels  it. Consider these famous first-person plural words:

We the People of the United States in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Preamble of us constitution - first person example

Novels from around 1900 to the present usually show this active, engaged point of view. Tasks ideal for the first person (singular or plural) include:

Autobiographies

Journals or diaries

Reading records

Song lyrics

Letters (formal or friendly)

Places to  avoid  the first person:

Academic work

Instructions

Types of first person

First person narration can take different forms:

Reliable – the writer's character speaks the truth

Unreliable – the writer's character is hiding something; they are an unreliable narrator

First-person central – the narrator is the main character and central to the plot

First-person peripheral – the narrator is a witness, but not the main character

To read a gripping first-person narrative, revisit Suzanne Collins' "Hunger Games" trilogy.

Second person point of view

Second person point of view is known as the “you” perspective. It is the perspective of the person or persons that the narrator is addressing. The second person perspective is identifiable by the author's use of second-person pronouns:  you, yourself, your, yours, or yourselves .

Many second-person pronouns are both singular and plural, depending on the context.

Second person pov

The second person point of view attempts to turn the reader into the character. It is seldom used in novels but does give an immediate jolt.

Second person point of view examples

The use of second-person perspective in novels or stories is rare, but it does exist. Consider this example from fiction, "Earth and Ashes" by Atiq Rahimi and Erdag Goknar:

With your back to the autumn sun, you are squatting against the iron railings of the bridge that links the two banks of the dry riverbed north of Pul-i-Khumri.

Second person helps to deeply immerse new readers in many children's books. The entirety of "How to Babysit a Grandpa" is written as a second-person book of instructions:

As soon as your grandpa says, “I give up,” jump out and shout, “Here I am!”

The second person point of view is perfectly natural for recipes and directions. Here is a way to make lemonade, written in the second person:

You need six lemons, six cups of cold water, and one cup of sugar.

You'll need a large pitcher for mixing everything and a juicer.

Before you juice the lemons, you can make your work easier by rolling the lemons on the counter, hard.

Then you just juice them normally.

You combine the fresh lemon juice, water, and sugar in the pitcher.

Stir; you may want to adjust sweetness or water to taste.

Using second person point of view

With instructions and directions, second person can be an “understood” point of view:

“Turn to page 178 and solve problems 6 through 10.”

The understood but unwritten subject of that sentence is “You”, the pronoun is just left out.

Never use the second person POV in academic writing.

Third person point of view

The third-person point of view belongs to the people or person the narrator is referring to. Third-person pronouns are  she, he, her, him, hers, his, herself, himself, it, its, itself, they, their, theirs,  them and  themselves .

For the writer who must tell several interwoven stories, provide psychological distance between the subject and the reader, or who needs to stay neutral, nothing beats the third-person viewpoint.

All academic writing, most advertising, many novels, and most quotations or aphorisms are written in the third person.

Third person point of view

Third person limited

The third-person limited point of view is when the narrator only has some access to the experiences and thoughts of the characters. Many times, the third person limited perspective limits the narrators access to the thoughts and experiences of just one character.

Third person omniscient

The third-person omniscient point of view is when the narrator has access to all the experiences and thoughts of all the characters in the story. An omniscient narrator knows the main character's thoughts and those of every other character in the novel or short story.

Third person point of view examples

Here is a passage from J.K. Rowling's  Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone , showing the power of third person:

Harry moved in front of the tank and looked intently at the snake. He wouldn't have been surprised if it had died of boredom itself...

In fiction, third person allows a writer to put the reader into the heads of all the characters, explain important plot points, and present information in a seemingly neutral way.

Speaking In Third Person

Speaking in the third person is not typical, but people do it. It can be an excellent  comedic effect or to grab someone's attention.

Here is an example of Larry speaking in the third person:

Sheila : Hey Jake, let's watch this movie! Larry loves this movie.

Jake : Oh yes, Larry is a huge fan of this one. Let's watch it!

Larry : What!? Larry does not like this movie.

Fourth person point of view

The  fourth person point of view  is a term used for indefinite or generic referents. A common example in the English language is the word one as in “one would think that's how it works.” This example sentence is referring to a generic someone.

You may also see the fourth person point of view called the third person generic.

Choosing a point of view

We all like to write in a natural way. As a writer, you have a duty to your reader to think carefully about your point of view. Many writers rewrite their work if the point of view seems awkward.

That paragraph went from first person to second person to third person, all in just three sentences!

Choosing a point of view

The first-person point of view or a first-person narrator can fool a reader into trusting the narrator when the narrator is not a reliable reporter (great for mysteries, recounted tales, and fictional confessionals).

Many great novels such as "The Great Gatsby" are written from a first-person perspective. Another classic in first person POV is Herman Melville's "Moby Dick." It is clear who is narrating with the line "Call me Ishmael."

The second person is suitable for simple, direct storytelling (for children, recipes, assembly instructions, and the like).

A third person narrator creates the most distance between events and the reader. It is almost always seen as a reliable, neutral viewpoint. With the third person, the author can select the point of view of a single character or be omniscient (all-knowing, all present) and move in and out of the minds of all the characters.

Unreliable narrator

What is Second Person Point of View — Definition and Examples Featured

  • Scriptwriting

What is Second Person Point of View — Definition and Examples

Y our eyes scroll horizontally, sentence by sentence, word over word over word – you stop to think, who is it that’s addressing me? Then, perhaps subconsciously, you realize that you must be reading from an alternate point of view, maybe this is second person – but what is second person point of view? We’re going to break down the second person point of view, or second person POV, with examples from Bright Lights, Big City and Mad Men , but first, let’s define second person point of view.

SECOND PERSON POINT OF VIEW DEFINITION

What is a second person point of view.

A second person point of view is a narrative perspective that places the emphasis on you . Although the second person point of view is very difficult to sustain, it can be used sparingly to great effect by writers to make the reader an active participant in a story. Second person is incredibly hard to communicate in visual mediums, because it’s so reliant on upsetting the more detached perspectives we typically have while watching film or TV. 

Characteristics of the Second Person POV:

  • Emphasis on you
  • Makes the reader an active participant
  • Hard to sustain for long periods of time

Second Person Point of View Examples

Types of second person point of view.

What does second person point of view mean, really? When writing in the second person POV, be mindful of subjective, objective, and possessive grammar; as well as the singular and plural versions of the pronoun. Here are the principle pronouns we use to write second person:

All three of these pronouns are both singular and plural. To differentiate whether they’re intended to be interpreted as singular or plural, we have to rely on the rest of the sentence in which they’re used.

For example:

  • “Jessica, you are such a jerk!” (singular)
  • “ You guys are such jerks!” (plural)
  • “Sir, your car is waiting outside.” (singular)
  • “Mr. and Mrs. Smith, your car is waiting outside.” (plural)
  • “Jimmy, that home run was huge – this trophy is yours .” (singular)
  • “That was a real team effort – this trophy is all yours .” (plural)

There are some cases in which different words are used to differentiate the singular and plural in the second person, such as yourself vs. yourselves.

  • “Alexa, you should be proud of yourself .” (singular)
  • “Great work everybody, you should be proud of yourselves .” (plural)

Also, don’t forget about imperative sentences – these don’t use the word “you” but instead imply it. Here a couple of examples: 

  • “This project needs to be completed by noon.”
  • “Grab the keys.”
  • “Please take out the trash.”

The second person imperative relies on action verbs, like “grab” and “take” to communicate an unspoken directive at a secondary party. Now that we’ve reviewed some grammatical intricacies of using the second person POV, let’s dive into some second person point of view examples.

Second Person Perspective in Writing

What is 2nd person pov in literature.

The second person point of view is used fairly often in writing, but it’s unusual for a story to exclusively rely on it. Just think about it: would you want to read a 200-page novel that forces you to be active the whole time?

Probably not; as such, very few novels have ever pulled it off. This next video explores in further detail the strengths and weaknesses of writing in the second person POV.

What is Second Person Point of View in Literature?  •  How to Write in 2nd Person POV by Reedsy

One successful novel that’s told entirely in the second person is Jay McInerney’s Bright Lights, Big City . The story of the novel follows a young writer who descends into New York City’s toxic nightlife, all told from the perspective of “you.”

For example, here’s a quote: 

“You keep thinking that with practice you will eventually get the knack of enjoying superficial encounters, that you will stop looking for the universal solvent, stop grieving. You will learn to compound happiness out of small increments of mindless pleasure.”

By using the second person, McInerney forces emotion onto us; he changes our perspective by forcing introspection. The line between the narrator and the reader thins as the plot develops. Ultimately, we’re forced to examine themes of the story by looking at ourselves.

Types of Second Person Point of View

Second person point of view in ads.

Ever since the days of ad-men, the second person point of view has been regarded as one of the best perspectives for effective marketing. One of the foundational aspects of marketing is making the customer believe they need what you’re selling. How is this done? Well, it starts with the second person.

Don Draper Headshot StudioBinder

“Advertising is based on one thing: happiness. And you know what happiness is? Happiness is the smell of a new car, it’s freedom from fear, it’s a billboard on the side of the road that screams with reassurance that whatever you’re doing is okay. You are okay.” 

— Don Draper

After we rehearsed what Don Draper said in Mad Men , let’s see how that point was proven with some of the most popular slogans in the world:

  • Think Different (Apple) — (second person imperative)
  • You’re in Good Hands (Allstate) — (second person singular)
  • Have it your way (Burger King) — (second person possessive)
  • Just Do It (Nike) — (second person imperative)

By using the second person point of view, companies are able to communicate directly with the consumer. Moreover, they’re able to inspire action, and drive sales through an artificial sense of connection.

Second Person Point of View Movie Examples

Second person point of view in media.

If the second person point of view is defined by the word you and imperative clauses, then how is it possible for the second person to be communicated in a visual medium? Well, it’s certainly tricky to pull off.

There’s definitely a sense of “meta” with second person. In writing, that “meta” exists between the writer and you as the reader. The “meta” is everything inferred, everything read between the lines that’s not outwardly said, like subtext and satire .

There are a couple of games that are so “meta” that one could argue that they’re second person. This next video argues that Trover Saves the Universe is told solely through the second person POV.

2nd Person Point of View Examples  •  A True Second Person Game by Daily Quests

Trover Saves the Universe was co-created by Rick and Morty co-creator Justin Roiland . Much of the satire from Rick and Morty is used to similar effect in Trover Saves the Universe ; but a major difference lies in the works' separate perspectives. Roiland and the development team effectively enter that meta-state we talked about earlier by putting us in the vantage of one character who’s controlling another. As such, many regard this perspective as second person.

What is First Point of View?

We covered how the second person POV is used in writing and gaming, but what about the first person? Don’t worry, we have you covered on this categorie as well, with blog post that go into similar detail on how first person perspective is used by writers, designers, and filmmakers to expert effect.

Up Next: 1st Person POV →

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second person

Mastering The Second Person Viewpoint: A Comprehensive Guide To Engaging Your Readers

Gary Smailes

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Power of Second Person Viewpoint

When to use the second person viewpoint, creating immersion: how second person draws readers in, challenges of writing in second person, tips for success: writing in second person effectively, notable examples of second person viewpoint in literature, switching viewpoints: combining second person with first and third person perspectives, applicability of second person viewpoint in different genres, frequently asked questions.

When it comes to storytelling, authors have a variety of narrative viewpoints to choose from, each with its unique strengths and challenges. One often overlooked yet powerful option is the second person viewpoint . In this introductory section, we will explore the second person viewpoint, its defining characteristics, and why it can be such a captivating choice for writers.

At its core, the second person viewpoint uses the pronoun "you" to address the reader directly, transforming them into a character in the story. This perspective creates a sense of immediacy and involvement, as if the reader is living the events of the story as they unfold. While less common than first and third person viewpoints, second person offers a unique opportunity to engage readers on a deeper level and challenge conventional storytelling techniques.

Despite its rarity, the second person viewpoint has been employed to great effect in a number of literary works. Some noteworthy examples include "Bright Lights, Big City" by Jay McInerney and "If on a Winter's Night a Traveler" by Italo Calvino. In both cases, the authors use the second person perspective to create a sense of intimacy, urgency, and reader immersion that would be difficult to achieve using traditional first or third person narrative styles.

One of the reasons the second person viewpoint is so effective is that it breaks down the barrier between the reader and the story. By addressing the reader directly, the author creates a sense of immediacy and involvement that encourages the reader to become an active participant in the narrative. This can be especially powerful in genres such as Choose Your Own Adventure books, where readers are asked to make choices that directly impact the story's outcome.

However, the second person viewpoint is not without its challenges. Writing in this perspective requires a delicate balance of engaging the reader while avoiding the pitfalls of making assumptions about the reader's thoughts, feelings, and experiences. This can be a difficult tightrope to walk, but when done successfully, the rewards are well worth the effort.

In the sections that follow, we will delve deeper into the intricacies of the second person viewpoint, discussing when and how to use it effectively, techniques for creating immersion, and how to overcome the challenges inherent in this narrative style. By the end of this comprehensive guide, you will be well-equipped to harness the power of the second person viewpoint and create captivating stories that engage your readers like never before.

While the second person viewpoint can be a powerful narrative tool, it is not always the best choice for every story. In this section, we will discuss the situations in which the second person perspective can be most effective and some of the considerations to keep in mind when choosing this narrative style.

Interactive Stories: One of the most effective applications of the second person viewpoint is in interactive stories, such as Choose Your Own Adventure books and certain types of interactive fiction . In these stories, readers are active participants, making choices that directly impact the narrative. Using the second person perspective in this context allows the reader to feel more immersed in the story, as they are directly addressed and involved in the unfolding events.

Creating Intimacy and Empathy: The second person viewpoint can be used to create a sense of intimacy between the reader and the protagonist. By addressing the reader directly, the author can evoke empathy for the character's experiences and emotions. This can be particularly effective in stories that deal with personal or emotional subject matter, such as epistolary novels or personal essays.

Experimental and Literary Fiction: In some cases, authors may choose the second person viewpoint as a way to challenge traditional narrative conventions and explore new ways of telling stories. This can be particularly effective in literary fiction or experimental literature , where authors are often seeking to push the boundaries of storytelling and engage readers in new and unexpected ways.

Short Stories and Flash Fiction: Due to its unique and sometimes challenging nature, the second person viewpoint can be particularly well-suited for shorter works, such as short stories and flash fiction . In these shorter formats, the second person perspective can create a sense of immediacy and engagement, without the risk of overwhelming or alienating the reader over the course of a longer narrative.

When considering whether to use the second person viewpoint, it is important to weigh the potential benefits against the challenges. As discussed in the introduction, writing in the second person can be difficult, requiring a delicate balance of engaging the reader without making assumptions about their thoughts or experiences. However, when used effectively, the second person perspective can be a powerful narrative tool that sets your story apart and creates a unique and memorable reading experience.

As you contemplate using the second person viewpoint in your own writing, consider the goals and themes of your story, as well as the desired impact on your readers. Ask yourself if the second person perspective will enhance your narrative and better engage your audience, or if another viewpoint might be more appropriate. By carefully considering these factors, you can make an informed decision about when to use the second person viewpoint and how to harness its power to create captivating stories that resonate with your readers.

One of the key strengths of the second person viewpoint is its ability to create a deep sense of immersion for the reader. In this section, we will explore the techniques and strategies that can be employed to achieve this level of engagement, drawing readers into your story and making them feel like active participants in the narrative.

Direct Address: The most obvious way that the second person viewpoint creates immersion is through the use of direct address. By employing the pronoun "you" and speaking directly to the reader, the author establishes a connection that is both intimate and immediate. This connection encourages readers to identify with the protagonist and imagine themselves in the story, experiencing the events and emotions firsthand. To maximize the impact of direct address, it is important to use the second person pronoun consistently and intentionally throughout the narrative.

Sensory Details: Including rich, evocative sensory details can enhance the immersive quality of the second person viewpoint. By describing sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and tactile sensations, you can create a vivid, immersive world for your readers to inhabit. When writing in the second person, focus on providing specific, concrete sensory details that will draw readers in and make them feel as if they are truly experiencing the events of the story.

Active Voice and Action: Writing in the second person often lends itself well to the use of active voice and a focus on action. By using strong, active verbs and emphasizing the protagonist's actions, you can create a sense of immediacy and urgency that draws readers in and keeps them engaged. This can be particularly effective in genres such as adventure fiction or thrillers , where a fast pace and high stakes are essential to maintaining reader interest.

Interiority and Stream of Consciousness: Another way to create immersion in the second person viewpoint is by delving into the protagonist's thoughts and emotions, using techniques such as interior monologue or stream of consciousness . By offering readers a glimpse into the inner workings of the protagonist's mind, you can create a deep sense of empathy and understanding, further drawing them into the story. This can be especially effective in character-driven stories or those that deal with complex emotional or psychological themes.

Reader Expectations and Surprises: Finally, one of the most powerful ways to create immersion in the second person viewpoint is by playing with reader expectations and incorporating surprises into the narrative. By subverting or challenging what readers might expect from a story told in the second person, you can create moments of surprise and intrigue that keep them engaged and eager to discover what happens next. This can be achieved through unexpected plot twists, unconventional narrative structures, or unique character development.

In conclusion, creating immersion in the second person viewpoint requires a combination of narrative techniques, including direct address, sensory details, active voice, interiority, and surprises. By employing these strategies and carefully considering the unique strengths and challenges of the second person perspective, you can craft stories that draw readers in and make them feel like active participants in the narrative.

While the second person viewpoint offers numerous benefits and opportunities for creating immersive, engaging stories, it also presents unique challenges for writers. In this section, we will discuss some of the most common difficulties associated with writing in the second person and offer potential solutions to overcome these hurdles.

Reader Resistance: One of the primary challenges of writing in the second person is that some readers may be resistant to this narrative style. Since it is less common than first or third person viewpoints, readers may be initially put off by the direct address and unfamiliarity of the second person perspective. To overcome this challenge, it is important to establish a strong narrative voice and engaging storyline early in your story, drawing readers in and encouraging them to embrace the unique qualities of the second person viewpoint.

Maintaining Consistency: Writing in the second person requires a high level of consistency and intentionality in order to maintain the immersive effect. Inconsistently using the second person pronoun or switching between viewpoints can disrupt the narrative flow and undermine the immersive qualities of the second person perspective. To avoid this issue, carefully plan your story's structure and narrative voice before you begin writing, and be diligent in maintaining the second person viewpoint throughout the entirety of your work.

Avoiding Assumptions: A key challenge of writing in the second person is avoiding assumptions about the reader's thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Since the second person viewpoint directly addresses the reader, it can be easy to inadvertently make assumptions that alienate or disengage your audience. To combat this problem, focus on describing the protagonist's experiences and emotions in a way that invites the reader to empathize and imagine themselves in the character's shoes, without explicitly dictating how they should feel or react.

Limited Character Development: Writing in the second person can sometimes limit opportunities for character development, as the focus is primarily on the reader as the protagonist. To overcome this challenge, consider incorporating other narrative techniques, such as epistolary elements or interior monologues , to provide insight into the thoughts, emotions, and motivations of other characters. Additionally, pay close attention to the development of secondary characters and their interactions with the protagonist, ensuring they are fully realized and contribute meaningfully to the narrative.

Restricted Scope and Flexibility: The second person viewpoint can sometimes feel restrictive, as it limits the narrative scope to the protagonist's direct experiences and perceptions. This can make it challenging to incorporate multiple perspectives or convey information that the protagonist is not directly privy to. One potential solution to this problem is to experiment with combining the second person viewpoint with other narrative perspectives, such as first or third person, to create a more flexible and expansive narrative structure.

In conclusion, while writing in the second person viewpoint presents unique challenges, with careful planning and attention to detail, these obstacles can be overcome. By addressing potential issues such as reader resistance, consistency, assumptions, character development, and narrative scope, you can successfully harness the power of the second person perspective and create immersive, engaging stories that captivate your readers and leave a lasting impression.

Now that we've explored the unique challenges and benefits of writing in the second person, let's discuss some practical tips and strategies for successfully employing this narrative perspective in your own writing. By following these guidelines, you can create captivating stories that effectively harness the power of the second person viewpoint.

1. Develop a Strong Narrative Voice: One of the most critical aspects of writing in the second person is establishing a compelling, consistent narrative voice. This voice should be distinct and engaging, drawing readers in and encouraging them to invest in your story. To develop your narrative voice, experiment with different tones, styles, and diction until you find a voice that feels authentic and resonates with your intended audience.

2. Choose the Right Story: Not every story is well-suited for the second person viewpoint. Consider the themes, plot, and characters of your story and determine whether the second person perspective will enhance the narrative or detract from it. As discussed in previous sections, the second person viewpoint can be particularly effective in interactive stories, character-driven narratives, and experimental or literary fiction.

3. Focus on Sensory Details: As mentioned earlier, sensory details are crucial for creating immersion in the second person viewpoint. Be sure to include vivid, specific descriptions of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and tactile sensations throughout your story. These details will help readers feel more connected to the narrative and create a more immersive, engaging experience.

4. Use Active Language: Writing in the second person lends itself well to active language and a focus on action. Use strong, active verbs and emphasize the protagonist's actions to create a sense of immediacy and urgency. This can be especially important in genres like adventure fiction or thrillers , where pacing and stakes are key components of the narrative.

5. Balance Interiority and Exteriority: To create a well-rounded narrative, it's important to balance the protagonist's inner thoughts and emotions with their external experiences and actions. Utilize techniques like interior monologue and stream of consciousness to provide insight into the protagonist's inner life, while also incorporating vivid descriptions of their actions and surroundings.

6. Experiment with Form and Structure: The second person viewpoint offers unique opportunities to experiment with form and structure in your writing. Consider incorporating unconventional narrative techniques, such as epistolary elements or nonlinear narratives , to further engage readers and create a distinctive reading experience.

While the second person viewpoint is less common than first or third person perspectives, it has been employed to great effect in a variety of literary works. In this section, we will explore some notable examples of the second person viewpoint in literature, showcasing the unique narrative power and potential of this narrative style.

Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney: This 1984 novel is a prime example of the second person viewpoint used effectively in a modern, urban setting. The story follows a young man navigating the excesses and pitfalls of New York City in the 1980s, with the second person perspective providing an intimate and immediate connection to the protagonist's experiences and emotions.

If on a Winter's Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino: Calvino's 1979 postmodern novel is a masterful exploration of the second person viewpoint and its potential for creating immersive, engaging narratives. The story follows "you," the reader, as you attempt to read a novel but are continually interrupted by various obstacles and digressions, resulting in a complex and multi-layered narrative experience.

Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas by Tom Robbins: This 1994 novel uses the second person viewpoint to tell the story of a stockbroker named Gwen, whose life begins to unravel over the course of a single weekend. The second person perspective adds an extra layer of depth and engagement to the novel's exploration of themes such as spirituality, materialism, and the search for meaning in modern life.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern: While not entirely written in the second person viewpoint, Morgenstern's 2011 novel incorporates sections of second person narrative to draw readers into the magical world of the titular circus. These interludes serve to create an immersive, interactive experience that complements the novel's enchanting atmosphere and intricate storytelling.

These examples demonstrate the wide range of possibilities and potential applications for the second person viewpoint in literature. From modern urban settings to postmodern metafiction, psychological thrillers to magical realism, the second person perspective has been employed to create immersive, engaging narratives that challenge conventions and captivate readers. By studying and learning from these notable works, you can gain valuable insights into the power and potential of the second person viewpoint, and apply these lessons to your own writing endeavors.

While writing exclusively in the second person viewpoint can be a powerful and engaging narrative choice, some authors choose to combine second person with first or third person perspectives to create a more flexible and multifaceted narrative structure. In this section, we will explore the potential benefits and challenges of combining second person with other narrative viewpoints, as well as offer some practical tips and techniques for successfully integrating multiple perspectives into your story.

Benefits of Combining Viewpoints: There are several potential advantages to incorporating multiple narrative viewpoints in your story. Combining second person with first or third person perspectives can provide a more expansive narrative scope, allowing you to explore multiple characters, perspectives, and storylines. Additionally, alternating between viewpoints can add variety and interest to your narrative, creating a dynamic and engaging reading experience. Finally, using multiple perspectives can help to deepen characterization and enhance reader empathy, as it allows you to explore different characters' thoughts, feelings, and motivations from various angles.

Challenges of Combining Viewpoints: While there are numerous benefits to incorporating multiple narrative viewpoints, there are also potential challenges to consider. One of the primary difficulties is maintaining a consistent and coherent narrative voice, as switching between perspectives can be jarring or confusing if not executed skillfully. Additionally, combining viewpoints may require careful planning and organization to ensure that your story remains focused and cohesive, as well as to avoid potential inconsistencies or continuity errors.

Tips for Success: If you decide to combine second person with first or third person perspectives in your story, consider the following tips and techniques to ensure a successful and seamless integration:

  • Establish Clear Boundaries: Clearly delineate the different narrative viewpoints by using separate chapters, sections, or other structural markers to indicate a shift in perspective. This can help to avoid confusion and maintain narrative clarity.
  • Develop Distinct Narrative Voices: To create a cohesive and engaging reading experience, develop distinct and consistent narrative voices for each viewpoint. This may include differences in tone, diction, and style, as well as unique narrative techniques or structures associated with each perspective.
  • Maintain Balance: Strive to maintain a balance between the different narrative viewpoints, ensuring that each perspective contributes meaningfully to the overall story and receives adequate attention and development. Avoid overusing one viewpoint at the expense of others, as this can create an uneven or disjointed narrative.
  • Plan and Organize: Carefully plan and organize your story's structure and narrative arcs before you begin writing, to ensure that the integration of multiple viewpoints is purposeful and effective. This may include outlining each character's storyline and considering how their perspectives intersect and influence one another throughout the narrative.

While the second person viewpoint is often associated with specific genres or styles of writing, it is, in fact, a versatile narrative technique that can be employed effectively across a wide range of genres. In this section, we will explore the applicability of the second person viewpoint in various literary genres and consider the unique opportunities and challenges it presents within each context.

Literary Fiction: The second person viewpoint has been used to great effect in literary fiction, as it allows authors to explore complex themes, emotions, and narrative structures in a highly immersive and engaging manner. Examples include If on a Winter's Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino and Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney. The second person viewpoint can be especially effective in experimental or postmodern works that challenge conventional narrative techniques and reader expectations.

Science Fiction and Fantasy: In science fiction and fantasy, the second person viewpoint can be employed to immerse readers in unfamiliar, fantastical worlds and introduce them to unique concepts and ideas. For example, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern incorporates second person interludes to draw readers into the magical world of the titular circus. The second person perspective can also be used to explore alternate realities or parallel universes, creating a visceral and immediate connection between the reader and the fantastical elements of the story.

Horror and Psychological Thriller: The second person viewpoint can be particularly effective in horror and psychological thriller genres, as it heightens the sense of tension, unease, and immediacy within the narrative. A notable example is You by Caroline Kepnes, which uses the second person perspective to place the reader in the mind of a stalker, creating a chilling and intimate reading experience.

Choose-Your-Own-Adventure and Interactive Fiction: The second person viewpoint is a natural fit for choose-your-own-adventure and interactive fiction, as it directly addresses the reader and encourages them to participate in the narrative. In these genres, the second person perspective can create a strong sense of agency and engagement, as the reader is actively involved in shaping the story's outcome.

Romance and Erotica: In romance and erotica, the second person viewpoint can be used to create a deep sense of intimacy and connection between the reader and the characters. By directly addressing the reader and inviting them to experience the emotions, desires, and sensations of the characters, the second person perspective can heighten the emotional impact and eroticism of the narrative.

Young Adult and Children's Literature: While less common in young adult and children's literature, the second person viewpoint can be employed to create engaging, immersive narratives that resonate with younger readers. For example, the second person perspective can be used to explore themes of identity, self-discovery, and personal growth in a way that encourages young readers to reflect on their own experiences and emotions.

Below are some frequently asked questions that will provide you with more information.

What are the benefits of using second person viewpoint in my writing?

Using second person viewpoint can create a deep sense of immersion and connection between the reader and the characters, making the narrative feel more personal and engaging. It can also challenge traditional narrative conventions, providing a fresh and innovative approach to storytelling that sets your work apart.

How can I effectively combine second person viewpoint with first or third person perspectives?

To effectively combine second person viewpoint with first or third person perspectives, establish clear boundaries between the different viewpoints, develop distinct narrative voices for each perspective, maintain balance between viewpoints, and carefully plan and organize your story's structure and narrative arcs.

Can second person viewpoint be used in different genres of writing?

Yes, second person viewpoint is a versatile narrative technique that can be employed effectively across various genres, including literary fiction, science fiction and fantasy, horror and psychological thriller, choose-your-own-adventure and interactive fiction, romance and erotica, and young adult and children's literature.

What are some notable examples of second person viewpoint in literature?

Notable examples of second person viewpoint in literature include "Bright Lights, Big City" by Jay McInerney, "If on a Winter's Night a Traveler" by Italo Calvino, "You" by Caroline Kepnes, "Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas" by Tom Robbins, and "The Night Circus" by Erin Morgenstern.

In this comprehensive guide, we have explored the unique qualities and challenges of the second person viewpoint and its potential for creating immersive, engaging narratives. By examining when to use this narrative technique, how it can draw readers in, and the specific challenges it presents, we have gained valuable insights into the power of the second person perspective in storytelling.

Furthermore, we have offered practical tips for writing effectively in the second person viewpoint, analyzed notable examples of this narrative technique in literature, and discussed how it can be combined with first and third person perspectives for added depth and complexity. Additionally, we have explored the applicability of the second person viewpoint across various genres, illustrating its versatility and potential for innovation.

As you venture into the world of writing in second person, keep in mind the importance of immersion, connection, and narrative voice in crafting compelling stories that resonate with your readers. By experimenting with this narrative technique and honing your skills, you can unlock new creative possibilities and enrich your storytelling. We hope that this guide serves as a valuable resource for you as you explore the power and potential of the second person viewpoint in your own writing.

For further learning and inspiration, consider the recommended Further Reading section, which features non-fiction books that delve into various aspects of narrative technique, including the second person perspective. And, as always, continue practicing and refining your craft to develop your unique voice and style. Happy writing!

Further Reading

  • What Is 1st Person 2nd Person 3rd Person With Examples
  • What Are The Three Points Of View?
  • What Is The Point Of View?
  • Mastering Point Of View In Writing: A Comprehensive Guide
  • Third Person Point Of View Explained (With Examples)
  • First Person Point Of View A Comprehensive Overview For Writers [Including Examples]

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Ultimate Guide To Second Person Point of View: 15 Tips & Examples

Last Updated on July 20, 2022 by Dr Sharon Baisil MD

Do you know the first-person point of view? It’s when you see your story through one character’s eyes and write about what they see and do. Well, second person point of view is like that–except you’re telling the story to someone else! This article will show you how to use this unusual technique for a powerful effect. We’ll cover a step-by-step guide on writing in the second person, as well as some examples from published books. So read on if you want to learn more!

What is the Second Person Point of View?

Typically, a story is written in the third person point of view . That means you’ll write your novel from one character’s perspective and tell what they do and see. However, some stories are written with the second-person point of view: they’re told as if they were happening to you!

When using a second-person point of view, you’ll write as ‘you.’ The reader will see your story through your perspective, just like first-person. However, instead of writing ‘I did this, you’ll be writing ‘You did this.’

How to use Second Person Point of View in Writing

Typically, a second-person point of view is used in nonfiction books or short stories. It’s usually not good for novels because it feels too informal and has a small reading range (no one wants to read your diary!) However, the second person point of view is highly effective in certain stories. For example:

  • Believable Fiction : If your character tells a true story (like an autobiography), then using a second-person point of view works perfectly well. This way, you’ll keep the reader engaged and focused on what’s happening.
  • Narrative Prose : If you’re telling a story about something that happened to someone else, but are not focusing on yourself or your emotions, then writing from second-person point of view can be incredibly effective.
  • Creative Nonfiction : Second person point of view is often used in creative nonfiction because it’s informal and helps the reader relate to the story. This is because it feels like they’re being told a story that’s happening to them instead of just reading facts off the page.
  • Short Stories : Second person point of view works best for short stories. That’s because novels require more time and commitment from the reader–novels are long! If you write a novel in second-person point of view, your reader might not feel committed enough to get through all the pages.

In addition, there are some things to remember when writing in the second-person point of view: Make sure it feels natural! Using ‘you’ can feel forced, so make sure you don’t overdo it.

Be sure to use the line breaks and punctuation appropriate for this point of view. If possible, avoid distancing your reader with words like ‘obviously’ or ‘clearly’. This perspective should feel close and personal, not distant! It’s okay to switch between second-person point of view and a third-person point of view. The reader won’t mind, as long as it’s done well.

Let’s take a look at some examples now. I’ll show you how to write from a second-person point of view by rewriting famous passages from popular novels!

Examples Of Second Person Point of View In Books

Believable Fiction: ‘You stand on the bow of the ship. Your grip is tight, your knuckles white. The sea stretches out before you into eternity, and you are not afraid.’

Narrative Prose: ‘You open the letter and inside there are just two words: I’m sorry. You look up at the sky, and a raindrop falls . It lands on your cheek, cool and clean.’

Creative Nonfiction: ‘You walk down the aisle in a pretty white dress. Your father’s hand is trembling as he takes it from yours.’

Short Stories: ‘You’re sitting alone in your room. It’s night, and the only light comes from your laptop screen.’

The examples of second-person points of view in these books are clear and vivid! The reader can easily get into the protagonist’s shoes without feeling confused or lost. If you’re writing from this point of view, make sure it feels natural to you and that you’re not forcing it.

What are the benefits of using a second person perspective?

The benefits of using second-person perspective include:

  • Accessing the reader’s experience and point of view. Because it is written to describe everything from the reader’s viewpoint, it allows you to see things through her eyes and feel what she feels. This can create a deeper connection between your writing and your readers.
  • Making your writing more effective. The second-person perspective can help you access the reader’s experience, which engages her most in your story.
  • Presenting an immediate tone, voice, and point of view. Because this perspective gives clear direction on how you want your reader to feel or see things, it helps them engage with the text immediately.
  • Keeping the writing efficient and concise. Since second-person perspective limits you to only one character’s point of view, it forces you to be efficient with your words since you can’t rely on a narrator to fill in the details for you. This style also encourages authors to cut any unnecessary language or fluff that can be found in many other writing styles.

How do you use the second-person perspective? Step by Step Guide

  • Begin by choosing a character and writing from their perspective. It’s important to identify what you want your readers to experience and feel as they read, and then pick one of your characters that can help them achieve this goal. This person should be someone who is easily relatable or provides an interesting point of view for your story since you will need to use their perspective for your entire book. If this character happens to be the protagonist, then you’ll have a lot more room to explore other points of view in your story.
  • In the second paragraph, set up a goal for your character. It can be anything from making friends to saving someone’s life. In this section, you’ll also want to describe the main conflict in your story and how your protagonist will have to overcome them to reach their goal.
  • In the third paragraph, show your protagonist engaging with the environment. Give them a name or use their pronouns. You’ll need to describe everything they see, hear, feel, smell and taste as they interact with their surroundings.
  • In the fourth paragraph, create an obstacle for your protagonist to overcome. Describe how it feels for them to face this conflict and the intense feelings that come out. In this section, you’ll also want to describe how they try and fail to overcome this obstacle in their journey towards achieving their goal.
  • In the fifth paragraph, show your protagonist persevering even though they fail at the first attempt. Describe them fighting for what matters most to them and show what drives them to continue their efforts.
  • In the sixth paragraph, provide your protagonist with some sage wisdom or words of encouragement that will strengthen them for their final attempt towards reaching the goal they set out to achieve.
  • In the seventh paragraph, describe how your protagonist finally achieves their goal by overcoming this obstacle. Show how it feels, what they see, and all of their senses as they succeed in this journey.
  • In the last paragraph that concludes your story, provide a small twist or reveal that shows why reaching their goal was important to them in the first place. This will help readers understand who your protagonist really is and why their goal matters so much to them.

As you can see, the second-person perspective is very straightforward and takes less time to plan out than the first or third-person perspectives since there are only a few steps you’ll need to take. This style also encourages writers to limit the amount of unnecessary language in their stories to focus on providing their readers with a fresh and engaging experience that doesn’t require them to strain their imaginations to envision their stories.

In the end, using second-person perspective can be a useful tool for authors who are looking for a different way of telling a story or want to make their writing concise and efficient.

Below is an example from Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court that uses a second-person perspective.

You are a young man whose father is a Knight who dies while you are still in your youth. After his death, you become apprenticed to a blacksmith and learn how to make horseshoes. After being mistreated one too many times, you set out on your own and seek adventure in a faraway land, Camelot.

A few days later, after having made it to Camelot and meeting King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table inquiring about employment, you learn that they are looking for some brave person who can go out to the neighboring kingdom of Mercia and bring back some information about its current affairs.

That night, you are informed by Merlin that you have been chosen to undertake this task. You are ordered to put on your armor and mount your horse for the journey ahead of you. As you are riding up onto a hill, Merlin says “Good bye,” and you turn around to see that he has vanished.

At the bottom of the hill, you reach some road signs where some directions have been carved in stone. One says “To Mercia,” while another one says “To London.” As you look down each path, it becomes unclear which way to go on this journey since both paths look equally as valid…

The good and evil of writing in second person perspective

The good part about writing in this style is that you can make your main character as likeable or unlikeable as possible for rich characterization and deep plot development. However, the downside to it is that it requires a lot more energy and effort from you as a writer; however, if done right, you’re sure to captivate an entire audience. Regardless, it can make or break your book depending on how well you write the style and if you drive the story forward.

If readers feel like they are too far removed from the events that occur within a given work of literature, then they may never connect with them or worse yet – stop reading altogether. Although authors like Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce and Virginia Woolf have been successful with this style, others have not been as fortunate. In the case of H.G. Wells’ “The Door In The Wall”, his writing was so dull that it just couldn’t engage his audience as he failed to do anything but tell them what happened from a limited perspective which made him just sound like an abandoned 3rd party narrator.

However, when this style is done well with excellent written words that effectively guide the story forward without getting lost in excess verbiage, then it can be very rewarding for any creative writer to fulfill their literary goals. Some of these writers who have successfully captured their audience through second-person point of view are John Steinbeck with “ The Grapes Of Wrath “, Ernest Hemingway with “ For Whom The Bell Tolls “, Emily Bronte’s “ Wuthering Heights ” , and Laurell K. Hamilton’s “Guilty Pleasures”.

The most obvious advantage of writing in the second person is that it allows you to be complemented with total honesty by your audience. Depending on how vivid or detailed someone’s imagination they are, this style can bring any book alive for an amazing amount of people who otherwise wouldn’t have read something similar at all since it doesn’t go too deep into technical information but goes beyond just ambient background noise about fictional buildings and characters.

When is second-person point of view used in writing?

The second person point of view is perfect when you want to create a sense of mystery in your words. Since the reader is not the protagonist but almost behind them watching their every step it can really make you feel like you are reading something very secretive that no one else will know about except for them and whatever character they are connecting with directly which helps give it a more poetic nature for those who appreciate drama.

Your characters can also be very close to you or complete strangers, making the connection between them and your audience all the more profound, which is why this style is a great tool for character development. This technique can make any reader feel like they are inside your head whether the protagonist is beating the odds or in a doomed situation, making for a very intimate experience with the words you write.

What are the challenges of using second person perspective?

  • Writing for a large audience. It can be challenging to write a story from a character’s point of view, especially if you want the reader to identify with them and feel what they’re going through. This is because not all readers may be able to identify with the character’s situation or interpretation of events. They may understand the text through their own experience, which makes it harder for them to absorb your story.
  • Making an emotional connection with readers. Second-person perspective cuts out the idea of a narrator because you are choosing not to include another character’s thoughts or feelings since you want to write this perspective from your character’s perspective. This can make it more difficult to engage with your audience because you’re limiting yourself based on the protagonist’s point of view.

Writing with Second Person Point of View

It can be difficult to maintain suspense when writing with this point of view, but there are tricks that any good writer should know about when using it in their work. In order to make your story more dramatic, you can use it to make someone’s life seem more interesting than they think it is such as when your character appears ordinary but there is something about them that stands out from the crowd or they are forced into dangerous situations where their life hangs in the balance.

Another technique you can try when writing with second-person point of view is to throw in some humor into the mix. There are usually people who will laugh at things that are meant to be taken seriously because it makes them feel better about themselves after realizing that they aren’t the only ones who go through some pretty awkward moments. If your protagonist feels like their situation is extremely humiliating, then you could end up getting a few laughs out of it if done correctly.

If you are writing a novel where your story is so amazing that everyone has to read it, then this style will be perfect for you. It can help generate more interest in something you have created if your audience feels like they are getting the inside scoop on what happens, and because of this, it may lead to more people sharing your work with their friends, which in turn may lead to more people reading it.

Writing in general is often viewed as a lonely job, so why not try something new when putting your thoughts down on paper? Using second-person point of view can broaden your horizons and help you see things from a whole new perspective unlike anything else that you have ever experienced. If you are passionate about writing, then it can be very rewarding to know that your words are being enjoyed by the masses.

Second Person Personal Pronouns

It can be difficult to decide on what kind of personal pronoun you should use when writing with second-person point of view, especially if it is not something that you do often. The best thing for you to do is try and choose the most appropriate word that will help your story flow more smoothly than before depending on whether you are male or female, just like with first-person point of view.

You can write how you want to but if you are especially interesting in giving your words that extra bit of something then the following list will tell you what kind of pronoun is most commonly used by each gender:

Male Pronouns: you, your, yours, yourself

Female Pronouns: you, your, yours, yourself

When trying to figure out the rest of your sentence, you should ask yourself what kind of pronoun would be used and in this case, it would most likely be “he” or “she”.

Example Of Second Person Point Of View

  • It was a bright day when she walked through the crowded market looking for something to buy.
  • The sun was high up in the sky when she walked through the crowded market looking for something to buy.
  • She looked around and saw so many people trying their best to sell their wares even though it was almost unbearable with all of the noise that filled the air.
  • “Hey you, would you like to buy one of my oranges?” someone yelled out, but she kept on walking, so they went back to shouting at other customers who were passing by.
  • She saw some beautiful flowers, but it would be too expensive if she wanted them all. She knew that her friend had just bought a bunch of these yesterday and that was why she came here in the first place.
  • “Hello there, pretty lady, looking for something special?” someone said, and she smiled at him before answering. “I am looking for some flowers, and I am not sure if you have any.”
  • The old man looked around his cart, but he could only find roses so he got them for her as a gift. She was grateful and she knew that it would be enough to make her friend smile when she told her all about this.

Writing with the second-person point of view will definitely give you something new to work towards if it is something that you have never done before. Give your story a unique feel with the aid of this style and you will be surprised at how it changes the way that your audience interacts with your story.

If you want to give this method a try, then there is nothing stopping you from doing so but do not overdo it because, of course, nothing can beat first-person point of view in terms of personal touch. The second person point of view is merely a nice and effective touch and with these following tips, you should be set on the right track to doing it right.

When should second-person point of view be avoided?

Sometimes, it does not always work to your advantage to write with second-person point of view. In fact, there are times when it might even be better for you to avoid using it as an author because as mentioned before, first-person point of view will always have the upper hand in terms of personal touch.

Although you should definitely give this style a try, you should also know when it is best to avoid writing with second-person point of view as this will prevent your audience from being confused. The following are some scenarios where second-person point of view might not be the best style for you to use:

When describing the setting – if the time and place is already established then there is a good chance that changing from third-person point of view to second-person point of view will confuse your audience. It is simply better to stick with what you know works when it comes to this kind of situation.

When telling a story – second-person point of view should never be used when storytelling because the audience might think that it is real and react to it. It is simply not worth the risk, so do not even try to be creative with your storytelling because it will most likely backfire anyway.

When describing an action – when you are telling a story, whether it is through narration or dialogue, then the second-person point of view should never be used to describe what characters are doing in that particular situation. For one thing, it is too personal, and for another, it will not be effective when describing action in this manner.

Be careful when using second-person point of view in stories that are supposed to take place in the past because the audience might think that it is non-fiction instead of fiction. If you really want to use second-person point of view, then you are better off using it in present tense situations because these are the ones that are more likely to be written with this style.

Another thing that you should consider when writing second-person point of view is your audience’s reaction to your writing. Remember, every story has a specific target audience, so you will have to adjust accordingly if you want to make sure that your audience reacts the way you want them to.

Examples of Books Written in Second Person

While there are countless examples of books that use second-person point of view, one particular book known for its crazy popularity is the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, which was made into a major motion picture back in 2012. The protagonist Katniss Everdeen’s voice pours through so clearly when reading it because of how open she is to her audience. You can almost feel her presence inside your head just by how connected you are with the words that she is saying.

Another series of books using second-person point of view is The Maze Runner Series , James Dashner’s futuristic tale. Each chapter begins with a short letter from someone writing in first person about how all they do is watch the trials while they fight for their lives and all while you, the reader, is just watching him do it.

Are there any books that use second-person point of view that were not mentioned here? Do you know of any other novels or short stories written in English that uses this style? Let us know your thoughts on the matter by leaving a comment below

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I know if my writing style fits with this kind of narrative?

A: As stated before, the most important thing to consider is your audience’s reaction to what you are writing. You should never force yourself to use this kind of style because it might not fit the tone of your current work.

Q: How can I change my storytelling voice?

A: If you are determined on changing up your storytelling style, then you should consider changing both your point of view and your tense at the same time. For example, if you are currently using second-person point of view in present tense then try switching to third-person point of view in past tense for a different feel.

Q: How can I make my writing more interesting when using second-person point of view?

A: It is important to remember that you should not use this style for storytelling because it can be very risky and it will most likely backfire. If you want to add some interest then simply add in a little bit of humor or something that’s equally exciting – just don’t push the envelope too far!

Q: What is 1st person 2nd person 3rd person with examples?

A: 1st person is when the narrator uses “I” and tells the story from his/her personal point of view. 2nd person is when you use ‘you’ and tell the story directly to your audience . 3rd person is when the narrator refers to everyone in third-person or using he, she, it etc.

Example of 1st: I walked to the park and saw a group of birds flying above me.

Example of 2nd: You walk to the park and see a group of birds flying above you.

Example of 3rd: A group of birds flies above them as they walk to the park.

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Readable grammar 101 – writing in the second person

writing in 2nd person example

You may or may not know what it means to write in the second person, but do you know its advantages? We’ll break down what the second person is and how it could make your writing more effective.

What does writing in second person mean .

The second person refers to the person you’re addressing. The perspective of the second person is “you”. 

In fiction, the second person is relatively rare, but it’s common in content and copywriting. For businesses, the second person is a powerful point of view for connecting with the customer. 

"For businesses, the second person is a powerful point of view for connecting with the customer." 

What are the rules for writing in second person? 

The second person rules are pretty simple. You must use the pronouns ‘you’, ‘your’ and ‘yours’. 

In contrast, the first person requires you to refer to yourself - ‘I’, ‘my’ and ‘mine’. The third person refers to others, ‘he’, ‘she’, ‘it’ or ‘they’.

Examples of writing in the second person

Although it’s true that the second person is a rare point of view in fiction, it does crop up occasionally to achieve a specific effect or mood. It’s been used very effectively in recent TV screenplays.  

For example, in Netflix’s production ‘YOU’, the screenplay has Joe’s narrative voice address his victims in the second person as an interior monologue. Because this positions the viewer as Beck, the forced perspective creates an unnerving effect.

In Sam Esmail’s Mr Robot, the hacker protagonist Elliot breaks the fourth wall by addressing us, the audience - this is jarring because it makes us aware that he knows we’re privy to his actions and decisions. 

But the second-person doesn’t always disturb us. More often than not, it can make us feel addressed, recognized and included. 

Just think of the numerous instances of the second-person point of view in advertising slogans. Here are some examples: 

  • “Aren't You Hungry for Burger King now?” — Burger King
  • “Everywhere you want to be.” — Visa
  • “Melts in your mouth, not in your hands.” — M&Ms
  • “Once you go Mac, you'll never go back.” — Apple

You get the idea. 

What are the benefits of writing in second person? 

From a business perspective, the advertiser can address the consumer directly. 

According to research, ‘second-person pronouns should work to enhance consumer involvement and brand attitude as a result of increasing the extent that consumers engage in self-referencing’. ( Source )

"Second-person pronouns should work to enhance consumer involvement"

This backs up what we’ve mentioned about the inclusivity of using the second person. By not saying ‘we’ or ‘ours’ but instead using more ‘you’ and ‘yours’, a business can avoid sounding too distant and impersonal. This improves their brand image. 

Here’s a tip: Readable’s tone detector can tell you if you’re using the second-person enough in your business writing. It’s called the personal/impersonal scale . Using the second person more in your writing will create a more personal tone. 

writing in 2nd person example

Another advantage of writing in the second person is that it builds a relationship and inspires trust. By addressing the consumer, you’re introducing yourself to them. You’re directly - and hopefully concisely - introducing yourself, your values and your value to them. 

Give it a try

Now you’re equipped with the knowledge of how this could help you connect to your audience, why not give it a try? Take a piece of content about your company and look for where you could address your reader more. Is your content personal enough ? 

The joy of English     business writing     grammar     laura kelly     spelling and grammar

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Laura is a freelance writer and worked at Readable for a number of years. Laura is well-versed in optimising content for readability and Readable's suite of tools. She aims to write guides that help you make the most out of Readable.

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Mastering Second Person Point of View: Techniques and Examples

Understanding second person point of view, defining second person, when to use second person, advantages and disadvantages, techniques for mastering second person, use direct address, create an interactive experience, choose your narrator wisely, examples of second person narrative, bright lights, big city by jay mcinerney, if on a winter's night a traveler by italo calvino, the reluctant fundamentalist by mohsin hamid, experimenting with second person, writing prompts, short stories, joining writing groups.

Mastering the second person point of view in writing can be a game-changer for your storytelling. It allows you to directly engage with your readers, offering a unique and immersive experience. In this blog, we'll explore the ins and outs of the second person point of view and provide you with techniques and examples to help you harness its power in your own writing.

Before we dive into techniques and examples, it's important to have a clear understanding of what second person point of view is, when to use it, and its advantages and disadvantages.

Second person point of view refers to using the pronouns you, your, yours, yourself, and yourselves in your writing. This perspective directly addresses the reader, making them feel as if they are part of the story or being spoken to by the narrator. Unlike first person, which uses I, me, and my, or third person, which uses he, she, it, and they, second person creates a unique connection between the reader and the narrative.

Second person point of view is less commonly used than first or third person, but it can be incredibly effective in certain types of writing. Some ideal situations for using second person include:

  • Instructional or educational materials, such as how-to guides or recipes
  • Interactive fiction or choose-your-own-adventure stories
  • Stories that aim to create a strong connection between the reader and the narrator
  • Experimental or unconventional writing styles

As with any writing technique, there are pros and cons to using the second person point of view. Some of the advantages include:

  • Creating an intimate and engaging experience for the reader
  • Offering a unique perspective that stands out from more traditional points of view
  • Challenging the writer to think creatively and push narrative boundaries

However, there are also some potential drawbacks:

  • It can be difficult to maintain a consistent and believable voice throughout the story
  • Some readers may find the direct address off-putting or intrusive
  • It may not be suitable for all types of stories or genres

Considering these factors will help you determine whether second person point of view is the right choice for your writing project.

Now that you have a solid understanding of second person point of view, let's explore some techniques to help you master this unique perspective in your writing.

One of the key features of second person point of view is its direct address to the reader. By using "you" and other related pronouns, you create a sense of conversation and intimacy with your audience. Make sure to maintain a consistent and engaging voice that speaks directly to your reader. For example:

"You walk into the room and notice the smell of freshly baked cookies. Your mouth waters as you spot the tray on the counter."

Second person point of view allows you to create an interactive experience for your reader, making them feel like they are part of the story. To achieve this, consider incorporating choices or decisions within your narrative. This can be especially effective in interactive fiction or choose-your-own-adventure stories. For example:

"You come to a fork in the road. If you want to go left, turn to page 10. If you want to go right, turn to page 12."

While second person point of view involves addressing the reader directly, it doesn't mean that the narrator must be completely removed or neutral. Choosing a narrator with a distinct voice and personality can add depth and intrigue to your story. However, be cautious not to let the narrator's voice overshadow the reader's experience. Strive for balance between the two. For example:

"You can't help but feel a twinge of guilt as you lie to your friend. It's not like you, but desperate times call for desperate measures."

Let's take a look at some real-world examples of second person point of view in literature. These works showcase the versatility and unique potential of this perspective.

This novel is a prime example of second person point of view, as it directly addresses the reader and immerses them in the life of a young man navigating the excesses of 1980s New York City. The second person perspective adds depth to the protagonist's internal struggles and creates a unique connection between the reader and the story.

Calvino's experimental novel is another excellent example of second person narrative. The book alternates between chapters written in second person, in which the reader is addressed as the protagonist, and chapters that tell the stories of various fictional books. This unique structure highlights the power of second person point of view to engage readers and draw them into the narrative.

Hamid's novel employs a second person narrative to tell the story of a Pakistani man who recounts his experiences in America to an unnamed American listener. This use of second person point of view creates a sense of intimacy and tension, as the reader is placed in the role of the listener, making the story feel more immediate and personal.

Ready to try your hand at writing in second person point of view? Here are some ideas to help you get started:

Begin with some writing prompts that specifically call for second person perspective. This will help you practice engaging the reader and honing your voice in this unique point of view.

Write a short story in second person to explore how this perspective can create a unique narrative voice and build a strong connection with the reader. Experiment with different genres and themes to see how second person point of view can enhance various types of stories.

Consider joining a writing group or workshop that focuses on experimenting with point of view, including second person narrative. Collaborating with other writers and receiving feedback on your work can help you refine your skills and gain confidence in using second person point of view.

By understanding the nuances of second person point of view and practicing the techniques outlined in this blog, you can unlock the potential of this unique perspective in your writing. Whether you're crafting a short story, an interactive narrative, or experimenting with unconventional storytelling, mastering second person point of view can elevate your work and engage your readers like never before.

Examining examples of second person narrative can provide valuable insights into how this unique perspective can be used effectively in storytelling. Let's take a look at some notable works that showcase the power and versatility of second person point of view.

Jay McInerney's novel is a prime example of second person narrative, as it directly addresses the reader and immerses them in the life of a young man navigating the excesses of 1980s New York City. The second person perspective adds depth to the protagonist's internal struggles and creates a unique connection between the reader and the story.

Italo Calvino's experimental novel is another excellent example of second person narrative. The book alternates between chapters written in second person, in which the reader is addressed as the protagonist, and chapters that tell the stories of various fictional books. This unique structure highlights the power of second person point of view to engage readers and draw them into the narrative.

Mohsin Hamid's novel employs a second person narrative to tell the story of a Pakistani man who recounts his experiences in America to an unnamed American listener. This use of second person point of view creates a sense of intimacy and tension, as the reader is placed in the role of the listener, making the story feel more immediate and personal.

Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas by Tom Robbins

Tom Robbins' novel is a quirky example of second person narrative that follows the story of a stockbroker during a weekend of self-discovery. The use of second person point of view helps to create a sense of immediacy and involvement for the reader, as they are drawn into the protagonist's unconventional journey.

You by Caroline Kepnes

In this psychological thriller, Caroline Kepnes uses second person point of view to tell the story of a bookstore employee who becomes obsessed with a customer. The second person perspective adds to the chilling narrative by placing the reader in the role of the object of the protagonist's obsession, creating a deeply unsettling and engaging experience.

These examples illustrate how second person point of view can be used effectively in a variety of genres and styles. By studying these works and experimenting with second person narrative in your own writing, you can harness the power of this unique perspective to create engaging and immersive stories for your readers.

Ready to give second person point of view a try? Here are some practical ways for you to experiment with this narrative style and find your own unique voice. Remember, practice makes perfect, so don't be afraid to dive in and explore the world of second person narrative.

One effective way to practice second person point of view is by using writing prompts. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Write a letter to your younger self, giving advice and reflecting on past experiences.
  • Describe a day in the life of an animal, addressing the reader as the animal.
  • Write a "choose your own adventure" story, where the reader's choices dictate the outcome.
  • Create a how-to guide or tutorial, instructing the reader on a specific task or skill.

These prompts can help you explore different ways to use second person point of view and discover which styles resonate with you.

Short stories are a great way to experiment with second person narrative. By focusing on a smaller, self-contained narrative, you can concentrate on honing your skills and developing your voice in second person. Plus, short stories provide an opportunity to explore a variety of themes, characters, and settings, allowing you to practice using second person in different contexts.

Writing groups can be a valuable resource for writers looking to experiment with second person point of view. By sharing your work with others, you can receive feedback and suggestions to help improve your writing. Additionally, participating in writing groups can introduce you to other writers who have experience with second person narrative, providing opportunities for collaboration and learning from others' experiences.

As you explore and experiment with second person point of view, remember that finding your unique voice takes time and practice. Don't be afraid to make mistakes or try new things—embracing the process of learning and growing as a writer will help you become more comfortable with second person narrative and ultimately create engaging, immersive stories for your readers.

If you enjoyed this blog post and want to dive deeper into the world of perspective, don't miss the workshop ' A New Perspective on Perspective ' by Roberto Bernal. This workshop will provide you with unique insights and techniques to enhance your understanding and application of perspective in your creative projects.

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Home / Book Writing / Second Person Point of View: Definition and Examples

Second Person Point of View: Definition and Examples

Point of view is important to understand. Whether you’re writing an email, a nonfiction book, or an epic novel, you’ll be using a certain point of view (POV). In some cases, you may use more than one. 

Second person POV is one you come across every day — but usually not in fiction. This is a common point of view used for many types of communication. So read on to explore second person point of view!

  • What second person POV is
  • Second person POV in action
  • Benefits and drawbacks of using it in fiction
  • Tips to help you write in second person POV

Table of contents

  • What is Second Person POV?
  • Quick examples
  • Famous Examples from Fiction
  • Switching Between POVs
  • Pro: It Can Create Intimacy
  • Pro: It Can Make Your Story Stand Apart
  • Pro: It Can Create Excitement
  • Pro: It Can Create a Strong Narrative Voice
  • Con: Readers Aren't Used to It
  • Con: It Can Be Repetitious
  • Con: It Can Be Difficult to Write
  • Con: It Requires Consistent Suspension of Disbelief
  • Con: Agents and Editors Aren't Used to It
  • Familiarize Yourself With Other POVs
  • Try Writing a Chapter With Different POVs
  • Write a Short Story in Second Person POV
  • Read Books Written in Second Person

Also called second person perspective, second person POV is characterized by the use of the word “you .” It’s the narrator talking directly to the reader and addressing them with that second-person pronoun. This narrative point of view is most often used in nonfiction writing (like this blog post), Ad copy, certain types of video games, blog posts, song lyrics, and self-help books often employ second person POV to great effect. 

It’s less common in fiction, but there are some famous examples of short stories and novels written from this point of view. And before we get into whether you should use this POV for your book, let’s look at some examples. 

Examples of Second Person POV

Here are some different examples of second person POV. Some you’ll be familiar with, while others may seem a little strange. First, some quick examples. 

  • “You got up this morning and ate breakfast. Then you got into the car to go to work.”
  • “You’re an assassin. And you’re getting old. One last job, and you’re done. You don’t care what the Agency says. You’re done.”
  • “Everywhere you want to be” – Visa slogan.
  • “Whether you’re writing an email, a nonfiction book, or an epic novel, you’ll be using a certain point of view.” -From the beginning of this article. 

Now, let's look at some examples of fiction works that use the second person perspective.

“‘This is the worst day of my life,' you say, as you drop a salted peanut into your double martini—on better days, you drink white wine—and watch it sink. It spirals downward more slowly, more gracefully, than your own plunging fortunes, the pretty little gin bubbles that gather around the peanut a marked contrast to the lumps and burrs and stinging things that are attaching themselves to your heart.” -Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas , by Tom Robbins
“You are not the kind of guy who would be at a place like this at this time of the morning. But here you are, and you cannot say that the terrain is entirely unfamiliar, although the details are fuzzy. You are at a nightclub talking to a girl with a shaved head. The club is either Heartbreak or the Lizard Lounge.” – Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney

Both of these novels use only second person narration. They never switch to a different point of view. However, that doesn't mean it can't be done!

I mentioned earlier that this blog post is written in second person POV. But as you can probably tell from the sentence you just read, this isn’t strictly true. In fact, I switch between second person and first person point of view. (You can tell by the use of the words “I” and “Let’s.”) This is common enough in blog posts and other types of nonfiction writing because this is how we talk to each other in real life. It creates a certain amount of intimacy, and (hopefully) makes the writing easier for you to read. 

That said, switching between different POVs is not something to do without good reason in fiction. And when writing nonfiction, sticking to first and second person POVs is usually a good idea. 

But there are some examples of novels that expertly switch between POVs. N. K. Jemisin’s book The Fifth Season is a recent example of this. The book is told from the perspective of three different women. And one of those perspectives is written in the second person. The first chapter of the award-winning fantasy novel starts like this:

“You are she. She is you. You are Essun. Remember? The woman whose son is dead. You’re an orogene who’s been living in the little nothing town of Tirimo for ten years. Only three people here know what you are, and two of them you gave birth to.” – The Fifth Season , by N. K. Jemisin

Keep in mind she doesn’t stick to the second person POV for the whole. Other chapters are written in third person point of view. Still, this is one example of second person POV used to strengthen the narrative while making for a compelling read. 

Pros and Cons of Using Second Person POV in Fiction

Most editors in the writing world will tell you not to use second person point of view for fiction. But what are the reasons for that? We all know that the traditional publishing world is slow to change and set in its ways. Some “rules” are certainly made to be broken. But is this one of them? Let's look at the pros and cons of using 2nd person POV in fiction to find out.

Copywriters and bloggers use second person POV for a reason: it can create intimacy. When you read a fiction novel written in this point of view, you're being thrust into the character's shoes. The use of “you” gives it immediacy and immersion. And if you're able to get into it, it can make for a great reading experience.

To be sure, most fiction writers stay away from using second person POV. So if you do use it, your writing will undoubtedly be unique. However, this can be a con, too. It depends on execution and whether readers respond well to it!

If you've ever read a Choose Your Own Adventure book, you'll know that the second person narrative can be exciting to read. When you are the character, it gives a little more weight to danger or conflict within the story. This is the same reason ‌some video games use this narrative point of view to guide the players along.

When you give the character a unique personality and character arc , second person point of view can help solidify and strengthen the narrative voice. It can be humorous, cringe-worthy, scary, intense, or all of the above at different parts of the story.

If you write using second person narrative, you're moving against the current. The simple fact that most books use either first person or third person POV (including third person limited and omniscient) means that readers aren't used to second person. This can be a barrier to new readers that most new indie authors can't afford to put up.

Second person is better suited to shorter works. Using it for an entire novel can be hard on the reader. It gets repetitive using only the second person pronoun “you” over and again. Of course, you'll likely also use “your” and “yours” throughout the story, but it's still not enough of a change for most readers.

Unless you're practiced at it, writing fiction in second person can be difficult. It becomes easy to slip out of the character's mindset and slip into your own. When this happens, the strong narrative voice becomes muddled or inconsistent, neither of which you want!

When asking the reader to jump into a character's shoes, it requires constant suspension of disbelief. In other points of view, readers find it easier to accept the narrator or POV character as a real person. Although they may be deeply invested in the character, they're still one step back from them, making suspension of disbelief easier. But when they have to keep imagining themselves as an entirely different person throughout the novel, some readers may find it difficult to maintain . This will take them out of the story, which is the last thing any author wants.

If you're looking for representation in the traditional publishing world, a second-person novel will make things that much more difficult. Most editors and agents agree that these types of novels are hard to get right, which makes them hard to sell. So even if they may like the story itself, selling the book to a publisher could prove difficult.

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Tips for Writing in Second Person POV

When it comes to fiction writing, you'll have to decide whether a second person narrator is right for your story. While it's ultimately your decision as the writer, these tips may help you decide.

A thorough understanding of the different POVs at your disposal is key to deciding on the right one. These include:

  • First Person (First person pronouns include “I,” “my,” “me,” and “we.”)
  • Third Person Limited
  • Third Person Omniscient
  • Fourth Person

Most books are written in the POVs above. But reading them as a reader and studying them as a writer are different. Take one of your favorite books and write a few paragraphs in second person. Whether you choose Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling, The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway, or Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, this is a good exercise in understanding POV . You can see how different the story becomes in second person POV.

For a closer look at each of these POVs, check out our article here .

Write a chapter in second person and one in third person. Pay attention to the flow and mechanics of the prose. And also how each one affects your storytelling abilities. Think of your main character , and try to envision writing the entire book in each POV. Which one will work best for your story?

Getting used to second person writing can be a little tricky. But writing is all about practice. So if you think second person is right for your story, try writing a short story or two in the POV . A short story with a distinct main character, supporting characters, and three acts can help you get into the flow. If you have trusted readers who will give you honest feedback, have them read the story and see what they think!

If you've never read a novel in second person, that should definitely be the first step in deciding. Reading is a key part of the writing process. And before tackling an entire novel in what is considered a kind of “taboo” POV, it's good to see how those before have done it.

Second person point of view is common in personal communications and certain types of “how-to” nonfiction writing. But when it comes to fiction, it's pretty rare. The stories it works well with are those that require its use because they won't work with any other POV .

Asking a reader to put themselves into a character's shoes can be engaging, intimate, and entertaining when done well. But in full-length novels, it tends to wear on readers — especially because most people aren't used to reading stories written in second person. Still, it is one of the tools in your writing toolbox. It's up to you to use it when necessary and store it in the box when you don't need it.

Dave Chesson

When I’m not sipping tea with princesses or lightsaber dueling with little Jedi, I’m a book marketing nut. Having consulted multiple publishing companies and NYT best-selling authors, I created Kindlepreneur to help authors sell more books. I’ve even been called “The Kindlepreneur” by Amazon publicly, and I’m here to help you with your author journey.

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Second Person

What is second person.

  • I am speaking to you about her .

Table of Contents

"Second Person" Explained

Second person in grammar, examples of second person pronouns in different cases, first, second, and third person pronouns.

Why the Second Person Is Important

Video Lesson

second person in grammar

  • The teacher is speaking to you .
  • The policeman is looking at you .
  • You are a star!
  • First person : "I" and "we"
  • Second person: "you"
  • Third person : "he/she/it" and "they"

What is first, second, and third person in grammar?

(Reason 1) Be mindful of the difference between "yourself" and "yourselves."

correct tick

(Reason 3) The subject of an order is "you."

  • Call me if you need help.
  • [You] Call me if you need help.

wrong cross

(Reason 3) Understanding the person categories is useful for learning a foreign language.

  • "Myself" is not a posh version of "me." (You can't use "myself" after an imperative verb.)

Are you a visual learner? Do you prefer video to text? Here is a list of all our grammar videos .

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How to Write Second Person POV

writing in 2nd person example

You’ve come to the right place.

What is 2nd person point of view?

Second person point of view is when the writer uses “you” as the main character in a narrative.

Example using the first line of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man :

  • 1st person: “I am an invisible man.”
  • 2nd person: “You are an invisible man.”
  • 3rd person: “He is an invisible man.”

Why write in second person?

It’s widely considered the most daring POV in fiction, and the novelty of such a perspective can amuse the reader. Also, 2nd person immediately makes the story personal, grabbing the reader by the collar and pulling them in.

Think back to when you were a kid and read  Choose Your Own Adventure books. Weren’t those fun? You got to be the main character and decide where the story went. Well, those were all in 2nd person.

cyoabox2back

Where do you find second person most often?

Surprisingly, not in fiction. Usually you encounter 2nd person in advertising . Companies often utilize ‘you’ in their advertisements because it appeals directly to the reader. For example, when you see a commercial about a medicine, it says “if you or someone you love is struggling with illness X” you instantly wonder “Do I have this?” It’s common and it’s effective.

It is equally as effective when writing fiction. 2nd person transports your reader directly into the story, making them grapple with whatever the book says they are doing. Especially if this “you” in the book is doing something strange or uncomfortable. And if the you is doing something spectacular, it’s a special experience for the reader to imagine themselves as that person.

Why is it so uncommon?

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Plus, even though the main strength of 2nd person is that it makes the reader identify with the narrator, it’s just as easy to make the reader identify with the main character using “I” or “he/she.”

2nd person POV works much better for short stories than novels, which is why at the end of this article, I’ll list many short stories in 2nd person but only a few novels (“Upon a Winter’s Night a Traveler,” by Italo Calvino, and “Bright Lights, Big City,” by James McInerney are the ones usually mentioned).

That’s why the greatest problem with 2nd person is that it’s gimmicky. It’s very difficult to pull off and will likely alienate most of your readers. Yet despite all those problems, it’s a lot of fun to write.

Are there different kinds of 2nd person POV?

Why yes, glad you asked! In the same that there is 3rd person limited and 3rd person omniscient, there are two distinct forms of 2nd person POV.

The most common is explicit 2nd person POV. This when the main character is referred to as “you.”

But there is also what I call implied 2nd person. This is when the authors is talking directly to the reader “Look at the sky. Now look at the beach,” yet never actually uses the word “you.” This is very hard to pull off, but some 2nd person pieces will use “you” extremely infrequently or even not at all.

Why do some people hate 2nd person POV?

graffiti-1559161_960_720

Also, because people like to imagine a story outside themselves, in order to escape, and 2nd person brings the story uncomfortably close.

You probably won’t win over these people by attempting to write 2nd person. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try! Think of 2nd person POV as the redheaded stepchild of the POV universe, just like present tense is the redheaded stepchild of the tense universe. Both are valid options if you’re a writer, but be forewarned of the backlash and resistance you’ll get.

What is my goal when writing 2nd person?

Your greatest goal is to make the reader forget that this is 2nd person.

This is hard to do, because second person is so unusual, but it’s not impossible.

Novels like “Bright Lights, Big City,” do this quite well. Most people forget they are reading 2nd person about halfway through the book, and they are merely internalizing the actions of the protagonist.

Your secondary goal is to make readers reconsider their own personal identity. Because 2nd person breaks the 4th wall, you can make readers think about whether they are indeed racist or sexist or cruel to others. After all, if the story claims the reader is doing some inappropriate things, the reader has to wonder whether they would indeed do those things.

 3 Rules for Second Person

1. Use the Correct Pronouns: ‘You, your, yours’

There is no “I” character in 2nd person. There can be “he” or “she” when the narrator is talking about others, but you should never use the word “I.” Just make sure to be very consistent with your use of the 2nd person.

2. Make the Narrator a Full-Fledged Character

Authors who attempt 2nd person sometimes forget to give lots of details about the main character, because it feels awkward to tell the reader what their sexual preference is, what foods they like, and where they live. But that is the nature of 2nd person. The most common mistake authors make when writing 2nd person is making the narrator into a cardboard character without any details or identity. So go ahead, tell the reader exactly what they are like!

3.   Read a Lot of Second Person

Second person POV is not an easy task to learn. But, like any other project, you should always do some research. The worst thing any writer can do is to ignore reading entirely and just write. Once you start immersing yourself in that perspective, it will become easier to write.

Examples of short stories in the second person:

  • Lust | Susan Minot
  • How to Talk to a Hunter | Pam Houston
  • Alma  and The Cheater’s Guide to Love | Junot Diaz
  • Girl | Jamaica Kincaid
  • How to Become a Writer and How to be an Other Woman | Lorrie Moore
  • How to Leave Hialeah | Jennine Capo-Cruset
  • Saint Chola | Kerrie Kvashay-Boyle
  • The Land of Pain | Stacey Richter
  • Caiman Bret | Anthony Johnston

(Some of these we’ll take a closer look at later)

Examples of 2nd person novels:

  • Stolen | Lucy Christofer
  • If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler | Italo Calvino
  • Bright Lights, Big City | Jay McInerney
  • You | Caroline Kepnes
  • How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia| Mohsin Hamid
  • The Reluctant Fundamentalist | Mohsin Hamid

Examples of books that briefly use 2nd person:

  • The Dark | John McGahern
  • Redshirts | John Scalzi
  • The Night Circus | Erin Morgenstern
  • The Malady of Death | Marguerite Duras

Now that you have some idea on what to do, here are a few things on what not  to do:

road-sign-464659_960_720

Common 2nd Person Mistakes

While writing in second person, you are going to come across a few challenges, but let’s go over some pitfalls to avoid to make your process a little more smoother.

1. Avoid Starting Every Sentence With ‘You’

Since you are writing a story that includes the reader, you have to make sure your sentences are diverse enough to not sound too repetitive. Sometimes a reader will get bored with seeing ‘you’ in every single sentence, so try to keep the writing diverse and full of language.

Here is an example of what to avoid:

“You walk down the street. You feel your face burning in the sun and you curse yourself for not putting on sunscreen before you left. You noticed that everything looks blurry in the heat. You keep walking before suddenly a car swerves around the corner and almost hits you.”

If you found yourself cringing with how repetitious that was, then you understand why a little diversity is much needed.

Of course, you are allowed to use ‘you’ frequently, as any POV would use I/she/he. The key thing here is to avoid starting every sentence with “you.” A simple way to achieve this is to take the time to describe something other than what “you” are feeling and explore the setting or an idea. Another easy way to avoid this problem is to pepper your story with dialogue. So much can be said through dialogue, and it’s a way to cut up the narrative so you avoid, well … “you.”

2. Avoid Long Pieces

It’s hard to write second person, but it’s super hard to write a long piece in 2nd person.

Writing a 300 page novel in second person is pushing it. Not because the length is ‘too long’ necessarily, but because when using second person your main goal should be to make the reader feel apart of the story. To feel uncomfortable and pulled in. It’s extremely hard to accomplish that when the story drags on for so long.

There are examples of longer works in the 2nd person, but they are rare. For instance, the 200-page  Stolen by Lucy Christopher, or the 500-page  You  by Caroline Kepnes.

You’ll soon find that the shorter your second person narrative is, the most effective it will be.

3. Avoid Detachment

It cannot be stressed enough how important  utilizing the readers emotions is. Consider it your secret weapon when writing in second person. Your story is only as powerful and meaningful as your emotional pull. I know we mentioned this before, but the more you hear it and the more you practice it, the better off your second person narrative will be.

notes-514998_960_720

 2nd Person Writing Exercises

  • Let’s start off by getting used to the pronouns. Think of a person, it can be fictional or real, and write a letter telling them to do something. Get your head used to referring to someone as you. If this doesn’t help, try writing a letter to yourself.
  • Go outside and sit somewhere. Pick any person that is around you, and start writing about them. Write like you are speaking directly to them. For example, let’s say you sit in a park and pick and old woman. Watch what she is doing and create a narrative around it: “You sit there by yourself, holding the newspaper with weathered hands. You are focused, reading intently, but every once in a while you glance up, as if hoping a lost friend would walk by.” This is useful for any POV, but it’s especially helpful in second person because you can see your character and you can talk to them through your words.
  • Create a bucket list of things you want to do. Pick any one of them and start writing to yourself about you doing them. “You wouldn’t believe how amazing it was. That rush of adrenaline as you jump, feeling nothing beneath your feet, but the whole world to dance upon. The wind hurt, though. You couldn’t stop laughing. You were finally free.”
  • Try to write an implicit 2nd person paragraph, one without the word “you.” Merely tell the reader what to do: “Go to the end of the block and look at the barking dog.”
  • Write a second person story in the format of a self-help article. “You need to do this, you need to do that.” Read some self-help articles beforehand to help you remember the tone and style, and then have fun with it. It’s better if you choose a self-help topic which is batty or funny.

4 Examples of Second Person

Sometimes reading rules may seem helpful, but when it comes down to the actual act, it’s a lot harder to start. To kickstart your brain into the right mindset, here are a few examples from short stories/novels that follow the second person point of view, and explanations on how they are effective.

‘Lust’ by Susan Minot

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“Certain nights you’d feel a certain surrender, maybe if you’d had wine. The surrender would be forgetting yourself and you’d put your nose to his neck and feel like a squirrel, safe, at rest, in a restful dream. But then you’d start to slip from that and the dark would come in and there’d be a cave. You make out the dim shape of the windows and feel yourself become a cave, filled absolutely with air, or with a sadness that wouldn’t stop.”

This is a classic example of pulling at the reader’s emotions, using relatable and emotionally charged words like ‘surrender,’ ‘safe’, ‘rest’, ‘dark’, ‘sadness’. The way Minot draws on the reader’s feelings through manipulation of words is so effective, you can’t help but feel what is being said.

She also uses relatable experiences that everyone has gone through to create that connection between the reader and the narrative:

“Teenage years. You know just what you’re doing and don’t see the things that start to get in the way.”

This is a very useful way to get involved with your audience. There are certain experiences we all have gone through in life, and although they may not all have been exactly the same, it is a very useful tactic to appeal to those moments to create some sort of bond.

“There’d be times when you overdid it. You’d get carried away. All the next day, you’d be in a total fog, delirious, absent minded, crossing the street and nearly getting run over.”

It’s almost like an instruction on how the reader should feel about these situations the character has gone through, thus creating a captivating atmosphere for emotions. Throughout her story, Minot knows how to captivate and entice her reader through switching perspectives, first applying the action to a third person character, and then applying it to ‘you’, or the reader, creating a more relatable and impactful piece.

Stolen by Lucy Christopher

stolen-recover-20131

“You saw me before I saw you. In the airport, the day in August, you had that look in your eyes, as though you wanted something from me, as though you wanted it for a long time. No one had ever looked at me like that before, with that kind of intensity. It unsettled me, surprised me, I guess. Those blue, blue eyes, icy blue, looking back at me as if I could warm them up.”

Even though we know it’s directed to her kidnapper, we can’t help but feel like we experienced it all too. Christopher’s use of second person drags the reader into an almost uncomfortable position as the narrator is accusing ‘you’ of the terrible and wonderful things that happened to her. As the novel goes on we see how this young girl’s feelings turn from curiosity to horror to hatred and back to curiosity again. It’s through her eyes that we really feel how truly terrifying this ‘you’ character is.

“There is a thing murderers always do in horror films: take their victims out on a long drive to a stunning location before they creatively pull them apart. It’s in all the famous films, all the ones with murders in the middle of nowhere anyway. When you woke me up that morning, the day after you’d nearly hit me, I thought about that.

“We’re going on a drive,” you said. “To catch a camel.”

It was very early. I could tell by the pale pinkish-white light and the cool in the air. I got dressed and put the knife into the pocket of my shorts. I could hear you moving and creaking around the house. Then you went outside and started the car. You were surrounding me with noise. I wasn’t used to it. I took my time getting ready. I knew two things: On the one hand, a trip like this could mean a greater opportunity for escape. On the other, it might mean I’d never return.”

The emotional drive wouldn’t have been as effective throughout this novel if she had chosen to use third person. Although she does use first person, the fact that she has the villain of the novel as ‘you’ is a very clever idea, because it puts the reader in an even more uncomfortable position.

‘Girl’ by Jamaica Kincaid

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“Wash the white clothes on Monday and put them on the stone heap; wash the color clothes on Tuesday and put them on the clothesline to dry; don’t walk barehead in the hot sun; cook pumpkin fritters in very hot sweet oil; soak your little cloths right after you take them off; when buying cotton to make yourself a nice blouse, be sure that it doesn’t have gum on it, because that way it wont hold up well after a wash…”

You can’t help but feel like your own mother is yelling at you to do something; it induces that same anxiety that we attribute to being told what to do, which makes it extremely effective piece.

‘How to Become a Writer’ by Lorie Moore

how-to-become-a-writer

“First, try to be something, anything, else. A movie star/astronaut. A movie star/missionary. A movie star/kindergarten teacher. President of the World. Fail miserably. It is best if you fail at an early age – say, fourteen. Early, critical disillusionment is necessary so that at fifteen you can write long haiku sequences about thwarted desire.”

It goes on to explain everything that would happen to you in your life if you wanted to become a writer, leading the reader on a journey of their new ‘life’ and how it worked out for them:

“Your mother will come visit you. She will look at the circles under your eyes and hand you a brown book with a brown briefcase on the cover. It is entitled:  How to Become a Business Executive. She has also brought the  Names for Baby encyclopedia you asked for; one of your characters, the aging clown-schoolteacher, needs a new name. Your mother will shake her head and say: ‘Francie, Francie, remember when you were going to be a child psychology major?’

Say: ‘Mom, I like to write.’

She’ll say: ‘Sure you like to write. Of course. Sure you like to write.'”

It’s comedic, relatable and it’s extremely effective in what it’s trying to accomplish. It plops the reader directly into this life they never wanted nor asked for.

These are just a few great examples of the power of second person. Now that you have some tools to get you started, take a deep breath, erase everything you know about POV, sit down, and start writing.

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12 comments

Insightful and good ideas and suggestions on how to write in second person.

Stolen isn’t written in second person. The narrator is not you; it is written in first person. Notice the words “I” and “me”. As such, it is written in first person who is breaking the fourth wall, recognizing the reader as a character.

I agree with you Stanley, I had the same thought when I read that piece.

Awesome piece. Had me on the edge of my seat through out.

Surely, “Stolen” by Lucy Christopher is not written in the second person, indicative voice? Instead, it seems to be in the first person, vocative voice. How else do you explain the narrator’s frequent use of “I” and “me”?

The beginning:

“You saw me before I saw you. In the airport, that day in August, you had that look in your eyes, as though you wanted something from me, as though you’d wanted it for a long time. No one had ever looked at me like that before.”

“So begins Lucy Christopher’s Stolen: A Letter to My Captor , a harrowing tale of obsession, fear, and isolation that’s one of the more engaging YA books in recent memory. Impressively, Stolen—Christopher’s second novel—is written entirely in second person. Despite its Printz Honor, the book remains one of the best-kept secrets in the YA genre.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stolen_(Christopher_novel)

I agree with you, it is written in first person, not second, surely, as you and Stanley both wrote.

One of the best examples of second person is Edna O’Brien’s memoir (can’t remember title) and it serves her well in telling her story even of the earliest years when the toddler could not tell her own story: “You go down the hall and put your eye to the keyhole of mum and dad’s room and see them sleeping but already their tea is waiting for them and thin slices of buttered bread on a plate.” Or something like that.

Thanks for this

This was really helpful! I want to try writing a short story with one character written in 3rd person omniscient and the other is 2nd person explicit to try and broaden my writing skills. Thank you for making this!

can anybody tell me how to start a second person p.o.v. essay?

“You go to the internet and ask how to start a second person POV. You find that someone will always answer you on the internet and give you the information you require.”

writing in 2nd person example

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Wondering what it’s like to be inside a story? “Writing In The Second Person” is the key. Discover how it can involve you, letting you see, feel, and experience stories in a new way.

How words on a page can transport you into the heart of a story, making you feel like an active participant in the narrative?

Think of opening a book and it’s feeling as if the author’s words meant only for you. It feels like he knows your thoughts, making you an integral part of the narrative. This is the magic of writing in the second person.

In this article, we will discover the depths of the narrative approach of writing in the second person, what it is, how it functions, and why authors use this point of view (POV). If you’ve ever thought about how an author can transport you into different realms, get ready to uncover many amazing details.

Table of Contents

What is the second-person point of view?

A story that feels like the author is talking to the reader is because of the use of a second person. In this kind of write-up, a writer uses words like “you” and “your.” Using this perspective, authors can make their write-up more exciting and make a reader feel connected with it.

For instance, many adventure books often use the second-person point of view. These stories give you a feeling that you are in the moment and experiencing the adventure happening to the character.

That’s why the second-person point of view is a unique way of narrating a story and building a connection with the readers. Despite having various writing methods, writers mostly use the second-person point of view to captivate readers and provide them with an exciting storytelling experience.

Comparison with other narrative perspectives (First person, third person)

There are different ways to tell a story; the method decides how a reader feels about it. Like in a movie – the camera angle can change what you see, right? In writing, there are three main points: first person, third person, and second person.

Literary examples of second-person writing

Now, let’s travel back in time and explore some famous examples of second-person writing.

1. “Choose your own adventure” books:

These were popular in the 1980s and 1990s. They let you make choices that affect the story’s outcome. For example, “You are a brave explorer. If you want to enter the cave, turn to page 23. If you’d rather climb the mountain, turn to page 42.”

2. “If on a winter’s Night a traveler” by Italo Calvino:

This novel has uniquely used the second person. It’s like the author is talking to the readers about their experience of reading the book. It’s an extraordinary example of how the second person can create a connection between the author and the reader.

3. “Bright lights, big City” by Jay McInerney:

This novel tells the story of a person’s life in the second person. The author is telling the character’s story to “you.” This creates a personal and emotional connection between the reader and the character’s experiences.

4. Song Lyrics and Poetry:

Sometimes, songs and poems use the second person to make the listener or reader feel more involved. For example, “When you smile, the world stops and stares for a while.” It makes the words feel like they’re directed right at you.

Second person in poetry: The power of “you.”

Poetry is like a magical land where words dance, and emotions come alive. And guess what? The second-person point of view – that “you” perspective we’ve been talking about – is a tool poets use to create an even stronger connection with their readers.

Effect of the second person in poetry:

1. emotional connection:.

When a poem uses “you,” it’s like you’re feeling the emotions alongside the poet. You become a part of the poem’s feelings, like joy or sadness.

2. Immersion:

Just like a movie can make you forget where you are, second-person poetry does that, too. You’re not just reading words; you’re in the poet’s world.

3. Empathy:

If a poet says, “You walk in the rain,” you can almost feel the raindrops. The second person helps you understand someone else’s experiences.

4. Personal Reflection:

Second-person poems might remind you of your life. When the poet talks about “you,” you might think of your memories.

Examples of the second person in poetry:

1. “do not go gentle into that good night” by dylan thomas:.

In this famous poem, the poet encourages someone to fight against the end of life. He uses the second person to address that person, making the plea feel personal and urgent.

2. “A Dream Within a Dream” by Edgar Allan Poe:

Poe’s poem questions the nature of reality and dreams. Using the second person, he invites readers to ponder the same questions and doubt the boundaries between dream and reality.

3. “When You Are Old” by W.B. Yeats:

This poem speaks to a person about growing old and remembering their past. The second-person perspective makes it feel like Yeats speaks directly to the reader, inviting them to reflect on their own life.

So, next time you read a poem that uses “you,” remember that the poet invites you to step into their world, feel their emotions, and maybe even discover something about yourself along the way.

Practical applications of second-person writing: Bringing words to life

Guess what? Second-person writing isn’t just a point-of-view – it’s a versatile tool that authors use to make their words really pop and grab your attention. Let’s explore some everyday situations where the second person comes in handy.

1. Instructions and how-to guides:

Have you ever read a recipe that says, “You take two cups of flour”? It’s like the instructions are helping you step by step. Much better than a boring list.

2. Interactive fiction and video games:

Have you ever played a video game where you make choices, and they change the story? The second person is a superhero in these games. It’s like you’re the hero making decisions that shape the adventure. The story feels like it’s happening to you, and that’s super exciting.

3. Choose-your-own-adventure stories:

Remember those books where you choose what happens? The second person shines here. It’s like you’re part of the story.

4. Persuasive writing and advertising:

Have you seen ads that say things like, “You deserve the best”? They use the second person to connect you to their message. It’s like they tell you their product is just for you.

Disadvantages of writing in the second person:

While second-person writing is awesome, it can be challenging. There are some challenges and things to think about.

  • It can sound strange.
  • It’s not a fit for every story.
  • Consistency is key
  • Respecting the reader
  • Finding balance
  • Avoiding manipulation

1. It can sound strange:

Using “you” all the time can sound a bit weird or forced. Imagine reading a story where every sentence starts with “you.” It can start to feel repetitive.

2. Not a fit for every story:

Some stories just don’t click with the second person. If a story needs a lot of characters’ viewpoints or focuses on a big, wide world, the second person might feel cramped.

3. Consistency is key:

When writing in the second person, keeping the tone and style consistent is essential. Switching back and forth between “you” and other pronouns can confuse the reader.

4. Respecting the reader:

Not everyone likes feeling like they’re being told what to do or that they’re a character in the story. Some readers might find the second person a bit intrusive or off-putting.

5. Finding balance:

Authors need to balance the “you” perspective with the character’s unique voice and emotions. Too much focus on “you” might make the character feel less real and relatable.

6. Avoiding manipulation:

Using the second person to manipulate or force emotions on readers can be a challenge. It’s important to create a genuine connection rather than trying to control their feelings.

From game adventures to persuasive ads, the second person is a way to bring words to life and make them resonate with you.

But like any tool, it has its challenges. Writers need to use it wisely, keeping you engaged while respecting your autonomy as a reader. So, whether you’re playing the hero in a game or following a recipe, remember that the second person is the secret ingredient that makes words come alive.

Switching points of view in writing: Walking in different shoes

The point of view (POV) is like the cone that holds the ice cream together. And here’s the cool part – you can actually switch cones in the middle of your story. Let’s dive into the world of switching points of view and see how it adds a splash of creativity to your writing.

Changing perspectives: Why would you?

Imagine you’re telling a story from one character’s viewpoint, but suddenly, you want to show what another character is thinking. That’s when switching points of view comes in handy. It’s like peeking into someone else’s thoughts to see what’s going on in their world.

1. First person to third person:

If you’re writing a story using “I” or “we” (first person), you can switch to the third person (“he,” “she,” “they”) to give readers a broader view. You can share what other characters are doing, even if the main character isn’t around.

2. Third person to first person:

You can also flip the switch the other way around. Switching from the third to the first person can make a character’s experiences feel super personal. It’s like you’re letting readers inside their heads, hearing their thoughts firsthand.

3. Mixing it up: Multiple POVs:

Have you ever read a book where each chapter is from a different character’s perspective? That’s like a POV party. Using multiple points of view lets you explore different characters’ feelings and experiences. It’s like getting to know all the characters from the inside.

4. The why behind the switch:

Sometimes, you can switch POV to create suspense or reveal secrets. Imagine a mystery where you see things through the detective’s eyes, and then suddenly, you switch to the suspect’s view. It’s like putting together a puzzle, piece by piece.

While switching POVs can be a fun way to mix things up, it’s like cooking a new recipe – you must do it carefully. Too much switching can confuse readers, like changing the channel on TV too quickly. Make sure the switches are clear and serve a purpose in the story.

So, can you switch points of view in your writing? Absolutely! It’s like wearing different shoes for different occasions. Just remember, each switch should enhance your story and let readers see the world through different eyes.

How do you write in the second person?

Let us tell you some great tricks to involve your readers and create an exciting writeup. Here is how you can write in the second person;

1. Embrace the “You” perspective:

The key to writing in the second person is to use pronouns like “you,” “your,” and “yours.” It’s like you’re addressing the reader directly, inviting them to experience the story as if it’s happening to them.

2. Make the reader the star:

Remember, in the second person, the reader is the main character. Everything revolves around them. So, describe actions, thoughts, and feelings as if the reader is the one doing and experiencing them.

3. Create immersive descriptions:

Use vivid and detailed descriptions to help the reader feel like they’re right there in the story. Engage their senses – describe the sights, sounds, smells, and even the emotions they might be feeling.

4. Bring actions to life:

When describing actions, use active verbs to make the reader feel involved. Instead of saying “he walked,” you could say “you stroll” or “you race.”

5. Play with emotions:

Since the reader is the character, you want them to feel the emotions deeply. Describe how “your heart races,” “your stomach flutters,” or “you feel a knot of worry.”

6. Use “you” thoughtfully:

While “you” is the star of the second person, don’t overuse it. Mix in other sentence structures to keep the writing from sounding repetitive.

7. Stay consistent:

Consistency is key. Once you’ve chosen the second person, stick with it throughout the story. Switching back and forth between points of view can confuse your readers.

8. Keep the tone in mind:

The tone of your story matters. Whether it’s casual, formal, suspenseful, or funny, make sure the second-person perspective matches the mood you’re trying to create.

9. Experiment and edit:

Writing in the second person might feel a bit tricky at first. So, don’t be afraid to experiment and revise. Read your work aloud to see if it flows smoothly and engages the reader.

10. Learn from examples:

Reading stories, articles, and books written in the second person can give you a feel for how it’s done. Pay attention to how the authors use “you” to draw you into the narrative.

Unveiling the writer’s toolbox: Why do writers use the second person?

You’ve probably noticed that writers have many tricks up their sleeves to craft captivating stories. One of these tricks is using the second-person point of view. So, why do writers reach into their toolbox and pull out the “you” perspective? Let’s dive in and uncover the reason behind it.

1. Creating a personal connection:

Did a story make you feel like it was written just for you? That’s the power of the second person. By addressing the reader directly with words like “you” and “your,” writers create an instant bond. They’re whispering secrets into your ear, making the story feel personal.

2. Drawing readers

Imagine you’re at a party, and someone starts telling you an intriguing story. When writers use the second person, it’s like they’re saying, “Hey, come here, let me tell you something cool.” It’s an invitation that’s hard to resist.

3. Enhancing immersion:

You’re stepping into a new world when you read a book or a story. The second person takes that to the next level. It makes you not just an observer but a participant. You’re not just reading about the adventure – you’re living it.

4. Making readers feel:

Writers want you to feel what their characters feel. The second person makes that happen in a big way. Instead of just reading about a character’s excitement, you feel the excitement too. It’s like the writer is dialing up your emotions.

5. Fostering empathy:

Empathy is when you understand and share someone else’s feelings. Writers use the second person to supercharge empathy. It’s like they’re saying, “Imagine you’re in this situation,” and suddenly, you’re feeling what the character feels.

6. Engaging different senses:

When writers describe things in the second person, they engage your senses. It’s not just about what you’re seeing – it’s about what you’re hearing, smelling, and feeling. This makes the story vivid and real.

7. Creating a unique experience:

Let’s face it – stories can get predictable. But when writers switch to the second person, they’re giving you something different. It’s a fresh way to tell a tale, and it can make you see things in a whole new light.

8. Playing with perspective:

Writing is like being a painter, but instead of colors, you use words. The second person is like using a unique brushstroke. It lets writers play with perspective and experiment with storytelling techniques.

So, next time you find yourself in a story’s embrace, remember – it’s the magic of the second person at work, creating a connection that lasts long after you turn the final page.

As you continue your reading adventures, watch for writing in the second person. It’s a literary tool that bridges the gap between the written word and the reader, adding a layer of engagement and making your reading journey all the more immersive.

This writing style immerses you, the reader, into the heart of the story or conversation, creating a personal connection between the text and yourself.

Throughout this guide, we’ve uncovered the essence of this technique, its mechanics, and the reasons authors opt for it. So, when you come across “you” as the reader or main character in a piece of writing, you can appreciate how it enhances your involvement and makes the words on the page feel like a personalized experience.

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How do you introduce a second character in a story?

  • Have them Introduce Themselves. …
  • Use Dialogue. …
  • Use a Visual Image. …
  • Use Descriptive Language. …
  • Show Them on the Brink of Change. …
  • Use Another Character’s POV. …
  • Use the Character’s Actions. …
  • Use Backstory.

How do you introduce a second character?

Show the new character doing something or saying something. For example, make a new player stumble upon the scene, make a dramatic entrance, or interrupt a conversation. Save the backstory about that person for later, after the reader has formed a strong impression.

How do you introduce a new character in a story example?

You might introduce a new character in a scene, mention them in a conversation, or describe a typical action they perform before the readers meet them in person. Example: “Mary kept glancing at the grandfather clock in the corner. It was almost time for him to arrive, the mysterious man from her mother’s stories.

How do you introduce two characters in a book?

Character Introduction Examples And Tips

  • Give Your Characters One Or Two Memorable Features. …
  • Describe Your Characters By The Clothes They Wear. …
  • Introduce Your Characters By Their Voice And Demeanour. …
  • Introduce Characters Through Action. …
  • Introduce Characters Through Dialogue. …
  • Introduce Them Through Another Character.

What is the second character in a story called?

Article Talk. In literature, the deuteragonist (/ˌdjuːtəˈræɡənɪst/ DEW-tə-RAG-ə-nist; from Ancient Greek δευτεραγωνιστής (deuteragōnistḗs) ‘second actor’) or secondary main character is the second most important character of a narrative, after the protagonist and before the tritagonist.

“How do I introduce multiple characters at once?” | #AskAbbie

How do you write a secondary character?

A well-written supporting character will have a character arc, a strong point of view, and clear personality traits. In many cases they will be the types of characters a reader might recognize from their own life and—like main characters—they will grow and change over the course of the storyline.

What is an example of a secondary character?

Famous examples of much-loved secondary characters in literature include: Ron and Hermione from Harry Potter. Peeta from The Hunger Games. Samwise, Pip, and Merry from The Lord of the Rings.

How do you write a secondary character in a novel?

Let’s take this one step at a time.

  • Identify the Secondary Character’s Role in the Story. …
  • Define the Secondary Character’s Relationship to the Protagonist. …
  • Decide if the Secondary Character is Dynamic or Static. …
  • Give Them a Distinct Personality. …
  • Create a Backstory and Inner Life. …
  • Fine-tune Their Voice.

How do you write a story with two characters?

6 Tips For Writing A Short Story Or Novel With Multiple Main Characters

  • Ask yourself why. …
  • Give each character their own arc. …
  • Make your characters’ voices unique. …
  • Maintain a balance. …
  • Make all your characters equally sympathetic. …
  • Don’t repeat yourself and don’t be redundant.

How do you introduce someone in writing?

You should include the following pieces of information in a letter of introduction:

  • Write a greeting. …
  • Include a sentence on why you’re writing. …
  • Present the full name of the person you’re introducing. …
  • Explain their role and how it is relevant to the reader.

How do you describe a new character in a story?

9 Tips for Writing Character Descriptions

  • Start with physical appearance. …
  • Carefully choose your adjectives. …
  • Think about a character’s interests. …
  • Choose descriptive details you’ve observed in your own life. …
  • Practice writing character descriptions for people in your life.

What are sentence starters for character?

Sentence Starters:

  • Define/ state. The character ___ in the story ___ is ___
  • Example. One example that shows how she is __ is when.
  • Explain. The character’s (S.T.E.A.L) show that.

How do you reveal a character in a story?

  • 8 Ways to Reveal Character.
  • Actions. Actions are what characters do: Example: …
  • Dialogue. Dialogue is what a character says and how he or she says it: Example: …
  • Physical Description. Physical Description is what a character looks like: Example: …
  • Idiosyncrasies. …
  • Objects & Possessions. …
  • Reactions. …

How do you write a good second person story?

Here are a few tips for achieving success when writing fiction in the second person:

  • Use the present tense. …
  • Include the word “you” sparingly. …
  • Write a consistent character. …
  • Create a character with whom readers can sympathize.

How do you introduce multiple characters in a script?

You introduce multiple characters in a screenplay by giving them all one characteristic in their actions, words or decisons that stands out from everyone else in the scene.

How do you introduce multiple characters in one scene?

Clearly, sparingly, and with action. This will also be a good test for whether the characters are each unique individuals. Have each person do or say several things that are important to the scene—enough to make sure that we readers get why they’re there—and why they’re important to the story that follows.

Can you have 2 main characters?

Dual protagonists are characters who are both the central actors in a story, work toward a shared or similar goal, and take up approximately the same amount of screen time. Like most protagonists in film, they must both embark on inner and outer journeys that culminate in an emotional or physical change.

What are the 2 characters in a short story?

a. Major characters

  • Protagonist – This is the main character, around which the whole story revolves. …
  • Antagonist – This character, or group of characters, causes the conflict for the protagonist.

Can a story have only 2 characters?

Answer: First, there is nothing fundamentally wrong with having just two characters for the bulk of your story. Hemmingway’s The Old Man and the Sea comes to mind as an example.

What comes after secondary character?

Tertiary characters play a minor role in the story. They’re not as significant as the main or even secondary characters, but they still serve a purpose in the narrative. These characters might only appear briefly or might make repeated appearances, but they can still add depth and richness to the world of the novel.

Can secondary characters be memorable?

You do the same thing you would to make your main characters memorable. Side characters are just as important as your main characters to your storycraft and the overall quality of your book. Even if they aren’t taking center stage, being “secondary” doesn’t mean you can put in half the effort.

How many secondary characters should a story have?

A good rule of thumb might be: Include as many characters as needed to tell the story and evoke the proper style and scope—and no more. For intimate novels, this number might be as small as 2-5 secondary characters, and for broader stories, this number might be 20-30.

What makes a good secondary character?

The main thing to remember when creating secondary characters is that they are characters first and supporters second. They should feel like whole people who could step straight off the page, so we must avoid them becoming clichés, or even worse, being contradictory in order to progress the main plot.

What are the secondary character archetypes?

There are two main secondary character archetypes in literature: the round character and the flat character. Round characters have backstories, emotions, and growth while flat characters are just there to aid the protagonist.

What is secondary character perspective?

Thus, secondary characters help the main character see multiple perspective in the world. It helps them with their struggles and help develop them as characters. They also provide multiple viewpoints to influence the main character and provide different paths for development within the main story.

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COMMENTS

  1. Writing in Second Person

    For second-person pronouns, you can use you, your, yours, and yourself (for the second-person singular) and add yourselves (for second-person plural).

  2. First, Second, and Third Person: Definition and Examples

    Second person point of view: Second person refers to the addressee. It uses the subject pronoun "you." Second Person Example: You prefer coffee to hot cocoa. In this example "you" is the addressee. The speaker is addressing "you." This is second person. What is Third Person?

  3. What Is Second Person Point of View in Writing? How to Write in Second

    1. Present an uncommon point of view. Second person is rare in literary fiction. Most novels are written in one of two styles: first person, which involves a narrator who tells their story, ("I ran toward the gate."), or the third person, which is the author telling a story about a character ("He woke up that morning.").

  4. Examples of Writing in Second Person

    Examples of Writing in Second Person By YourDictionary Staff Updated November 4, 2020 Writing in the second person requires use of the pronouns you, your, and yours. This point of view is used to address the audience in technical writing, advertising, songs and speeches.

  5. How to Write in the Second Person Point of View + Examples

    Here's a quick example of second-person point of view to get started: Your eyes drink in the page as you read an article to learn how to write in the second-person point of view. Maybe you're wondering, are you strong enough to master this wild card of the writing craft? Is second person the best way for you to tell your story?

  6. Why You Should Try Writing in Second Person

    Example: You're late. Heart pounding, you race up the stairs as the train enters the station. With a deep breath, you weave around the slow-moving people milling on the platform and dash towards the train, throwing your body through the doorway with only a moment to spare.

  7. Second-Person Point of View: Guide and Examples

    The famous examples of second-person point of view are, in part, well-known because they are striking and unusual deviations from the "rules" of fiction writing. These popular examples are well worth a read: Bread by Margaret Atwood (short story) Complicity by Iain Banks.

  8. Guide to Second Person Point of View with Examples

    Here are a few more famous second person POV examples: "There are a few years when you make almost all of your important memories. And then you spend the next few decades reliving them." - Charles Yu, Interior Chinatown "And you know the darkness beyond despair, just as intimately as you know the soaring heights.

  9. Point of View

    Second person Examples Third person Limited Omniscient Examples Speaking Fourth person Choosing a point of view TUTORS COURSES POINT OF VIEW Point of View — First, Second, & Third Person Written by Malcolm McKinsey January 26, 2023 Edited by Courtney Adamo Fact-checked by Paul Mazzola Definition Comparison How to identify First Person Second Person

  10. What is Second Person Point of View

    A second person point of view is a narrative perspective that places the emphasis on you. Although the second person point of view is very difficult to sustain, it can be used sparingly to great effect by writers to make the reader an active participant in a story. Second person is incredibly hard to communicate in visual mediums, because it ...

  11. How to Write in Second Person: Best Practices and Examples

    1 Know your audience 2 Choose your purpose 3 Vary your sentence structure 4 Balance your tone 5 Use examples and scenarios 6 Review and revise 7 Here's what else to consider Writing in the...

  12. Mastering the Second Person Viewpoint (with examples): A Comprehensive

    When writing in the second person, focus on providing specific, concrete sensory details that will draw readers in and make them feel as if they are truly experiencing the events of the story. ... For example, the second person perspective can be used to explore themes of identity, self-discovery, and personal growth in a way that encourages ...

  13. Ultimate Guide To Second Person Point of View: 15 Tips & Examples

    For example: Believable Fiction: If your character tells a true story (like an autobiography), then using a second-person point of view works perfectly well. This way, you'll keep the reader engaged and focused on what's happening.

  14. Readable grammar 101

    Examples of writing in the second person Although it's true that the second person is a rare point of view in fiction, it does crop up occasionally to achieve a specific effect or mood. It's been used very effectively in recent TV screenplays.

  15. Mastering Second Person Point of View: Techniques and Examples

    Second person point of view refers to using the pronouns you, your, yours, yourself, and yourselves in your writing. This perspective directly addresses the reader, making them feel as if they are part of the story or being spoken to by the narrator. Unlike first person, which uses I, me, and my, or third person, which uses he, she, it, and ...

  16. Second Person Point of View: Should Anyone Use It?

    1. To bring the reader closer to the story. When we talk about POVs, we often mention intimacy — in particular, how first person narratives tend to be more intimate than third person narratives. "Well, second person is a cut closer than first person because readers actually are the character," says Joel Bahr, a developmental editor at Amazon Publishing.

  17. 6 Examples and Excerpts of Second Person Point of View in Fiction

    Those stories are the perfect example of second person point of view fiction writing. They put you - the reader - at the very centre of the action. But second person isn't a POV we come across very often in fiction.

  18. Second Person Point of View: Definition and Examples

    Write a Short Story in Second Person POV. Getting used to second person writing can be a little tricky. But writing is all about practice. So if you think second person is right for your story, try writing a short story or two in the POV. A short story with a distinct main character, supporting characters, and three acts can help you get into ...

  19. First Person: Explanation and Examples

    Write with Grammarly Table of contents First-person point of view Second-person point of view Third-person point of view Are you using point of view correctly? First-person point of view When we talk about ourselves, our opinions, and the things that happen to us, we generally speak in the first person.

  20. Guide to Writing a Second-Person Narrative (With Examples)

    Here's an example of a second-person narrative excerpt: You can make your own play dough at home by combining conditioner and corn starch. Third person This perspective is the direct opposite of first-person perspective.

  21. Second Person: Explanation and Examples

    In business writing, the first person adds a personal touch, and the third person adds formality. In storytelling, the first person makes it easier to engage your readers, and the third person affords the author a God-like status (i.e., as an all-seeing narrator). There are no such traits with the second person.

  22. How to Write Second Person POV

    1. Use the Correct Pronouns: 'You, your, yours'. There is no "I" character in 2nd person. There can be "he" or "she" when the narrator is talking about others, but you should never use the word "I.". Just make sure to be very consistent with your use of the 2nd person. 2. Make the Narrator a Full-Fledged Character.

  23. Writing In The Second Person Made Easy: Tips and Tricks

    Literary examples of second-person writing 1. "Choose your own adventure" books: 2. "If on a winter's Night a traveler" by Italo Calvino: 3. "Bright lights, big City" by Jay McInerney: 4. Song Lyrics and Poetry: Second person in poetry: The power of "you." Effect of the second person in poetry: 1. Emotional Connection: 2. Immersion: 3. Empathy: 4.

  24. How do you introduce a second character in a story?

    Example. One example that shows how she is __ is when. Explain. The character's (S.T.E.A.L) show that. How do you reveal a character in a story? 8 Ways to Reveal Character. Actions. Actions are what characters do: Example: … Dialogue. Dialogue is what a character says and how he or she says it: Example: … Physical Description.

  25. What records are exempted from FERPA?

    Records which are kept in the sole possession of the maker of the records, are used only as a personal memory aid, and are not accessible or revealed to any other person except a temporary substitute for the maker of the records. Records of the law enforcement unit of an educational agency or institution.