Point of view refers to who is telling or narrating a story. A story can be told in three different ways: first person, second person, and third person. Writers use point of view to express the personal emotions of either themselves or their characters. The point of view of a story is how the writer wants to convey the experience to the reader.
With first-person point of view, the character is telling the story. You will see the words "I," "me," or "we" in first-person point of view. This point of view is commonly used for narratives and autobiographies.
First-person point of view can be singular or plural. The singular form uses "I" or "me" and plural form uses the word "we." Both are used to give the writer's personal perspective.
Some examples of first-person narrative include:
YouDictionary has many more examples of writing in the first person here.
When writing in second-person point of view, the writer has the narrator speaking to the reader. The words "you," "your," and "yours" are used in this point of view. Some common uses for second-person point of view are directions, business writing, technical writing, song lyrics, speeches, and advertising.
Some examples of second-person point of view are:
For more examples see our article on writing in second person.
Third-person point of view has an external narrator telling the story. The words "he," "she," "it," or "they" are used in this point of view. This point of view can either be omniscient where the reader knows what all the characters are doing in the story or it can be limited to having the reader only know what is happening to one specific character. Third person can also be gender specific or neutral, singular or plural.
Third-person point of view is often used in academic writing and fictional writing. Some examples of third person point of view:
For more information on the third-person point of view read Examples of Writing in the Third Person.
What point of view you choose to use in writing depends on how you want the story directed to the reader. If you are telling a story from the writer's perspective, use the first-person point of view to provide a sense of intimacy. To direct the writing at the reader, say, for a recipe or speech, use the second person as a way to separate the writer from the narrative. To tell the story from an outside perspective, with the ability to have an overview of the piece, use the third person. Always be sure to be consistent in your writing and stick with one point of view throughout. This makes it easier for the reader to understand your angle.