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How to Replace I in Essays: Alternative 3rd Person Pronouns

replacing I in essays

replacing I in essays

Learning how to write an essay without using ‘I,’ ‘We,’ or ‘You,’ and other personal languages can be challenging for students. The best writing skills recommend not to use such pronouns. This guide explores how to replace ‘I,’ ‘We,’ or ‘You’ in an essay and the methods to avoid them.

For those of us who have been able to overcome this, you will agree that there was a time when you experienced a challenge when finding alternatives to clauses such as “I will argue” or “I think.”

The good thing is that there are several methods of communicating your point and writing an essay without using ‘I’ or related personal language.

words to use instead of my in an essay

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Why Avoid Using Pronouns in Formal Writing

Before identifying the communication methods without using personal language like “I,” it is best to know why we should avoid such language while writing essays.

The most important reason for avoiding such language is because it is not suitable for formal writing such as essays. Appropriate professional English should not include any form of personal pronouns or language.

Avoid You I and Me

The second and equally important reason to avoid using personal language while writing an essay is to sound impersonal, functional, and objective.

In formal English, personal pronouns conflict with the idea of being impersonal, functional, and objective because they make redundant references to the writer and other people.

Personal pronouns will make an essay seem to contain only the writer’s perspectives and others they have deliberately selected. Again, they will make the work appear subjective.

Another reason to avoid personal language while coming up with an essay is to avoid sounding as if you have an urgent need to impress the reader through wording.

Personal pronouns like “you” and “I” tend to suggest something important that is away from what the writing is all about.

By continually using “I,” “we,” or “you,” you are taking the reader’s attention from the essay to other personal issues. The essay becomes all about the writer. 

That being said, let’s explore how to replace “I” in an essay.

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Ways of avoiding pronouns “i,” “you,” and “we” in an essay.

You can replace the pronouns ‘I’, ‘You’, and ‘We’ by replacing them with acceptable wording, applying passive voice instead of pronouns, Using a third-person perspective, adopting an objective language, and including strong verbs and adjectives.

In our other guide, we explained the best practices to avoid using ‘you’ in essay writing and use academically sound words. Let us explore each of these strategies in detail.

1. Replacing it with an Acceptable Wording

This is a very good strategy for replacing “I” in an essay. The problem is that it is often difficult to find the right word to replace the personal pronoun. Though this is the case, “I” has some alternatives.

For example, if the verb that follows it revolves around writing and research, such as “…will present” or “…have described”, it is best to replace “I” with text-referencing nouns such as “the essay.”

If you wanted to say “I will present” or “I have described”, then the alternative will be “the essay will present,” or “as described in the essay.”

Another method of replacing “I” in an essay is using appropriate wording like “this writer” if the verb’s action is not within the text.

While this is sometimes acceptable, it is often advised to have no words here by using passive verbs or their equivalents.

A wording that may also be used but rarely suitable is “the researcher”. This alternative can only be used when your actions as a writer are completely detached from the writing.

2. Using Passive voice Instead of Pronouns

passive voice

Another way to replace “I” and other personal pronouns in an essay is to use passive voice. This is achieved by transforming an active verb passive.

Though this is the case, the strategy is often difficult, and it may create sentence structures that are not acceptable in formal writing and language.

The sentences in which “I” can be successfully changed using this strategy is when an active verb describing an object is transformed into its passive form. 

3. Using a Third-Person Perspective

This is a very important and applicable strategy when replacing “I” in an essay. This is where you avoid using first-person and second-person perspectives.

When referring to the subject matter, refer directly to them using the third person. For example, if you were to write, “I think regular exercise is good for mind and body”, you can replace it with “Regular exercise is good for mind and body”.

4. Use of Objective Language

Objective language is lost when a person uses informal expressions like colloquialisms, slang, contractions, and clichés. It is the reason why we discourage the use of contractions in essay writing so that you can keep things formal.

While informal language can be applicable in casual writing and speeches, it is not acceptable when writing essays. This is because you will be tempted to use a first-person perspective to convey your message.

5. Being Specific and using Strong Verbs and Adjectives

In most cases, essays that have been written using a lot of personal pronouns tend to be imprecise. When you want to avoid using “I” in your essay, try to be exact and straight to the point.

Personal pronouns tend to convey a subjective message, and it is up to the writer to explain their perspectives through writing.

Here, a writer will use a lot of “I think…” or “I believe…” to express their opinion. By doing so, the writer will end up wasting a lot of time explaining a concept.

Instead of doing that, it is best to look for appropriate verbs and adjectives to explain the points. Also, use objective language. Refer to the suggestions given by credible evidence instead of basing your arguments on what you think.

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Words to use Instead of Personal Pronouns like “You” and “I”

As noted, it is important to avoid using personal pronouns such as “You” and “I” when writing an essay.

By eliminating them or finding alternatives to them, your essay will be formal and objective. You can decide to eliminate them in a sentence.

replace You and I

For example, you could be having a sentence like “I think the author makes a valid point concerning capitalism.”

In this example, you can eliminate the personal language and write, “The author makes a valid point concerning capitalism.”

The second sentence goes straight to the point and is objective.

Other words to use instead of personal pronouns, like “You” and “I,” can be created when personal judgment words are avoided.

Instead, it is best to replace those words with those that refer to the evidence.

Examples of Ways to Replace Personal Pronouns

Below are examples of how personal judgment words can be replaced by words referring to the evidence.

  • I feel – In light of the evidence
  • From I think – According to the findings
  • I agree – It is evident from the data that
  • I am convinced – Considering the results
  • You can see that – From the results, it is evident that

Using the third-person or “it” constructions can be used to replace personal pronouns like “You” and “I.” Such words also help to reduce the word count of your essay and make it short and precise.

For example, if you write “I conclude that, “replace those words with “it could be concluded that. ” Here, “it” constructions are helping replace personal pronouns to make the sentence more objective and precise.

To be more specific, words to replace personal pronouns like “I” include “one,” the viewer,” “the author,” “the reader,” “readers,” or something similar.

However, avoid overusing those words because your essay will seem stiff and awkward. For example, if you write, “I can perceive the plot’s confusion,” you can replace “I” by writing, “Readers can perceive the plot’s confusion.”

Words that can be used instead of personal pronouns like “You” include “one,” “the viewer,” reader,” “readers,” or any other similar phrases. It is similar to words that replace first-person pronouns.

For example, if you write “you can see that the poet’s tone is serious and urgent,” you can replace “You” by writing “readers/one can see that the poet’s tone is serious and urgent.”

Words to use Instead of “My” in an Essay

Since “My” demonstrates the possessiveness of something, in this case, the contents or thoughts within an essay, it makes the writing subjective. According to experts, writing should take an objective language . To do this, it is important to replace it.

Replacing My in your essay

You can replace the word “My” with “the”. For example, if you write, “My final thoughts concerning the issue are”, you can write, “The final thoughts concerning the issues are”.

In this case, the article “The” makes the sentence formal and objective.

Another method is eliminating the word “My” from the sentence to make it more objective and straight to the point.

In the same example above, if you write “My final thoughts concerning the issue are”, you can write “Final thoughts concerning the issue are”.

The major difference here is that the word “my” in the first example makes it subjective, and eliminating it from the sentence makes it sound formal and objective.

Final Advice

Therefore, when writing an essay, it is important to avoid personal pronouns like “You”, “I,” and “My.” Not all papers use third-person language. Different types of essays are formatted differently, a 5-paragraph essay is different from a 4-page paper , but all use third-person tones.

This is because an essay should be written in formal language, and using personal pronouns makes it appear and sound informal. Therefore, writing an essay without using ‘I’ is good.

Formal language makes your essay sound objective and precise. However, do not remove the first-person language when writing personal experiences in an essay or a paper. This is because it is acceptable and formal that way.

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With over 10 years in academia and academic assistance, Alicia Smart is the epitome of excellence in the writing industry. She is our managing editor and is in charge of the writing operations at Grade Bees.

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How to Replace Second‐Person Pronouns

Last Updated: May 9, 2023 References

This article was co-authored by Celena Hathaway and by wikiHow staff writer, Hannah Madden . Celena Hathaway is an English & Creative Writing Teacher at Cornerstone Schools of Alabama in Birmingham, Alabama. She specializes in entry-level creative writing, such as fundamental poetry and fiction short story techniques, and 8th-grade-level grammar and reading. She earned her B.S.E. in Secondary Education and B.A. in English from Samford University. This article has been viewed 9,475 times.

It can be easy to add in second-person pronouns like “you” and “your” to your writing since they’re used so often in daily speech. However, addressing the audience directly isn’t accepted in academic or formal writing, as it can make assumptions about the reader. You can either insert different pronouns to get the same message across or eliminate second-person pronouns altogether to tighten up your writing and make it more academic and formal.

Choosing Alternate Pronouns

Step 1 Use a specific noun instead of “you.”

  • For example, “In the summer, you often have to stand in line to get to the pool.”
  • Try saying, “In the summer, customers often have to stand in line to get to the pool.”
  • Or, “In many areas, you have people who are unhappy with local government.”
  • Try, “In many areas, citizens are unhappy with local government.”

Step 2 Replace “you” with “people” for generalizations.

  • For example, take the sentence, “You may already know that there is plastic in the ocean.”
  • Change that sentence to, “Most people already know that there is plastic in the ocean.”
  • Or, “You might think that bees don’t play a large role in the ecosystem.”
  • Try, “Many people don’t know that bees play a large role in the ecosystem.”

Step 3 Try using “one” instead of “you.”

  • ”You may think that this is impossible.”
  • Change that to, “One may think that this is impossible.”
  • Or, “You could say that the idea is unlikely.”
  • Try, “One could say that the idea is unlikely.”

Step 4 Use “someone” or “somebody” for hypotheticals.

  • ”You may feel compelled to argue that the research is flawed.”
  • Try, “Someone may feel compelled to argue that the research is flawed.”
  • Or, “You could say that the timeline is too short.”
  • Try, “Somebody could say that the timeline is too short.”

Step 5 Add in “the reader” or “the viewer” to address the audience.

  • For example, “Now, you may be confused as to why these methods were chosen.”
  • Try, “The reader may be confused as to why these methods were chosen.”
  • Use “the reader” and “the viewer” sparingly, as they can be a little jarring in academic text.

Avoiding Second-Person Pronouns

Step 1 Remove unnecessary second-person pronouns.

  • For example, “You should set up the lab equipment to begin.”
  • Take out the “you” to make: “Set up the lab equipment to begin.”
  • Or, “However, you can read the essay before coming to any conclusions.”
  • Try, “Read the essay before coming to any conclusions.”

Step 2 Rearrange the sentence to avoid a second-person pronoun.

  • For example: “After reading this paper, you’ll know much more about the history of Europe.”
  • Try, “This paper will explain the history of Europe.”
  • Or, “You may be interested in learning more about topographical maps.”
  • Try, “Keep reading to learn more about topographical maps.”

Step 3 Reframe the sentence to sound like a fact, not advice.

  • For example, “When you don’t wear a seatbelt, you’re more likely to get seriously injured in an accident.”
  • Reframe the sentence to say, “People who don’t wear a seatbelt are more likely to get seriously injured in an accident.”
  • Or, “If you don’t stretch before working out, you could pull a muscle.”
  • Try, “Working out without stretching can lead to pulled muscles.”

Expert Q&A

  • Avoid second-person pronouns in academic text to make your writing seem more formal. Thanks Helpful 2 Not Helpful 0
  • Addressing the reader directly can be a little jarring and make unfair assumptions about your audience, so try to avoid it, if you can. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

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Expert Interview

words to use instead of my in an essay

Thanks for reading our article! If you’d like to learn more about writing, check out our in-depth interview with Celena Hathaway .

  • ↑ https://stlcc.edu/docs/student-support/academic-support/college-writing-center/point-of-view-in-academic-writing.pdf
  • ↑ https://semo.edu/pdf/Writing_handout_Avoiding_Second_Person.pdf
  • ↑ http://facultyweb.ivcc.edu/rrambo/tip_formal_writing_voice.htm
  • ↑ http://blogs.ubc.ca/writingcentre/files/2013/01/Tutor-project-Avoid-First-Person-POV.pdf
  • ↑ http://content.nroc.org/DevelopmentalEnglish/unit05/Foundations/first-second-and-third-person-pronouns.html

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How To Avoid Using “We,” “You,” And “I” in an Essay

  • Posted on October 27, 2022 October 27, 2022

Maintaining a formal voice while writing academic essays and papers is essential to sound objective. 

One of the main rules of academic or formal writing is to avoid first-person pronouns like “we,” “you,” and “I.” These words pull focus away from the topic and shift it to the speaker – the opposite of your goal.

While it may seem difficult at first, some tricks can help you avoid personal language and keep a professional tone.

Let’s learn how to avoid using “we” in an essay.

What Is a Personal Pronoun?

Pronouns are words used to refer to a noun indirectly. Examples include “he,” “his,” “her,” and “hers.” Any time you refer to a noun – whether a person, object, or animal – without using its name, you use a pronoun.

Personal pronouns are a type of pronoun. A personal pronoun is a pronoun you use whenever you directly refer to the subject of the sentence. 

Take the following short paragraph as an example:

“Mr. Smith told the class yesterday to work on our essays. Mr. Smith also said that Mr. Smith lost Mr. Smith’s laptop in the lunchroom.”

The above sentence contains no pronouns at all. There are three places where you would insert a pronoun, but only two where you would put a personal pronoun. See the revised sentence below:

“Mr. Smith told the class yesterday to work on our essays. He also said that he lost his laptop in the lunchroom.”

“He” is a personal pronoun because we are talking directly about Mr. Smith. “His” is not a personal pronoun (it’s a possessive pronoun) because we are not speaking directly about Mr. Smith. Rather, we are talking about Mr. Smith’s laptop.

If later on you talk about Mr. Smith’s laptop, you may say:

“Mr. Smith found it in his car, not the lunchroom!” 

In this case, “it” is a personal pronoun because in this point of view we are making a reference to the laptop directly and not as something owned by Mr. Smith.

Why Avoid Personal Pronouns in Essay Writing

We’re teaching you how to avoid using “I” in writing, but why is this necessary? Academic writing aims to focus on a clear topic, sound objective, and paint the writer as a source of authority. Word choice can significantly impact your success in achieving these goals.

Writing that uses personal pronouns can unintentionally shift the reader’s focus onto the writer, pulling their focus away from the topic at hand.

Personal pronouns may also make your work seem less objective. 

One of the most challenging parts of essay writing is learning which words to avoid and how to avoid them. Fortunately, following a few simple tricks, you can master the English Language and write like a pro in no time.

Alternatives To Using Personal Pronouns

How to not use “I” in a paper? What are the alternatives? There are many ways to avoid the use of personal pronouns in academic writing. By shifting your word choice and sentence structure, you can keep the overall meaning of your sentences while re-shaping your tone.

Utilize Passive Voice

In conventional writing, students are taught to avoid the passive voice as much as possible, but it can be an excellent way to avoid first-person pronouns in academic writing.

You can use the passive voice to avoid using pronouns. Take this sentence, for example:

“ We used 150 ml of HCl for the experiment.”

Instead of using “we” and the active voice, you can use a passive voice without a pronoun. The sentence above becomes:

“150 ml of HCl were used for the experiment.” 

Using the passive voice removes your team from the experiment and makes your work sound more objective.

Take a Third-Person Perspective

Another answer to “how to avoid using ‘we’ in an essay?” is the use of a third-person perspective. Changing the perspective is a good way to take first-person pronouns out of a sentence. A third-person point of view will not use any first-person pronouns because the information is not given from the speaker’s perspective.

A third-person sentence is spoken entirely about the subject where the speaker is outside of the sentence.

Take a look at the sentence below:

“In this article you will learn about formal writing.”

The perspective in that sentence is second person, and it uses the personal pronoun “you.” You can change this sentence to sound more objective by using third-person pronouns:

“In this article the reader will learn about formal writing.”

The use of a third-person point of view makes the second sentence sound more academic and confident. Second-person pronouns, like those used in the first sentence, sound less formal and objective.

Be Specific With Word Choice

You can avoid first-personal pronouns by choosing your words carefully. Often, you may find that you are inserting unnecessary nouns into your work. 

Take the following sentence as an example:

“ My research shows the students did poorly on the test.”

In this case, the first-person pronoun ‘my’ can be entirely cut out from the sentence. It then becomes:

“Research shows the students did poorly on the test.”

The second sentence is more succinct and sounds more authoritative without changing the sentence structure.

You should also make sure to watch out for the improper use of adverbs and nouns. Being careful with your word choice regarding nouns, adverbs, verbs, and adjectives can help mitigate your use of personal pronouns. 

“They bravely started the French revolution in 1789.” 

While this sentence might be fine in a story about the revolution, an essay or academic piece should only focus on the facts. The world ‘bravely’ is a good indicator that you are inserting unnecessary personal pronouns into your work.

We can revise this sentence into:

“The French revolution started in 1789.” 

Avoid adverbs (adjectives that describe verbs), and you will find that you avoid personal pronouns by default.

Closing Thoughts

In academic writing, It is crucial to sound objective and focus on the topic. Using personal pronouns pulls the focus away from the subject and makes writing sound subjective.

Hopefully, this article has helped you learn how to avoid using “we” in an essay.

When working on any formal writing assignment, avoid personal pronouns and informal language as much as possible.

While getting the hang of academic writing, you will likely make some mistakes, so revising is vital. Always double-check for personal pronouns, plagiarism , spelling mistakes, and correctly cited pieces. 

 You can prevent and correct mistakes using a plagiarism checker at any time, completely for free.

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  • 40 Useful Words and Phrases for Top-Notch Essays

words to use instead of my in an essay

To be truly brilliant, an essay needs to utilise the right language. You could make a great point, but if it’s not intelligently articulated, you almost needn’t have bothered.

Developing the language skills to build an argument and to write persuasively is crucial if you’re to write outstanding essays every time. In this article, we’re going to equip you with the words and phrases you need to write a top-notch essay, along with examples of how to utilise them.

It’s by no means an exhaustive list, and there will often be other ways of using the words and phrases we describe that we won’t have room to include, but there should be more than enough below to help you make an instant improvement to your essay-writing skills.

If you’re interested in developing your language and persuasive skills, Oxford Royale offers summer courses at its Oxford Summer School , Cambridge Summer School , London Summer School , San Francisco Summer School and Yale Summer School . You can study courses to learn english , prepare for careers in law , medicine , business , engineering and leadership.

General explaining

Let’s start by looking at language for general explanations of complex points.

1. In order to

Usage: “In order to” can be used to introduce an explanation for the purpose of an argument. Example: “In order to understand X, we need first to understand Y.”

2. In other words

Usage: Use “in other words” when you want to express something in a different way (more simply), to make it easier to understand, or to emphasise or expand on a point. Example: “Frogs are amphibians. In other words, they live on the land and in the water.”

3. To put it another way

Usage: This phrase is another way of saying “in other words”, and can be used in particularly complex points, when you feel that an alternative way of wording a problem may help the reader achieve a better understanding of its significance. Example: “Plants rely on photosynthesis. To put it another way, they will die without the sun.”

4. That is to say

Usage: “That is” and “that is to say” can be used to add further detail to your explanation, or to be more precise. Example: “Whales are mammals. That is to say, they must breathe air.”

5. To that end

Usage: Use “to that end” or “to this end” in a similar way to “in order to” or “so”. Example: “Zoologists have long sought to understand how animals communicate with each other. To that end, a new study has been launched that looks at elephant sounds and their possible meanings.”

Adding additional information to support a point

Students often make the mistake of using synonyms of “and” each time they want to add further information in support of a point they’re making, or to build an argument . Here are some cleverer ways of doing this.

6. Moreover

Usage: Employ “moreover” at the start of a sentence to add extra information in support of a point you’re making. Example: “Moreover, the results of a recent piece of research provide compelling evidence in support of…”

7. Furthermore

Usage:This is also generally used at the start of a sentence, to add extra information. Example: “Furthermore, there is evidence to suggest that…”

8. What’s more

Usage: This is used in the same way as “moreover” and “furthermore”. Example: “What’s more, this isn’t the only evidence that supports this hypothesis.”

9. Likewise

Usage: Use “likewise” when you want to talk about something that agrees with what you’ve just mentioned. Example: “Scholar A believes X. Likewise, Scholar B argues compellingly in favour of this point of view.”

10. Similarly

Usage: Use “similarly” in the same way as “likewise”. Example: “Audiences at the time reacted with shock to Beethoven’s new work, because it was very different to what they were used to. Similarly, we have a tendency to react with surprise to the unfamiliar.”

11. Another key thing to remember

Usage: Use the phrase “another key point to remember” or “another key fact to remember” to introduce additional facts without using the word “also”. Example: “As a Romantic, Blake was a proponent of a closer relationship between humans and nature. Another key point to remember is that Blake was writing during the Industrial Revolution, which had a major impact on the world around him.”

12. As well as

Usage: Use “as well as” instead of “also” or “and”. Example: “Scholar A argued that this was due to X, as well as Y.”

13. Not only… but also

Usage: This wording is used to add an extra piece of information, often something that’s in some way more surprising or unexpected than the first piece of information. Example: “Not only did Edmund Hillary have the honour of being the first to reach the summit of Everest, but he was also appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire.”

14. Coupled with

Usage: Used when considering two or more arguments at a time. Example: “Coupled with the literary evidence, the statistics paint a compelling view of…”

15. Firstly, secondly, thirdly…

Usage: This can be used to structure an argument, presenting facts clearly one after the other. Example: “There are many points in support of this view. Firstly, X. Secondly, Y. And thirdly, Z.

16. Not to mention/to say nothing of

Usage: “Not to mention” and “to say nothing of” can be used to add extra information with a bit of emphasis. Example: “The war caused unprecedented suffering to millions of people, not to mention its impact on the country’s economy.”

Words and phrases for demonstrating contrast

When you’re developing an argument, you will often need to present contrasting or opposing opinions or evidence – “it could show this, but it could also show this”, or “X says this, but Y disagrees”. This section covers words you can use instead of the “but” in these examples, to make your writing sound more intelligent and interesting.

17. However

Usage: Use “however” to introduce a point that disagrees with what you’ve just said. Example: “Scholar A thinks this. However, Scholar B reached a different conclusion.”

18. On the other hand

Usage: Usage of this phrase includes introducing a contrasting interpretation of the same piece of evidence, a different piece of evidence that suggests something else, or an opposing opinion. Example: “The historical evidence appears to suggest a clear-cut situation. On the other hand, the archaeological evidence presents a somewhat less straightforward picture of what happened that day.”

19. Having said that

Usage: Used in a similar manner to “on the other hand” or “but”. Example: “The historians are unanimous in telling us X, an agreement that suggests that this version of events must be an accurate account. Having said that, the archaeology tells a different story.”

20. By contrast/in comparison

Usage: Use “by contrast” or “in comparison” when you’re comparing and contrasting pieces of evidence. Example: “Scholar A’s opinion, then, is based on insufficient evidence. By contrast, Scholar B’s opinion seems more plausible.”

21. Then again

Usage: Use this to cast doubt on an assertion. Example: “Writer A asserts that this was the reason for what happened. Then again, it’s possible that he was being paid to say this.”

22. That said

Usage: This is used in the same way as “then again”. Example: “The evidence ostensibly appears to point to this conclusion. That said, much of the evidence is unreliable at best.”

Usage: Use this when you want to introduce a contrasting idea. Example: “Much of scholarship has focused on this evidence. Yet not everyone agrees that this is the most important aspect of the situation.”

Adding a proviso or acknowledging reservations

Sometimes, you may need to acknowledge a shortfalling in a piece of evidence, or add a proviso. Here are some ways of doing so.

24. Despite this

Usage: Use “despite this” or “in spite of this” when you want to outline a point that stands regardless of a shortfalling in the evidence. Example: “The sample size was small, but the results were important despite this.”

25. With this in mind

Usage: Use this when you want your reader to consider a point in the knowledge of something else. Example: “We’ve seen that the methods used in the 19th century study did not always live up to the rigorous standards expected in scientific research today, which makes it difficult to draw definite conclusions. With this in mind, let’s look at a more recent study to see how the results compare.”

26. Provided that

Usage: This means “on condition that”. You can also say “providing that” or just “providing” to mean the same thing. Example: “We may use this as evidence to support our argument, provided that we bear in mind the limitations of the methods used to obtain it.”

27. In view of/in light of

Usage: These phrases are used when something has shed light on something else. Example: “In light of the evidence from the 2013 study, we have a better understanding of…”

28. Nonetheless

Usage: This is similar to “despite this”. Example: “The study had its limitations, but it was nonetheless groundbreaking for its day.”

29. Nevertheless

Usage: This is the same as “nonetheless”. Example: “The study was flawed, but it was important nevertheless.”

30. Notwithstanding

Usage: This is another way of saying “nonetheless”. Example: “Notwithstanding the limitations of the methodology used, it was an important study in the development of how we view the workings of the human mind.”

Giving examples

Good essays always back up points with examples, but it’s going to get boring if you use the expression “for example” every time. Here are a couple of other ways of saying the same thing.

31. For instance

Example: “Some birds migrate to avoid harsher winter climates. Swallows, for instance, leave the UK in early winter and fly south…”

32. To give an illustration

Example: “To give an illustration of what I mean, let’s look at the case of…”

Signifying importance

When you want to demonstrate that a point is particularly important, there are several ways of highlighting it as such.

33. Significantly

Usage: Used to introduce a point that is loaded with meaning that might not be immediately apparent. Example: “Significantly, Tacitus omits to tell us the kind of gossip prevalent in Suetonius’ accounts of the same period.”

34. Notably

Usage: This can be used to mean “significantly” (as above), and it can also be used interchangeably with “in particular” (the example below demonstrates the first of these ways of using it). Example: “Actual figures are notably absent from Scholar A’s analysis.”

35. Importantly

Usage: Use “importantly” interchangeably with “significantly”. Example: “Importantly, Scholar A was being employed by X when he wrote this work, and was presumably therefore under pressure to portray the situation more favourably than he perhaps might otherwise have done.”

Summarising

You’ve almost made it to the end of the essay, but your work isn’t over yet. You need to end by wrapping up everything you’ve talked about, showing that you’ve considered the arguments on both sides and reached the most likely conclusion. Here are some words and phrases to help you.

36. In conclusion

Usage: Typically used to introduce the concluding paragraph or sentence of an essay, summarising what you’ve discussed in a broad overview. Example: “In conclusion, the evidence points almost exclusively to Argument A.”

37. Above all

Usage: Used to signify what you believe to be the most significant point, and the main takeaway from the essay. Example: “Above all, it seems pertinent to remember that…”

38. Persuasive

Usage: This is a useful word to use when summarising which argument you find most convincing. Example: “Scholar A’s point – that Constanze Mozart was motivated by financial gain – seems to me to be the most persuasive argument for her actions following Mozart’s death.”

39. Compelling

Usage: Use in the same way as “persuasive” above. Example: “The most compelling argument is presented by Scholar A.”

40. All things considered

Usage: This means “taking everything into account”. Example: “All things considered, it seems reasonable to assume that…”

How many of these words and phrases will you get into your next essay? And are any of your favourite essay terms missing from our list? Let us know in the comments below, or get in touch here to find out more about courses that can help you with your essays.

At Oxford Royale Academy, we offer a number of  summer school courses for young people who are keen to improve their essay writing skills. Click here to apply for one of our courses today, including law , business , medicine  and engineering .

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The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Word Choice

What this handout is about.

This handout can help you revise your papers for word-level clarity, eliminate wordiness and avoid clichés, find the words that best express your ideas, and choose words that suit an academic audience.

Introduction

Writing is a series of choices. As you work on a paper, you choose your topic, your approach, your sources, and your thesis; when it’s time to write, you have to choose the words you will use to express your ideas and decide how you will arrange those words into sentences and paragraphs. As you revise your draft, you make more choices. You might ask yourself, “Is this really what I mean?” or “Will readers understand this?” or “Does this sound good?” Finding words that capture your meaning and convey that meaning to your readers is challenging. When your instructors write things like “awkward,” “vague,” or “wordy” on your draft, they are letting you know that they want you to work on word choice. This handout will explain some common issues related to word choice and give you strategies for choosing the best words as you revise your drafts.

As you read further into the handout, keep in mind that it can sometimes take more time to “save” words from your original sentence than to write a brand new sentence to convey the same meaning or idea. Don’t be too attached to what you’ve already written; if you are willing to start a sentence fresh, you may be able to choose words with greater clarity.

For tips on making more substantial revisions, take a look at our handouts on reorganizing drafts and revising drafts .

“Awkward,” “vague,” and “unclear” word choice

So: you write a paper that makes perfect sense to you, but it comes back with “awkward” scribbled throughout the margins. Why, you wonder, are instructors so fond of terms like “awkward”? Most instructors use terms like this to draw your attention to sentences they had trouble understanding and to encourage you to rewrite those sentences more clearly.

Difficulties with word choice aren’t the only cause of awkwardness, vagueness, or other problems with clarity. Sometimes a sentence is hard to follow because there is a grammatical problem with it or because of the syntax (the way the words and phrases are put together). Here’s an example: “Having finished with studying, the pizza was quickly eaten.” This sentence isn’t hard to understand because of the words I chose—everybody knows what studying, pizza, and eating are. The problem here is that readers will naturally assume that first bit of the sentence “(Having finished with studying”) goes with the next noun that follows it—which, in this case, is “the pizza”! It doesn’t make a lot of sense to imply that the pizza was studying. What I was actually trying to express was something more like this: “Having finished with studying, the students quickly ate the pizza.” If you have a sentence that has been marked “awkward,” “vague,” or “unclear,” try to think about it from a reader’s point of view—see if you can tell where it changes direction or leaves out important information.

Sometimes, though, problems with clarity are a matter of word choice. See if you recognize any of these issues:

  • Misused words —the word doesn’t actually mean what the writer thinks it does. Example : Cree Indians were a monotonous culture until French and British settlers arrived. Revision: Cree Indians were a homogenous culture.
  • Words with unwanted connotations or meanings. Example : I sprayed the ants in their private places. Revision: I sprayed the ants in their hiding places.
  • Using a pronoun when readers can’t tell whom/what it refers to. Example : My cousin Jake hugged my brother Trey, even though he didn’t like him very much. Revision: My cousin Jake hugged my brother Trey, even though Jake doesn’t like Trey very much.
  • Jargon or technical terms that make readers work unnecessarily hard. Maybe you need to use some of these words because they are important terms in your field, but don’t throw them in just to “sound smart.” Example : The dialectical interface between neo-Platonists and anti-disestablishment Catholics offers an algorithm for deontological thought. Revision : The dialogue between neo-Platonists and certain Catholic thinkers is a model for deontological thought.
  • Loaded language. Sometimes we as writers know what we mean by a certain word, but we haven’t ever spelled that out for readers. We rely too heavily on that word, perhaps repeating it often, without clarifying what we are talking about. Example : Society teaches young girls that beauty is their most important quality. In order to prevent eating disorders and other health problems, we must change society. Revision : Contemporary American popular media, like magazines and movies, teach young girls that beauty is their most important quality. In order to prevent eating disorders and other health problems, we must change the images and role models girls are offered.

Sometimes the problem isn’t choosing exactly the right word to express an idea—it’s being “wordy,” or using words that your reader may regard as “extra” or inefficient. Take a look at the following list for some examples. On the left are some phrases that use three, four, or more words where fewer will do; on the right are some shorter substitutes:

Keep an eye out for wordy constructions in your writing and see if you can replace them with more concise words or phrases.

In academic writing, it’s a good idea to limit your use of clichés. Clichés are catchy little phrases so frequently used that they have become trite, corny, or annoying. They are problematic because their overuse has diminished their impact and because they require several words where just one would do.

The main way to avoid clichés is first to recognize them and then to create shorter, fresher equivalents. Ask yourself if there is one word that means the same thing as the cliché. If there isn’t, can you use two or three words to state the idea your own way? Below you will see five common clichés, with some alternatives to their right. As a challenge, see how many alternatives you can create for the final two examples.

Try these yourself:

Writing for an academic audience

When you choose words to express your ideas, you have to think not only about what makes sense and sounds best to you, but what will make sense and sound best to your readers. Thinking about your audience and their expectations will help you make decisions about word choice.

Some writers think that academic audiences expect them to “sound smart” by using big or technical words. But the most important goal of academic writing is not to sound smart—it is to communicate an argument or information clearly and convincingly. It is true that academic writing has a certain style of its own and that you, as a student, are beginning to learn to read and write in that style. You may find yourself using words and grammatical constructions that you didn’t use in your high school writing. The danger is that if you consciously set out to “sound smart” and use words or structures that are very unfamiliar to you, you may produce sentences that your readers can’t understand.

When writing for your professors, think simplicity. Using simple words does not indicate simple thoughts. In an academic argument paper, what makes the thesis and argument sophisticated are the connections presented in simple, clear language.

Keep in mind, though, that simple and clear doesn’t necessarily mean casual. Most instructors will not be pleased if your paper looks like an instant message or an email to a friend. It’s usually best to avoid slang and colloquialisms. Take a look at this example and ask yourself how a professor would probably respond to it if it were the thesis statement of a paper: “Moulin Rouge really bit because the singing sucked and the costume colors were nasty, KWIM?”

Selecting and using key terms

When writing academic papers, it is often helpful to find key terms and use them within your paper as well as in your thesis. This section comments on the crucial difference between repetition and redundancy of terms and works through an example of using key terms in a thesis statement.

Repetition vs. redundancy

These two phenomena are not necessarily the same. Repetition can be a good thing. Sometimes we have to use our key terms several times within a paper, especially in topic sentences. Sometimes there is simply no substitute for the key terms, and selecting a weaker term as a synonym can do more harm than good. Repeating key terms emphasizes important points and signals to the reader that the argument is still being supported. This kind of repetition can give your paper cohesion and is done by conscious choice.

In contrast, if you find yourself frustrated, tiredly repeating the same nouns, verbs, or adjectives, or making the same point over and over, you are probably being redundant. In this case, you are swimming aimlessly around the same points because you have not decided what your argument really is or because you are truly fatigued and clarity escapes you. Refer to the “Strategies” section below for ideas on revising for redundancy.

Building clear thesis statements

Writing clear sentences is important throughout your writing. For the purposes of this handout, let’s focus on the thesis statement—one of the most important sentences in academic argument papers. You can apply these ideas to other sentences in your papers.

A common problem with writing good thesis statements is finding the words that best capture both the important elements and the significance of the essay’s argument. It is not always easy to condense several paragraphs or several pages into concise key terms that, when combined in one sentence, can effectively describe the argument.

However, taking the time to find the right words offers writers a significant edge. Concise and appropriate terms will help both the writer and the reader keep track of what the essay will show and how it will show it. Graders, in particular, like to see clearly stated thesis statements. (For more on thesis statements in general, please refer to our handout .)

Example : You’ve been assigned to write an essay that contrasts the river and shore scenes in Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn. You work on it for several days, producing three versions of your thesis:

Version 1 : There are many important river and shore scenes in Huckleberry Finn.

Version 2 : The contrasting river and shore scenes in Huckleberry Finn suggest a return to nature.

Version 3 : Through its contrasting river and shore scenes, Twain’s Huckleberry Finn suggests that to find the true expression of American democratic ideals, one must leave “civilized” society and go back to nature.

Let’s consider the word choice issues in these statements. In Version 1, the word “important”—like “interesting”—is both overused and vague; it suggests that the author has an opinion but gives very little indication about the framework of that opinion. As a result, your reader knows only that you’re going to talk about river and shore scenes, but not what you’re going to say. Version 2 is an improvement: the words “return to nature” give your reader a better idea where the paper is headed. On the other hand, they still do not know how this return to nature is crucial to your understanding of the novel.

Finally, you come up with Version 3, which is a stronger thesis because it offers a sophisticated argument and the key terms used to make this argument are clear. At least three key terms or concepts are evident: the contrast between river and shore scenes, a return to nature, and American democratic ideals.

By itself, a key term is merely a topic—an element of the argument but not the argument itself. The argument, then, becomes clear to the reader through the way in which you combine key terms.

Strategies for successful word choice

  • Be careful when using words you are unfamiliar with. Look at how they are used in context and check their dictionary definitions.
  • Be careful when using the thesaurus. Each word listed as a synonym for the word you’re looking up may have its own unique connotations or shades of meaning. Use a dictionary to be sure the synonym you are considering really fits what you are trying to say.
  • Under the present conditions of our society, marriage practices generally demonstrate a high degree of homogeneity.
  • In our culture, people tend to marry others who are like themselves. (Longman, p. 452)
  • Before you revise for accurate and strong adjectives, make sure you are first using accurate and strong nouns and verbs. For example, if you were revising the sentence “This is a good book that tells about the Revolutionary War,” think about whether “book” and “tells” are as strong as they could be before you worry about “good.” (A stronger sentence might read “The novel describes the experiences of a soldier during the Revolutionary War.” “Novel” tells us what kind of book it is, and “describes” tells us more about how the book communicates information.)
  • Try the slash/option technique, which is like brainstorming as you write. When you get stuck, write out two or more choices for a questionable word or a confusing sentence, e.g., “questionable/inaccurate/vague/inappropriate.” Pick the word that best indicates your meaning or combine different terms to say what you mean.
  • Look for repetition. When you find it, decide if it is “good” repetition (using key terms that are crucial and helpful to meaning) or “bad” repetition (redundancy or laziness in reusing words).
  • Write your thesis in five different ways. Make five different versions of your thesis sentence. Compose five sentences that express your argument. Try to come up with four alternatives to the thesis sentence you’ve already written. Find five possible ways to communicate your argument in one sentence to your reader. (We’ve just used this technique—which of the last five sentences do you prefer?)Whenever we write a sentence we make choices. Some are less obvious than others, so that it can often feel like we’ve written the sentence the only way we know how. By writing out five different versions of your thesis, you can begin to see your range of choices. The final version may be a combination of phrasings and words from all five versions, or the one version that says it best. By literally spelling out some possibilities for yourself, you will be able to make better decisions.
  • Read your paper out loud and at… a… slow… pace. You can do this alone or with a friend, roommate, TA, etc. When read out loud, your written words should make sense to both you and other listeners. If a sentence seems confusing, rewrite it to make the meaning clear.
  • Instead of reading the paper itself, put it down and just talk through your argument as concisely as you can. If your listener quickly and easily comprehends your essay’s main point and significance, you should then make sure that your written words are as clear as your oral presentation was. If, on the other hand, your listener keeps asking for clarification, you will need to work on finding the right terms for your essay. If you do this in exchange with a friend or classmate, rest assured that whether you are the talker or the listener, your articulation skills will develop.
  • Have someone not familiar with the issue read the paper and point out words or sentences they find confusing. Do not brush off this reader’s confusion by assuming they simply doesn’t know enough about the topic. Instead, rewrite the sentences so that your “outsider” reader can follow along at all times.
  • Check out the Writing Center’s handouts on style , passive voice , and proofreading for more tips.

Questions to ask yourself

  • Am I sure what each word I use really means? Am I positive, or should I look it up?
  • Have I found the best word or just settled for the most obvious, or the easiest, one?
  • Am I trying too hard to impress my reader?
  • What’s the easiest way to write this sentence? (Sometimes it helps to answer this question by trying it out loud. How would you say it to someone?)
  • What are the key terms of my argument?
  • Can I outline out my argument using only these key terms? What others do I need? Which do I not need?
  • Have I created my own terms, or have I simply borrowed what looked like key ones from the assignment? If I’ve borrowed the terms, can I find better ones in my own vocabulary, the texts, my notes, the dictionary, or the thesaurus to make myself clearer?
  • Are my key terms too specific? (Do they cover the entire range of my argument?) Can I think of specific examples from my sources that fall under the key term?
  • Are my key terms too vague? (Do they cover more than the range of my argument?)

Works consulted

We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.

Anson, Chris M., and Robert A. Schwegler. 2010. The Longman Handbook for Writers and Readers , 6th ed. New York: Longman.

Cook, Claire Kehrwald. 1985. Line by Line: How to Improve Your Own Writing . Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Grossman, Ellie. 1997. The Grammatically Correct Handbook: A Lively and Unorthodox Review of Common English for the Linguistically Challenged . New York: Hyperion.

Houghton Mifflin. 1996. The American Heritage Book of English Usage: A Practical and Authoritative Guide to Contemporary English . Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

O’Conner, Patricia. 2010. Woe Is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English , 3rd ed. New York: Penguin Publishing Group.

Tarshis, Barry. 1998. How to Be Your Own Best Editor: The Toolkit for Everyone Who Writes . New York: Three Rivers Press.

Williams, Joseph, and Joseph Bizup. 2017. Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace , 12th ed. Boston: Pearson.

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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Using “I” in Academic Writing

Traditionally, some fields have frowned on the use of the first-person singular in an academic essay and others have encouraged that use, and both the frowning and the encouraging persist today—and there are good reasons for both positions (see “Should I”).

I recommend that you not look on the question of using “I” in an academic paper as a matter of a rule to follow, as part of a political agenda (see webb), or even as the need to create a strategy to avoid falling into Scylla-or-Charybdis error. Let the first-person singular be, instead, a tool that you take out when you think it’s needed and that you leave in the toolbox when you think it’s not.

Examples of When “I” May Be Needed

  • You are narrating how you made a discovery, and the process of your discovering is important or at the very least entertaining.
  • You are describing how you teach something and how your students have responded or respond.
  • You disagree with another scholar and want to stress that you are not waving the banner of absolute truth.
  • You need “I” for rhetorical effect, to be clear, simple, or direct.

Examples of When “I” Should Be Given a Rest

  • It’s off-putting to readers, generally, when “I” appears too often. You may not feel one bit modest, but remember the advice of Benjamin Franklin, still excellent, on the wisdom of preserving the semblance of modesty when your purpose is to convince others.
  • You are the author of your paper, so if an opinion is expressed in it, it is usually clear that this opinion is yours. You don’t have to add a phrase like, “I believe” or “it seems to me.”

Works Cited

Franklin, Benjamin. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin . Project Gutenberg , 28 Dec. 2006, www.gutenberg.org/app/uploads/sites/3/20203/20203-h/20203-h.htm#I.

“Should I Use “I”?” The Writing Center at UNC—Chapel Hill , writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/should-i-use-i/.

webb, Christine. “The Use of the First Person in Academic Writing: Objectivity, Language, and Gatekeeping.” ResearchGate , July 1992, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.1992.tb01974.x.

J.S.Beniwal 05 August 2017 AT 09:08 AM

I have borrowed MLA only yesterday, did my MAEnglish in May 2017.MLA is of immense help for scholars.An overview of the book really enlightened​ me.I should have read it at bachelor's degree level.

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Dr. Raymond Harter 25 September 2017 AT 02:09 PM

I discourage the use of "I" in essays for undergraduates to reinforce a conversational tone and to "self-recognize" the writer as an authority or at least a thorough researcher. Writing a play is different than an essay with a purpose.

Osayimwense Osa 22 March 2023 AT 05:03 PM

When a student or writer is strongly and passionately interested in his or her stance and argument to persuade his or her audience, the use of personal pronoun srenghtens his or her passion for the subject. This passion should be clear in his/her expression. However, I encourage the use of the first-person, I, sparingly -- only when and where absolutely necessary.

Eleanor 25 March 2023 AT 04:03 PM

I once had a student use the word "eye" when writing about how to use pronouns. Her peers did not catch it. I made comments, but I think she never understood what eye was saying!

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Get The "You" Outta Here: Home

Oh silly, you.

When you reach puberty, you grow hair on your chest.

Removing Second Person Handout and Practice

Download the Removing Second Person Handout and Practice:

For answers to the practice, visit a campus tutoring center near you.

Rule of Thumb for Academic Writing

  • you, your, yours
  • we, us, our, ours

Sounds harsh, but unless an instructor specifically says otherwise, assume second person is to be avoided.

Get the "You" Outta Here Video

Main Reasons to Avoid Second Person

  • Causes confusion
  • Addresses the reader
  • Is imprecise
  • Is inaccurate
  • Shifts person
  • Is too informal

Breaking the You Habit

  • Use nouns instead
  • Use indefinite pronouns (everyone, someone, anything) instead
  • Cut the "you" out altogether
  • Avoid giving commands (where "you" is the implied subject)

Spotting Second Person

  • The best way to spot second person is to print paper and read it out loud.
  • Another way is to use the Find/Replace feature in your word processing software.
  • Last Updated: Oct 23, 2023 11:03 AM
  • URL: https://spcollege.libguides.com/noyou

Strategies for Parents

What Can I Write Instead of I?

By: Author Kallen Anluan

Posted on Published: August 19, 2020

Writing from the first-person point of view is often the easiest and least formal perspective from which to write. But many times, you’ll find that nearly all of your sentences begin with the letter I, which can make things sound repetitive and even dull.  

Replacements for I included myself, me, the writer, the author, the viewer, and the speaker. There are a few other ways to avoid overusing I, including adding an introductory phrase or clause, changing the focus or the subject of your sentence, and combining your sentences.

Keep reading to learn more about point of view and how to avoid overusing I. 

Understanding Point of View  

Before we discuss different ways to avoid too many instances of personal pronouns such as “I” in an essay, we first need to review the various perspectives from which we can write, and how to use them correctly.  

In English, there are three different points of view (POVs): First Person, Second Person, and Third Person. 

At times, you may need to write from a particular perspective, such as the first person in an opinion piece or narrative essay.

There will also be situations where one perspective is more appropriate than another, such as the third person in a more formal academic, informative, or expository essay.

No matter which perspective you choose, the most important rule is to be consistent ( source ). Once you select a point of view from which to write, you will need to stick with that same point of view throughout. 

You cannot switch back and forth from the first person to the third person, or first to second, etc. Doing so will create confusion for your reader, so think about your essay’s purpose before you begin writing, and then stay consistent.

Below we’ll take a quick look at each point of view and the corresponding pronouns.  

If you recall, pronouns are words that replace a noun or noun phrase and refer to a person, place, or thing that you’ve already mentioned ( source ).

As you can see, “I” is part of the first-person point of view and corresponds with the pronouns “we” and “us,” as well as the possessive pronouns “our” and “ours.”  

Remember that possessive pronouns show ownership — to learn more about how to use the possessive form correctly, take a look at “ Families or Family’s: When to Use Possessive Form. ”

Below are a few sample sentences for each POV:

  • 1 st Person POV: I am very interested in learning more about space exploration, so we should head over to the library.
  • 2 nd Person POV: If you’d like to learn more about space exploration, you should check out some books from your library. 
  • 3 rd Person POV: Neil deGrasse Tyson is a well-known astrophysicist, and he has written many influential books.  

Notice that each sentence is consistent in the use of pronouns that match the point of view from which we are writing. Next, we’ll take a look at a sentence that uses two different points of view, and see why it can be unclear or confusing.

  • As we walked by our friend’s house, you could see the new car in the driveway.

Above, there are two different points of view in the same sentence, both first and second person – “I” (first person) and “you” (second person). This is confusing because we don’t know who “you” refers to.  

Instead, we want to be consistent, like this:

  • As we walked by our friend’s house, we could see the new car in the driveway.

By changing “you” to “we,” the reader will understand that the people who can see the car are those who are walking by.  

Now that we understand each different point of view, let’s focus on 1st person POV and discuss different ways to avoid the common mistake of overusing “I” in our writing. 

words to use instead of my in an essay

How to Avoid Overusing “I” in Your Writing  

It can be challenging trying to determine what to write instead of “I,” especially if you are writing a personal narrative — a story about yourself — or something in which you are stating what you believe about a topic or issue. 

While you can’t avoid it all of the time, there are things you can do instead. It is important to vary your sentences to avoid repetitiveness in your writing. Let’s look at an example of a paragraph where too many sentences begin with “I.”

I immigrated to America from Honduras as a child. I was only four years old when my family moved here. I lived in a small, blue house on a quiet street. I had very friendly neighbors who welcomed my family. I learned how to speak English very quickly. I have lived in the United States for nearly 20 years.

There is not necessarily anything wrong, grammatically, with the paragraph above, but nearly every sentence begins with the letter “I.”

Strategy One: Add a Phrase, First

One strategy is to avoid starting your sentence with “I.” You can easily add an introductory clause or phrase to avoid beginning each sentence in the same way.  

Remember that a clause or phrase cannot stand on its own as a complete sentence.  Instead, it provides background or context for what is to follow ( source ).

Let’s look at an example using the first sentence above to see how we can add a phrase.  

  • Before: I immigrated to America from Honduras as a child.
  • After:  As a child, I immigrated to America from Honduras.

As you can see, I still used “I” in my sentence, but I changed the order to add an introductory phrase, telling the reader when the writer immigrated to America. 

Even though I still used “I,” the sentence sounds different and is varied from the others in the paragraph. 

Here is another example:

  • Before: I have lived in the United States for nearly 20 years.
  • After: For nearly 20 years, I have lived in the United States.  

This time, I used a prepositional phrase at the beginning of my sentence. A prepositional phrase is a modifying phrase that tells more about time and space.  Here, “for nearly 20 years,” tells the reader more about how long the writer has lived in America.  

With this strategy, you are simply avoiding a repetitive pattern in your writing by moving the “I” from the beginning of the sentence to the middle, adding an introductory phrase or clause, first. 

Strategy Two: Begin your Sentence with a Noun, Instead

Another strategy is to avoid the use of “I” as the subject of your sentence.  

Remember that complete sentences have two parts:

  • A subject — who or what the sentence is about, containing the noun
  • A predicate — what the subject is doing, containing the verb or linking verb.   

What we want to do with this strategy is to create sentences that use nouns — not pronouns, such as “I” — as the subject of the sentence. It seems a bit confusing, but let’s take a look at another example:

  • Before: I lived in a small, blue house on a quiet street.

In the sentence above, “I” is the subject of the sentence, and everything that follows is the predicate. We want to change the focus from “I” to the small, blue house. Let’s take a look at how: 

  • A small, blue house on a quiet street became our home. 

Now, the subject of the sentence is no longer “I,” but rather the small, blue house.  

Here’s another example:

  • Before: I had very friendly neighbors who welcomed my family.

If we remove “I” as the subject and change the focus to something else — another noun in the sentence — we can avoid using “I” entirely.  Let’s take a look:

  • After : Very friendly neighbors welcomed my family.

We changed the focus of the sentence from “I” to the friendly neighbors, now the subject of the sentence.  

Remember, when writing an essay or personal statement about yourself, your reader already knows that it is about you. With that in mind, you can simply take yourself out of the subject of some of your sentences to keep them varied.  

Strategy Three: Combine Your Sentences

Often, new writers write a lot of short, simple sentences rather than longer, complex ones. While this is not inherently bad, it makes falling into the trap of too many pronouns pretty easy.

With this third strategy, if you notice that too many of your sentences are short, sound the same, and begin with “I,” you can try combining a couple of them.

Think of it this way — if every day you order the same sandwich from your local deli, you will likely get bored with it pretty quickly. But if each time you order your sandwich you add a few more ingredients, your old, boring sandwich becomes new again. 

It may sound like a simplistic analogy, but consider your sentences in the same light.

The same short, simple sentence structure used repeatedly is a lot like eating the same sandwich for lunch day after day.  

To avoid that, we can add a few more layers to our sentences, combining them so that a simple sentence becomes complex. Let’s take a look using the example above:

  • Before : I immigrated to America from Honduras as a child. I was only four years old when my family moved here.
  • After : As a four-year-old child, I immigrated to America from Honduras.
  • Before: I lived in a small, blue house on a quiet street. I had very friendly neighbors who welcomed my family.
  • After : I lived in a small, blue house on a quiet street with friendly neighbors who welcomed my family.

As you can see, none of the information changed. I simply combined my sentences to add more detail and avoid the use of “I” a second time.

words to use instead of my in an essay

Wrapping it Up

Before we conclude, let’s compare the initial paragraph with too many uses of “I” to what it looks like using some of the strategies above.

I immigrated to America from Honduras as a child. I was four years old when my family moved here. I lived in a small, blue house on a quiet street. I had very friendly neighbors who welcomed my family. I learned how to speak English very quickly. I have lived in the United States for nearly 20 years.  
As a four-year-old child, I immigrated to America from Honduras. A small blue house on a quiet street became our home. With friendly neighbors who welcomed my family, I learned how to speak English very quickly. Having lived in the United States for nearly 20 years, it is now my home.

You can see that the second paragraph sounds much more varied with fewer uses of “I.”

Final Thoughts  

There’s no doubt about it, it’s tough avoiding the use of “I” all of the time, especially when you are writing about yourself. Still, there are ways to do so and, at the same time, make your writing more enjoyable to read.  

Try some of the tips above. Begin with a phrase and move “I” to the middle of your sentence, change the subject of your sentences, or combine your sentences to create more complex ones.    

KathySteinemann.com: Free Resources for Writers and Poets

Word lists, cheat sheets, and sometimes irreverent reviews of writing rules. kathy steinemann is the author of the writer's lexicon series..

words to use instead of my in an essay

30+ Alternatives for “Because”: A Word List for Writers

Alternatives for Because

Because Overuse: A Challenge to Overcome

Readers may raise their eyebrows if they encounter multiple repetitions of because within a short passage . Although finding replacements for a building block of the English language is tricky, it’s not impossible.

This post contains more than thirty alternatives for because.

Does This News Item Irritate You?

Because of the prevailing political climate, those in office avoid encounters with the press. They say it’s because of busy schedules, but their constituents say it’s because the politicians don’t want to stand up for “what’s right.”

Can we rewrite to exclude because ?

With the prevailing political climate, those in office avoid the press. They blame busy schedules, but their constituents disagree, accusing the politicians of not standing up for “what’s right.”

The succinct version relays the same message in a more engaging manner.

Let’s Review a Statement Made by an Ecological Group

Because of GMOs (genetically modified organisms), humans may one day find themselves facing extinction. We need to act now, because waiting is not an option, because procrastination puts us and future generations at risk, because soon every crop and every animal species used for food will have been genetically modified. Do you want to tell your children and your grandchildren that you didn’t act because you were afraid of the GMO bullies?

Can we lower the word count and strengthen the message like we did in the previous example?

GMOs (genetically modified organisms) may one day cause the extinction of humans. Soon, every crop and animal species used for food will have been genetically modified. Prompt action is crucial; procrastination endangers us and future generations. Do you want to tell your children and grandchildren that your fear of the GMO bullies resulted in apathy rather than action?

Fewer words. More direct message. Engaged readers.

However, some writers might prefer the repetitions in the sentence that begins with We need to act now . Like the lyrics of “We’re Off to See the Wizard,” which repeats because multiple times as an intentional literary device, the sentence could function as it stands.

Wilbur Faces a Smelly Dilemma

Because Wilbur’s cologne had offended the noses of all partygoers in the banquet hall, he slipped into the men’s bathroom for a quick wash. Truth be told, he looked forward to removing the cologne from his pits, because it burned. He stripped to the waist. Unfortunately, his efforts were thwarted somewhat, because he couldn’t find any soap. Because of that, he splashed generous quantities of plain water over his upper body.

When he returned to the banquet hall a few minutes later, he couldn’t figure out why everyone was gawking at him. Until he looked down and realized it was because his crotch was dripping wet.

Poor Wilbur. Can we tighten the narrative?

Wilbur’s cologne had offended the noses of all partygoers in the banquet hall. No problem. He slipped into the men’s bathroom for a quick wash, looking forward to removing the burning cologne from his pits. After stripping to the waist, he couldn’t find any soap. Oh well, plain water is almost as good.

When he returned to the banquet hall a few minutes later, he couldn’t figure out why everyone was gawking at him. Until he glanced down and realized his crotch was soaked.

Which version do you prefer? Note the addition of two internal-dialogue snippets.

Perhaps a Colon, Semicolon, Em Dash, or Period Would Solve the Problem

She had no reason to be disappointed , because he showed up on time.

She had no reason to be disappointed: He showed up on time.

She walked to work because her car was out of gas.

She walked to work; her car was out of gas.

I need to go to the meeting because my boss isn’t available.

I need to go to the meeting — my boss isn’t available.

He was confused because the test didn’t make any sense.

He was confused . The test didn’t make any sense.

Direct Replacements for Because

My preference for replacing because, or short phrases including it, is to reword. However, the following suggestions will help if you don’t have the time or desire for more extensive edits. Beware: Some alternatives will contribute to word bloat . Others might be best suited for dialogue, awkward narrators, or period fiction.

as Because As the woman had no friends, she walked alone.

as a consequence Obesity has soared in many countries because as a consequence of poor diet and lack of exercise.

as a result Because As a result of his impudence, the teacher gave him a detention.

as long as Because As long as she studied, she received excellent marks.

as things go Because As things go , if he thinks he can win, he will.

being that (not my favorite phrase, folks) Because Being that he arrived late, he missed the appetizer tray.

by reason He was found not guilty because by reason of insanity.

by virtue He received a medal because by virtue of his bravery.

consequently She works out every day. Because of that Consequently , she is well-toned and healthy.

considering Because of Considering the extenuating circumstances, I will forgive his absence.

due to Because of Due to a tornado warning, everyone evacuated the fairgrounds.

for He loved her because of for her enthusiasm and loyalty.

for the reason that (another phrase I dislike) The process is tedious, because for the reason that every step must be verified by three people.

for the sake The government must reduce its spending because for the sake of the economy.

forasmuch as The stable boy readied the horse and carriage because forasmuch as the mistress desired to drive into town. (Archaic; useful for historical novels. Forasmuch as also appears in some legal documents.)

given that Because Given that herbicides were banned, the landscaper had to search for other means of weed control.

in light Because In light of her excellent references, we decided to hire her.

in that His essay was believable, because in that he supported his arguments with comprehensive data.

inasmuch as Because Inasmuch as the patient had contracted a contagious infection, visitors were required to wear gowns and masks.

in view Because In view of the overwhelming evidence that pollution causes so many deaths, the government passed a new Clean Air Act.

in view of the fact that Because In view of the fact that nobody RSVPed to the invitations, the organizers cancelled the concert.

knowing as how (yet another iffy phrase) He decided to pack his bags and leave, because knowing as how she didn’t want him around anymore.

now that We can begin the staff meeting because now that the boss has arrived.

on account He can’t run the marathon because on account of his sprained ankle.

on the grounds that We are rejecting your story because on the grounds that it doesn’t fit the theme of our publication.

out She trembled because out of fear .

owing to Because of Owing to her poor interpersonal skills, she was demoted.

owing to the fact that Because Owing to the fact that a violent storm swept over the stadium, the game was cancelled.

seeing Because of Seeing her anger, he decided to keep his mouth shut.

seeing that Because Seeing that the woodpecker had hammered on the window every morning for a week, she set up a motion-sensitive alarm to scare it away.

since Because Since the warp drive was damaged, they stopped for repairs.

so (often requires rewording) Because my tooth ached, I booked a dental appointment. My tooth ached, so I booked a dental appointment.

thanks to Because of Thanks to his diligence, the project was completed ahead of schedule.

therefore I think; because of that therefore I am.

through Because of Through union bargaining, the employees received a 5 percent raise.

Exercises to Test Your Because -Cognition

Remove most instances of because by substitution or rewording.

Millie knew she’d never pass the biology test, because she hadn’t studied enough. But the lack of studying wasn’t because of anything she had done. It was because she was exhausted. Every night for two weeks, her sleep had been disturbed because Mr. Clarke’s dogs barked. And barked. And barked. It isn’t fair. Why should I fail just because the idiot mutts next door can’t keep their yaps shut?

Suggested solution

Millie knew she’d never pass the biology test — she hadn’t studied enough. But the lack of studying wasn’t her fault: She was exhausted. Every night for two weeks, Mr. Clarke’s dogs had barked. And barked. And barked. It isn’t fair. Why should I fail just because the idiot mutts next door can’t keep their yaps shut?

Notes: Adjustments in punctuation eliminate two instances of because . The colon in the edited version could have been changed into a semicolon, with She becoming she — or two sentences could have been created by replacing the colon with a period. Rewording removes all other repetitions, except for one in Millie’s internal monologue. Leaving it in makes her thoughts seem more natural.

Because of antibiotic abuse, many bacteria have become resistant to even the most powerful drugs. Because of this, pharmaceutical companies have been asked to produce new drugs. However, because of many factors, including insufficient financial incentives for research and development, the number of new drugs entering the market is inadequate.

Antibiotic abuse has facilitated significant bacteria resistance to even the most powerful drugs. Health professionals and governments have asked pharmaceutical companies to produce new drugs. However, many factors, including insufficient financial incentives for research and development, have resulted in an inadequate number of new drugs entering the market.

Notes: Edits are straightforward, replacing instances of because rather than rewording sentences . Note the reduction in passive voice.

Len bought the biggest, most expensive TV he could find: one with all the bells and whistles. Because he could afford it. Because he deserved it. But as he was setting it up, he discovered that he couldn’t read the instructions because they were written in what looked like Cantonese.

Undaunted by this hiccup, he called the local Chinese restaurant. Unfortunately, he had a problem communicating with the person who answered the phone, because she spoke in broken English with a heavy Cantonese accent. Because he couldn’t make her understand what he wanted, he decided to drive to the restaurant, instructions in hand. When he showed her the instructions and explained via a combination of sign language and English, she laughed at him.

“You no understand,” she said.

“Exactly. I can’t understand the words because they’re Cantonese.”

“No, no, no, you no understand words because they Japanese and you hold page upside down.”

Len bought the biggest, most expensive TV he could find: one with all the bells and whistles. He could afford it. He deserved it. But as he was setting it up, he discovered he couldn’t read the instructions, which were written in what looked like Cantonese.

Undaunted by this hiccup, he called the local Chinese restaurant. Unfortunately, the woman who answered the phone spoke in broken English with a heavy Cantonese accent. She had no idea what he wanted.

So Len drove to the restaurant , instructions in hand . When he showed her the instructions and explained via a combination of sign language and English, she laughed at him.

“You no understand,” she said .

Notes: Extraneous instances of because in the exercise are gone. No need to have Len decide to drive to the restaurant. In the solution he drives there, period, without the instructions in hand ; steering would be difficult if he’s clutching something while trying to navigate. Once again, dialogue remains the same.

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4 thoughts on “ 30+ Alternatives for “Because”: A Word List for Writers ”

Hi Kathy, great piece as usual. However, I disagree with the GMO example. That paragraph intentionally uses the repetition of ‘because’ as a tool to drum home the point. I wouldn’t necessarily want to change this, especially if it’s for spoken delivery.

Happy blogging, Sandi (or Nyamazela if you’re following my blog).

Thanks for stopping by, Sandi.

The rule of threes works well for many pieces, and as long as readers are happy with what they see, the writer can be too.

Thanks for that. I have you book, The Writers’ Lexicon and it’s most useful.

Thanks, Vivienne! If all goes well, I’ll have a second volume of Lexicon ready for release early in 2018.

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39 Different Ways to Say ‘In Conclusion’ in an Essay (Rated)

essay conclusion examples and definition, explained below

The phrase “In conclusion …” sounds reductive, simple and … well, just basic.

You can find better words to conclude an essay than that!

So below I’ve outlined a list of different ways to say in conclusion in an essay using a range of analysis verbs . Each one comes with an explanation of the best time to use each phrase and an example you could consider.

Read Also: How to Write a Conclusion using the 5C’s Method

List of Ways to Say ‘In Conclusion’ in an Essay

The following are the best tips I have for to say in conclusion in an essay.

1. The Weight of the Evidence Suggests…

My Rating: 10/10

Overview: This is a good concluding phrase for an evaluative essay where you need to compare two different positions on a topic then conclude by saying which one has more evidence behind it than the other.

You could also use this phrase for argumentative essays where you’ve put forward all the evidence for your particular case.

Example: “The weight of the evidence suggests that climate change is a real phenomenon.”

2. A Thoughtful Analysis would Conclude…

My Rating: 9/10

Overview: I would use this phrase in either an argumentative essay or a comparison essay. As an argument, it highlights that you think your position is the most logical.

In a comparison essay, it shows that you have (or have intended to) thoughtfully explore the issue by looking at both sides.

Example: “A thoughtful analysis would conclude that there is substantial evidence highlighting that climate change is real.”

Related Article: 17+ Great Ideas For An Essay About Yourself

3. A Balanced Assessment of the Above Information…

Overview: This phrase can be used to show that you have made a thoughtful analysis of the information you found when researching the essay. You’re telling your teacher with this phrase that you have looked at all sides of the argument before coming to your conclusion.

Example: “A balanced assessment of the above information would be that climate change exists and will have a strong impact on the world for centuries to come.”

4. Across the Board…

My Rating: 5/10

Overview: I would use this phrase in a less formal context such as in a creative discussion but would leave it out of a formal third-person essay. To me, the phrase comes across as too colloquial.

Example: “Across the board, there are scientists around the world who consistently provide evidence for human-induced climate change.”

5. Logically…

My Rating: 7/10

Overview: This phrase can be used at the beginning of any paragraph that states out a series of facts that will be backed by clear step-by-step explanations that the reader should be able to follow to a conclusion.

Example: “Logically, the rise of the automobile would speed up economic expansion in the United States. Automobiles allowed goods to flow faster around the economy.

6. After all is Said and Done…

Overview: This is a colloquial term that is more useful in a speech than written text. If you feel that the phrase ‘In conclusion,’ is too basic, then I’d also avoid this term. However, use in speech is common, so if you’re giving a speech, it may be more acceptable.

Example: “After all is said and done, it’s clear that there is more evidence to suggest that climate change is real than a hoax.”

7. All in All…

Overview: ‘All in all’ is a colloquial term that I would use in speech but not in formal academic writing. Colloquialisms can show that you have poor command of the English language. However, I would consider using this phrase in the conclusion of a debate.

Example: “All in all, our debate team has shown that there is insurmountable evidence that our side of the argument is correct.”

8. All Things Considered…

My Rating: 6/10

Overview: This term is a good way of saying ‘I have considered everything above and now my conclusion is..’ However, it is another term that’s more commonly used in speech than writing. Use it in a high school debate, but when it comes to a formal essay, I would leave it out.

Example: “All things considered, there’s no doubt in my mind that climate change is man-made.”

9. As a Final Note…

My Rating: 3/10

Overview: This phrase gives me the impression that the student doesn’t understand the point of a conclusion. It’s not to simply make a ‘final note’, but to summarize and reiterate. So, I would personally avoid this one.

Example: “As a final note, I would say that I do think the automobile was one of the greatest inventions of the 20 th Century.”

10. As Already Stated…

My Rating: 2/10

Overview: I don’t like this phrase. It gives teachers the impression that you’re going around in circles and haven’t organized your essay properly. I would particularly avoid it in the body of an essay because I always think: “If you already stated it, why are you stating it again?” Of course, the conclusion does re-state things, but it also adds value because it also summarizes them. So, add value by using a phrase such as ‘summarizing’ or ‘weighing up’ in your conclusion instead.

Example: “As already stated, I’m going to repeat myself and annoy my teacher.”

11. At present, the Best Evidence Suggests…

My Rating: 8/10

Overview: In essays where the evidence may change in the future. Most fields of study do involve some evolution over time, so this phrase acknowledges that “right now” the best evidence is one thing, but it may change in the future. It also shows that you’ve looked at the latest information on the topic.

Example: “At present, the best evidence suggests that carbon dioxide emissions from power plants is the greatest influence on climate change.”

12. At the Core of the Issue…

Overview: I personally find this phrase to be useful for most essays. It highlights that you are able to identify the most important or central point from everything you have examined. It is slightly less formal than some other phrases on this list, but I also wouldn’t consider it too colloquial for an undergraduate essay.

Example: “At the core of the issue in this essay is the fact scientists have been unable to convince the broader public of the importance of action on climate change.”

13. Despite the shortcomings of…

Overview: This phrase can be useful in an argumentative essay. It shows that there are some limitations to your argument, but , on balance you still think your position is the best. This will allow you to show critical insight and knowledge while coming to your conclusion.

Often, my students make the mistake of thinking they can only take one side in an argumentative essay. On the contrary, you should be able to highlight the limitations of your point-of-view while also stating that it’s the best.

Example: “Despite the shortcomings of globalization, this essay has found that on balance it has been good for many areas in both the developed and developing world.”

14. Finally…

My Rating: 4/10

Overview: While the phrase ‘Finally,’ does indicate that you’re coming to the end of your discussion, it is usually used at the end of a list of ideas rather than in a conclusion. It also implies that you’re adding a point rather that summing up previous points you have made.

Example: “Finally, this essay has highlighted the importance of communication between policy makers and practitioners in order to ensure good policy is put into effect.”

15. Gathering the above points together…

Overview: While this is not a phrase I personally use very often, I do believe it has the effect of indicating that you are “summing up”, which is what you want out of a conclusion.

Example: “Gathering the above points together, it is clear that the weight of evidence highlights the importance of action on climate change.”

16. Given the above information…

Overview: This phrase shows that you are considering the information in the body of the piece when coming to your conclusion. Therefore, I believe it is appropriate for starting a conclusion.

Example: “Given the above information, it is reasonable to conclude that the World Health Organization is an appropriate vehicle for achieving improved health outcomes in the developing world.”

17. In a nutshell…

Overview: This phrase means to say everything in the fewest possible words. However, it is a colloquial phrase that is best used in speech rather than formal academic writing.

Example: “In a nutshell, there are valid arguments on both sides of the debate about socialism vs capitalism.”

18. In closing…

Overview: This phrase is an appropriate synonym for ‘In conclusion’ and I would be perfectly fine with a student using this phrase in their essay. Make sure you follow-up by explaining your position based upon the weight of evidence presented in the body of your piece

Example: “In closing, there is ample evidence to suggest that liberalism has been the greatest force for progress in the past 100 years.”

19. In essence…

Overview: While the phrase ‘In essence’ does suggest you are about to sum up the core findings of your discussion, it is somewhat colloquial and is best left for speech rather than formal academic writing.

Example: “In essence, this essay has shown that cattle farming is an industry that should be protected as an essential service for our country.”

20. In review…

Overview: We usually review someone else’s work, not our own. For example, you could review a book that you read or a film you watched. So, writing “In review” as a replacement for “In conclusion” comes across a little awkward.

Example: “In review, the above information has made a compelling case for compulsory military service in the United States.”

21. In short…

Overview: Personally, I find that this phrase is used more regularly by undergraduate student. As students get more confident with their writing, they tend to use higher-rated phrases from this list. Nevertheless, I would not take grades away from a student for using this phrase.

Example: “In short, this essay has shown the importance of sustainable agriculture for securing a healthy future for our nation.”

22. In Sum…

Overview: Short for “In summary”, the phrase “In sum” sufficiently shows that you are not coming to the moment where you will sum up the essay. It is an appropriate phrase to use instead of “In conclusion”.

But remember to not just summarize but also discuss the implications of your findings in your conclusion.

Example: “In sum, this essay has shown the importance of managers in ensuring efficient operation of medium-to-large enterprises.”

23. In Summary…

Overview: In summary and in sum are the same terms which can be supplemented for “In conclusion”. You will show that you are about to summarize the points you said in the body of the essay, which is what you want from an essay.

Example: “In summary, reflection is a very important metacognitive skill that all teachers need to master in order to improve their pedagogical skills.”

24. It cannot be conclusively stated that…

Overview: While this phrase is not always be a good fit for your essay, when it is, it does show knowledge and skill in writing. You would use this phrase if you are writing an expository essay where you have decided that there is not enough evidence currently to make a firm conclusion on the issue.

Example: “It cannot be conclusively stated that the Big Bang was when the universe began. However, it is the best theory so far, and none of the other theories explored in this essay have as much evidence behind them.”

25. It is apparent that…

Overview: The term ‘ apparent ’ means that something is ‘clear’ or even ‘obvious’. So, you would use this word in an argumentative essay where you think you have put forward a very compelling argument.

Example: “It is apparent that current migration patterns in the Americas are unsustainable and causing significant harm to the most vulnerable people in our society.”

26. Last but not least…

Overview: The phrase “last but not least” is a colloquial idiom that is best used in speech rather than formal academic writing. Furthermore, when you are saying ‘last’, you mean to say you’re making your last point rather than summing up all your points you already made. So, I’d avoid this one.

Example: “Last but not least, this essay has highlighted the importance of empowering patients to exercise choice over their own medical decisions.”

27. Overall…

My Rating: 7.5/10

Overview: This phrase means ‘taking everything into account’, which sounds a lot like what you would want to do in an essay. I don’t consider it to be a top-tier choice (which is why I rated it 7), but in my opinion it is perfectly acceptable to use in an undergraduate essay.

Example: “Overall, religious liberty continues to be threatened across the world, and faces significant threats in the 21 st Century.”

28. The above points illustrate…

Overview: This phrase is a good start to a conclusion paragraph that talks about the implications of the points you made in your essay. Follow it up with a statement that defends your thesis you are putting forward in the essay.

Example: “The above points illustrate that art has had an overwhelmingly positive impact on humanity since the renaissance.”

29. The evidence presented in this essay suggests that…

Overview: I like this phrase because it highlights that you are about to gather together the evidence from the body of the essay to put forward a final thesis statement .

Example: “The evidence presented in this essay suggests that the democratic system of government is the best for securing maximum individual liberty for citizens of a nation.”

30. This essay began by stating…

Overview: This phrase is one that I teach in my YouTube mini-course as an effective one to use in an essay conclusion. If you presented an interesting fact in your introduction , you can return to that point from the beginning of the essay to provide nice symmetry in your writing.

Example: “This essay began by stating that corruption has been growing in the Western world. However, the facts collected in the body of the essay show that institutional checks and balances can sufficiently minimize this corruption in the long-term.”

31. This essay has argued…

Overview: This term can be used effectively in an argumentative essay to provide a summary of your key points. Follow it up with an outline of all your key points, and then a sentence about the implications of the points you made. See the example below.

Example: “This essay has argued that standardized tests are damaging for students’ mental health. Tests like the SATs should therefore be replaced by project-based testing in schools.”

32. To close…

Overview: This is a very literal way of saying “In conclusion”. While it’s suitable and serves its purpose, it does come across as being a sophomoric term. Consider using one of the higher-rated phrases in this list.

Example: “To close, this essay has highlighted both the pros and cons of relational dialectics theory and argued that it is not the best communication theory for the 21 st Century.”

33. To Conclude…

Overview: Like ‘to close’ and ‘in summary’, the phrase ‘to conclude’ is very similar to ‘in conclusion’. It can therefore be used as a sufficient replacement for that term. However, as with the above terms, it’s just okay and you could probably find a better phrase to use.

Example: “To conclude, this essay has highlighted that there are multiple models of communication but there is no one perfect theory to explain each situation.”

34. To make a long story short…

My Rating: 1/10

Overview: This is not a good phrase to use in an academic essay. It is a colloquialism. It also implies that you have been rambling in your writing and you could have said everything more efficiently. I would personally not use this phrase.

Example: “To make a long story short, I don’t have very good command of academic language.”

35. To Sum up…

Overview: This phrase is the same as ‘In summary’. It shows that you have made all of your points and now you’re about to bring them all together in a ‘summary’. Just remember in your conclusion that you need to do more than summarize but also talk about the implications of your findings. So you’ll need to go beyond just a summary.

Example: “In summary, there is ample evidence that linear models of communication like Lasswell’s model are not as good at explaining 21 st Century communication as circular models like the Osgood-Schramm model .”

36. Ultimately…

Overview: While this phrase does say that you are coming to a final point – also known as a conclusion – it’s also a very strong statement that might not be best to use in all situations. I usually accept this phrase from my undergraduates, but for my postgraduates I’d probably suggest simply removing it.

Example: “Ultimately, new media has been bad for the world because it has led to the spread of mistruths around the internet.”

37. Undoubtedly…

Overview: If you are using it in a debate or argumentative essay, it can be helpful. However, in a regular academic essay, I would avoid it. We call this a ‘booster’, which is a term that emphasizes certainty. Unfortunately, certainty is a difficult thing to claim, so you’re better off ‘hedging’ with phrases like ‘It appears’ or ‘The best evidence suggests’.

Example: “Undoubtedly, I know everything about this topic and am one hundred percent certain even though I’m just an undergraduate student.”

38. Weighing up the facts, this essay finds…

Overview: This statement highlights that you are looking at all of the facts both for and against your points of view. It shows you’re not just blindly following one argument but being careful about seeing things from many perspectives.

Example: “Weighing up the facts, this essay finds that reading books is important for developing critical thinking skills in childhood.”

39. With that said…

Overview: This is another phrase that I would avoid. This is a colloquialism that’s best used in speech rather than writing. It is another term that feels sophomoric and is best to avoid. Instead, use a more formal term such as: ‘Weighing up the above points, this essay finds…’

Example: “With that said, this essay disagrees with the statement that you need to go to college to get a good job.”

Do you Need to Say Anything?

Something I often tell my students is: “Can you just remove that phrase?”

Consider this sentence:

  • “In conclusion, the majority of scientists concur that climate change exists.”

Would it be possible to simply say:

  • “ In conclusion, The majority of scientists concur that climate change exists.”

So, I’d recommend also just considering removing that phrase altogether! Sometimes the best writing is the shortest, simplest writing that gets to the point without any redundant language at all.

How to Write an Effective Conclusion

Before I go, I’d like to bring your attention to my video on ‘how to write an effective conclusion’. I think it would really help you out given that you’re looking for help on how to write a conclusion. It’s under 5 minutes long and has helped literally thousands of students write better conclusions for their essays:

You can also check out these conclusion examples for some copy-and-paste conclusions for your own essay.

In Conclusion…

Well, I had to begin this conclusion with ‘In conclusion…’ I liked the irony in it, and I couldn’t pass up that chance.

Overall, don’t forget that concluding an essay is a way to powerfully summarize what you’ve had to say and leave the reader with a strong impression that you’ve become an authority on the topic you’re researching. 

So, whether you write it as a conclusion, summary, or any other synonym for conclusion, those other ways to say in conclusion are less important than making sure that the message in your conclusion is incredibly strong.

Chris

Chris Drew (PhD)

Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]

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List of 50 "In Conclusion" Synonyms—Write Better with ProWritingAid

Alex Simmonds

Alex Simmonds

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Table of Contents

Why is it wrong to use "in conclusion" when writing a conclusion, what can i use instead of "in conclusion" for an essay, what are some synonyms for "in conclusion" in formal writing, what are some synonyms for "in conclusion" in informal writing, what is another word for "in conclusion", what should a conclusion do in an article or paper.

The final paragraphs of any paper can be extremely difficult to get right, and yet they are probably the most important. They offer you a chance to summarize the points you have made into a neat package and leave a good impression on the reader.

Many people choose to start the last paragraph with the phrase in conclusion , but this has its downsides.

Firstly, you should only use it once. Any more than that and your essay will sound horribly repetitive. Secondly, there is the question of whether you should even use the phrase at all?

Image showing synonyms for in conclusion

Though it’s okay to use in conclusion in a speech or presentation, when writing an essay it comes across as stating the obvious. The phrase will come across as a bit unnecessary or "on the nose."

Its use in an essay is clichéd, and there are far cleaner and more elegant ways of indicating that you are going to be concluding the paper. Using in conclusion might even irritate and alienate your audience or readers.

Thankfully, there are hundreds of synonyms available in the English language which do a much better (and much more subtle) job of drawing a piece of writing to a close.

The key is to choose ones which suit the tone of the paper. Here we will look at both formal options for an essay or academic paper, and informal options for light-hearted, low key writing, or speeches.

Image showing as has been demonstrated in a sentence

If you are writing an academic essay, a white paper, a business paper, or any other formal text, you will want to use formal transitional expressions that successfully work as synonyms for in conclusion .

The following are some suggestions you could use:

As has been demonstrated

A simple way of concluding all your points and summarizing everything you have said is to confidently state that those points have convincingly proven your case:

As the research has demonstrated , kids really do love chocolate.

As all the above points have demonstrated , Dan Brown really was the most technically gifted writer of the 20th Century.

As has been demonstrated in this paper , the side-effects of the vaccine are mild in comparison to the consequences of the virus.

As has been shown

This is another way of saying as has been demonstrated , but perhaps less scientific and more literary. As has been shown would work well in literature, history, or philosophy essays.

For example:

As has been shown above , the First World War and industrialization were the drivers for a new way of seeing the world, reflected in Pound’s poetry.

In the final analysis

This is a great expression to use in your conclusion, since it’s almost as blunt as in conclusion , but is a more refined and far less clichéd way of starting the concluding paragraph.

Once you have finished your argument and started drawing things to a close, using in the final analysis allows you to tail nicely into your last summation.

In the final analysis , there can be little doubt that Transformers: Dark of the Moon represents a low point in the history of cinema.

Image showing final analysis as a substitute for in conclusion

Along with let’s review , this is short and blunt way of announcing that you intend to recap the points you have made so far, rather than actually drawing a conclusion.

It definitely works best when presenting or reading out a speech, but less well in an essay or paper.

However, it does work effectively in a scientific paper or if you wish to recap a long train of thought, argument, or sequence before getting to the final concluding lines.

To review , of the two groups of senior citizens, one was given a placebo and the other a large dose of amphetamines.

Image showing phrases to use instead of in conclusion

Another phrase you could consider is in closing . This is probably better when speaking or presenting because of how double-edged it is. It still has an in conclusion element to it, but arguably it could also work well when drawing an academic or scientific paper to a conclusion.

For example, it is particularly useful in scientific or business papers where you want to sum up your points, and then even have a call to action:

In closing then, it is clear that as a society, we all need to carefully monitor our consumption of gummy bears.

Or in an academic paper, it offers a slightly less blunt way to begin a paragraph:

In closing , how do we tie all these different elements of Ballard’s writing together?

Perhaps the most similar expression to in conclusion is in summary . In summary offers a clear indication to the reader that you are going to restate the main points of your paper and draw a conclusion from those points:

In summary , Existentialism is the only philosophy that has any real validity in the 21st century.

In summary , we believe that by switching to a subscription model...

On top of those previously mentioned, here are some other phrases that you can use as an alternative to in conclusion :

To summarize

Overall, it may be said

Taking everything into account

On the whole

In general, it can be said that

With this in mind

Considering all this

Everything considered

As a final observation

Considering all of the facts

For the most part

In light of these facts

When it comes to finishing up a speech, a light-hearted paper, blog post, or magazine article, there are a couple of informal phrases you can use rather than in conclusion :

In a nutshell

The phrase in a nutshell is extremely informal and can be used both in speech and in writing. However, it should never be used in academic or formal writing.

It could probably be used in informal business presentations, to let the audience know that you are summing up in a light-hearted manner:

In a nutshell , our new formula Pro Jazzinol shampoo does the same as our old shampoo, but we get to charge 20% more for it!

You can also use it if you want to get straight to the point at the end of a speech or article, without any fluff:

In a nutshell , our new SocialShocka app does what it says on the tin—gives you an electric shock every time you try to access your social media!

At the end of the day

This is a pretty useful expression if you want to informally conclude an argument, having made all your points. It basically means in the final reckoning or the main thing to consider is , but said in a more conversational manner:

At the end of the day , he will never make the national team, but will make a good living as a professional.

At the end of the day , the former President was never destined to unite the country…

Image showing a wedding toast

Long story short

Another informal option when replacing in conclusion is to opt for to make a long story short —sometimes shortened to long story short .

Again, this is not one you would use when writing an academic or formal paper, as it is much too conversational. It’s a phrase that is far better suited to telling a joke or story to your friends:

Long story short , Billy has only gone and started his own religion!

Would you ever use it in writing? Probably not, except for at the end of friendly, low-key presentations:

Long story short , our conclusion is that you are spending far too much money on after work company bowling trips.

And possibly at the end of an offbeat magazine article or blog post:

Long story short , Henry VIII was a great king—not so great a husband though!

Other "In Conclusion" Synonyms for Informal Writing

You can use any of the synonyms in this article when writing informally, but these are particularly useful when you want your writing to sound conversational:

By and large

On a final note

Last but not least

For all intents and purposes

The bottom line is

To put it bluntly

To wrap things up

To come to the point

To wind things up

Image showing list of words to replace in conclusion

Instead of opting for one of the above expressions or idioms, there are several different singular transition words you can use instead. Here are a couple of examples:

The perfect word to tell the reader you are reaching the end of your argument. Lastly is an adverb that means "at the end" or "in summary." It is best used when you are beginning your conclusion:

Lastly , with all the previous points in mind, there is the question of why Philip K Dick was so fascinated with alternate history?

But can also be used at the very end of your conclusion too:

Lastly then, we are left with Eliot’s own words on his inspiration for "The Waste Land."

Finally does exactly the same job as lastly . It lets the reader know that you are at the final point of your argument or are about to draw your conclusion:

Finally , we can see from all the previous points that...

Another word that can be used at beginning of the conclusion is the adverb ultimately . Meaning "in the end" or "at the end of the day," it can be used as a conclusion to both informal and formal papers or articles:

Ultimately , it comes down to whether one takes an Old Testament view of capital punishment or...

It can also be used in more survey, scientific, or charity appeal style articles as a call to action of some sort:

Ultimately , we will all need to put some thought into our own carbon footprints over the next couple of years.

A good word to conclude a scientific, or survey style paper is overall . It can be used when discussing the points, arguments or results that have been outlined in the paper up until that point.

Thus, you can say:

Overall , our survey showed that most people believe you should spread the cream before you add the jam, when eating scones.

Other Transition Words to Replace "In Conclusion"

Here are a few transition word alternatives to add to your arsenal:

Considering

Essentially

Principally

Summarizing

Pro tip: You should use transition words throughout your essay, paper, or article to guide your reader through your ideas towards your conclusion. ProWritingAid’s Transitions Report tells you how many transition words you’ve used throughout your document so you can make sure you’re supporting your readers’ understanding.

ProWritingAid transition report shows a conclusion word

It’ll also tell you what type of transitions you’ve used. If there are no conclusion words in your writing, consider using one of the synonyms from this article.

Sign up for a free ProWritingAid account to try the Transitions Report.

One of the most effective ways of finishing up a piece of writing is to ask a question, or return to the question that was asked at the beginning of the paper using. This can be achieved using how , what , why , or who .

This is sometimes referred to as the "so what?" question. This takes all your points and moves your writing (and your reader) back to the broader context, and gets the reader to ask, why are these points important? Your conclusion should answer the question "so what?" .

Image with so what question

To answer that, you circle back to the main concept or driving force of the essay / paper (usually found in the title) and tie it together with the points you have made, in a final, elegant few sentences:

How, then, is Kafka’s writing modernist in outlook?

Why should we consider Dickens’ work from a feminist perspective?

What, then , was Blake referring to, when he spoke of mind forged manacles?

In Conclusion

There are plenty of alternatives for drawing an effective and elegant close to your arguments, rather than simply stating in conclusion .

Whether you ask a question or opt for a transition expression or a single transition word, just taking the time to choose the right synonyms will make all the difference to what is, essentially, the most important part of your paper.

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Alex Simmonds is a freelance copywriter based in the UK and has been using words to help people sell things for over 20 years. He has an MA in English Lit and has been struggling to write a novel for most of the last decade. He can be found at alexsimmonds.co.uk.

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COMMENTS

  1. How to Replace I in Essays: Alternative 3rd Person Pronouns

    A wording that may also be used but rarely suitable is "the researcher". This alternative can only be used when your actions as a writer are completely detached from the writing. 2. Using Passive voice Instead of Pronouns. Another way to replace "I" and other personal pronouns in an essay is to use passive voice.

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    Try, "Somebody could say that the timeline is too short.". 5. Add in "the reader" or "the viewer" to address the audience. There may be moments in your writing that you actually do want to talk to your reader directly. Using "you" is a little too informal, so you can replace it with "the reader" or "the viewer," instead.

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  5. 40 Useful Words and Phrases for Top-Notch Essays

    4. That is to say. Usage: "That is" and "that is to say" can be used to add further detail to your explanation, or to be more precise. Example: "Whales are mammals. That is to say, they must breathe air.". 5. To that end. Usage: Use "to that end" or "to this end" in a similar way to "in order to" or "so".

  6. Should I Use "I"?

    Each essay should have exactly five paragraphs. Don't begin a sentence with "and" or "because.". Never include personal opinion. Never use "I" in essays. We get these ideas primarily from teachers and other students. Often these ideas are derived from good advice but have been turned into unnecessarily strict rules in our minds.

  7. Word Choice

    Writing is a series of choices. As you work on a paper, you choose your topic, your approach, your sources, and your thesis; when it's time to write, you have to choose the words you will use to express your ideas and decide how you will arrange those words into sentences and paragraphs. As you revise your draft, you make more choices.

  8. Transition Words & Phrases

    When and how to use transition words. Transition words commonly appear at the start of a new sentence or clause (followed by a comma), serving to express how this clause relates to the previous one. There is a lack of reliable data to establish a clear correlation between these variables. Nevertheless, it has been argued that a relationship ...

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    Use nouns instead; Use indefinite pronouns (everyone, someone, anything) instead; Cut the "you" out altogether; Avoid giving commands (where "you" is the implied subject) Spotting Second Person. Before submitting a paper, be sure to proofread it carefully to eliminate second person.

  11. 17 academic words and phrases to use in your essay

    To do this, use any of the below words or phrases to help keep you on track. 1. Firstly, secondly, thirdly. Even though it sounds obvious, your argument will be clearer if you deliver the ideas in the right order. These words can help you to offer clarity and structure to the way you expose your ideas.

  12. 50 linking words to use in academic writing

    50 linking words to use in academic writing. academic writing. linkers. essay writing. thesis. ESL. English. It's very common for students to use long words they don't understand very well in their essays and theses because they have a certain idea of what academic writing should be.

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  14. Words and Phrases to Avoid in Academic Writing

    The following words and phrases are considered too informal for a dissertation or academic paper. Taboo. Example. Alternative. A bit. The interviews were a bit difficult to schedule. The interviews were (difficult/somewhat difficult) to schedule. A lot of, a couple of. A lot of studies.

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  17. 30+ Alternatives for "Because": A Word List for Writers

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    Instead of opting for one of the above expressions or idioms, there are several different singular transition words you can use instead. Here are a couple of examples: Lastly. The perfect word to tell the reader you are reaching the end of your argument. Lastly is an adverb that means "at the end" or "in summary." It is best used when you are ...