I want to know if it's okay to change from 1st person (our,we) to 2nd person (you, your) in the same paragraph as follows:

TV need not dictate our lives. There is a choice. We can either submit ourselves to continue living in the ‘twilight zone’ or choose to unplug and live in the real zone. There are plenty of full filling activities waiting to be explored. Whether it’s a new hobby, learning a new language, bonding with family or reading a good book – you may be surprised by how enriched your life becomes. What’s more, if you have children they may one day, thank you dearly for replacing...

  • 2
    I had to scan carefully to pick up on your life becomes (which could have been your lives become). I don't suppose the average reader would notice either the 1st/2nd person or the plural/singular switch in this context. May 17, 2015 at 17:35
  • 1
    Shifting focus within paragraphs is completely okay. Within sentences is where it becomes an issue. For you, you're addressing a problem with society, which you then turn to apply to the reader. A great technique in my opinion.
    – Adam
    May 17, 2015 at 19:31
  • 1
    In case you want some suggestions from writers on this, we got an SE subexchange dedicated to writers and writing styles: writers.stackexchange.com
    – Nzall
    May 17, 2015 at 22:01
  • Thank you all for your valuable feedback. It seems there's consensus that its okay to use this shift.
    – Sherif
    May 18, 2015 at 9:55
  • Thanks Nate for the tip, I'll check the Writers Exchange
    – Sherif
    May 18, 2015 at 9:56

2 Answers 2


I don't find anything strange in it simply because, from a very general "our", you're turning to address the readers, which is quite effective, as they begin to apply the suggestions internally as they read.

By the way, "fulfilling" is one word.


One should try to not mix the various 1st/2nd/3rd-person voices when writing.

An effective form of writing (and exercise in the art of writing) is to try to never use 1st person (e.g. I, we), or 2nd person (You singular or You plural). Instead, using the 3rd person active voice when necessary, but try to use the passive voice when possible.

For example, instead of saying: "We think that...", trying saying , "It is thought that..." Instead of saying, "We argue that...", trying saying, "It is argued that..."

However, above all, one ought not to mix the various "persons"-voices when writing - especially in the same paragraph.

  • 1
    I would agree in many cases where an academic or formal style is required the first and second person wouldn't be appropriate. However in my case where the aim to persuade the reader to action, I think second person is more powerful. as explained here: thewritepractice.com/second-person BTW, I use these viewpoints in my closing paragraph only. My entire article otherwise is in third person.
    – Sherif
    May 18, 2015 at 14:19

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.