1,2,3 / I, you, she: point of view notes
Introducing Point of View
Point of view is the perspective from which a story is told. Basically, that means that different points of view show who is telling the story. We’re going to focus on two main points of view: first person and third person.
Introducing Point of View (cont.)
When a story is written in first person it means that the narrator is a part of the story. When a story is written in third person then the narrator is not a part of the story. Instead, the narrator is like an observer and is describing what is happening to the other characters.
Pronoun Cheat Sheet She 10. Hers Me We Himself 14. Themselves Our
One way to get started with identifying point of view is to be on the lookout for first and third person pronouns. Check out this list to get a quick pronoun refresher: First Person Pronouns Third Person Pronouns I Me My Myself Mine We Us Our Ours Ourselves He His She Hers It Its Him They Her Them Himself 14. Themselves Herself Their Itself Theirs
Let’s practice! Identify the point of view being used in the following sentences. Circle the pronouns that you used as clues to help you figure out the point of view.
I have a splitting headache!
Practice sentence #1 I have a splitting headache! The Answer: 1st Person!
Yesterday he deposited $100 into his bank account.
Practice sentence #2 Yesterday he deposited $100 into his bank account. The Answer: 3rd Person!
The girls treated themselves to ice cream after their big test.
Practice sentence #3 The girls treated themselves to ice cream after their big test. The Answer: 3rd Person!
Should we ask our parents for permission?
Practice sentence #4 Should we ask our parents for permission? The Answer: 1st Person!
It’s Not Always So Easy…
So far, so good, but finding the point of view isn’t always as easy as just checking off pronouns from the 1st and 3rd person lists. Take these sentences for example: I asked him for directions. OR They gave me three cookies. Both of those examples have both first-person pronouns (‘I’ and ‘me’) and third-person pronouns (‘him’ and ‘they’) in the same sentence! So what do you do now?
It’s Not Always So Easy…(cont.)
I asked him for directions. They gave me three cookies. To find the answer we have to remind ourselves that point of view is all about who is telling the story. In both sentences, even though the words ‘him’ and ‘they’ are present, the narrator is still inside of the story. The narrator is talking about things that they did (asked for directions and got cookies), not things that someone else did, so both of these sentences would be first person.
Your turn to try a tricky example
What point of view is this sentence told from? Circle the pronouns you find, then determine your answer. Jason was furious. He smashed his fist against the table and bellowed, “I will never forgive you for this!”
And the Answer is… Remember, they key to determining point of view is to think about who is telling the story. Is the narrator a part of the story, or on the outside looking in on the action? This sentence is actually written in the third person. The narrator is telling a story about the character, Jason. Even though ‘I’ is used, the narrator is just sharing what Jason said. Since Jason isn’t actually telling the story, then it’s not first person.
Quick Summary To recap:
Point of view tells us who is telling the story. When the narrator is a part of the story it is called first person point of view, and when the narrator is observing the story but not actually in it, then it is called third person point of view. It’s often helpful to use first and third person pronouns as hints about what the point of view is. Be careful, though! Sometimes there can be more than one type of pronoun in a passage, and when that happens you should think carefully about whether the narrator is a part of the story (first person) or not (third person).
IT’S TIME FOR A POINT OF VIEW PARTY!!!!!
Directions: The upcoming sentences all describe activities happening at a birthday party. After the sentence is read out loud, determine whether it is written from the first person or third person point of view by holding up either your “1st” card or your “3rd” card. Be prepared to get called on to justify your answer by identifying the Point of View Pronouns! If you answer correctly, you will earn a Promise Dollar!
#1 1st Person Pronouns: I, my
The cake looked so delicious that if I just looked in the direction of the kitchen my stomach would start to growl. 1st Person Pronouns: I, my
#2 3rd Person Pronouns: he, his
He turned the music up full-blast until his neighbors complained about the noise. 3rd Person Pronouns: he, his
#3 1st Person Pronouns: mine, my
Most of the presents were mine, but a few people also brought gifts for my little brother. 1st Person Pronouns: mine, my
#4 1st Person Pronouns: us, we
He didn’t send us an invitation, but we came to his party anyway. 1st Person Pronouns: us, we
#5 3rd Person Pronouns: she, her
She treated herself to a manicure and pedicure with the money she got for her birthday. 3rd Person Pronouns: she, her
Pronouns: our, my, I, ourselves
#6 The pictures from our first birthday party show my twin sister and I stuffing ourselves with cake and ice cream. 1st Person Pronouns: our, my, I, ourselves
#7 3rd Person Pronouns: they, them
They were running late, so the other guests sang “Happy Birthday” without them. 3rd Person Pronouns: they, them
#8 3rd Person Pronouns: she, her
“I’ve never been so surprised!” she said to her friends. 3rd Person Pronouns: she, her
#9 1st Person Pronouns: I, me
I told myself to just ignore it, but it was hard not to be embarrassed that the she invited everyone to her party except for me. 1st Person Pronouns: I, me
#10 3rd Person Pronouns: itself
The CD repeated itself so there was always music playing in the background. 3rd Person Pronouns: itself
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