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Run-On Sentences

Run-on sentences occur when writers try to combine more than one idea into a single sentence. They cause confusion because readers are not sure when one idea ends and the next one begins. Read our entry and test your knowledge with our quiz!



First person point of view is used when you are speaking from your own perspective.  First person is commonly used in autobiographies or opinion writing, but not in formal scholarly writing.  There is an exception--when you describe your actions in a scientific experiment.

Example: I spoke to her in a calm, gentle voice. (1st person singular)

Example: We decided to take a tour of historic Jamestown (1st person plural)


Second person is used when you are directly addressing one person or a group of people. It often appears in instructions or descriptive essays such as how-to guides. Second person is, like first person, not normally used in formal or academic writing.  

Example: You really need to make sure that you brush your teeth twice a day. (2nd person singular)

Example: You all better hurry up if you want to make the 7:00 movie.  (2nd person plural)


Third person is used for most academic writing because it sounds more objective. It uses pronouns like he, she, or it to describe people, places, and things.

Example:  Henry knew that his sister would be angry with him if he borrowed her car without asking, but he did it anyway. (3rd person singular)

Example:  Billy and Garrett are the stars of a new online animated web-series.  (3rd person plural)

It is very important to understand 1st, 2nd, and 3rd person points of view when conjugating verbs and when using pronouns.