Scampie
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Was just wondering if anyone had any advice about the use of personal pronouns such as "I" in the LNAT essay? In both the example essays on the website and in my LNAT help book, the example essays use "I" however since GCSE (and now A-level) English I have been told to avoid using personal pronouns whilst writing formal essays.
Hopefully someone can just re-assure me either way or offer clarification as to why its acceptable.
Thanks.
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Estreth
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(Original post by Scampie)
Was just wondering if anyone had any advice about the use of personal pronouns such as "I" in the LNAT essay? In both the example essays on the website and in my LNAT help book, the example essays use "I" however since GCSE (and now A-level) English I have been told to avoid using personal pronouns whilst writing formal essays.
Hopefully someone can just re-assure me either way or offer clarification as to why its acceptable.
Thanks.
You have been given stupid advice in English. Using the first person is absolutely fine, and in the LNAT essay can be hard to avoid. For instance, you need to set out your agenda at the beginning of the essay: 'I will argue that...' is the most natural thing to write.

As for 'clarification as to why it's acceptable' - the best I can offer is an explanation of why it has come to be thought unacceptable in GCSE and A-level English. My suspicion is that many bad analytical essays include a lot of uncritical subjective impressions offered in place of analysis. E.g. 'I didn't think this book made sense'. If you switch to 'this book didn't make sense' it becomes much more transparent that you need to offer some reasons to justify your argument; otherwise it's just bald assertion. With the 'subjective impression' formulation it's easy to think you can just stick to a 'well, that's my opinion' line according to which no justification is necessary, and of course this makes for a rotten essay. But somehow what might have started off as helpful advice for a certain kind of bad writer has become an absurd dogma that now impedes good analytical writing.
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Scampie
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(Original post by Estreth)
You have been given stupid advice in English. Using the first person is absolutely fine, and in the LNAT essay can be hard to avoid. For instance, you need to set out your agenda at the beginning of the essay: 'I will argue that...' is the most natural thing to write.

As for 'clarification as to why it's acceptable' - the best I can offer is an explanation of why it has come to be thought unacceptable in GCSE and A-level English. My suspicion is that many bad analytical essays include a lot of uncritical subjective impressions offered in place of analysis. E.g. 'I didn't think this book made sense'. If you switch to 'this book didn't make sense' it becomes much more transparent that you need to offer some reasons to justify your argument; otherwise it's just bald assertion. With the 'subjective impression' formulation it's easy to think you can just stick to a 'well, that's my opinion' line according to which no justification is necessary, and of course this makes for a rotten essay. But somehow what might have started off as helpful advice for a certain kind of bad writer has become an absurd dogma that now impedes good analytical writing.
Thanks for this very thorough answer! It definitely feels more natural to use "i" when I practice the LNAT essays so I will continue to do so now that I know it's okay.
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