1. aspidistra
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    aspidistra Member

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    Use of 'our' in the 3rd person

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by aspidistra, Feb 7, 2013.

    Hi all,

    This is my first post on what seems like a very useful forum. :)

    My question is about the use of 'our' in 3rd person writing.

    It comes in the middle of a reflective passage, where the character is thinking about society/identity.

    Forgive what is probably incorrect terminology but it seems like that first sentence drifts into quasi first person territory. Is it acceptable in this context? I've done this a few times now and I kind of like it. I've found its handy to move into this voice so I don't have to keep saying "he thought", "he postulated", etc.

    I would appreciate any suggestions regarding this technique and also the correct vocabulary to describe whatever it is I'm talking about. :redface:
     
  2. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    "and of species like ours" would be the correct form.
    Other than that your use of it is not wrong, though i had to look in two different dictionaries to find out if pugilistic is an actual word.
     
  3. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    As Xatron points out, it should be "species like ours". The use of first person plural is correct, assuming the reader is likely to be the same species as the writer (which might not be the case in some fantasy contexts of course).
     
  4. aspidistra
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    aspidistra Member

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    Thank you both for your replies. :)

    I think I tacitly understand why it would be 'species like ours' not 'species like us' but could someone please elaborate why exactly?

    Thanks digitig, this was one of the reasons I posted actually! It used 'ours' because this is a realist work and no one could reasonably confuse the narrator to be some non-human species.
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    FYI- you might want to look up "tacit(ly)" in the dictionary. :)
     
  6. BitPoet
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    BitPoet Member

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    There is virtually no difference between a character's thoughts and direct speech, so using 'our' is quit fine. It also has nothing to do with who / what species the writer is. Just make sure that the reader is aware that these are the character's thoughts.
     
  7. Ian J.
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    Ian J. Active Member

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    Personally, I'd remove he 'he thought' as well, and keep that passage as a 'narrator' voice:

    In this way I feel it reads more cleanly. After this paragraph I'd then move into the mind of the character with whatever thoughts he might have moving on from the narrator's exposition.
     
  8. aspidistra
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    aspidistra Member

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    Thanks Ian, that's actually how I had it originally but I added 'he though' to indicate that these were the opinions of the character. Not sure how far I can stretch the matter-of-fact tone usually reserved for the narrator.

    Point taken cogito. I was referring to tacit in the sense of tacit knowledge, as in my inability to articulate what I understand. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tacit_knowledge
    But yes, you are certainly right.
     

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