When writing in the first person, it can be easy to fall into the habit of starting a new sentence with “I.” There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with this, but when overdone, it gets repetitive. This article will explore some better alternatives to help you out.
How Can I Avoid Starting A Sentence With “I”?
There are plenty of better ways of starting a sentence without using “I.” You should try one of these:
- As you can see
- This observation
- The job
- This opportunity
- To me
- In my opinion
- If it were up to me
The preferred versions are either “this” or “that.” They’re the simplest ways to replace “I,” and they usually allow us to be a bit more specific with the object we are writing about. They make the most sense in both formal and informal cases.
“This” works well when we want to replace “I.” It allows us to talk about an object directly, which can be helpful when we’re trying to highlight something without bringing our opinion into question.
Sometimes, our opinion or thoughts are irrelevant to what we’re writing about. It’s best to focus on something that’s a little more impersonal when writing in certain cases, which is why “this” works better than “I” (since it takes out the personal touch).
- This is made much easier to understand when you look at the listed results.
- This finding has been difficult to come to, but it is the truth.
- This isn’t what I expected to see. However, I’m glad to have the chance to explore the results more.
“That” works in the same way as “this.” The only difference is that we often refer to an object that’s further away (either literally or metaphorically). The same rules apply, where the personal pronoun “I” is removed for a more impersonal “that.”
“That” is great to use similarly to “this,” but you should make sure you know where the differences lie. Most of it comes down to tone and context, as you will see from some examples.
- That was much harder for me to handle than I would care to admit.
- That was supposed to be easy, but you can tell that it wasn’t the case.
- That investigation turned out to be bogus, which is why it had to be scrapped at the earliest opportunity.
“These” works when we want to use a plural of the object related to “this.” We use “these” to show that multiple different objects are being referenced, and it might be handy to look at them all on an individual level if we get the chance.
Of course, “these” is more specific than “this” or “that.” Since it only applies when a plural form is present, it’s not always the best bet in most written cases.
- These findings have made it clear that a lot more work needs to take place before we can finalize anything.
- These issues have been prevalent in the infrastructure for longer than I care to remember.
- These haven’t been found yet, and I think it’s time that we put more thought into that.
As You Can See
“As you can see” is a useful way to start a sentence. It allows us to express a broader view or opinion without being direct or personal. It shows that something should have been made obvious to someone.
In some cases, people might think that “as you can see” is rude. It can be construed as such if the original thing that someone is supposed to “see” isn’t as obvious as you might have claimed it is.
However, it’s still an appropriate term and works both formally and informally.
- As you can see, the findings have been conclusive, and that’s what is most important.
- As you can see, plenty of people needed the supplies provided by the soldiers during those times.
- As you can see, it wasn’t just the fish that suffered because of the spills.
“This observation” is a great way for us to be more specific when starting a sentence. It’s not as restrictive as you might think since observations are fairly common in most formal cases of writing.
Also, you don’t have to remove the personal pronouns after using “this observation completely.”
Instead, we can include personal pronouns like “me” or “I” after “this observation.” It’s a great way to keep our sentence starters fresh while still giving us a chance to share our opinion if it matters in the context.
- This observation has made it abundantly clear that I do not know what to do when science is in question.
- This observation confused me at first; however, I quickly realized where my faults lay.
- This observation was all the proof you might have needed to understand more about its intricacies.
“The job” is another specific phrase we can use when replacing “I.” It’s helpful because “jobs” come up a lot, especially with formal writing. We should make sure to follow the structure provided whenever using it.
Just like “this observation,” there is no reason why we can’t still use personal pronouns like “me” after “the job.” However, the simple fact that we’ve removed the starting word “I” is enough to keep our writing fresh and readable.
- The job made it clear to me that it was not worth my time.
- The job that I did wasn’t great, but it allowed me to come to some solid conclusions.
- The job wasn’t for me, and that’s okay.
“This opportunity” works well when we want to be specific about something. An “opportunity” is a common thing that comes up in many written mediums. We think it’s important to highlight how it might work when we do not talk about our opinions.
- This opportunity has made it clear to me that there are more things that we can get out of this company.
- This opportunity has shown us that there is life in the places that we least expected it.
- This opportunity showed me all I needed to know about what I believe in.
“To me” works well to replace “I” while still allowing us to discuss our own opinions. We do not have to keep repeating “I” whenever we’re sharing an opinion.
It’s still acceptable to use phrases like “to me” when we want to be personal without being repetitive.
- To me, there are a few ways that would be more beneficial to go about this.
- To me, I have found that something needs to be done.
- To me, these results are meaningless, but I can see why they matter in the grand scheme of things.
In My Opinion
“In my opinion” is another more humble way to replace “I.” We can still share our opinion, but we do not have to worry about the repetitive nature of multiple sentences starting with “I.”
If your opinion is still an important factor in your writing, a phrase like this might be what you’re looking for. Sometimes, we want to highlight our opinion when we think it counts most.
- In my opinion, there are a couple of ways we could go about this, and I think we need to change how we see it.
- In my opinion, there are many species out there that need to be saved.
- In my opinion, someone should do something before it is too late; otherwise, we’re all doomed.
If It Were Up To Me
“If it were up to me” is the last way we want to show how we can still emphasize our opinion without starting with the pronoun “I.” It allows us to discuss what we believe in or what we think should be correct.
- If it were up to me, there wouldn’t be much of a reason to go to war over such mundane things.
- If it were up to me, I would have a lot more sway in the government than I do today.
- If it were up to me, we would get back out in the field and try again.
Can You Start A Sentence With “I”?
There are plenty of good reasons to stop using “I” to start a sentence. However, we haven’t talked about whether it’s right to do it in the first place.
You can start a sentence with “I,” but only when you want to be the main emphasis of the sentence. If you’re sharing a thought or opinion that is specific to you, then it might be wise to do this. However, it can seem a bit egotistical if you do it too much.
Nobody likes to read about the thoughts and opinions of other people all that often. The more often someone reads sentences starting with “I,” the more likely someone is to turn away from reading anymore because they’re not getting anything interesting out of it.
However, we can still use “I” with varying degrees of success, so long as the context calls for it.
You should always try to make sure to mix your writing up a little. If you fall into the same habits every time you write, it might be time to consider one of the options we provided above.
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.