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Getting Personal in Second Person

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Every good writer knows that the best way to connect with a reader is to get personal, and the easiest way to get personal is by speaking with them on an intimate level, person to person.But how do you do this? The answer is simple: second person writing. Pronouns like “you,” “your,” and “yours” will help the reader see themselves in your copy and, consequently, in the story you’re telling.

Though it can be argued that second person writing should mainly be used when giving directions, or providing an explanation, it can also be used as a wonderful tool to connect with readers in a personal way. Have you ever noticed the way that some TV shows offer up strong second person monologues at the beginning or at the end of an episode? This is done purposefully, to pull the watcher in, and make them feel as though they are part of what they are seeing.

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A good example of this second person writing comes in the form of the following monologue from Meredith Grey, of Grey’s Anatomy:

“Did you say it? I love you. I don’t ever want to live without you. You changed my life… did you say it? Make a plan. Set a goal. Work towards it. But every now and then, look around. Drink it in. ‘Cause this is it. It might all be gone tomorrow.”

You felt something there, didn’t you? For even just a moment your mind immediately wandered to a specific person, and you likely felt compelled to take action in contacting them. Powerful stuff, right? By writing in second person, you can have the same effect on a reader, as the dramatic monologue given by Dr. Grey has on the TV show’s viewer.