Narrative Tense and POV


Point of View (2)

Let's take a closer look at the three main points of view.

1st Person POV

The narrator is "I" or "we".

I went to the store with my friend.  The clerk said, “Hi.” 

We bought candy and left. 


2nd Person POV

"You" are the main character in the story.

You stayed up late last night and now you’re tired, but you need to pass this class.


Note: 2nd Person POV is very rarely used in novels.

Occasionally, it is used in campfire stories or interactive role-playing games.

  • After a while, you decide to go to the attic to check out the strange noise . . .
  • In the cave, you find a dragon guarding the magic amulet. What do you do next?


Most often, 2nd person POV is used to give instructions or directions:

  • You go left on Main Street, and then you take a right at the church.

Note: Often, in these kinds of sentences (called imperative sentences), the "you" is left out, because it is easily understood that "you" are the subject of the sentence:

  • [You] go left on Main Street, and then [you] take a right at the church.
  • Go left on Main Street, and then take a right at the church.


3rd Person POV

The narrator tells a story about other people.

The characters are referred to by their names, or by pronouns which substitute for their names:

  • he
  • she
  • they

The narrator is not a direct participant in the events of the story.

Chris loved basketball. Every day, he played after school.  When it got dark, he watched it on TV.



Determining Point of View

When asked to determine a narrator's POV:

As soon as I got home, I flopped down on the couch. 

My mom asked me, “How was school today?" 

"It was terrible," I answered. "I'm never going back."


Instructions for the Quiz

Determine the narrator's point of view.