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7th Grade Language Arts / Lesson 4.3: Third Person Point Of View

Third Person Point of View (POV)
What Will I Learn Today?

  • In this lesson you will learn :

    1. Definition of third person point of view.
    2. Clues to help you identify third person point of view.
    3. Types of third person point of view.

Questions to Keep in Mind

    1. What is third person point of view?
    2. How can I tell one type of third person point of view from another?
    3. Why would an author use one type of third person point of view instead of another?

Definition - Third Person POV

    1. The narrator sees the events from outside the story.

    2. The narrator does not participate in the action of the story.

Identifying Third Person POV

  • It's easy to identify the use of third person point of view.

    The narrator uses third person pronouns :


  • The narrator NEVER uses first person pronouns like "I" or "me."

Types of Third Person POV

  • There are two type of third person POV.

    Third Person Limited

    1. The narrator only knows what one character sees, hears, thinks, and feels.
    2. The narrator doesn't know what the other characters see, hear, think or feel.

    Third Person Omniscient

    1. The narrator knows what all the characters see, hear, think, and feel and can comment on     the action.
    2. The meaning of omniscient is "all knowing".

  • Omniscient : Latin prefix "omni" means all. Latin root "scientia" means knowledge.

Using Third Person Limited POV
1. The author can use third person limited effectively to influence the reader's opinions and feelings. The reader knows only one point of view and is likely to be sympathetic to a narrator he or she feels is reliable. The reader will believe what the narrator says.

2. Because of this, it's really important for the reader to decide for himself how reliable the narrator's observations are. Has the narrator misunderstood one of the other characters? Is there something going on the narrator doesn't know about?

Using Third Person Omniscient POV
1. A third person omniscient narrator is always reliable. He or she knows what everyone is seeing, hearing, thinking and doing.

2. A third person omniscient narrator allows the reader to "get into the minds" of all the characters.

3. When an author uses a third person omniscient narrator, the reader can clearly see every character's motive and make judgments about them.

4. The reader can see all sides of the conflict of the story.

Can you:

  • Define third person limited and third person omniscient point of view?
  • Identify either type of third person point of view in a story?
  • Tell why an author would use third person limited POV instead of third person omniscient?

    If the answer yes, return to the lesson.
    If the answer is no, review these slides.