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Definition of Third Person Point of View


Third-person point of view is a narrative mode in which the primary characters within a written work are referred to by their names or relative pronouns. In a third-person story, the narrator observes the primary characters but is not an active participant in the story. There are a number of variations to this mode.

Third-Person Omniscient

The omniscient third-person narrator is privy to all facts and events relating to the story and can convey all characters' thoughts and feelings to the reader.

Third-Person Objective

The objective form limits the narrator's knowledge of the story to observable actions or events. The narrator has no knowledge of the characters' thoughts or feelings.

Third-Person Subjective

In third-person subjective the story is written in the voice of a narrator who is able to convey the thoughts and emotions of only the main character.

Third-Person Limited

Limited form tells the story from the perspective of the focal character, including his or her thoughts and feelings, but is written in the voice of an outside narrator who is unable to convey events not perceived by that character.

Contemporary Fiction

A great deal of popular contemporary fiction is written in third-person, including "Lord of the Rings" and the Lemony Snicket books (omniscient) and the Harry Potter books (limited).

About the Author

James Robert has been a professional music journalist since 2007, with work appearing in print magazines including "American Songwriter," "Country Weekly" and "M Music & Musicians." He has a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from the University of South Florida in Tampa and is an alumni of the Mike Curb School of Entertainment and Music Business in Nashville.