Excessive use of the words 'You' or 'Your'

Hey, everyone!

With my work on Estheria, I’m still relatively new to writing in 2nd person. I’ve considered whether I’ve overused the words ‘you’ and ‘your’ or their other derivatives.

I’m attaching an example image from my character creator. It is heavily unedited at this time. Thanks!

Image Within!

I figured I’d ask opinions, and appreciate any thoughts or feedback!


Speaking purely from a reader’s perspective, I think you are getting in your head a little about it. It doesn’t strike me as particularly egregious overuse. In fact if it hadn’t come up in this context I wouldn’t have thought twice about it.


Hey Lance!

I appreciate the feedback. Ultimately, I figured I most likely was. My main doubts emerge from my lack of experience in writing second person compared to the other two dominant types. I don’t doubt that I’m in my head to some extent. :joy:

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I really feel like there’s no difference in writing second person and third. If you were writing about a “him” instead of a “you”, would you think the same section had too many he/him/his?

If you feel like you’re using “you” too much, you could try writing the passage in third person as a writing exercise and see if you would write it differently like that. If you find you do and you would, then try adapting that back to second person.

Also, I bet the other character saying “you” has influenced you to think you’re saying “you” too much. But, like, she has to say that and those ones don’t really count anyway, do they?

I also get obsessive about things like this though, so I understand, and I think you’re good right now.


I appreciate it, Chloe!

The perspective helped clear my mind a bit. I’ve been working to adapt my style to the second person and ensure it flows properly, part of that involved my doubts with overusing the word, haha.

However, both you and Lance are helping clear the picture. Especially with the mention of rewriting it in third person. Doing so briefly helped realize that there’s nothing to be worried about.

Thank you so much!


Hi Zach –

You are not alone in worrying about this. The following thread, while older now, might be useful as well to review:

In my opinion, currently, your focus should remain on completing your manuscript, and once the copy is completed then you can make a dedicated pass for this/

Even if you don’t have an editor, the language tools, such as Hemingway, can be used to identify where words are reused “too closely together”, etc.

Of course, you’ll have to use your common-sense and interpretive skills to accept or reject their suggestions, but they can still be very helpful.


Hey Brittany,

Thanks for the advice and feedback as always.

I agree. I’m going to keep chugging through without focusing on the minute details in the meantime. Especially given that the thread is a WiP, I imagine I’ll get plenty of feedback without it going under, haha.

Hopefully you’ll get a chance to play Update 0.5, once it drops in under 2 weeks!

:slight_smile: Have a great Sunday, to all of you.

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Its a weird way to write compared to most. It’s ok but I do think you could potentially remove a few if you wanted to by changing the focus or merging sentences.

“You can sense her fingertips”. That could be removed in several ways. For example just remove it by placing the action with the other person.
“She places her fingertips against your forehead.”
or joining it onto to the second sentence
“The fingertips that brush against your skin are soft, evoking buried emotions.”

But yep, kinda personal preference as to how many you/yours you’re comfortable with on a page. It is a weird style to get used to, I don’t think the above would look out of place around here as is even though you wouldn’t write that way in a novel.


I agree with @Jacic; there are points where you could tweak it if you like, though it doesn’t seem extreme in the current draft.

What I have done before is a sweep trimming some of the following:

  • “you (can) see” and “you (can) hear”; sometimes going straight to the description of what’s being seen or heard can feel more immediate

  • “you feel” when applied to a physical sensation; again, describing the sensation can feel more immediate

  • “you think”, “you feel” when applied to an emotion, “you suspect”; this reminds me to keep telling the player what they’re thinking/feeling to a minimum, and where possible embedding the thought in the narrative description. (“You suspect” is a particular tic of mine in a first draft: it’s a useful way of nudging a player in a direction, but if there’s another way of doing it that’s great)

  • a check for capitalised “You” - not because that’s necessarily a problem, really, but it reminds me to be conscious of repetitive sentence structures

This is all very dependent on personal style and what style benefits the game and story. Even a repeated sentence structure can be very effective in the right moment. So this isn’t me saying it’s gospel, more how I like to do it (and I don’t cut all examples of the above; it depends on the context and sentences in question).

Edit: I’d add that none of this is essential for the first draft stage, and may be detrimental if you’re someone who can get lost in the weeds of small details and distracted from getting the meat of the story down (I am calling myself out entirely with this!) I only do this sort of very small tweaks once I’ve got a draft done otherwise I would be doing it forever :sweat_smile:


Thank you so much for the advice, Hannah!

Everyone has been extremely helpful, and I’m going to definitely put your mentions in a notepad so I can reference them :sweat_smile:.

I’ve been upgrading my novel style to accommodate the 2nd person writing viewpoint. It’s been a learning process, but it’s steadily coming along.

Something I’ve taken notice is how I’ve learned to tweak details, it’s actually helped my descriptive sense, though I’m trying not to over-do it.

On a note: I’m a massive fan of your work, with Creme de la Creme and Royal Affairs easily sitting in my top played titles. Thank you so much for taking the time to respond! :slight_smile:

Edit: The above also is a huge thanks to Jacic as well!


Aww, that’s so kind - thank you! I’m glad it can be useful! :smile:


That’s the main thing I look at, too. If “You” and derivatives show up at the start of too many sentences in a short stretch of text, it’s time to look for ways of restructuring some of those sentences to put a different word/clause up front (unless the repetition is intentional for effect). But the same is true of any word.

The difference here between writing a first/second person and third person MC is that the latter has built-in diversification; you can use either their name or pronoun to identify them in a sentence. That’s a small but significant difference, and can take a little getting used to when you first move out of third person writing.

But I’d join the consensus that the sample you shared doesn’t overuse “you.”


Not really egregious but if it bothers you, then you could probably cut out some of the “you’s” by changing the wording or structure of some of the sentences.

Instead of “You can sense her fingertips” you could go directly into describing the way they feel as they wander across the mc.

Instead of “for a moment your ears capture the silence” cut it down to “for a moment there is only silence” or something along those lines.

As said already its not really egregious and you may find yourself simply getting stuck in your own head but if it does truly irk you than at least its a simple fix.

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This is a common issue among many of us. The basic rule is to give a description of what you can see, hear or anything using the senses. Thoughts and feelings are alright. Actions are best described. This of course varies. Remember, content first, accessories like this one later.

Firstly, I recognise that this was posted a few months ago. However, I think it would be valuable to give a little insight in case it might still be relevant for anyone in the future who might stumble across this post.

If you have an issue with it then I would take a moment to consider your usage of ‘filter words’. Within your text you attached, for example, there is ‘you can sense’ and ‘your ears capture.’ These artificially pull the reader from directly experiencing those sensations, I think the usage of ‘yous’ then isn’t as significant as the emphasis put on them by the placement structurally.

Looking at the first, “You can sense her fingertips. They’re soft, providing a graze with which evokes your inner emotions.” If you wanted to remove the filter, you might instead say something like “Soft fingertips dance along your skin, evoking turbulent inner emotions.” [I swapped turbulent for your inner emotions, firstly because the perspective implies the inner emotions would be your own and secondly because it would be useful to specify the form of emotion involved.]

Looking at the latter, “For a moment, your ears capture the silence. It’s tiring, your eyelids faltering in the midst of the glow. Slowly, they flutter shut.” If you wanted to remove ‘your ears capture,’ you might instead go with something like… “For a moment, silence echoes in the space of conversation. It’s tiring, focus faltering in the midst of the glow as your eyelids flutter shut.”