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Q. I am writing a thesis for my university and use the pronoun “we” instead of “I.” For example, “From this, we can conclude that . . .” I personally think this looks more scientific than using the “I” pronoun. However, a colleague of mine states that if I am the only one writing the thesis and doing the research, I should use “I,” because otherwise readers might wonder who else wrote the document. Do you know which one is better to use in my case?
A. “We” used to be more common in scholarly writing than it is now. The British use it more than Americans do. CMOS recommends using “I,” but if the literature in your field avoids this, you should follow suit. Either way, it’s fine to use “we” when referring to something that author and readers are implicitly doing together, as in your example.