Usage and Grammar

Q. What is an acceptable way to refer to myself in a Chicago-style paper? I have always been told not to use “I”: “I disagree with Dr. Fream’s conclusion.” In the past I have been told that I should refer to myself as “this author”: “This author disagrees with Dr. Fream’s conclusion.” An English-teacher friend of mine, in checking one of my papers, stated that she believes the use of “this author” is in error.

A. Avoiding the first person used to be considered proper, but now it’s considered very formal, if not old-fashioned. It’s not a question of correctness, however; both styles are correct. If you feel strongly that the first person is out of place in your work, don’t use it.