Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Point of view

Point of view, often abbreviated POV, is a subjective stance or perspective on a given topic.

Literary Theory

In literature, the point of view, or viewpoint (see perspective for the more general and visual sense of this term), expresses the related experience of the narrator - not that of the author. Authors expressly cannot, in fiction, insert or inject their own voice, as this challenges the suspension of disbelief. Texts encourage the reader to identify with the narrator, not with the author.

Literary narration can occur from the first-person, second-person or third-person point of view. In a novel, first-person commonly appears: I saw ... We did.... In self-help or business writing, the second person (addressing "you") predominates: you must..., thou shalt.... In an encyclopedia or textbook narrators often work in the third-person (that happened..., the king died.... For additional vagueness, imprecision and detachment, some writers employ the passive voice (it is said that the president was compelled to be heard....

The ability to use viewpoint effectively provides one measure of someone's writing ability. The writing markschemes used for National Curriculum assessments in England reflect this: they encourage the awarding of marks for the use of viewpoint as part of a wider judgement regarding the composition and effect of the text.

Wikipedia Usage

When the abbreviation "POV" is used on Wikipedia when talking about an article, it usually means that the article has perceived bias. That is, the author has inserted what is overtly their own view, rather than citing authorities or evidence. See also: Wikipedia:Neutral point of view for policy recommendations on avoiding a personal point of view when editing pages.