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Arts & Letters Daily

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Audience

Writing for an audience

Audience

Notes

Readers want to feel that the writer is writing to them – as though the writer was talking with them. This does not mean that an essay or report must have an informal tone. Indeed, it may have a formal tone. Readers look for a vocabulary that reflects their language. For example, an academic audience wants writers to use academic language. Engineers expect writers to use the precise language used by engineers. The same topic written for non-engineers should be written with as few words as possible unique to engineers.

Writers should always have an audience in mind when they write. It helps them to stay on message and make appropriate word choices so that the targeted audience is more likely to understand the text.

In summary, writers should keep the following points in mind:

  • Knowledge readers may have
  • Attitudes  readers may have
  • Personal and social feelings readers may have
  • Knowledge readers need to have

Read the following paragrph. Do you recognize how this paragraph is written for a particulr audience? Look at the Notes below the paragraph.

Sample

Global Warming

Since many scientists claim that the global warming trend is likely to have negative consequences for Canada. Canadians should act now with this information in mind. True, some regions may enjoy some benefits. For example, the farmers on the prairies might enjoy a longer growing season. But, most Canadians would suffer negative consequences. The Maritimes and the West Coast would experience coastal flooding; arid regions of southern Alberta would turn into deserts; and the perma frost in the Yukon would decay more and more. Skiers would have fewer places to ski in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec because of a shortage of snow. The fish migration patterns along the eastern shoreline might change so much that the prime fishing areas may disappear. All these changes together would have a negative impact on the lifestyle of most Canadians. Canadians would not appreciate these negative effects.

Audience (readers)

  • Main idea

Since many scientists claim that the global warming trend is likely to have negative consequences for Canada, Canadians should act now to plan for the future with this information in mind.

  • Audience

Canadians

  • Knowledge readers may know

True, some regions may enjoy some benefits.

  • Knowledge readers need to have

Since many scientists claim that the global warming trend is likely to have negative consequences for Canada

  • Attitudes and feelings readers may have

enjoy some benefits.

  • Personal and social needs readers may have

enjoy some benefits.

  • Conclusion

All these changes together would have a negative impact on the lifestyle of most Canadians.

Assignment

Read the following essay and complete the template below.

Girl Baffles Teacher with SMS Essay/Editorial

An English essay written by a teenager in text messaging short-hand has re-ignited concern among teachers and parents that literacy standards are under threat. I think they have a point because students have a right to a sound education.

The 13-year-old wrote the following essay:

“My smmr hols wr CWOT. B4, we used 2go2 NY 2C my bro, his GF & thr 3 : kids FTF. ILNY, it’s a gr8 plc.”

The teenager’s teacher, who could not decipher what the youngster had written, protested to the media by saying, “I could not believe what I was seeing. The page was riddled with hieroglyphics, many of which I simply could not translate.”

The teenager’s essay has triggered a sense of frustration in many teachers and parents, myself include. This example of an essay confirms our suspicion that the use of proper English grammar has been on the decline for years. Some of us attribute the decline to the text-messaging craze reflected in the 13-year-old student’s essay.

We should get back to teaching conventional grammar and writing skills. What could be more basic? Student deserve no less.

Frustrated Parent

P.S. Need a translation of the teenager’s essay?

My summer holidays were a complete waste of time. Before, we used to go to New York to see my brother, his girlfriend and their three screaming kids face to face. I love New York. It’s a great place.

Template: Audience (readers)

  • Main idea

­­­­­­­___________________________________________________________________________

  • Audience

___________________________________________________________________________

  • Knowledge readers may know

___________________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________________

  • Knowledge readers need to have

___________________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________________

  • Attitudes and feelings readers may have

___________________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________________

  • Personal and social needs readers may have

___________________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________________

  • Conclusion

___________________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________________

Assignment

Writing Assignment: Audience

Write a paragraph in which you address a specific audience on a topic of your choice. Complete the template below to ensure that you have written to a specific audience. Submit it to your teacher or tutor for feedback. Then edit your paragraph based on the feedback you received.

Template: Audience (readers)

  • Main idea

­­­­­­­___________________________________________________________________________

  • Audience

___________________________________________________________________________

  • Knowledge readers may know

___________________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________________

  • Knowledge readers need to have

___________________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________________

  • Attitudes and feelings readers may have

___________________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________________

  • Personal and social needs readers may have

___________________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________________

  • Conclusion

___________________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________________

Answer Key

Audience

  • Main idea

­­­­­­­ An English essay written by a teenager in text messaging short-hand has re-ignited concern among teachers and parents that literacy standards are under threat.

  • Audience

teachers and parents

  • Knowledge readers may know

the use of proper English grammar

  • Knowledge readers need to have

conventional grammar and writing skills

  • Attitudes and feelings readers may have

re-ignited concern among teachers and parents that literacy standards are under threat.

… a sense of frustration in many teachers and parents

  • Personal and social needs readers may have

We should get back to teaching conventional grammar and writing skills. What could be more basic?

  • Conclusion

Student deserve no less.