Before you write, you need to know the purpose, which is the intended goal or value of a text. This purpose will govern just about all of the tools you use, including:
EXAMPLEStories are often designed to make people laugh, so their purpose is entertainment. Instruction manuals are meant to inform and guide, while advertisements are meant to convince you to buy.
All well-written communications must have a strong purpose in mind in order to clearly articulate their intent. If a person has strong communication skills, their purpose will come across clearly to the audience.
1a. Connection to Mode
All of these purposes will change the mode the author will choose. These purposes are also more specific than the mode itself, but they can be served by that particular mode’s structure, tone, and other features.
Remember, there are several different modes of writing:
The persuasive mode, for instance, could be deployed when your purpose is to convince your colleagues that a particular team-building activity would be beneficial to implement at your company.
However, if your purpose was to describe a group team-building activity to colleagues who are unfamiliar with it, the persuasive mode wouldn't fit. You're not trying to convince your colleagues to utilize your idea; you're just trying to tell them about the details of the activity. Thus, you would want to use the informative mode.
In an academic setting, you may be assigned a particular mode to use, such as when you take a persuasive writing class. If you’re assigned a persuasive paper, your purpose will need to be persuasion.
In general, the audience of a piece of writing is the reader of a text, which can be intended (targeted by the author), or unintended (not targeted by the author).
In a writing class, your intended audience is your instructor, who you know is going to read your paper. Furthermore, you can probably assume that your instructor is an informed audience— a factor that will also influence the way you write.
However, if you find out you’ll be sharing your paper with peers, you will have a new, additional audience— one that you hadn’t intended in the first place. Therefore, it’s always important to keep in mind not only your intended audience, but potential unintended audiences as well.
When writing, you might consider your audience’s:
Communication: Apply Your Skill
From what you just learned, you have probably already begun to consider the close relationship between a text’s purpose and its audience.
You can think of this relationship like a cycle. The purpose is your reason for writing the text, but you hope to achieve that purpose with a specific audience. Thus, speaking directly to that audience is part of your purpose. These things are inherently linked.
Because of this, the audience is not something you can consider after you’ve already written. You have to write with a particular audience in mind, and target your words to them.
If your purpose is to write a training handbook for new employees at your workplace, those employees themselves are part of your purpose. You would write for new employees differently than you would for people who have worked at the company for a long time and have expertise in the systems and procedures used there. In the latter case, you’d maybe choose more technical vocabulary with less description and explanation.