Adapting to Your Audience

Audience Awareness and Purpose

Let’s say you’ve just had a terrible experience with Parking Management and decide to write a letter to The Collegian to complain about this campus service. As you think about writing your letter to The Collegian, you’ll need to think not only about audience but also about why you are writing to those readers. Do you want simply to tell your story? Do you want to argue directly for a change in policy? Do you want to raise fellow students’ consciousness about a problem so that the student senate will eventually take up the issue? Depending on your goal, you might write a narrative, an argument, or a causal analysis. Which approach is most likely to be effective with your readers?

Writers need to consider both audience and purpose in writing because the two elements affect the paper so significantly, and decisions about one will affect the other.

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