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Humanities LibreTexts

3.3: What does this mean for your writing?

  • Page ID
    • Alexandra Glynn, Kelli Hallsten-Erickson & Amy Jo Swing
    • North Hennepin Community College & Lake Superior College

    You should always have a target audience in mind when you’re writing. This audience is a specific demographic group (such as “West High School seniors” or “Incoming freshmen at Central College”), and you should think about what they know about your topic and what might also be most interesting to them. Also, think about what style of writing and tone would most appeal to them.

    The more you know about your audience, the better decisions you make in your writing. For example, let's say you want to use a television show about aliens to explain how humans view the unknown. If your audience grew up in the 1950s through the 1970s, you might use The Twilight Zone as an example. If your audience came of age in the 1980s or 1990s, The X Files is probably more appropriate, and for a contemporary audience, Stranger Things might be fitting. Examples, word choice, tone, style: these all should tailor to your audience.

    One thing you don’t want to do is think about your audience as a group of people you are addressing as in a letter. Don’t write an essay that starts with something like, “Single mothers, this essay is for you!!” Nope. In fact, don’t mention the audience at all in the essay itself. Simply consider what they know already and what they need to know, and don’t spend a bunch of time on stuff they already know; spend more time on what they need to know.

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