Determining audience, purpose, and tone This essay is a few years old but i hope that people will still take it into acount.

Essay by xerxes01High School, 10th gradeA-, February 2005

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Before you can begin to plan an essay, you need to think seriously about whom you are writing for, what your purpose is in addressing the audience, and what tone or attitude about your subject-serious, indignant, happy, tongue-in-cheek, conversational, or humorous-you want to convey. Once you have a general idea of each of these, you can begin to plan out how to organize and develop your paper.

Knowing your audience is necessary to keep your focus in writing. It helps your reader feel that the essay was meant specifically for him or her to read, and it gives you as the writer a sense of direction or purpose. Knowing your audience also means understanding how much knowledge your audience already has of the subject matter, what terms need to be defined, whether the audience is biased towards certain ideas and how simple or complex the writing needs to be.

The purpose and tone of your essay is also bound up in the audience. For example, if you are writing a persuasive paper, your purpose may be to convince a group of concerned citizens to agree with your position on a controversial issue. The information you put into your essay will make clear you viewpoint and stance on the issue. You will use terminology the audience will understand, and your tone-or attitude toward the subject-will effect your serious purpose. On the other hand, if your purpose is to write a descriptive piece concerning the habits and habitats of polar bears for a wildlife magazine, you will choose words and arrange material to help the readers "see" what you are describing. The tone you use will probably be light and conversational, and holding and keeping the attention of your nature-oriented audience will be a deciding factor in how the...