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Reading – Audience Purpose and Tone

Sep 6, 2022
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Audience Purpose and Tone

Consider giving a presentation to a group of executives in a boardroom. You spend weeks preparing and practicing the presentation before the big day. Not only do you have to make crucial, thoughtful judgments regarding the content, but also about how you convey it.

Will there be a need for technology to project numbers and charts throughout the presentation? Should key phrases be defined in the presentation, or will the executives already be familiar with them? Should you put on your suit and tie? The answers to these questions can assist you in establishing a proper rapport with your audience, allowing them to be more open to your message. 

Now, imagine you’re giving a group of high school pupils the identical business topics you presented in your presentation. Those crucial questions you previously answered may suddenly necessitate new responses.

The statistics and charts may be overly complicated, and the concepts will almost likely need to be defined. You might even want to change your attire and go for a more casual vibe. Because the audience has changed, you’ll need to change your presentation and delivery to establish a new relationship with the new audience. 

In both of the above cases, the audience—the people who will listen to you and watch your presentation—plays a part in its development. You picture the audience while you prepare the presentation to anticipate their reactions and expectations.

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What you imagine has an impact on the material you present and how you convey it. Then, during the presentation, you meet the audience and find out right away how well you did. 

Similarly, when it comes to writing also, you might have noticed the writer taking different approaches to cater to the audience. Sometimes, the piece intended to make us laugh, sometimes to make us cry, etc. This reason is called the purpose.

Therefore, we can say that the author’s purpose is the reason because of which he/she is writing on a topic. 

An author writes to communicate a main point about a subject. The core idea of a work is inextricably linked to the author’s goal. 

Similarly, to fulfil the desired purpose, the writer plays with and makes use of different tones, like humorous or melancholic. The author’s tone is his or her attitude toward the subject. The author’s mood is reflected in the words and details he or she chooses. 

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Let us learn more about audience, purpose and tone now. 

Audience: 

The people who will read your material are referred to as audience. Some academic writing is written for an instructor or a committee of professors, such as a term paper or a thesis. More often than not, a paper is prepared for colleagues in your profession, for people who study similar topics to you.

When drafting a grant proposal for an interdisciplinary committee, academic writing is sometimes intended to an audience beyond your profession. In every scenario, considering who will read the document influences what and how you write. 

Consider the following questions about your target audience: Who is going to read this paper? What do you need to tell them and how much do they already know about the subject? Why will your audience read what you’ve written, and can you persuade them to do so? What do you think their reaction will be to what you’re saying? Are you, for example, adding to an existing body of knowledge, filling a known gap in current understanding, or questioning widely held beliefs?

Also, what is your audience’s preferred writing style? Is there a standard format for you to follow, or a standard tone for writing in your field? Each of these questions will have an impact on the content and format of your work. 

The appearance of a piece of writing is determined by grammar and sentence structure. Your readers will be impressed if you polish your writing and use proper language. This will allow them to focus on what you have to say. 

Purpose: 

The author’s purpose is the reason because of which he/she is writing on a topic.  

An author writes to communicate a main point about a subject. The core idea of a work is inextricably linked to the author’s goal. 

An author’s purpose can be divided into three: 

  1. To inform- to provide information about a topic. Authors with this goal want to present facts that will help readers understand or learn anything. 

Example:  

Pain is a natural aspect of the human body that alerts us when something is amiss. 

  1. To entertain- to delight and amuse; to appeal to the senses and imagination of the reader. Authors with this goal set out to captivate or pique the audience’s interest. 

Example: 

“Yes, I have put on some weight. I weighed only seven pounds when I was born.” 

  1. To persuade– to persuade the reader to agree with the author’s viewpoint on a topic.  Authors with this intention may include facts, but their primary goal is to persuade or convince readers. 

Example: 

The death penalty should be abolished as it is deeply flawed. 

Tone: 

The author’s tone is his or her attitude toward the subject. The author’s mood is reflected in the words and details he or she chooses. 

Textbooks, for example, are typically written in an objective tone with facts and rational explanations. The objective tone is unbiased and matter-of-fact. The majority of the information is factual.  

Fiction and personal essays, on the other hand, are frequently written in a subjective tone. Words that describe feelings, judgments, or views are used in a subjective tone. Experiences, sensations, sentiments, and thoughts are likely to be included in the specifics. 

The author’s tone is conveyed by the words and details he or she chooses. You must pay attention to how these words and elements are used in the text to identify the author’s tone. 

Examples: 

  • This place may be run-down, yet it holds a particular place in my heart because it is where both of my children were born. – Sentimental tone 
  • This house does require some repairs, but I’m confident that the landlord will address them shortly. – Optimistic tone 

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