An Academic Setting
A Professional Setting
A Peer-to-Peer Setting
You might say, “Isn’t my teacher the audience for all my papers in class?” But, often, this is not the case. Most teachers will discuss the audience for the papers due in classes and will expect students to use appropriate format, style, and language for the intended audience. To understand what type of appropriate elements of writing to use, writers must think about the following questions:
Usually writing to peers in everyday tasks is very informal and often will include lack of punctuation, spelling, or syntax. However, some academic assignments ask writers to respond to their peers. Although this is still informal, teachers expect respectful discussion between peers, and if graded, the writing might have specific assigned elements.
If you encounter assignments that ask you to address a section of society, or society as a whole, this will most likely be more formalized than regular peer to peer communication. These types of writing assignments might call for extra background information or explanation of technical terms within a subject that a specific audience may not understand. Especially true for persuasive papers, writers will need to understand the audience’s feelings on the subject so the writer can find common ground to connect with the audience before trying to persuade.
This is usually the most formal of the writing needs, but do not mistake formality with language over-indulgence. Some students purposely search the thesaurus for “big words” to sound more academic, but often this just makes writing look like it is trying to be too academic. Formality in an academic setting usually means no use of first or second person pronouns (no I, me, my, we, us, our, you, etc.) and use of a formal structure and organization. Many times, an academic audience will be aware of the subject you are discussing which means you will not have to use as much background explanation on the subject.
The main idea to remember when thinking about purpose and audience, especially within a class is to read the assignment directions to find out what you will be writing for and for whom you will be writing.
Select the link below to launch Exercise 1: For the following ideas, think about what the purpose and audience would be: