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Main Idea and Supporting Detail
Writer's Purpose and Point of View
Expressed or Implied Audience and Purpose
Evaluating the Appropriateness of Written Material
Effect of a Writer's Language Choices
Content, Word Choice, and Phrasing
Identifying an Author's Attitude
Recognizing How Language is Used
Analyze the Relationship Among Ideas
Critical Reasoning Skills
Determine the Meaning of Words and Phrases
Practice Reading Tests

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DEMONSTRATION ONLY: This demonstration presents an abbreviated version of the complete COMPASS course. Click 'Next' at the bottom of the screen or make a selection from the links on the left to begin. Not all links are available for the demo.

Identify a Writer's Purpose and Point of View

Recognize a Writer's Expressed or Implied Audience and Purpose for Writing

An author always has a reason or purpose for writing a passage. Some passages explicitly state their purposes. Other passages leave it for the reader to guess or infer the purpose. The good reader should always seek the purpose of a passage because it is an excellent clue for understanding the writing.

When trying to determine the purpose of a passage, begin with a consideration of the topic sentences of the paragraphs. The author’s purpose is often related to the progression of the ideas. Another method of determining purpose is to take note of the language that is used. If the purpose is to explain a serious issue, the passage will be restricted to standard English. If the purpose is to entertain or satirize, then slang, jargon, and informal English may be used to produce the desired effect.

To improve an understanding of any passage, a reader should try to write a sentence describing its purpose. This practice will improve comprehension of the ideas and conclusions of a passage.

For the three paragraphs shown as a passage above, describe the author's purpose. Click the "Next" button below when the task is completed.