DEMONSTRATION ONLY: This demonstration presents an abbreviated version of the complete PLACE 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.
Recognize Purpose and Audience
Recognizing the Appropriate Purpose, Audience, or Occasion for a Piece of Writing
It is important to be able to recognize the appropriateness of a written selection for a specific occasion or audience. We unconsciously practice this skill constantly. Your language changes when you are with your friends from the language that you use in response to a teacher’s question in psychology class, even if the topic is generally the same. You write differently to your best friend at home about your first days in college than you would if your English teacher asked you to write a theme entitled, "The First Days of College."
Always ask yourself questions about the audience and the purpose:
"Will this audience want a personal 'I’?"
"Will this audience be familiar with this vocabulary?"
Appropriate writing is writing that acknowledges that everyone uses various languages; therefore, appropriate writing chooses the proper language for the occasion.
One of the main problems that beginning writers face is inconsistency of tone. Tone is the writer’s attitude towards the subject as reflected by the language choices that writer makes. The audience has a right to expect that tone will remain the same from the beginning to the end of the piece of writing.
Most college writing is formal and serious in tone; therefore, a sentence with several slang terms in the middle of the essay would be inconsistent in tone and should be avoided.
A similar problem is a shift in purpose. If you begin with a purpose to explain an issue, you must continue with your explanation rather than getting sidetracked into arguing the merits of one side or the other.