The Importance of Identifying the Audience Before Writing a Text

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The Importance of identifying the audience before writing a text While the Oxford English Dictionary merely describes an audience as being “the readers of a book”, the role of the literary audience is much more extensive. The audience directly influences the decision a writer makes in all writing disciplines. In an attempt to satisfy the purpose of the text as well as the expectations of the audience, the writer considers numerous qualities of their target audience to guide their writing. Ultimately, the success of the text depends on these determining factors. Firstly, prior to writing their text, the writer must identify their intended audience, as well as the audience’s purpose for reading the text and their apparent expectations. Secondly, the writer must identify that the audience of a text is usually influenced by the text’s genre. Thus, all aspects of writing such as style, language, subject and structure are altered by the expectations that the audience holds for each genre of writing they encounter. All forms of writing are not only defined by their genre, but also by the purpose they serve for their audience. While varieties of texts, for example a tax return and a love-song, are fundamentally different in literary techniques, they all share one imperative characteristic – purpose. It is apparent that the “most frequent weakness in the writing of beginners - especially in expository or nonfiction writing-is too little attention to the needs of the reader”, (Elbow; page 178) and so this must be attended to. In academic writing, identification of the audience by the writer is crucial to the positive reception of the text. The writer must initially recognize the aim of the reader, as this will not always mirror their own. This process seems to begin with “consider[ing] just what your reader will do after reading your paper”(Turk and Kirkman; page

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