Purpose, Audience and Point of View

This week we have done some work on the important aspects of a written text. Why was it necessary for us to look at purpose, audience and point of view? Well, most importantly, once we confirm these aspects, then we can make the best choices for our writing.

skc_011.jpgInstead of drowning in waves of words that you can’t control, you should be intelligent writers who make informed choices. This is why you must ask yourself these questions before writing: why am I writing this text? What do I want to achieve with it? Who am I writing it for? Given my answers to the previous questions, what tone should I use? What point of view would be best?

images1.jpgThe point of asking (and of course answering!) these questions is to put you in control of the language and not the other way around. With feet firmly on the ground, you enjoy the pool of ideas gently swirling around you without getting knocked off balance.

End of lecture. Now for the answers I promised you.

sleeping-in-class.jpgFor those of you who like to use class time to catch up on your sleep, you might like to be informed that I am referring to Practice 1.2 of the handout given to you in class this week. Do note that there are no absolutely right or wrong answers. This is my educated opinion, and you are free to disagree with me.

1. The most eventful day of your life. Purpose: entertain. Tone: reflective, humourous. Point of view: first person.

2. Which two inventions have benefited your country most? Purpose: inform and persuade. Tone: formal. Point of view: third person.

3. Write an original story based on

(a) A person whose behaviour changed suddenly and unexpectedly. Purpose: entertain. Tone: dramatic, melancholy. Point of view: third person.

(b) “The situation became more tense as the crowd gathered…” Purpose: entertain. Tone: dramatic, suspenseful (is there such a word?). Point of view: third person (could be first as well).

4. How to make bubble tea. Purpose: inform. Tone: formal. Point of view: second person (the only one in the list that is).

5. “We should never be forced to do things we don’t want to do.” What is your opinion of this statement? Purpose: persuade. Tone: formal. Point of view: first and third person combined.

6. Is population control necessary? Purpose: persuade. Tone: formal. Point of view: third person.

7. Is war ever justified? Purpose: persuade. Tone: formal. Point of view: third person.

8. Justice. Purpose: inform/persuade/entertain. Tone and point of view depend on your choice of purpose.

There are so many possibilities that it seems silly to make a list like this. If you feel that you want to know why I have given a particular answer do write in. There may be others who have the same doubts. Also if you don’t feel comfortable with any of my answers I would love to hear from you. Dissent is a sign that thought is taking place. Therefore dissent, backed up by a desire to learn, is always a good thing to have in a language classroom.


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