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Just like there is an intended audience for performances, such as plays, films, and concerts, there is an intended audience for your essay–specifically, whoever will be reading it. Your audience falls into a couple different groups.
) be on your paper can help you to gear your writing toward their sensibilities.
The intended audience is the group of people that you intend (SEE? These are the people who you are targeting with your message, even if they never actually read your essay. For instance, you might write an essay for your political science class claiming that American politicians should learn a thing or nine from Uruguayan President Pepe Mujica.
When Stephen Hawking wrote A Brief History of Time, his intended audience was not physicists, but laymen.
If he had ignored this fact, the book would have went over most people’s heads. If your goal is to convince anti-drug activists that drug prohibition should be abolished, you probably shouldn’t start by saying, “Drugs should be legal.”Instead, you could first acknowledge that your hope is for drugs to be eliminated from society, which is a goal you share with your audience.
But if you are able to narrow your focus to a specific group of readers and decide how best to approach them, you have a better chance of reaching them in a meaningful way. The danger of not visualizing your audience during the writing process is that your paper can become too broad and lack focus and purpose.
As a teacher and editor, I’ve read many rambling papers that lack focus.
And, don’t forget about your audience in the conclusion.
Perhaps, you’ve already made your point in the body of your essay, but the conclusion offers a unique opportunity to reinforce why the subject is important and how it can positively affect the reader moving forward.
So, I suggest always including an audience analysis as part of your prewriting process.
Before writing, before even outlining your writing, you should decide who your intended audience will be and how you can approach them in a meaningful way.