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1.1 Identifying the purpose and intended audience of a text

3 min readโ€ขjanuary 25, 2023

Sahithi Morla

Sahithi Morla


AP English Languageย โœ๐Ÿฝ

224ย resources
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Welcome to 1.1! In this guide, you will learn how to identify a text's purpose and intended audience. ๐Ÿ“–
Without hesitation, I would say that this topic sets the foundation for any English class. Identifying the purpose and the intended audience is essential to effectively evaluate a text. So, make sure to keep your eyes peeled for the following tips and tricks!

What is Purpose?

The purpose refers to the specific intention or objective that the author had in mind when creating the work. It can vary depending on the context in which it is used. Here are some purposes commonly found in pieces of writing.
  • Communicating information or ideas
  • Persuading or convincing the reader to take a specific action or belief
  • Entertaining or providing enjoyment to the reader
  • Educating or teaching the reader about a specific topic
  • Documenting historical events or personal experiences
Understanding the purpose is essential to analyzing and interpreting a text's central idea. Additionally, you can notice how the purpose is conveyed through literary and rhetorical devices.
Remember that the purpose answers the question, "Why did the author write this text?" ๐Ÿค”

Identifying the Purpose

There are several strategies to identify the purpose of a piece of writing, some of which include:
  1. Examining the author's rhetorical choices: You can analyze how an author's use of rhetorical strategies, such as appeals to ethos, pathos, and logos, contribute to the overall purpose of the text.
  2. Identifying literary devices: You should always look for the use of literary devices, such as imagery, symbolism, and characterization. For example, the use of descriptive language may indicate that the purpose is to create a vivid picture or to evoke an emotional response from the reader.
  3. Examining the tone: The tone of a piece of writing can indicate the author's attitude or feelings towards the subject, which can give you a clue as to the purpose. For example, a tone of satire or irony might suggest that the purpose is to criticize or mock something.
  4. Identifying patterns and themes: You should find repetitive patterns and themes in the text. For example, a piece of writing that repeatedly uses the imagery of nature may be attempting to convey a message about the importance of preserving the environment.

What is Intended Audience?

The intended audience in a piece of writing refers to the group of people or readers for whom the text is intended or directed. Identifying the intended audience is an important step in understanding the text, as it can affect the language, tone, and style of the writing, as well as the content and message being conveyed. The intended audience can be defined by various characteristics such as age, gender, education level, cultural background, interests, and so on.

Identifying the Intended Audience

To identify the intended audience, you can look at various factors such as the text's language, rhetorical strategies, and literary devices, along with the historical and cultural context, patterns and themes, and effectiveness of the text. For example, a piece of writing that uses technical language and complex sentence structures may be intended for an academic audience. In contrast, a piece that uses simple language and a conversational tone may be intended for a general audience.
You can also look at how the story is told; for example, a book that uses first-person narration, present tense, and simple vocabulary is most likely intended for a young audience. The intended audience can also be found by the subject matter and themes of the piece of writing; for example, a novel that deals with adult themes and mature subject matter would be intended for an adult audience.
In some cases, the intended audience may be specific (i.e., if the text is a business proposal or a legal document, while it may be more general (i.e., if the piece of writing is a news article or a novel) in other pieces of text. Understanding the intended audience is an essential step in analyzing and interpreting a piece of writing, as it can help you better understand the author's purpose and the meaning of the text.
Browse Study Guides By Unit
๐Ÿค”Exam Skills
๐Ÿฅ‡Unit 1 โ€“ Claims, Reasoning, & Evidence
๐Ÿ—‚๏ธUnit 2 โ€“ Organizing Information for a Specific Audience
๐Ÿ‘€Unit 3 โ€“ Perspectives & How Arguments Relate
๐Ÿ”šUnit 4 โ€“ How writers develop arguments, intros, & conclusions
๐ŸŽ€Unit 5 โ€“ How a writer brings all parts of an argument together
๐Ÿ‘ฅUnit 6 โ€“ Position, Perspective, & Bias
๐ŸฅŠUnit 7 โ€“ Successful & Unsuccessful Arguments
๐Ÿ˜ŽUnit 8 โ€“ Stylistic Choices
๐Ÿ˜ˆUnit 9 โ€“ Developing a Complex Argument
๐Ÿ“šStudy Tools

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