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Audience Considerations for ESL Writers: Introduction

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Audience is an important component of writing. Whether you compose a paper for your class, submit a professional resume, or simply send an email, you most likely imagine how your document will be received. Audience can be defined as a person or people who read(s) your paper, in other words, your reader(s). It is important to know who your audience is because it influences the content and the style of your writing.

Types of Writing and Audience

Here are some examples that show the written genres that you will most likely encounter in college or in your career and the audience that is typically associated with each of these genres.

  • University Library Report: College students
  • Resume/CV/Cover letter: Potential employer
  • Book Review: Professionals from your field of study
  • Annotated Bibliography: Professor, readers of an academic journal
  • Memoir: Your classmates, peers, members of your family, readers of a magazine

You probably noticed that the audience is somewhat predetermined by the type of writing you produce, and vice versa, your readers influence your choice of a genre. In other words, you will not likely submit your memoir to an academic journal read by professionals and scholars. Similarly, an administrator of an engineering company, in which you wish to get a job, will not be interested in receiving a book review from you.