What Tone is Right? For Whom? - Considering Your Audience
instructor obviously is the first, or primary, audience of student
writing. Many assignments, however, require students to write
for an implied or an imagined audience, such as another expert
or a dissenting voice.
Before you can decide on the proper tone for that audience, you
first must consider the needs of these readers:
- Create an audience profile. How informed is my audience? What
do they already know about my topic? What should I emphasize
to enable them to understand my position?
- Write a dialogue between yourself and another perspective.
What are the questions they will have about my subject? What
objections will they have? How can I address these questions
most effectively for them?
- Answer these questions before you write so you can make sound
decisions about the style, tone and diction of the essay. Will
it be formal, conversational or something in between? Will I
need to define technical terms or can I assume my readers are
already familiar with them?
If you are not certain of the basic requirements of an assignment
or of the style expected by a discipline, go to the sections on
Analyzing The Assigment and Connections:
RLC & Other Courses.