Audience – how to understand it

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Audience – definition

audience Audience is a term used to refer to the reader of a text, or the listener to what we say.

redbtn The audience might be any of the following:

single person
all the same kind
group of people
random or accidental
very mixed

Personal letter single selected
Note to milkman single specialist
MA dissertation single specialist targeted
Insurance claim group selected specialist
Novel group random non-specialist


redbtn The main purpose of speaking or writing is to communicate.

redbtn An awareness of audience helps to make speech or writing more effective.

redbtn Efficient writers and effective speakers target their audience as clearly as possible.

redbtn NB! Sometimes a piece of writing may have more than one audience.

redbtn An awareness of your audience is a critical factor in efficient communication for both speech and writing.

redbtn Efficiency can be improved by choosing the vocabulary, tone, and
style which are appropriate for the audience.

redbtn Publishers, advertisers, poets, and novelists all target their readers or listeners.

redbtn The vocabulary of a newspaper is chosen very carefully with its readership in mind.

redbtn Radio and television programmes adapt their use of language to their target audiences.

redbtn We write letters to our friends in a style which is different to that we use for the bank manager or someone we don’t know.

redbtn If someone stops you to ask for directions, they won’t be interested in how long you’ve lived in the town, and what it used to look like before the War. On the other hand, if you’re a member of the History Society you may be invited to give a half-hour lecture on that very topic. Your audience is different in each case.

Self-assessment quiz follows …

© Roy Johnson 2003

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