Communicative Purpose



A pivotal element of the composing process is when the writer determines the communicative purpose of her text. This decision not only provides the inspiration for the story. This decision unifies all of the rhetorical features the writer will exercise to present her meaning to her readers. With this guiding direction, the author has a firm scaffolding for her composition.

The writer must know the answer to the question “What is my purpose for writing this text?”

  • Is my intent to teach my reader something new and complex?
  • Am I making an important request for funding?
  • Do I want to persuade my reader to see my point of view?
  • Am I focused on positioning myself as a worthy member of a discourse community?
  • Am I writing to entertain my reader?
  • Do I really want this job?

This is a straightforward and singularly important step in the positioning of any piece of writing.

In my view, you must know your communicative purpose and keep it in your sights as you compose and edit. And you must work hard on your story, tone, register, word choice, using every aspect of excellent writing in your toolkit to bring your personal and specific purpose into focus for your reader.