Today's topic: PURPOSE
Good writing has a purpose. Sometimes it has both a primary a secondary purpose. More about that in a bit. Purpose is what the writer is trying to achieve through his / her writing. Here are some types of writing with their purposes:
--EXPOSITION: to explain something or to inform the reader about something. This is also known as ILLUSTRATION: to demonstrate something through the use of examples
--PROCESS: step-by-step instruction of how to do something (think recipes or how-to books)
--CLASSIFICATION: just what it sounds like (think books about kinds of medicines or ecosystems)
--COMPARISON / CONTRAST: to discuss the similarities (compare) and differences (contrast) of two people, places, things, events, issues, etc.
--ARGUMENT / PERSUASION: to take a position on a topic and then prove the position by providing evidence
--DESCRIPTION: to describe a person, place or thing by using concrete, sensory language which helps the reader see, feel, taste, touch, experience that which is being described
--NARRATIVE: to tell a story
I'll add one more purpose without attaching it to a type of writing: TO ENTERTAIN
As I mentioned above, writing can have more than one purpose. A writer can use comparison / contrast in order to prove a point and persuade the reader. A narrative might illustrate a point. Description is an invaluable companion to narrative. And entertainment always helps, especially if you're, say, writing a textbook about grammar.
It's helpful to identify your purpose before you start writing. It's easier to accomplish something if you know what it is you are trying to accomplish.
Be sure you don't confuse purpose and motivation. My students often think that their purpose in writing a paper is to get a good grade (or at least not to get an F). I tell them, "No. That's your motivation. The assignment is to do a comparison / contrast essay, so your purpose is to discuss the similarities and differences between the two assigned topics." The same applies to writers. Some writers say that they are writing in order to get published. That's not a writing purpose. That's a personal goal. Writing purposes would include explaining how to start a small company, discussing how staying positive contributes to physical health or entertaining people by writing a nail-biting mystery / suspense story. Those are writing purposes. Knowing the purpose of your writing can contribute to your attaining your personal goal, whether that goal is to get published, get a good grade or get an erroneous charge removed from your hospital bill.
Why do you write? Do you consider the purpose of the writing before you start?
From the list above, what purpose appeals to you most? Least? Why?