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Determine Your Purpose


What is your reason for writing your paragraph or essay? You need to determine your purpose before you decide which style of writing you will use: i.e., informative, process, descriptive, opinion, or cause and effect.

There are four main purposes for writing:

  1. To entertain
  2. To persuade
  3. To inform
  4. To instruct

Ask yourself these questions:

Are you trying to entertain by writing something funny, beautiful, or dramatic?
Are you trying to persuade the reader to agree with your point of view or show your reader a new way to look at the subject?
Are you trying to inform your reader about a subject or instruct the reader in how to do something?
What point do you want to make about your topic?
Sometimes you have more than one purpose, so you need to decide which one is your main purpose.



A paragraph about ways to get along with your boss can inform and entertain.
A paragraph about how to change a tire can instruct (tell a process) and describe (the parts you will need).
A paragraph about your vacation can inform, describe, and entertain.
A paragraph about smoking can inform (give cause and effect) and persuade (give an opinion).