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Determine Your Voice


In writing, voice refers to the way you speak to the reader. It involves the level of language and your word choice. Your voice will depend on the topic, the audience, and the purpose. For example, when you write a letter to a friend, you have no problem with voice because you are being yourself and writing the way you talk; you are casual, relaxed, and may use a lot of informal language or slang. However, when writing a college essay you will use more formal language.

When you consider your audience, you realize how this affects your voice. If you are writing to persuade your boss to give you a flexible work week, you would use different words and style than if you were writing to a friend to persuade him to change his holiday plans so you can spend some time together.

When thinking of the voice, you can think of adjectives to describe the voice. Your voice could be informal, angry, excited, serious, funny, formal, straightforward, persuasive, sincere, comforting, honest, apologetic, factual, simple, friendly, concerned, or a combination of these.