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Writing in Different Contexts

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Writing can take on many different styles and forms depending on the situation. For example, text messages between you and a friend will most likely be short and informal. Contrast this with a letter you might send to a potential employer, which would be longer and definitely more formal. This course will generally require an academic style of writing on a college level. Academic writing is quite formal and has many rules and guidelines. You may find that writing for this class is harder than writing for any other class you've had previously. It is important to learn to write academically because many other classes in college, including those in your major, will require an academic style of writing.

Even within this course you will have to write for different situations. One assignment in this course will require you to prepare a presentation for a fictitious school board and another assignment will require you to recall a family experience. Each of these situations have different audiences and purposes. For example, the family narrative might use long, flowery sentences while a PowerPoint presentation for the school board presentation might use short phrases with the most important ideas. It is important to examine the situation you are writing for and ask the following questions:

  • Why am I writing?
  • How long should the article/essay/paper be?
  • Are there any restrictions on what I can or can't write?
  • Should my language be formal or informal?
  • How is this situation different from other writing situations?

As you ask yourself these questions certain rules and guidelines will become apparent. Try to keep these rules and guidelines in mind as you write.

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Copyright 2008, by the Contributing Authors. Cite/attribute Resource . factcouraud. (2007, May 22). Writing in Different Contexts. Retrieved January 08, 2011, from Free Online Course Materials — USU OpenCourseWare Web site: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons License