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Getting Smarter through Language

Intermediate Reading Course. Section 3: Interpreting the Message

The Writer’s Purpose for Writing

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Writing for a Reason

We write for a reason or a purpose. Writers do not always state their purpose directly; however, as the reader, it is important for you to identify the writer’s purpose so you can interpret the message.

Main Purposes for Writing

You can identify four main purposes for writing: to inform, to persuade, to entertain, and to share insights or feelings.

Video Activity

Watch The Author’s Purpose and take good study notes.

You can study the page and watch the video in any order.

Main purposes and types of texts


When writers write to inform, their purpose is to teach the reader. The information is presented to define concepts, explain process and relationships, present examples to clarify ideas, and so on.

Informative writing typically use the descriptive or the expository modes of writing.

Texts written with the purpose to inform include

  • news articles,
  • journal articles or research papers,
  • how-to blog posts,
  • instructional manuals, and
  • recipes,


When writers write to persuade, their purpose is to change their reader’s mind, to change the readers’ opinion, or to convince their readers to do something. Similarly to writing to inform, writers include information to explain and clarify a topic; however, they do not present information simply to inform but to provide evidence supporting their logical argument. Their ultimate goal is to persuade their readers.

Persuasive writing uses the persuasive mode of writing.

Common persuasive texts include

  • persuasive essays,
  • newspaper editorials or opinion pieces,
  • advertisements, and
  • political speeches.


Writers write to entertain to tell a story or to use the language to create literature.

Writing with the purpose of entertaining is commonly written in the narrative mode of writing.

This type of writing includes

  • fiction novels and short stories,
  • graphic novels and comic books,
  • poems, and
  • children’s books.

Share Insights

Writers sometimes simply want to reflect on experiences or to offer their personal perspectives on a topic. The goal is not to inform the reader, nor is it to persuade the reader. They simply want to express their personal insights, observations, and feelings.

Writing with the purpose of sharing share insights commonly uses the descriptive or expository modes of writing.

Example texts of this type include

  • memoirs,
  • autobiographies,
  • diaries, and
  • blogs.

Related Materials

The lesson on Modes of writing has samples in different modes and with different purposes. Follow the links below to see the samples in a new tab (Attention: When you are done, close the tab and return to this lesson):

Up Next: The Writer’s Point of View

Go to the next lesson to learn about detecting and interpreting the writer’s point of view.