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Authors Purpose
Background Definitions
  1. Author's Purpose:

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

  2. Point of View:
    Position from which a writer addresses a topic to include beliefs, assumptions, and biases.
  3. Tone:
    The attitude toward a subject, a character, or the reader.  Choice of words and details convey the tone.
Teaching Tips
  1. Every time an author writes, he or she has a purpose in mind. Writers usually write to explain, persuade, or to entertain. Understanding an author’s purpose will help readers interpret the information.

  2. The author’s point of view is often expressed through the purpose for writing.
Use the following chart to review with students how to identify the author’s purpose and point of view.

Type of WritingAuthor’s PurposePoint of View and Tone
  • News articles
  • Textbooks
  • Biographies
  • Documentaries
  • Technical Manuals
  • Charts, graphs, tables

To inform, explain, give directions, illustrate, or present information.

The author’s point of view and tone is primarily neutral.
Persuasive Pieces
  • Editorials
  • Advertisements
  • Campaign speeches
  • Bumper stickers
  • Billboards
  • Commercials
  • Some charts and graphs

To persuade by expressing an opinion to convince readers to think/feel/act a certain way.

The point of view clearly reflects the author’s attitude about a subject. Sometimes the opinion is directly stated and other times it is implied.  The author may try to convince readers by using tone to appeal to their feelings and/or values.
  • Short story
  • Poetry
  • Novels
  • Drama

To illustrate a theme, event, or story that conveys a mood.  Usually written to entertain.

The author may use characters or narrators to express attitudes in the story. The tone might be light and humorous or serious and sad.

M Carr

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