Just as real estate revolves around the old adage, Location! Location! Location!, students, teachers, authors and any writer worth his or her salt lives by a motto as well. Quite simply, audience is everything.
Audience dictates all of the elements that go into a successful piece of writing. For instance, one would generally write very differently when addressing a teacher or employer in a formal piece of writing than one would when informally addressing a friend, family member or classmate.
For example, after missing a day of work, if you left a message for your boss, it might read:
Dear Mr. Smith,
I’m very sorry that I was absent from work yesterday, but I fell ill on Tuesday evening and felt it necessary to visit my doctor in an effort to make it back to the office today.
In contrast, when writing a note to a friend or co-worker about the same situation, you might say:
Sorry I missed ya yesterday. I got really sick the other night and had to go to the doctor. I’d hate to miss another day of work.
The audience that will read your writing dictates the words you choose, the formality of your work and the tone of your writing “voice.” Writing that requires formality generally sounds proper and practiced while informal writing often comes across as conversational. Always keep in mind the appropriateness of your writing and the way your writing voice might sound to an objective reader when you put words to paper.