Two Messages for Different Purposes, Audiences, and Genres

The purpose of this brief write-to-learn assignment is to let you experience firsthand how rhetorical context influence a writer’s choices. The whole assignment, which has three parts, should be no more than two double-spaced pages long.

1: A Text Message to a Friend

Write a text message to a friend using the abbreviations, capitalization, and punctuation style typically used for text messages. Explain that you are going to miss an upcoming social event (movie, football game, dance, trip to the local diner or coffee house) because you are feeling sick. Then ask your friend to text you during the event to schedule another get-together. (Make up details as you need them.)

2: An E-Mail Message to a Professor

Compose an e-mail message to your professor explaining that you cannot meet an assignment deadline because you are sick and asking for an extension. (Use the same sickness details from Part 1.) Create a subject line appropriate for this new context.

3: Reflection on the Two Messages

Using items 1 and 2 as illustrative examples, explain to someone who has not read Chapter 1 of The Allyn & Bacon Guide to Writing why a difference in your rhetorical context caused you to make different choices in these two messages. In your explanation, use the terms “purpose,” “audience,” and “genre.” Your goal is to teach your audience the meanings of these terms.

Please use MLA formatting for this assignment. See: MLA Document Format.


This Writing Exercise appears on pages 23–24 of The Allyn & Bacon Guide to Writing

Page Last Updated: 27 August 2014