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13.02 Focussing on the reader

The starting point of any writing project should be to identify the intended readership, the purpose of the material and the desired impact. Before you start writing, ask yourself the following questions:

Who are the intended readers?

Are you writing for specialists, young people, all taxpayers, or a group whose first language is not English?

What do the readers need to know?

Do they need the details or just an overview, the historical context and the reasons behind the decision or merely an explanation of the decision’s impact on them? What needs to be emphasized?

How will the readers use the information?

Will they use it to make a decision, to determine whether they are eligible for something, to carry out a procedure? Will they need to read the entire document or concentrate on one or two sections?

Use a personal tone in your writing. Address your readers directly and include examples, where appropriate, to illustrate important points.

For example, write

  • You must be a landed immigrant or permanent resident to apply. To find out how to become a landed immigrant or permanent resident, contact an Immigration Centre (the addresses are given on page 6).

not

  • It is incumbent upon applicants who do not possess a status of landed immigrant or permanent resident prior to the submission of their application to communicate with the appropriate Immigration Centre in order to take the necessary steps to obtain such a status.