Essay Writing: Knowing Your Audience

When writing an essay, it’s important to keep your audience in mind. When writing for school, different teachers often have different expectations for writing. While you should always look to the information your teacher gives you first about writing (such as assignment sheets or rubrics), here are some general tips for writing in each of the subject areas.

The biggest thing about writing is to clearly communicate your message, no matter the subject area! (Image Credit:


History teachers tend to look for facts, dates, places, and people in your writing. Because history is a lot about trying to be as accurate as possible, make sure that what you’re writing is factually based.


English teachers like to see references to the text, whether it’s an actual book or poem or a film. Direct quotes can often help boost your essay in an English teacher’s eyes, but try to incorporate the quote into your writing rather than just sticking it in. Although all subject areas are concerned with grammar and spelling, English teachers often have an eagle eye for such things, so make sure your papers are well-edited.


A lot of science writing is based around lab reports, which are a very formulaic form of writing. Science is all about detail, organization, and facts, so when you’re outlining the steps you took in an experiment you should write them out as accurately as possible so your experiment could be replicated and your findings tested. Make sure that any numerical data you have is as specific as the teacher requests. Did she ask you to round to the nearest tenth, or does she want it to the nearest thousandth?


Math tends to not have a lot of writing, but solving a multi-step problem can be like writing. Make sure that you are as detailed as possible, clearly showing your teacher the order of the steps you’ve completed. There should be a logical flow in your work, and it’s your job to make sure that’s clear to your audience.

For additional insights and writing support watch our blog entries. Another great resource is the Purdue OWL.

What are some other tips you have for writing in the major subject areas?


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