What is the Author’s Purpose & Why Does it Matter? (2023)

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There’s always a reason a writer decides to produce their work. We rarely think about it, but there’s always a motivating factor behind intent and goals they hope to achieve.

This “why” behind the author’s writing is what we call the author’s purpose, and it is the reason the author decided to write about something.

There are billions—maybe more—of reasons a writer decides to write something and when you understand the why behind the words, you can effectively and accurately evaluate their writing.

When you understand the why, you can apprehend what the author is trying to say, grasp the writer’s message, and the intent of a particular piece of literary work.

Without further ado, let me explain what the author’s purpose is and how you can identify it.

What is the Author’s Purpose & Why Does it Matter? (1)

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What is Author’s Purpose?

Just as I introduced the term, an author’s purpose is the author’s reason for or intent in writing.

In both fiction and non-fiction, the author selects the genre, writing format, and language to suit the author’s purpose.

The writing formats, genres, and vernacular are chosen to communicate a key message to the reader, to entertain the reader, to sway the reader’s opinion, et cetera.

The way an author writes about a topic fulfills their purpose; for example, if they intend to amuse, the writing will have a couple of jokes or anecdotal sections. The author’s purpose is also reflected in the way they title their works, write prefaces, and in their background.

(Video) Analyzing an author's purpose | Reading | Khan Academy

In general, the purposes fall into three main categories, namely persuade, inform, and entertain. The three types of author’s purpose make the acronym PIE.

But, there are many reasons to write, the PIE just represents the three main classes of the author’s purpose.

In the next section, I’m going to elaborate on the various forms of the author’s purpose including the three broader categories that I have introduced.

How useful is the Author’s Purpose?

Understanding the author’s purpose helps readers understand and analyze writing. This analytical advantage helps the reader have an educated point of view. Titles or opening passages act as the text’s signposts, and we can assume what type of text we’re about to read.

If you can identify the author’s purpose, it becomes easier to recognize the proficiencies used to achieve that particular purpose. So, once you identify the author’s purpose, you can recognize the style, tone, word, and content used by the author to communicate their message.

You also get to explore other people’s attitudes, beliefs, or perspectives.

Why does the Author’s Purpose Matter for the Writer?

The intent and manner in which a body of text is written determine how one perceives the information one reads.

Perception is especially important if the author aims to inform, educate, or explain something to the reader. For instance, an author writing an informative piece should provide relevant or reliable information and clearly explain his concepts; otherwise, the reader will think they are trying to be deceptive.

The readers—particularly those reading informative or persuasive pieces—expect authors to support their arguments and demonstrate validity by using autonomous sources as references for their writing.

Likewise, readers expect to be thoroughly entertained by works of fiction.

Types of Author’s Purpose

Mostly, reasons for writing are condensed into 5 broad categories, and here they are:

What is the Author’s Purpose & Why Does it Matter? (2)

1. to Persuade

Using this form of author’s purpose, the author tries to sway the reader and make them agree with their opinion, declaration, or stance. The goal is to convince the reader and make them act in a specific way.

To convince a reader to believe a concept or to take a specific course of action, the author backs the idea with facts, proof, and examples.

(Video) Author's Purpose | English For Kids | Mind Blooming

Authors also have to be creative with their persuasive writing. For instance, apart from form complementary facts and examples, the author has to borrow some forms of entertaining elements and amuse their readers. This makes their writing enjoyable and relatable to some extent, increasing the likelihood of persuading people to take the required course of action.

2. to Inform

When the author’s purpose is to inform or teach the reader, they use expository writing. The author attempts to teach objectively by showing or explaining facts.

When you look at informative writing and persuasive writing, you can identify a common theme: the use of facts. However, the two forms of the author’s purpose use these facts differently. Unlike persuasive writing, which uses facts to convince the reader, informative writing uses facts to educate the reader about a particular subject. With persuasive writing, it’s like there’s a catch: the call to action. But, informative writing only uses facts to educate the reader, not to convince them to take a specific course of action.

Informative writing only seeks to “expose” factual information about a topic for enlightenment.

3. to Entertain

Most fiction books are written to entertain the reader—and, yes, including horror. On the other hand, non-fiction works combine an entertaining element with informative writing.

To entertain, the author tries to keep things as interesting as possible by coming up with fascinating characters, exciting plots, thrilling storylines, and sharp dialogue.

Most narratives, poetry, and plays are written to entertain. Be that as it may, these works of fiction can also be persuasive or informative, but if we fuse values and ideas, changing the reader’s perspective becomes an easier task.

Nonetheless, the entertaining purpose has to dominate, or else, readers are going to lose interest quickly and the informative purpose will be defeated.

4. to Explain

When the author’s purpose is to explain, they write with the intent of telling the reader how to do something or giving details on how something works.

This type of writing is about teaching a method or a process and the text contains explanations that teach readers how a particular process works or the procedure required to do or create something.

5. to Describe

When describing is the author’s purpose, the author uses words to complement images in describing something. This type of writing attempts to give a more detailed description of something, a bit more detail than the “thousand words that a picture paints.”

The writer uses adjectives and images to make the reader feel as though it were their own sensory experience.

Main elements and examples of Author’s Purpose

A great way to identify the author’s purpose is to analyze the whole piece of literature. The first step would be to ask “What is the point of this piece?” One can also look at why it was written, who it was written for, and what effect they wanted it to have on readers.

Another method is to break down the text into different categories of purpose. For example, if someone wants their writing to persuade, they would use rhetorical devices (i.e., logical appeals).

(Video) The author's purpose for writing (1/3) | Interpreting Series

Below are the types of publications dominated by each purpose and the things to look for when identifying the author’s purpose.

Persuasive Purpose

What is the Author’s Purpose & Why Does it Matter? (3)

Persuasion is usually found in non-fiction, but countless other fiction books have also been used to persuade the reader.

Propaganda works are top of the list when it comes to persuasion in writing. But we also have other works including:

  • Political speeches
  • Advertisements
  • Infomercial scripts and news editorials meant to persuade the reader
  • Fiction writing whose author has an agenda
  • Essays

How to Identify Persuasive Purpose

When trying to identify persuasion in writing, you should ask yourself if the author is attempting to convince the reader to take a specific course of action.

If the author is trying to persuade their readers, they employ several tactics and schemes including hyperboles, forceful phrases, repetition, supporting evidence, imagery, and photographs, and they attack opposing ideas or proponents.

Informative Purpose

What is the Author’s Purpose & Why Does it Matter? (4)

Although some works of fiction are also informative, informative writing is commonly found on non-fiction shelves and dominates academic works.

Many types of academic textbooks are written with the primary purpose of informing the reader.

Informative writing is generally found in the following:

  • Textbooks
  • Encyclopedias
  • Recipe books
  • Newspapers

How to identify Informative Purpose

Just like in persuasive writing, the writer will attempt to inform the reader by feeding them facts.

So, how can you spot a pure intent to inform?

The difference between the two is that an author whose purpose is persuasion is likely going to provide the reader with some facts in an attempt with the primary goal of convincing the reader of the worthwhileness or valuableness of a particular idea, item, situation, et cetera.

On the other hand, in informative writing, facts are used to inform and are not sugar-coated by the author’s opinion, like is the case when the author’s purpose is to persuade.

Entertaining Purpose

What is the Author’s Purpose & Why Does it Matter? (5)

The entertaining purpose dominates fiction writing—there’s a huge emphasis placed on entertaining the reader in almost every fiction book.

In almost every type of fiction (be it science fiction, romance, or fantasy), the writer works on an exciting story that will leave his readers craving for more.


The only issue with this purpose is that the adjective ‘entertaining’ is subjective and what entertains one reader may not be so riveting for another.

For example, the type of ‘entertainment’ one gets from romance novels is different from the amusement another gets from reading science fiction.

Although entertainment in writing is mostly used in fiction, non-fiction works also use storytelling—now and then—to keep the reader engaged and drive home a specific point.

How to identify Entertaining Purpose

Identifying works meant to entertain is fairly easy: When an author intends to entertain or amuse the reader, they use a variety of schemes aimed at getting the readers engaged.

The author may insert some humor into their narrative or use dialogue to weave in some jokes.

The writer may also use cliffhangers at the end of a page or chapter to keep the reader interested in the story.

Explaining Purpose

What is the Author’s Purpose & Why Does it Matter? (6)

Authors also write to explain a topic or concept, especially in the non-fiction category. Fiction writers also write to explain things, usually not for the sole purpose of explaining that topic, but to help readers understand the plot, an event, a setting, or a character.

This type of purpose is dominant in How-to books, texts with recipes, DIY books, company or school books for orientation, and others.

How to identify Explaining Purpose

Texts with explaining purpose typically have a list of points (using a numbered or bulleted format), use infographics, diagrams, or illustrations.

Explaining purpose also contains a lot of verbs that try to convey directions, instructions, or guidelines.


Every author’s purpose or motive should be more than just entertaining the reader, it should be about more than just telling a good story.

A lot of authors tell stories to accomplish different objectives – some want to teach, provoke thought and debate, or show people that they’re not alone in their struggles. Others—like yours truly—write an article about the different types of Author’s purpose and hope it changes your writing style accordingly.

Authors must take their audience’s needs and interests into account, as well as their purposes for writing when writing something they intend to publish.

The author should find a way to make a piece that both generates interest as well as provides value to their reader.

(Video) Author’s Purpose with PIE


Why does the author's purpose matter? ›

Understanding the author's purpose helps readers understand what a text is about. It guides us in taking a stance as readers. When we read the classic words, “Once upon a time,” it sets us up to be entertained by an old tale.

Why is it important to think about the author's purpose? ›

Understanding the author's purpose helps the reader better understand the main idea of the passage and follow the author's ideas as they progress.

What is the author's purpose *? ›

The author's purpose is basically the reason he or she chose to act in a particular way, whether that's writing the passage, selecting a phrase, using a word, etc.

What are examples of author's purpose? ›

An author's purpose in communicating could be to instruct, persuade, inform, entertain, educate, startle, excite, sadden, enlighten, punish, console, or many, many others.

Why is purpose so important? ›

Purpose can guide life decisions, influence behavior, shape goals, offer a sense of direction, and create meaning. For some people, purpose is connected to vocation—meaningful, satisfying work. For others, their purpose lies in their responsibilities to their family or friends.

How does the author's purpose impact writing? ›

The author's purpose is their intent (or purpose) for writing something. To either persuade, inform or entertain an audience. You will most commonly see these three aspects attributed as being the author's purpose however, other elements, such as describing and explaining, are also commonly sighted.

Do you think stating your purpose in writing is important why or why not? ›

The first question you ask yourself when you begin writing should be, "What is my goal/purpose for writing?" Understanding your purpose is critical when writing for any course because it can influence your decisions about content, emphasis, organization, style and tone.

What is an author's purpose to convince you to change your thinking? ›

Persuasive writing has a definite bias, or lack of objectivity. Its function is to change the mind of the reader or to move the reader to action. Because of its goal, the persuasive purpose is usually the primary purpose in a piece of writing.

Why is it important to evaluate the author's purpose when reading an informational text? ›

Knowing and being able to identify the purpose of a text or reading passage is essential to the comprehension and the understanding of the entire text. At times, the purpose of a text is referred to as authorial intent, which means the author's intent or intention.

What is the author's purpose 7th grade? ›

An author's purpose refers to the reason why an author wrote a particular piece of text. There are three general reasons why authors write: to inform, to persuade, and to entertain. When an author's purpose is to inform readers, he or she will provide factual information about a specific topic.

What are the 4 main purposes of writing? ›

There are four purposes writers use for writing. When someone communicates ideas in writing, they usually do so to express themselves, inform their reader, to persuade a reader or to create a literary work.

What are the 5 author's purposes? ›

These are common types of author's purposes:
  • Instruct: includes steps in a process and directions.
  • Entertain: uses humor, narration, tells a story, etc.
  • Inform: includes mainly facts and information.
  • Persuade: tries to get the reader to believe, think, feel, or do something.
  • Describe: uses details and description.

When you identify an author's purpose What question do you answer? ›

What message does the author want the reader to know? Why did the author write this piece? What questions do you have about what you read? What is something that you would ask the author?

What are the types of purpose? ›

The eleven different types of purpose include the following: 1. to express; 2. to describe; 3. to explore/learn; Page 3 4. to entertain; 5. to inform; 6. to explain; 7. to argue; 8. to persuade; 9. to evaluate; 10. to problem solve; and 11. to mediate.

What is the power of a purpose? ›

Purpose is an active expression of our values and our compassion for others—it makes us want to get up in the morning and add value to the world. The Power of Purpose details a graceful, practical, and ultimately spiritual process for making it central to your life.

Why is purpose important in learning? ›

Students with purpose do better at school.

Students with more purposeful goals find their schoolwork more meaningful, probably because they can see how it relates to their future aspirations, and tend to have higher academic achievement.

What does having a purpose mean? ›

To psychologists, purpose is an abiding intention to achieve a long-term goal that is both personally meaningful and makes a positive mark on the world.

Why is purpose important in a story? ›

Why does author's purpose matter? It matter's because understanding not only the "why" the author wrote the story but the "how" the author wrote the story tunes us in to what we should know by the end of the text. Essentially, understanding the reason behind the writing will help with the understanding of the writing.

What are the three reasons we write author's purpose for writing? ›

An author's purpose is the main reason he or she has for writing. The three basic purposes are to inform, to persuade, and to entertain. The simple strategy below will help you figure out an author's purpose.

What are the three reasons and purpose of writing? ›

Answer and Explanation: The three main purposes for writing are to persuade, inform, and entertain.

What is the author's message to the reader? ›

An author's message is the "big idea" of the text or a part of the text. It is what the author wants the reader to learn or take away from reading the text. There may be more than one message in a text. A life lesson: The moral, or lesson, that stories like fables are trying to teach readers.

How do you describe an author's point of view? ›

An author's point of view refers to his or her position on an issue or, in other words, the author's opinion or belief regarding an issue. When authors favor one side of an issue, they are said to have a bias in favor of that side of the issue. Authors may be unbiased (neutral or objective).

How do you describe the purpose of a text? ›

A text can have many purposes.
When you read a non-fiction text, you can tell its purpose by looking at:
  1. Its content – who would be interested?
  2. Its tone – is it serious or light-hearted?
  3. Its structure – what are the order of events? ...
  4. Its language – is the language formal or informal ?

What is author's purpose Kids definition? ›

The author's purpose describes the reason behind why the author chose to write a specific piece. Generally, the purpose of a children's story is to persuade, inform, entertain, or describe.

What is author's purpose 5th grade? ›

An author's purpose is why the author wrote a piece of writing. Did he or she write to entertain, to inform, or to persuade the reader?

What is the author's most important purpose for writing the selection? ›

The author's purpose is the main reason that he or she has for writing the selection. The author's purpose will be to entertain, inform, or persuade. What is the author's point of view? When an author writes to entertain, persuade, or inform, he or she will have his or her point of view on the subject.

What are the 8 purposes of writing? ›

There are many purposes to writing. The most popular are to inform, to entertain, to explain, or to persuade. However, there are many more including to express feelings, explore an idea, evaluate, mediate, problem solve, or argue for or against an idea.

How do I find a purpose question? ›

Questions to Ask Yourself to Help You Find Your Purpose
  1. The Things That You Love. What makes you truly happy? ...
  2. The Things That You Are Good At. What are your talents? ...
  3. What The World Needs. How can you help others? ...
  4. What Can You Get Paid For? What are the activities that will earn you money? ...
  5. Now What?

Why do students need to learn author's purpose? ›

Teaching students to determine and consider the author's purpose is an important reading skill. Using this strategy helps students set a purpose for their reading. When students know the reason an author wrote a text, they have a focus on what information to remember which strengthens their comprehension.

What are the steps to analyzing the author's purpose? ›

Share the definition of author's purpose. Examine writing samples to determine the purpose of those texts. Compare and contrasts texts by analyzing their meaning, style and structure. Identify and describe techniques authors use to communicate ideas in nonfiction.

What is the authors purpose first grade? ›

Tell students that these varied reasons for writing are called the author's purpose. Students can recall the three main purposes by remembering the acronym PIE—Persuade, Inform, Entertain.

How do you start a purpose statement? ›

How Do I Write a Purpose Statement?
  1. Step #1: Define what you do.
  2. Step #2: Pinpoint your passion.
  3. Step #3: List your values.
  4. Step #4: Create a draft.
  5. Step #5: Get feedback.
  6. Step #6: Leave room for growth.
Aug 9, 2021

How do you write a purpose sentence? ›

A purpose statement announces the purpose, scope, and direction of the paper. It tells the reader what to expect in a paper and what the specific focus will be. Common beginnings include: “This paper examines . . .,” “The aim of this paper is to . . .,” and “The purpose of this essay is to . . .”

Why is it important to know the author of an article? ›

Who is the author? Credible sources are written by authors respected in their fields of study. Responsible, credible authors will cite their sources so that you can check the accuracy of and support for what they've written. (This is also a good way to find more sources for your own research.)

What is the most important thing for an author? ›

In the end, the most important thing about being an author is that you must keep writing — through rejections and through writer's block just get those words down on the page.

What is the most important point the author makes? ›

The main idea of a paragraph is the author's message about the topic. It is often expressed directly or it can be implied.


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