Worksheet 2: Author's Purpose

Person writing in a notebook

Kristina Strasunske / Getty Images

When you're taking the reading comprehension portion of any standardized test – whether it's the SAT, ACT, GRE or something else – you'll typically have at least a few questions about author's purpose. Sure, it's easy to point out one of the typical reasons an author has for writing like to entertain, persuade or inform, but on a standardized test, those are not usually the options you'll get. So, you must do some author's purpose practice before you take the test!

Try your hand at the following excerpts. Read them through, then see if you can answer the questions below.

PDF Handouts for Teachers

Author's Purpose Worksheet 2 | Author's Purpose Answer Key 2

Author's Purpose Practice Question #1: Writing

person writing in notebook next to coffee and cell phone

Most of us think (erroneously) that writers just sit down and churn out a wonderful essay, story or poem in one sitting in a flash of genius and inspiration. This is not true. Experienced writers use the writing process from start to finish to help them write a clear document. If you do not reflect on your composition in stages and make changes as you develop it, you will not see all the problems or error in it. Don't try to write an essay or story just once and leave the room. That's a mistake made by novice writers and will be glaringly obvious to an experienced reader. Stay and look through your work. Reflect upon what you've composed. Even better, use a writing process where you prewrite and plan, write a rough draft, organize ideas, edit, and proofread. Your writing will suffer the consequences of poor craftsmanship otherwise.

The author most likely wrote the paragraph in order to:

A. explain the writing process to someone who has rarely experienced it.

B. suggest that new writers use the writing process to craft their work.

C. identify the components of the writing process and the best way to incorporate into a composition.

D. compare the writing of a novice writer with that of an experienced writer.

Author's Purpose Practice Question #2: Poor Child

neatly dressed young boy
(Wikimedia Commons)

On a highway, behind the gate of a vast garden, at the end of which could be discerned the white hues of a pretty manor house bathed in sunlight, was a beautiful, fresh child, clad in those country clothes that are so coquettish. Luxury, freedom from cares, the habitual sight of riches make such children so pretty that one is tempted to consider them molded of a different substance from the children of mediocrity and poverty.

Beside him, lying on the grass, was a splendid toy, as fresh as its owner, varnished, gilded, clad in a crimson cloak and covered with plumes and glass beads. But the child was taking no notice of his favorite toy, and this is what he was looking at:

On the other side of the gate, out on the roadway, among the nettles and thistles, was another child, dirty, sickly, soiled with soot, one of those pariah-kids in whom an impartial eye would discover beauty, as the eye of a connoisseur can divine an ideal painting underneath a layer of tarnish, if only the repugnant patina of poverty were washed away. - ​​"The Poor Child's Toy" by Charles Baudelaire

The author most likely mentions the physical appearance of the impoverished child in the last paragraph in order to:

A. identify the cause of the child's poverty.

B. intensify the reader's sympathetic reaction toward the child.

C. criticize a social upbringing that would allow a child to suffer in such a way.

D. contrast the poverty of the second child with the privilege of the first.

Author's Purpose Practice Question #3: Technology

person using ipad in front of laptop

The high-tech world of clocks and schedules, computers and programs was supposed to free us from a life of toil and deprivation, yet with each passing day the human race becomes more enslaved, exploited, and victimized. Millions starve while a few live in splendor. The human race remains divided from itself and severed from the natural world that is its primordial community.

We now orchestrate an artificial time world, zipping along the electronic circuits of silicon chips, a time world utterly alien from the time a fruit takes to ripen, or a tide takes to recede. We have sped ourselves out of the time world of nature and into a fabricated time world where experience can only be simulated but no longer savored. Our weekly routines and work lives are punctuated with artificial rhythms, the unholy union of perspective and power. And with each new electric dawn and dusk, we grow further apart from each other, more isolated and alone, more in control and less self-assured. - ​"Time Wars" by Jeremy Rifkin

The author's first paragraph primarily serves to:

A. identify the primary methods humans use to organize their lives.

B. criticize technology because it causes humans to turn from the natural world.

C. illustrate the ways in which humans are exploited by technology.

D. describe how humans have split from the natural world and have embraced technology.

Author's Purpose Practice Question #4: Shipwrecks

shipwreck on beach
(U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management)

When most people think of a shipwreck, they imagine the remains of a huge wooden or metal boat crashed along the bottom of the ocean. Fish swim in and out of the mangled boat's hull, and coral and seaweed cling to its sides. Meanwhile, divers with scuba gear and cameras paddle their way into the depths to explore inside the long-forgotten vessel. They might find anything from old pottery to rusty cannons to pirate gold, but one thing is certain: the deep cold water has swallowed up the ship and kept it secret for a very long time.

Surprisingly, though, water is not always a necessary element in shipwreck explorations. Few people realize that many important shipwrecks can be found on land. Trading skiffs, warships, and pirate galleons alike have been found buried deep in riverbeds, hilltops, and cornfields throughout the world.

The author most likely composed these two paragraphs in order to:

A. inform the reader about surprising places shipwrecks have been found.

B. describe what a person would find if he or she visited a shipwreck.

C. compare the similarities between a water-found shipwreck and a land-found shipwreck.

D. intensify the discovery of a shipwreck by surprising the reader with a new location for finding them.

Author's Purpose Practice Question #5: Nutrition

fruits and vegetables

Each time a person opens his or her mouth to eat, he or she makes a nutritional decision. These selections make a definitive difference in how an individual looks, feels, and performs at work or play. When a good assortment of food like fresh fruits, leafy vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins is selected and eaten, the consequences are likely to be desirable levels for health and energy to allow one to be as active as needed. Conversely, when choices consist of processed foods like packaged cookies, crackers, and sodas, items filled with sugars, hydrogenated fats, chemicals and preservatives – all of which can be harmful in large quantities – the consequences can be poor health or limited energy or both.

Studies of American diets, particularly the diets of the very young, reveal unsatisfactory dietary habits as evidenced by the numbers of overweight and out-of-shape young children. Parents, who are supposed to be masters of their children's dietary habits, often leave nutritional choices to their children, who are not informed enough to make healthy decisions. If anyone is to blame for the childhood obesity crisis in the United States today, it is the parents who allow their children to eat nutritionally bankrupt foods.

The author most likely uses the phrase "filled with sugars, hydrogenated fats, chemicals and preservatives – all of which can be harmful in large quantities" in order to:

A. criticize the growing obesity crisis in the United States.

B. contrast poor choices in children in the United States with healthy choices.

C. identify the leading chemicals in processed foods so people know what to avoid.

D. intensify the negative reaction to processed foods.

mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Roell, Kelly. "Worksheet 2: Author's Purpose." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, Roell, Kelly. (2023, April 5). Worksheet 2: Author's Purpose. Retrieved from Roell, Kelly. "Worksheet 2: Author's Purpose." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 10, 2023).