A photograph of a stack of “Thank You” cards

Source: Thank You Note Letterpress, Robert Barney, Flickr

Some people love writing thank-you notes. Some people don’t mind it. Some people hate it.

What if you were someone who hates it? Could you save yourself time and stress by sending the same thank-you note out to everyone whom you needed to thank?

Maybe you could write:

Thank you for doing whatever you did. I really appreciate the thoughtfulness of your gift or action (whatever it was).

A photograph of a person's hand writing with a pen on a piece of paper.

Source: Blackout, ccarlstead, Flickr

If your purpose in sending the note was to let the recipient know that you are truly thankful for the gift or action (whatever it was), then this note is not going to cut it. All this note will demonstrate is that you are too busy or lazy to write something personal, but you knew you had to send something because your mother was bugging you about it.

If, however, you have a different purpose in mind, then you have to consider that purpose when you send the thank-you note. Suppose you decide to send a note to your Great Aunt Betsy and you begin with this:

Hey, Girl! How’s it goin’? I got that hot scarf you sent me. Sick! I totally loved it.

A photograph of a knitted scarf laid over a chair

Source: Mohair lace knitted and crocheted scarf, OttawaAC, Wikimedia

Your Great Aunt Betsy might be charmed by this note if it sounds just like you, but depending on what Betsy is like, she might also be puzzled and even offended. It depends on the person receiving the note. You have to consider your audience when you send a thank-you note.

a woman evincing great excitement and holding up a gift card

Source: tuesday breakfast - rachel opening a gift card from jack & donna - _MG_0870, sean dreilinger, Flickr

Now, what if you’re sending a thank-you note to your cousin and you have heard that his dog just died. You could write a note starting with this:

Hey, Bryce, thanks for the gift card. There are lots of downloads I can get now. I hope everything is going great with you.

There would be nothing wrong with this if you didn’t know that Bryce had just suffered the loss of his “best friend.” However, the note would read differently if you mentioned that you were sorry about his pet dying. Your cousin would also think more generously about what kind of person you are. You have to consider the context of your writing when you send a thank-you note.

Just as with a thank-you note, you have to consider the purpose, audience, and context while you revise the organization of an essay. The purpose, audience, and context have to be kept in mind as you make decisions about inclusion of information, the emphasis that different parts of your essay are given, and the order in which you present the subparts of your essay.

In this lesson, you will learn how to revise an expository essay’s organization to be appropriate to the audience, purpose, and context.