Personal ads are a way of communicating to others the person you are, or the person you want to be, in the hopes of attracting friends or a mate. As a result, language choices, descriptions, and key phrases are often specifically calculated to provoke a particular reaction—or attraction. At the same time, the text of ads often reveals things about the ad writer in the same way that a playwright would reveal a character’s subtext.
In this assignment, we will discuss the language used in personal ads (assuming that it is indeed reflecting the inner thoughts of the ad writer), examine some personal ads online, and then apply it to character study in a play, Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.
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