NOTE: I am not asking whether "audience" is a singular or plural word.

I am writing critical analyses of essays written by influential people. So, a sentence in my analysis could be: (in an essay protesting against governmental policies)

The reader at this point feels guilty for supporting his government.

Now, what if I am critically analysing a speech? Surely, a speech has an audience and not just one reader. But, I still wish to refer to just one person, the same way as I did in the above sentence. One possible approach in my mind is:

Every person in the audience at this point feels guilty for supporting his government.

But, it's a bit verbose imo. I hope there might be more elgant or entirely different expressions.

  • You're referring to "the reader" as a representative or typical reader?
    – TimR
    Oct 6, 2017 at 14:39
  • @Tᴚoɯɐuo A general, common-place, ordinary reader. Oct 6, 2017 at 14:40
  • One who is moved by the oratory.
    – TimR
    Oct 6, 2017 at 14:40
  • @Tᴚoɯɐuo Did you just stop in the middle of writing a complete sentence? To me the last comment feels an incomplete phrase imho. Oct 6, 2017 at 14:43
  • It was a continuation of your comment.
    – TimR
    Oct 6, 2017 at 14:47

2 Answers 2


It is quite common to find the phrases the reader and the audience in literary criticism and textual analysis. Apart from the theoretical issues of approaching a text in terms of audience response, using the phrases is certainly acceptable and is standard behavior.

  • "The audience at this point feels guilty for supporting his government." doesn't seem right to me imho. What do I do with that "his"? Oct 6, 2017 at 15:22
  • 1
    Change it to this or that or the or their.
    – TimR
    Oct 6, 2017 at 15:22

I haven't entirely understood what you mean, but it might be "attender".

Edit: Actually, simply "listener" might be appropriate.

  • Would the down-voter explain the reason?
    – user2118
    Oct 6, 2017 at 18:40

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