Writing Texts

Introduction – Remembering the Four Key Areas (GAPS)

Introduction – Remembering the Four Key Areas (GAPS)

Genre

The exam question in GCSE English Language will generally determine your text’s genre. For example, having commented on an article about healthy eating in the Reading section, you may be asked to write your own article giving details about a healthy eating campaign or to write a letter to a fast food company asking them to make their products healthier.

Identify the genre you are meant to be writing in then think about the key features of this genre. Attention to detail is important. For example, if you are writing a letter, set your page out like a letter with addresses, a date and an addressee (person or company you are writing the letter to). Detailed advice on writing in genres can be found in the Genre Writing section.

N.B. DO NOT use your home address. You can make up addresses for yourself and the addressee.

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Audience

The audience, the person or people to whom you are addressing your text must be considered at all times. They will influence the genre of the piece, the purpose, the style, persuasion techniques and writing techniques you use. They are at the centre of EVERYTHING. Remember in an exam that you may not be writing a text for your friends and you will have to change your language and presentation to suit the target audience. Examiners will be looking at the skills you use to appeal to them.

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Is your text formal or informal?

Generally, non-fiction texts are written in a formal style for an adult, educated audience. Examples include writing for an information website or a newspaper. This means that you should imagine that you are addressing an adult in a formal situation and use the correct language. This does not mean that you cannot use humour when writing. In fact, if the purpose of your text is to persuade or give an opinion, humour will often engage the reader and make them more receptive to your text.

In a formal text, you should avoid using colloquial vocabulary, some of which would be used when talking to friends. This includes: gonna, ain’t, kid or to fire (dismiss).

However, if you are writing for a teen magazine or an informal website, using a few informal words can add a friendly effect to your writing. Note that a few words are the key. This is still a written text and overuse of informal words will annoy the examiner and make it seem like your text is more in a spoken style then a written one.