Writing Texts

Evidence and Newspapers

Evidence and Newspapers

Evidence

Using objective evidence can make your argument much stronger and avoid making you look biased.

english language

Facts

Figures

Research data

Quotes from experts in the field

It is highly recommended that you use the reading material in the first part of the exam (question 1) as a source of quotes / facts / figures / research. If this is not possible then make up some! But try to keep them believable.

The idea is that we’re more likely to believe these people because they have greater, more specialised knowledge. Give them a believable yet impressive job title, such as “Helen Stephens, Professor of Applied Physics”

The same goes for using quotes in your argument.

What purpose are you writing for? Who is your audience?

The style of your answer will differ depending on what genre you are writing for. For example, a magazine article will be very different and include more slang than a formal letter to a Council.

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Writing in a Genre

Writing in a GenreThe exam question will always ask you to write with a ‘specific purpose in a specific style for a specific audience‘. This is known as writing in a genre.

For example: your purpose might be asked to write a persuasive piece trying to convince people that fox hunting is wrong.

Your audience might be young people between the ages of 11 and 18.

You may be asked to write in the style of a newspaper or magazine article, an advertisement, a leaflet or a letter.

There are different rules and conventions for all these kinds of writing and it is essential that you adopt them as accurately as possible.

Newspapers

Conventions include…

Headlines. These need to be attention grabbing, short and punchy. Alliteration and puns, plays on words, are often used. Headlines should be large and capitalised.

Sub-heading(s). Usually, the sub-heading is more balanced, factual and informative than the headline. Again, usually in a bigger font than the rest of the article and in bold. Tabloid newspapers (like magazines) use sub-headings to break up the text and entice the reader with words like ‘shocking’ and ‘outrage’, etc.

Unless you have been given a non-adult audience to write for, you should use Standard English. You must avoid using slang words or phrases and you must not use abbreviations.

It is also worth knowing that newspaper journalists have to put a lot of information into their first paragraph, as this might be the only one read by the audience. In your opening paragraph you should try to address…

Who/what/where/how/why

Newspapers often use attention grabbing puns to get readers hooked. Take a look at your local newspaper and see what they’ve included. Alliteration is also favoured by newspapers.

Magazines

Like newspapers, magazines use headlines and sub-headings to attract and inform the reader.

Magazines, however, are more free in their layout. They are more likely to use:

  • Boxes
  • Bullet points
  • Questionnaires
  • Cartoons / illustrations

Similarly, the language is less conventional than that used in newspapers. Remember that this is dependent on the audience.

Certainly magazine articles aimed at young people can use slang, abbreviations, trendy/modern phrases and specialised vocabulary.

Phrases such as ‘listen up’, ‘check this’ or ‘big it up for’ would sound okay in a teen magazine article but less convincing in a newspaper!

Letters

You must set out a letter using the correct formal conventions:

Ie placing your address in the top right hand corner, their address on the left hand side. Dear sir/madam and yours faithfully/sincerely depending on if you know the name or not.