Writing Texts

Writing About Non fiction Texts

Writing About Non fiction Texts

CaptureThis part of the English GCSE course is all about non-fiction (factual) texts. Understanding them and showing different reading skills, including analysing both writing and presentational techniques as well as creating your own non-fiction text.

Non-fiction: definition: Non-fiction (or nonfiction) is the form of any narrative, account, or other communicative work whose assertions and descriptions are understood to be fact.

Not limited to history textbooks, non-fiction is all around us. From leaflets posted through your letterbox to newspapers. Other examples of non-fiction include:

  • newspaper articles
  • items from the internet
  • letters
  • extracts from a biography
  • travel writing
  • an advertisement
  • a charity appeal
  • a leaflet
  • an encyclopaedia entry

You may also be given an accompanying image and will have to comment on that too.

Non-fiction texts are based on reality, real situations, people and events. However it is important to remember that although based on real scenarios the text should never be taken as fact. Often, they are biased (skewed by the authors personal views) and usually written to persuade its target audience. (i.e. getting more people to donate money to a charity appeal)

When analysing non-fiction it is important to consider the following:

  • Audience – who is the text aimed at (eg men or women, adult or youth)?
  • Purpose – what is the text trying to do (eg inform, persuade, argue or advise)?

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Analysis

When faced with understanding non-fiction in your exam, first think about the following:

  • the genre – what type of text are you reading, eg a leaflet about a company. What form does it take?
  • the audience who will be reading your text, eg professional men and women
  • the purpose of your text, eg to convince people to do more sport
  • what writing style has been used, eg informal

There are some signposts that will help you to distinguish what the author is trying to achieve.

  • The heading or title – this should help you decide on the main subject of the text.
  • Vocabulary – the kinds of words (nouns) used to give information will also indicate a particular subject. [example a charity appeal may use the words “help” “fundraising”)
  • Attitude – adjectives and intensifiers will give an indication of what the writer thinks about their subject. “Total nonsense” suggests that the author is disagreeing with a topic.
  • Argument – the author will use points to develop their argument. Look for discourse markers – phrases such as “on the contrary, in addition, what is more, as a result, in conclusion”.

How to write your analysis

Now that we’ve covered what to include in your analysis, here are some suggestions on how to put it together.

Summary

To report on what the writer is saying you should summarise what they say and how you have come to that conclusion. You can do this effectively by quoting a line from the writer, explaining where you found it (I.e paragraph two) and follow with “this shows that the writer thinks…”.

Main points

The main points of an argument from the writer tend to appear at the end of each paragraph.

Quotations

Warning: sentences spoken by other people will not always be the opinion of the writer. Look at the language the author is using to see if they agree or disagree with the quotations.

Section complete – Congratulations you have finished the penultimate section!

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