English Language Revision and Guidance

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English Revision
Writing to Argue, Persuade and Advise:
Successful writers usually write about something that is important to them, so
they have to choose the best way to express it. Your exam grade depends on
what you write, so make it your business to be interested in the topic you get
asked about. You may feel confident reading a text, but can you write one?
In the exam, you will be asked to write one or two non-fiction texts for yourself.
There are essentially four steps to writing any piece of non-fiction: the question,
planning, composing and checking.
The question
a) Read it and understand it
This may sound obvious, but it's probably the single most important piece of advice we
can give you.
Read the question twice. Underline key words to reinforce your grasp of the task and to
make sure you understand exactly what you are being asked to do.
Whatever you do, make sure you answer the question. More marks are lost by writing
off the point than anything else.
b) Answer it
Think about what you are being asked to do. To do this, all you need to do is apply the
same checklist we have mentioned elsewhere - remember genre,
audience and purpose?
Once you've read the question, work out:
Genre: what format or layout is being asked for.
Audience: who you're writing for.
Purpose: what you are being asked to write - what's the purpose of the text.
A professional writer works through the same checklist.
Kitty Melrose edits and writes for a newspaper supplement aimed at young teenagers
called the 'Young Telegraph':
At the moment, I'm working on an article about zoos - we're looking at for and against. It's
quite a controversial issue, obviously, so there's a lot of research involved.
Kitty assesses her genre (or format), audience and purpose before starting any piece.
This is how she broke down the purpose, audience and genre of her article:
Magazine article - double page spread
"I also have to think about format as well - how best to present the information in the
8- to 14-year-olds

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The audience for the paper] ranges from 8- to 14-year-olds, which means that I have
to keep my writing really clear, really concise and to the point. But my main aim is to be
informative as well as entertaining."
Zoos - for and against
"The first thing I have to do when I'm starting an article is think about the purpose. In the
case of zoos, it's quite simple - a for and against piece.…read more

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Education - limited value as not natural environment.
Conservation - doesn't always help and where are the animals taken from?
Danger to public - there have been accidents involving animals.
4. Pros
Not cruel - many animals bred in captivity, well looked after.
Conservation - has saved some animals.
Education - allows people unique access to wild animals and raises awareness of
5. Conclusion
Bring the two arguments together.…read more

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Golden rules to remember when composing
Stick to the structure you planned
Once you've started writing - stick to the structure, but try to make your writing flow
easily from one point to the next.
Make your writing fluent
Fluency means leading your reader smoothly through your writing, controlling the pace
and linking points together.
Lead the reader through the text
It's no good having brilliant thoughts if they come out in an unconnected jumble.…read more

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Reading a Non Fiction Text
Mind the GAP
GAP stands for:
What is the text? How do you know?
In the exam, this is easy because you will be told where the text came from. Knowing
where the document came from - eg a newspaper, a magazine, a website, a book etc -
will help you to think about the intended audience.
Who is the text aimed at? How do you know?
A writer always has an audience in mind.…read more

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Is it written in short paragraphs with lots of pictures?
Is it written in bullet points?
Is it interesting or eye-catching to look at?
Is it a leaflet?
This is linked to language. Imagine how you would read this document aloud.…read more


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