- find the information the question asks for
- explain why the information you have chosen answers the question
How to summarise an argument.
- 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.
- Attitude- adjectives and intensifiers should tell you what the writer thinks about their subject.
- Argument- the author will use points to develop their argument. Look for discourse markers - phrases such as"on the contrary, what is more, and another thing, as a result, in conclusion".
Be careful about quotations.
Identifying presentational feautres
- list the presentational devices the text uses
- explain why these devices are used and what effect they have
recognise presentational devices such as:
- headings (titles) and sub-headings
- font size and style (bold, italic etc)
- layout features (bullets, boxed text)
- structure (short or long paragraphs)
- quotations (things people said either in quotation marks or highlighted in the text)
The devices used depend on:
- purpose - what the text is trying to do (eg inform, advise, persuade)
- audience - who it is trying to talk to
Mood, Memory and Clarity
The feelings should always be in tune with the target audience.
Devices to look out for in mood:
Devices to look out for that are used to aid memory:
- bold text
- headlines and sub headings
- bullet points
- diagrams, maps and illustrations
Devices to look out for to aid clarity:
- bold text, bullet points, sub-headings, paragraphs, colour, images and captions, quotes.
Understanding of a Text
infer meaning (read between the lines) how they say things
When inferring meaning, you might simply know what the writer feels. If it is not clear, then you need to look closely at detail and similes.
- Do they feel good or bad about this subject?
- Is it funny or serious?
- Are they happy or sad?
Similes and metaphors are common techniques for suggesting feelings
Comparing writing techniques
- You need to identify writing techniques used in a text.
- You need to say what effects these techniques have - why are they used?
- You then need to do the same for another text, saying which techniques and effects are similar and which ones are different.
This means in your answer you will have to write at least four paragraphs describing:
- which writing techniques are used
- why these techniques are used
- how these are similar or different from writing techniques from another text
- why these similar or different writing techniques are used in the other text
Identifying writing techniques
These are the techniques you should be able to identify:
- Words: are they simple or difficult, formal or informal?
- Sentences: are they short or long?
- Paragraphs: are they short or long? Are they all the same length, or do some stand out for emphasis or dramatic effect?
- Personal pronouns: does the text use the personal pronoun 'you' or 'we' to address the reader? Using 'we' is a technique the text could use to create a close personal relationship.
- Persuasive techniques: does the writer use rhetorical questions, groups of three or alliteration.These can all be used to persuade the reader to feel a certain way about something.
- Discourse markers: does the writer use casual, chatty discourse markers or more formal ones.
- Emotive vocabulary: are the words colourful or plain.
- Exclamations: does the writing sound angry and argumentative or is the writing more thoughtful.
- Facts and opinions: does the text use lots of facts and statistics or are there more opinions? Is the text intended to inform or to persuade, review and entertain?