Writing in a Genre

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Writing in a Genre

The 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.

Purpose, style, audience

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.

Writing in a Genre

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...

Writing in a Genre

Have a look at how this newspaper article uses English:

Writing in a Genre

Notice the use of alliteration of 's' s and the pun on 'streets ahead' in the headline.

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!

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

Writing in a Genre

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