Sie sind auf Seite 1von 35

1

How to be Successful on
English Paper 1:

Section A: How Writers


Achieve Effects

Copyright 2008 www.englishteaching.co.uk and www.english-teaching.co.uk

Part 3: Understanding how


Writers Achieve Effects Language

Copyright 2008 www.englishteaching.co.uk and www.english-teaching.co.uk

How Writers Achieve Effects Basic Principles


The final questions on English Paper 1 will usually ask you to demonstrate
your understanding of how writers achieve effects in their writing. You
need to be able to show that you are aware of how different audiences
and purposes affect the linguistic and graphological (layout) choices
that a writer and designer makes.

How Writers Achieve Effects


There are several key things that you need to be thinking about when you
are trying to establish both the effects of the writers language, and how
the effects are achieved.
1.
2.
3.

Audience who is the text written for?


Purpose what is the text written for?
Tone how is the writing expressed?

Then:
4.
5.

What are the linguistic patterns that are employed by the writer?
What are the key features of the texts graphology?

And finally:
6.

How do the linguistic and graphological choices reflect the


audience, purpose and tone of the text?

Copyright 2008 www.englishteaching.co.uk and www.english-teaching.co.uk

Audience, Purpose and Tone

Complete the table below to consider the audience, purpose and tone of the different texts.
Text

Audience, Purpose and Tone


Audience
Purpose

The TV listings in the


Radio Times
An English Grammar
Book
An Article on Climate
Change in National
Geographic
An OfSTED report

SPAM e-mail about


stay-at-home jobs

The Comment section of


The Guardian

Copyright 2008 www.englishteaching.co.uk and www.english-teaching.co.uk

Tone

Audience, Purpose and Tone


What is Audience?
Consideration of audience is crucial to the success of any text. When a writer begins the process of planning their writing,
they have to think carefully about how their linguistic and graphological choices will suit their intended audience. If a
writer is systematic in their linguistic choices the text they are writing will be successful.

In the table below, write down some ideas about the types of language and graphological features that you might use
to engage the different audiences.
Audience
Linguistic Choices
Graphological Choices

A Teenage Audience

The Head

The Local Residents

Copyright 2008 www.englishteaching.co.uk and www.english-teaching.co.uk

Audience, Purpose and Tone


What is Purpose?
You can categorise the purpose(s) of texts in the following ways:
1.

To Inform the text is written to convey some information on a


particular topic.
2.
To Persuade the text is written to persuade the audience to
think or do something.
3.
To Advise the text is written to give advice to the reader.
4.
To entertain the text is written to offer entertainment.

Look at the list of texts in the table below and identify their
purpose.
Identifying Purpose
Text

Purpose

A Tourist Information guide to


the North Yorkshire Dales

A match report on
Middlesbrough Vs. Arsenal

A history text book on World


War II

A NHS leaflet on the Flu Jab.

The listings for the local


cinema

A short story
Copyright 2008 www.englishteaching.co.uk and www.english-teaching.co.uk

Audience, Purpose and Tone


What is Tone?
The tone of a piece of writing is the how is comes across to the reader. In
other words, think about attitude, consider if you were speaking how you
would describe the way your attitude. The same is true of a piece of
writing, when you look at the tone of the piece of writing you are thinking
about the attitude that the writer has towards the reader.
Describing Tone
When you want to describe the tone of a piece of writing you need to think
of an adjective that describes the writers attitude to the reader.
A good way to establish the tone of a piece of text is to establish its
purpose. At a very simplistic level, if a text is designed to inform then its
tone will probably be informative.
However, texts can have multiple purposes and, therefore, the tone of a
text might be a combination of different things. Do not limit yourself to
the obvious!

Look at the list of texts described in the table below try to identify
their purpose and the tone(s) that they might adopt.
Text

Purpose & Tone


Purpose

An obituary in a
newspaper
A Letter to an MP
demanding more
frequent rubbish
collections
A text book
describing human
reproduction
The questions on
an Exam Paper.

Copyright 2008 www.englishteaching.co.uk and www.english-teaching.co.uk

Tone

Understanding the Link between AUDIENCE, PURPOSE and TONE


The diagram below shows you the cyclical relationship between audience, purpose and tone. You need to understand that
the tone of a piece of writing is a direct result of its audience and purpose. If the writer fails to fully understand their
audience and purpose, then the tone of the piece is ultimately compromised.

The Audience

The Purpose

Who is the text for?

What knowledge
and understanding do
they bring to the text?

What linguistic
choices need to be
made to engage them?

The Relationship between


Audience, Purpose and Tone

The Tone

What is the appropriate attitude for the writer to adopt


to fulfil their purpose and engage the audience?

What linguistic choices need to be made for the writer to


achieve the right tone?

Copyright 2008 www.englishteaching.co.uk and www.english-teaching.co.uk

What is the text


trying to do?

What language
choices need to be
made to meet this
purpose?

How can layout


enhance the linguistic
choices?

Understanding Linguistic
Choices

Copyright 2008 www.englishteaching.co.uk and www.english-teaching.co.uk

10

Word Choice & Vocabulary


Word Choice & Vocabulary
When a writer sets out to produce a text, they make a series of linguistic
choices. One of the most obvious decisions that they have to make is to
think about the types of words that will be included in their text. The word
choices that they make can be varied throughout a text.
THE KEY TO UNDERSTANDING A WRITERS WORD CHOICE IS TO
LOOK FOR PATTERNS ACROSS THE TEXT.
Subject Specific Vocabulary
A writer might choose to use a range of words drawn from the same
subject area. For example, if they are writing about medicine or medical
conditions, then many of the words may come from this field. In real
terms, you might expect to find words like syringe, symptom,
prescription, and diagnosis, for example.
This is called subject specific vocabulary.
Alternatively, you might refer to the vocabulary as being drawn from the
same semantic field. Semantics is concerned with the meanings of
words; the field simply denotes that all of the words belong to the same
topic.
Why do Writers use Subject Specific Vocabulary or language from
the same Semantic Field?
The effect of using subject specific vocabulary is to imbue the text with
authority. That is, when the writer uses these words they demonstrate
knowledge of their topic area that is both informed and extensive.
As readers this has a very clear effect: we are much more inclined to
accept the writers authority, this is based on our assumption that they
clearly understand their topic area, and therefore are qualified to write
about it. In turn, we accept more readily the ideas that they propose in
the text.
Writing about Subject Specific Vocabulary or Semantic Fields
When writing about this in an exam answer you might use phrases like:
1.
2.

The writer draws on language from the semantic field of


The writer exemplifies their knowledge of the topic by using
language from the semantic field of
3.
Vocabulary from the semantic field of [area] is effective in
conveying the writers knowledge and understanding about [area], this
is effective because it establishes their authority over the reader

Copyright 2008 www.englishteaching.co.uk and www.english-teaching.co.uk

11

Subject Specific Vocabulary & Semantic Fields


Complete the table below including examples of subject specific vocabulary that you might find in a
text on the given topic. Then give each semantic field a title that could be used to group all of the
words.
Subject Specific Vocabulary & Semantic Fields
Text Topic

Examples of Subject Specific Vocabulary

A football match report

A recipe

An online medical encyclopaedia

The market pages of the


Financial Times
An advert for the Bugatti Veyron
16.4

Copyright 2008 www.englishteaching.co.uk and www.english-teaching.co.uk

Name of Semantic Field

12

Word Choice & Vocabulary


NOUNS
*LEARN THE DEFINTITIONS BELOW*
A NOUN a naming word
A CONCRETE NOUN a noun that refers to an object that we can
see or touch.
AN ABSTRACT NOUN a noun that refers to a CONCEPT or
EMOTION.
A PROPER NOUN a noun that gives the name of a PERSON or
PLACE.
A PRONOUN a noun that is used in place of a PROPER NOUN.

NOUN

EXAMPLES OF DIFFERENT TYPES OF NOUN


RULE
EXAMPLES

Concrete Noun

Refers to something
we can see or touch

Abstract Noun

Refers to a concept
or emotion

Table, chair, car, wall, box,


pencil, pen, calculator, mobile
phone, engine, wheel, needle,
window.
Concepts
Justice, honour, redemption,
atonement, forgiveness, loss,
growth.
Emotions
Love, anger, rage, jealousy,
happiness, contentment,
loneliness.

Proper Noun

Gives the name of a


person or place

Place
England, London, Wales,
Germany, Dublin, Ireland,
Richmond
Person
Jack, John, Matthew, Mark,
Barry, Rebecca, Bryony.

Pronoun

A noun that is used


in place of a proper
noun

He, she, they, I, we, them, us,


our.

Copyright 2008 www.englishteaching.co.uk and www.english-teaching.co.uk

13
These are the main types of noun that you need to know and understand.
Depending on the text that is being written, the writer will employ
different types of noun. The writers choice will have a very clear impact
on the text.

Word Choice & Vocabulary


Why do Writers use Different Types of Nouns?
It is highly unlikely that you would ever find a text that uses only one type
of noun, and this would be an unhelpful way of thinking about text.
Instead you should think about combinations of nouns.
Proper Nouns Vs. Pronouns
The use of Proper/Pronouns in a text helps us to work out who is
being addressed and how the writer wants to address them.
So, for example, a writer is most likely to use a greater range of pronouns
in a text that is designed for a mass-audience. This is because pronouns
afford the writer the chance to seemingly address the audience
individually without using individual names, which they would not know.
Although the writer cannot refer directly to the individual, the perception
on the readers part is that the writer is doing just that.
Concrete Vs. Abstract
The distinction between these two types of noun is much easier to
understand. A writer is most likely to use concrete nouns when they are
writing about topics that involve physical objects, while in a text that is
about concepts and emotions, the writer is more likely to use abstract
nouns.
For example, in a recipe book you would expect the writer to use
concrete nouns predominantly because they are writing about a topic
that involves objects. The writer of the recipe has to identify specific
objects for the reader so that they can successfully make a cake, for
example.
Alternatively, in Machiavellis The Prince, we might expect to find
significantly more abstract nouns. This is because he is dealing in
concepts rather than concrete objects. Therefore, logic dictates that his
word choice will suit this style.

REMEMBER
No single text employs only one type of noun; such is the way that English
is constructed that there will inevitably be a blend of noun usage.

Copyright 2008 www.englishteaching.co.uk and www.english-teaching.co.uk

14
However, what you need to think about are the patterns of noun use:
which type dominates the text?
Once you have identified the type of nouns that are being used, you then
need to explain how this links to the writers audience and purpose.
The writers choice of nouns will be appropriate to the type of text that
they are writing, and the audience that they are trying to engage.

Copyright 2008 www.englishteaching.co.uk and www.english-teaching.co.uk

15

Word Choice & Vocabulary

Complete the table below identifying the types of noun that you would expect the writer to use and give
reasons why.
Noun Usage
Text

Noun Use

A car manual

The book of common


prayer

A weather forecast in
the local newspaper

A text book on
quantum physics

Copyright 2008 www.englishteaching.co.uk and www.english-teaching.co.uk

Examples

Reason

16

Word Choice & Vocabulary

Read the text below


A NEWSPAPER REPORT
Police are looking for three men in connection with the brutal
murder of a three-year old in East London. Callie Jones was
at home with her mother when three men broke into their
ground-floor flat and shot them at point blank range.
Det. Supt John Carrow said that this is one of the most brutal
murders Ive investigated in my twenty five year career. The
local community is united in its outrage. Police say that
three men were seen leaving the scene in a red Volkswagen
Golf which was found burnt out hours later close to West Ham
Uniteds Upton Park.
Forensic teams have been combing the victims flat and the
surrounding area since the killing late on Tuesday evening.
Det. Supt. Carrow said the search had been positive and
that one of the perpetrators appears to have left a series of
fibres at the scene which could prove vital to identifying him.

1. Highlight the different nouns in the passage.


2. Write the name of each noun next to where you have highlighted it.
3. Which type of noun is most commonly used in the text?
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
4. Explain why this is appropriate to this text type refer to audience
and purpose.
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________

Copyright 2008 www.englishteaching.co.uk and www.english-teaching.co.uk

17

Word Choice & Vocabulary

Read the text below


GORDON BROWNS SPEECH TO THE LABOUR PARTY
CONFERENCE 2007
My father and my mother taught me about family and the
great virtues of hard work, doing your duty and always trying
to do the right thing. And I have never forgotten my father
telling me to treat everyone equally with respect.
His optimism led him to find goodness in everyone.
My father was a minister of the church, and his favourite
story was the parable of the talents because he believed
and I do too that each and everyone of us has a talent and
each and everyone of us should be able to use that talent.
And the values I was brought up with are not just what I
learned; they are part of the fabric of the life I have led. Not
just where I come from but the experiences that have shaped
me.
I attended the local state primary school in Kirkcaldy a few
streets away from where I lived - and then I took the school
bus to the local secondary school up the hill. And I have
school friends I have kept in touch with all my life who have
shared the good times and comforted me in the bad times.
Today I have the greatest privilege of all - to have been
chosen by them to represent in Parliament the place where
we all grew up together. The office where I hold my
constituency surgeries is just across the road a few yards
from the house where I lived as a child.
I benefited from great and dedicated teachers.

5. Highlight the different nouns in the passage.


6. Write the name of each noun next to where you have highlighted it.
7. Which type of noun is most commonly used in the text?
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________

Copyright 2008 www.englishteaching.co.uk and www.english-teaching.co.uk

18

Word Choice & Vocabulary


8. Explain why this is appropriate to this text type refer to audience
and purpose.
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
9. Compare the use of nouns in both passages explaining how they suit
the different audiences and purposes of the texts.
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________

Copyright 2008 www.englishteaching.co.uk and www.english-teaching.co.uk

19

Word Choice & Vocabulary


VERBS
*LEARN THE DEFINITIONS BELOW*
A VERB - a word that identifies an action
A DYNAMIC VERB a verb that relates to a specific action that
takes place in
definite time frame.
A STATIVE VERB a verb that relates to a state of being.

VERB

EXAMPLES OF DIFFERENT VERB TYPES


RULE
EXAMPLE

Dynamic Verb

Stative Verb

Relates to a specific
action that takes place
within a definite time
frame

Run, walk, fly, shout,


draw, shoot, cry,
scream, stir, attach,
write

Relates to a state of
being

Love, hate, learn,


think, admire, feel,
believe, see, hope.

How to tell the difference


The best way to determine the difference between the two types of verbs
is to use the following rule:
If the can establish when the action began and when it ended the verb is
dynamic.
If the action takes place over a much longer period and you cannot
determine the precise moment when it begins and ends the verb is
stative.
Verbs are crucial to understanding any text because they help us to
understand whether the writer is writing about concrete or abstract ideas.
If a writer is writing about concepts and emotions then they are likely to
use stative verbs, whereas if they are writing about concrete things they
will tend to use dynamic verbs.
Again, like with different noun types, the writer will probably use a
combination, but you should try to establish which verbs are most
prevalent in the text.
Copyright 2008 www.englishteaching.co.uk and www.english-teaching.co.uk

20

REMEMBER YOU ARE TRYING TO IDENTIFY PATTERNS OF USE

Copyright 2008 www.englishteaching.co.uk and www.english-teaching.co.uk

21

Word Choice & Vocabulary

Complete the table below and include the types of nouns that you would expect to find in the different types of text
and give reasons.
VERB USAGE
Text

Verb Use

A recipe book

A meditation on the
meaning of life by the Dalai
Lama

A guide to passing the


driving theory test

The assembly instructions


for an IKEA wardrobe.

A self-help book on
improving your self-esteem

Copyright 2008 www.englishteaching.co.uk and www.english-teaching.co.uk

Examples

Reason

22

Word Choice & Vocabulary

Read the text below


A RECIPE
1. Cook the pasta according to the packet directions. Drain
in a colander, rinse with cold water and drain again.
2. Mix the mayonnaise with the curry powder or paste and
the baked beans. Add the pasta, chicken and green
pepper and lift and stir gently.
3. Pile the salad on to a bed of lettuce leaves.
4. Scatter the tomato over the salad.
coconut, if using, and serve.

1.
2.
3.

Sprinkle with the

Highlight the different verbs in the passage.


Next to each highlighted verb, write down its type (dynamic or
stative)
Which type of verb is most commonly used in the text?

___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
4.

Explain why this is appropriate to this text type refer to audience


and purpose.

___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________

Copyright 2008 www.englishteaching.co.uk and www.english-teaching.co.uk

23

Word Choice & Vocabulary

Read the text below

THE AXIS OF EVIL GEORGE W. BUSH


Our second goal is to prevent regimes that sponsor terror
from threatening America or our friends and allies with
weapons of mass destruction. Some of these regimes have
been pretty quiet since September the 11th. But we know
their true nature. North Korea is a regime arming with
missiles and weapons of mass destruction, while starving its
citizens.
Iran aggressively pursues these weapons and exports terror,
while an unelected few repress the Iranian people's hope for
freedom.
Iraq continues to flaunt its hostility toward America and to
support terror. The Iraqi regime has plotted to develop
anthrax, and nerve gas, and nuclear weapons for over a
decade. This is a regime that has already used poison gas to
murder thousands of its own citizens -- leaving the bodies of
mothers huddled over their dead children. This is a regime
that agreed to international inspections -- then kicked out the
inspectors. This is a regime that has something to hide from
the civilized world.
States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis
of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world. By
seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a
grave and growing danger. They could provide these arms to
terrorists, giving them the means to match their hatred.
They could attack our allies or attempt to blackmail the
United States. In any of these cases, the price of indifference
would be catastrophic.
5.
6.
7.

Highlight the different verbs in the passage.


Next to each highlighted verb, write down its type (dynamic or
stative)
Which type of verb is most commonly used in the text?

___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________

Copyright 2008 www.englishteaching.co.uk and www.english-teaching.co.uk

24

Word Choice & Vocabulary


8.

Explain why this is appropriate to this text type refer to audience


and purpose.

___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
9.

Compare the use of verbs in both passages explaining how they suit
the different audiences and purposes of the texts.

___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
Copyright 2008 www.englishteaching.co.uk and www.english-teaching.co.uk

25

Word Choice & Vocabulary


Adjectives
*LEARN THE DEFINITIONS BELOW*
AN ADJECTIVE a word that describes a noun
PRE-MODIFICATION when the adjective comes before the noun.
POST-MODIFICATION when the adjective comes after the noun.
SUPERLATIVE an adjective that describes the highest degree of a
particular
quality or attribute

ADJECTIVE

EXAMPLES OF ADJECTIVE USE


RULE
EXAMPLE

Adjective

Word describing a
noun

The black cat

Pre-modification

When an adjective
comes before a noun

The vast ocean.

Post-modification

When an adjective
comes after the noun

The ocean was vast

Superlative

An adjective that
describes the highest
degree of a particular
quality of attribute

It was the greatest day of


my life.
Jack is the eldest of all the
children.
The Pacific Ocean is the
deepest of them all.

Adjectives are an important element of any text. Where they are used,
very often they are designed to appeal to the readers imagination of
emotions. They are a frequently used part of a writers armoury because
they play such a key role in controlling how we think in relation to a
particular topic.

REMEMBER YOU ARE LOOKING FOR PATTERNS OF USE IN A TEXT

Copyright 2008 www.englishteaching.co.uk and www.english-teaching.co.uk

26

Word Choice & Vocabulary

Read the passages below


THE OPENING OF A NOVEL
Standing in the doorway to the grand chapel, Lucrezia
was dwarfed by the imposing figure of Mary. She looked
closely at the crafted marble figure that looked down
impassively on both Lucrezia and the many before her
who had come to pay their penance.
Lucrezia had always been told that Mary was the greatest
of all women. However Lucrezia couldnt help but be
distracted by the image of another Mary gleaming from
the window to her left. Mary Magdalene had pierced the
periphery of Lucrezias view ever since she had dared to
approach the formidable chapel.

1.
2.
3.

Highlight the adjectives in the passage.


Annotate each adjective to show whether it pre or post modifies a
noun.
Identify the superlative in the text.
SPEECH ON ANIMAL RIGHTS
We must take clear and deliberate action now!
The
proliferation of barbaric and inhuman treatment of animals
across the cosmetic industry is outrageous. In the name of
increased profits, the cosmetic firms are prepared to
compromise standards of decency and scientific etiquette to
inflict agonising and relentless pain on animals.
Each time you purchase lipstick, eyeliner, or any of the
plethora of other products from one of the industry giants,
you give your consent to the greatest crime man has
committed against the animal world. We, yes we, extract
these defenceless animals from their natural habitats and
imprison them in the worst kind of conditions.
The only time these animals are freed from the torture that
they endure, is the moment that their weak bodies relent to
their inevitable, and agonising, death.

4.
5.
6.

Highlight the adjectives in the passage.


Annotate each adjective to show whether it pre or post modifies a
noun.
Identify the superlative in the text.

Copyright 2008 www.englishteaching.co.uk and www.english-teaching.co.uk

27

Word Choice & Vocabulary


10.

Compare the use of adjectives in both passages explaining how


they suit the different audiences and purposes of the texts.

___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________

Copyright 2008 www.englishteaching.co.uk and www.english-teaching.co.uk

28

Word Choice & Vocabulary


Register
*LEARN THE DEFINITION BELOW*
REGISTER - the level of formality that is adopted by a writer
It is important to look at the formality of a text. Different levels of
formality are appropriate to different audiences. For example, a letter to
parents from a school will have to adopt a very formal register. However,
a teenage magazine article would adopt a much more relaxed register.
By identifying the register that the writer had adopted in a piece of
writing, you can discern some very useful ideas about how they are trying
to engage the audience.
What to look for when trying to identify Register
Colloquialism
If a writer chooses to adopt a very informal register to engage their
audience, they might use colloquial language (slang). This is effective
because it helps to build a rapport with the reader by using language that
they might use in everyday conversation.
Complexity of Word Choice
A writer might choose to adopt a particularly complex register. This might
mean that they are writing about a particular topic that has a degree of
theoretical complexity, or that it is necessary to engage their audience.
You might find that words in this kind of text are from a specific
semantic field or are polysyllabic (contain numerous syllables).
Alternatively, a writer might choose to use relatively simplistic words in
order to engage their audience. This might be the case in a public health
leaflet, for example, where the writer is trying to explain a complicated
medical idea with clarity for their audience.
Culturally Referential Word Choice
If a writer is producing a text about a particular genre of music, or a
specific brand of car for example, they may use words and terminology
that are familiar only to people who know about that sub-culture.
A sub-culture is a group of people who are united by a common
interest.
In different sub-cultures, a particular way of using language might exist.
They may have coined words to describe different things, or have a
specific vocabulary required to understand particular elements of that
culture. This is why they are called culturally referential, because they
assume a shared knowledge amongst members of the group that the
writer by using that terminology in their text is trying to engage.
Copyright 2008 www.englishteaching.co.uk and www.english-teaching.co.uk

29

Sentence Structure
Sentence Structure
The ways that the writer uses sentences is centrally important to
understanding how they are trying to engage their audience and achieve
their purpose. The types of sentences that a writer uses are key to
establishing the tone and register of the text that they are writing. In turn,
you need to try and identify in the same way you would with the writers
word choice the types of sentences that are being used in the text and
the reasons why.
Types of Sentence
*LEARN THE DEFINITIONS BELOW*
A SENTENCE a unit of language that contains both a subject and
a verb.
A MINOR SENTENCE a sentence without a verb.
A SIMPLE SENTENCE a sentence with a subject, verb and an
object KNOWN
AS A CLAUSE or MAIN CLAUSE in a COMPLEX
SENTENCE.
A COMPOUND SENTENCE - two SIMPLE CLAUSES joined by a
conjunction or
punctuation.
A COMPLEX SENTENCE a sentence with a MAIN CLAUSE and a
SUBORDINATE CLAUSE.
PARATACTIC a word to describe a text that has predominantly
simple
sentencing.
HYPOTACTIC a word to describe a text that has predominantly
complex
(heavily subordinated) sentencing.
Why do I need to know about Sentences?
Sentences control the way that information is presented in a text. Equally,
the types of sentences that a writer uses also help to establish the tone
and register of the piece. As well as looking at the way that information is
presented in the sentences, you need to look closely at the rhythm
achieved by the sentences. If a writer produces a text that is
predominantly using simple sentences, it would create a particularly rigid
Copyright 2008 www.englishteaching.co.uk and www.english-teaching.co.uk

30
rhythm and a direct tone. Alternatively, if a writer uses a more complex
style, the tone would be much more explanatory and the rhythm more
fluent.
REMEMBER TO LOOK FOR PATTERNS OF SENTENCE USE; A WRITER
IS MOST LIKELY TO USE A BLEND OF SENTENCES, BUT TRY TO
IDENTIFY WHICH TYPE IS THE MOST DOMINANT.

Sentence Structure
SENTENCE TYPE

SENTENCE TYPES
RULE

A minor sentence

A sentence without a
verb

A simple sentence

A sentence with a
subject, verb and an
object.

EXAMPLE
Help!

Jack was a good man.

A compound
sentence

Two simple sentences


joined by a conjunction

Subject: Jack
Verb: was
Object: man

Jack was a good man and


he was a good husband.
Subjects: Jack/he
Verbs: was/was
Objects: man/husband

A complex
sentence

A sentence with a main


clause and a
subordinate clause.

I was sad, the day that


you broke my heart.
Main clause: I was sad
Sub.Clause: the day
that you broke my heart.

KEY TO IDENTIFYING COMPLEX SENTENCES


An easy rule to apply when trying to identify a complex sentence is to look
at both clauses and ask which one makes sense on its own? The clause
that makes sense when it is written on its own is the main clause.

Copyright 2008 www.englishteaching.co.uk and www.english-teaching.co.uk

31
The subordinate clause is sometimes known as a dependent clause
because it relies on the main clause in order for it to make sense. So
when you want to work out which is the subordinate clause, you look for
the one that does not make sense on its own.
In the example above the main clause is I was sad because it makes
sense on its own, whereas the day that you broke my heart needs the
preceding phrase in order for it to make sense to the reader.

Sentence Structure
Syntactical Purpose
Syntax is another way of referring to sentences. As well as being
categorised by their types, sentences can be group according to their
syntactical purpose. The main syntactical purposes are described
below.
*LEARN THE DEFINITIONS BELOW*
A DECLARATIVE
AN INTERROGATIVE
AN IMPERATIVE
AN EXCLAMATORY

FUNCTION

a statement or declaration
a question
a command

an emphatic statement

SYNTACTICAL FUNCTIONS
RULE

A declarative

A statement or
declaration

An interrogative

A question

An imperative

A command

An exclamatory

An emphatic statement

EXAMPLE
The sky is blue.
It is cold today.
The best car on the
market.
What time is it?
Where did the coffee
go?
How much is a packet
of cigarettes?

Dont do that.
Go and tidy your room.
Fetch me the paper.

I love the summer!


You make me so happy!
I hate people like you!

The Importance of Syntactical Functions


Copyright 2008 www.englishteaching.co.uk and www.english-teaching.co.uk

32

Syntactical functions are crucial when it comes to achieving a particular


tone and conveying different types of information. If you think about the
tones that different syntactical functions create then it becomes clear how
important they are. Imagine the tone created by a text written entirely in
declarative sentences compared with one that is entirely exclamatory.
Therefore, it is important to think carefully about how writers employ the
different types of sentences in their texts.
REMEMBER YOU ARE LOOKING FOR PATTERNS

Sentence Structure

Read the passage below


TEXT 1 A UTILITY BILL
Dear Customer,
You may have heard about the recent increase in energy
prices that are having a major impact on the cost of
sourcing the power that you use. Here at N-Power we try
to limit the cost to our consumers in times of high energy
prices.
However, at this time, I must inform you that N-Power has
taken the decision to increase its energy prices for
consumers. You will find enclosed a copy of the price
increases and how they will affect you in the coming
months.
N-Power regret any increase in charges. However, in the
current climate, and so that we can continue to deliver
our high level of service to you, we must pass on these
increases to our customers.
I think you will find that N-Power continues to be a
competitive supplier of energy to your home.
If you have any concerns regarding your new calculation,
do not hesitate to contact us.

1.

In each paragraph choose one sentence and try to identify what


type of sentence it is.

2.

Now take a different sentence in each paragraph and try to identify


its syntactical function.

Copyright 2008 www.englishteaching.co.uk and www.english-teaching.co.uk

33
3.

Explain which types of sentences and functions the writer has


predominantly used in the text and explain why it is appropriate to this
audience and purpose.

___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________

Sentence Structure

Read the passage below


Text 2 ADVERT FOR A PC
Top brand, top features! The Compaq A910 includes an
Intel Pentium Dual Core Processor T2330 and Genuine
Windows Vista (R) Home Premium. Also features a large
17" widescreen display and a huge 2 GB memory to run
even the most demanding applications with ease. The 160
GB hard drive is capable of storing up to 45,000 songs or
100,000 photos.

4.
5.
6.

Within the paragraph, try to identify what types of sentences are


used.
Now try to identify their syntactical function.
Explain which types of sentences and functions the writer has
predominantly used in the text and explain why it is appropriate to this
audience and purpose.

___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________

Copyright 2008 www.englishteaching.co.uk and www.english-teaching.co.uk

34
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________

Copyright 2008 www.englishteaching.co.uk and www.english-teaching.co.uk

35

Sentence Structure
7.

Compare the writers use of sentence structure in both texts


explaining how their respective choices help the writers to engage their
audience and meet their purposes.

___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________

Copyright 2008 www.englishteaching.co.uk and www.english-teaching.co.uk