Writing to Persuade Non Fiction and Media Texts Writing Skills

Writing to Persuade
Writing Skills
Non Fiction and Media Texts
What do we mean by Purpose?
The dictionary defines the word purpose as: ‘the reason for
which something exists’. There are many different reasons
why you would write a text. How many can you think of?
to entertain
to argue
to inform
to advise
The Purpose
The writing exam question will always state
what the purpose of the piece of writing is.
‘Write a magazine article to persuade young
people to eat more healthily.’
The purpose is key to your writing. It will
affect the content of what you write and the
language you use. It is essential that your final
piece of writing suits its purpose from beginning
to end.
This is the
What is writing to
Explaining what you want to achieve and
getting other people to join in is not easy but
there are a few techniques that you can learn.
In this unit we will look at how to structure
your writing and how to use language
effectively to persuade the reader to do or
believe what you want them to.
Here are some examples of persuasive writing questions
that could appear in the exam.
An advertisement
The new Mazda UX9 is no
ordinary car. With state of the
art aerodynamic design…
I was shocked and appalled by
the council’s decision to close
St James’s High school…
A speech
A persuasive letter
I would like to welcome you all
to St Peter’s school and thank
you for coming out on this cold
November evening.
Letter Writing
Before you begin any piece of
writing you should consider the
audience you are writing for.
Look carefully at the question
and decide: will this be a formal
or informal letter?
•Begin with a greeting – ‘Dear Mr Cash’ (formal), ‘Dear
Sarah’ (informal)
•Sign off with ‘Yours Sincerely’ or ‘Yours faithfully’ (formal)
‘See you’ or ‘best wishes’ (informal)
•Match language to audience – use standard English in a
formal letter.
You could be asked to write an
advertisement for a charity, a
product or a political party. Adverts
should be very persuasive and the
style of an advertisement will vary
greatly depending upon its target
Leaflets and Articles
When writing a leaflet or article you could use headings,
subheadings and bullet points to give your writing more
impact on the reader. However, remember to have well
developed paragraphs to enable you to convey your writing
ability to the examiner. In articles for magazines look
carefully at the type of magazine you are writing for and
adapt your writing accordingly.
Speeches and Radio Scripts
Writing that is created to be spoken should
have a dramatic impact on its audience.
You can use emotive language and your
writing should sound like spoken language.
Questions, exclamations and contractions
are all useful techniques, as are a variety of
sentence structures.
If it’s a speech use plenty of personal
pronouns and speak directly to your
audience. Make sure your writing is clear,
paragraphed and well organised.
Consolidate Understanding
Read the question below then complete the paragraph
that follows.
Write a letter to your school magazine in which you persuade staff and
students to recycle more paper and plastic in school.
12th April 10
The Writing Exam
The question requires the student to write …
The audience is …
This will be a (formal/informal)* piece of writing.
Key features of this form of writing are …
*delete as appropriate
Writing for
Different Audiences
One of the questions in Section B of the GCSE
English exam offers you the chance to write to
persuade. When you write to persuade, you
try to get the reader to do or believe
something. To do this successfully you first
need to consider carefully who your reader will
be. The intended reader is the audience for
your writing. In this lesson we will study how
the intended reader affects the content, layout
and use of language in a text.
Affects Writing
Before you begin any piece of
writing you should consider the
audience you are writing for
very carefully.
The audience for a piece of
written work is the intended
reader. The intended reader
may be a group of parents, a
Year 3 Pupil or the Prime
Minister; whatever the audience
you will need to adjust your
writing appropriately.
Prom Night
Imagine that it is the day after
the School Prom. You decide to
write two emails about the
The first email is to your
Headmaster or Head of Year
thanking them for organising
such a great night. The second
email is to your best friend who
missed the prom because he/she
was ill.
Each email should be no more
than 100 words long.
Prom Night
Before you begin
think about the
audience. How
will it affect the
content of your
email, the layout
and the language
you use?
You have ten minutes to write your
two emails.
Structuring ideas
Persuasive writing often presents just one, subjective view of
a topic.
An effective plan should organise your ideas into a sensible
order that allows your writing to flow and where one idea
moves logically onto the next one.
A simple three stage plan can be very effective:
1. Introduction
2. Main points of persuasion
3. Conclusion
A good plan sets out the current problems then shows the
reader the benefits that would result from acting in the way
you would want. It should conclude on a positive note to
give the persuasion clear direction.
Read the example question and plan below. You should try to write
a similar style of plan in the exam before you write your answer.
Write a letter to your headmaster persuading him/her to hold an end of
year party for students in Years 10 and 11.
Outline idea for a Year 10 & 11 party, explain how hard students have worked this year
Para 1 (Why we have earned a reward)
Best ever results achieved by students in exams, Yr 10&11 sporting achievements
Para 2 (potential problems and how they can be avoided/overcome)
New school sports complex ideal location, No alcohol, cheap and good local DJ,
teachers can sell tickets and control who gets in
Para 3 (Benefits of reward)
Bring school community together, good publicity – local newspapers invitedunforgettable night – ‘best days of our lives’!
Chance to become a legend amongst students! Put a smile on everyone's face at the end
of a long year for both staff and students
Mixing facts and opinions
In your writing you should use a mixture of fact
and opinion. Facts and opinions can help you
achieve the purpose of the text: to persuade.
An affective way of
making your writing
persuasive is to use a
technique called
This is when a writer
presents opinions as facts.
For example:
It is obvious that
St James’s is an
excellent school.
Everyone agrees
that last year’s
results were
Fact and Opinion
Read the extract below. Highlight the facts in one colour and
the opinions in another.
Manchester - The first modern city
In the 18th century Manchester was the cotton making capital of the world.
The city was one of the breeding grounds of the industrial revolution and its
entrepreneurs and industrial tycoons endowed it with museums, galleries,
theatres and libraries as well as outstanding civic architecture.
A devastating IRA bomb in 1996 created the need for city centre
regeneration resulting in a new, dramatic 21st century cityscape.
Manchester is an innovative music city producing influential groups such as
Joy Division, The Smiths, Happy Mondays, The Stone Roses and Oasis.
Central Manchester has a population of about 440,000 in a Greater
Metropolitan Area of more than 2 million.
Write a paragraph about your
home town, city or village using
facts* and opinions to persuade
more tourists to visit.
Newcastle is one of the friendliest, most vibrant
cities in the country. In 2008 it was voted
‘Britain’s Best Night Out’ by readers of City
Guide magazine and since 2006 visitor numbers
have doubled. It is clear that the regeneration
of the town has brought prosperity to the area…
*You can make up some facts!
Using Emotive Language
Emotive language attempts to provoke an
emotional response from the reader.
Depending upon the purpose and subject
matter of a text emotive language can be used
to provoke sympathy, anger or fear.
For example: The appalling behaviour of these
vicious yobs has left this fragile, old lady too
frightened to leave her home.
Emotive language uses powerful adjectives to
attempt to provoke an emotional response
from the reader.
Using Flattery
Another effective way of persuading is to
flatter your reader. If you say nice things about
them they are more likely to agree with your
Try to make your reader feel valued and
important. Using superlatives is one way of
doing this…
Dear Sir Richard Branson, as Britain’s greatest business
man we would like to invite you to open the brand new
Fourgates Enterprise College. We have specially
selected yourself for your inspirational and visionary
leaderships skills…
A FOREST refers to the use of the following techniques in a
Rhetorical Questions & Repetition
Emotive language
Three (rule of)
In this lesson you will be asked to use these techniques to produce a piece
of persuasive writing but first of all let’s play a quick game to help us
remember them.
The writing exam will give you a choice of questions which
could look something like this…
An article
Write an article for a young
person’s magazine persuading
more young people to vote.
Write a letter to your favourite
sports star persuading them to
open your school’s new sports
A speech
A persuasive letter
Write a speech for a Year Seven
assembly, persuading them to join in a
fundraising event.
Mark Scheme
Grade What you wrote
How you wrote it
Spelling, punctuation
and sentence structure
•More detailed points
•Clear awareness of
audience and purpose
•More use of
rhetorical techniques
•Wider vocabulary
•Clearly structured
•Shows clear awareness
of audience and purpose
•More complex sentences
used more confidently
•Spelling is generally
accurate throughout
•Sound grasp of a range of
•Points made in more
detail but still limited
•Some use of
rhetorical techniques
(e.g. use of repetition
and rhetorical
•Writing has more
•General awareness of
audience and purpose
•Evidence of
paragraphing and
•More use of complex
sentences but still limited
•All common words spelt
•Accurate use of a wider
range of punctuation
•Basic points made
•Very limited use of
rhetorical techniques
(e.g. some repetition)
•Clearly written
•Limited awareness of
audience and purpose
•Some evidence of
•few complex sentences
•Most common words spelt
•Accurate use of basic
punctuation (full
stops/capital letters)
Mark Scheme
What you wrote
How you wrote it
Spelling, punctuation
and sentence structure
•Intelligent, convincing
and very detailed points
•Shows flair and
•Wider range of writing
techniques used to
skilfully manipulate
reader’s response
•Sophisticated use of
structure for impact on
the reader
•Audience and purpose
clearly affect content,
style and form
•Uses a full range of
sentence structures for
•Spelling and punctuation
exact and used with
assurance and sophistication
•Thoughtful and
convincing points made
•Wide range of
vocabulary and
techniques used to
manipulate the response
of the reader
•Writing is fluent with
linked sentences and
•Content, style and form
remain consistently
suited to audience and
•Clear and controlled variety
of sentence structures
•Accurate spelling
•Range of punctuation used
throughout with accuracy
•Detailed points made
•Good range of
vocabulary and writing
•Begins to affect
reader’s response
•Well structured
•Content, style and form
of writing all
appropriate for
audience and purpose
•Variety of sentence
structures for effect
•Accurate spelling of most
irregular and complex words
•Accurate punctuation