English: skills for learning
English: skills for learning

This free course is available to start right now. Review the full course description and key learning outcomes and create an account and enrol if you want a free statement of participation.

Free course

English: skills for learning

1.2 Written styles in everyday life

The style adopted in everyday written communication can vary too. You can probably think of times when you have chosen a different style to take into account who you were writing to and your reason for writing. This will have had an effect on the layout, formality and structure of your text as well as on your choice of vocabulary.

For example, a business email will be more formally organised and written than an email to a friend, and a text message may be very informally written, contain symbols and even grammatical errors.

Similarly, different newspapers may follow a different style depending on the readers they are addressing.

Activity 2

Allow approximately 10 minutes

Compare the different styles adopted by the UK newspapers The Guardian and The Sun to cover the topic of immigration. These are some of the things you could consider:

  • layout
  • size of text
  • use of images
  • use of colour
  • amount of text
  • the headlines.

Make some notes in the box below before comparing your answer to mine.

Described image
Figure 2 The different styles of The Guardian and The Sun newspapers
You can type text here, but this facility requires a free OU account. Sign in or register.
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).


The Sun uses large fonts and images and vivid colours to illustrate the point made by the headlines. The amount of text is limited. The headline talks directly to the readers in ‘you tell him’, and uses colloquial speech with language such as ‘or else!’ and idioms like ‘draw a red line’.

The Guardian uses smaller fonts and fewer images. The news on immigration is not illustrated and colour is not used. The front page contains a large amount of text arranged on several columns. The headlines simply report information using more formal language such as ‘condemn’ and ‘immigration law’.

The two newspapers use different styles because they address readers who have different requirements. The Sun’s readers look for a light read, stories and language that relate to their everyday lives. The Sun fulfils these requirements through their distinctive use of fonts, colour, images and language. In contrast, The Guardian’s readers want to gain a deeper understanding of a range of stories and prefer a newspaper that provides a great deal of information presented in paragraphs.


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has over 40 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus