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Everyday English 1
Everyday English 1

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1.7 Texts that persuade

Persuasive texts are all around, from the company logos on almost everything you buy to the letters from the bank offering loans, which appear formal and serious but are really just adverts. A major benefit of being an aware and active reader is understanding the influence and techniques of persuasive texts.

Persuasive texts try to ‘talk you into’ doing something. It may be joining a club, sending some money to charity or buying a new car. They are written to make you agree with a point of view. They usually give you good reasons to do what they want.

Texts can use different methods to persuade you to do something:

  • The layout and style of the text catches your eye.
  • They use language in a way that makes something sound exciting or worthwhile.
  • They may even make you feel that you’ll be left out if you don’t do what they say: ‘Do you want to be the only family without a new computer?’
  • They may make you feel sad in order to persuade you to give money.

Activity 7 Persuasive texts

Timing: Allow about 5 minutes

Look at the advert below and answer the questions that follow.

An advert for children’s charities
Figure 4 An advert for children’s charities

1. What is this text trying to persuade its readers to do?

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Discussion

It’s trying to persuade readers to donate money.

2. How does it try to persuade readers to do this?

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Discussion

The poster speaks directly to the reader – ‘YOU’.

It also draws on the reader’s emotions – it uses the image of a child and says, ‘please help’.

Activity 8 More persuasion

Timing: Allow about 5 minutes

Look at the following advert carefully. What layout, presentation and language features does it use to try to persuade its readers to go to the car boot sale?

Advert for a car boot sale
Figure 5 An advert for a car boot sale
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Discussion

The advert uses bigger and bigger letters and capital letters – ‘MASSIVE’, ‘MONSTER’, etc. – so that it seems really big and exciting.

It uses bullet points to list the events so that they stand out.

It tells you about the money you could save: ‘bargains’, ‘cheapest prices’, ‘free parking’, ‘free valuations’.

Later on you will see this advert in a very different format.