Everyday English 2
Everyday English 2

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Everyday English 2

5 Structure and layout of texts

Different kinds of text have different kinds of layout and style.

For example, a formal report usually contains:

  • headings and subheadings
  • bullet points
  • bold and italicised writing.

A report may also contain:

  • appendices (or an appendix, if only one): these contain additional information and are at the end of a book or a document
  • references: these give details of the sources of information, i.e. where the information comes from, and are also usually at the end of a book or a document.

A Valentine’s card, however, usually contains a short, caring or amusing message with pictures on the theme of love, as it is sent to show affection.

An advertising poster usually contains:

  • lots of colour
  • as few words as possible
  • attention-grabbing words such as FREE or NEW.

Text messages are short and may contain abbreviations.

Activity 23 Which texts have which features?

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes

Try answering the questions below on different types of text and their features.

1. Which features of language and layout would you expect to see in an article in a tabloid newspaper about obesity? Select all those that apply.

a. 

Biased language


b. 

Appendices


c. 

Short paragraphs


d. 

Tables


e. 

Short words


f. 

Quotes


g. 

Conclusion


h. 

References


i. 

Photographs


The correct answers are a, c, e, f and i.

2. Why do you think an article in a tabloid newspaper has these features? Select the main reason.

a. 

Because it has to provide information to experts


b. 

Because it has to provide information to the general public quickly and efficiently


c. 

Because it has to provide information to its readers while keeping up their interest


The correct answer is c.

3. Which features of language and layout would you expect to see in a government report on obesity? Select all that apply.

a. 

Formal language


b. 

Biased language


c. 

Graphs


d. 

A summary


e. 

Sensational language


f. 

Headings


g. 

Appendices


h. 

Conclusion


The correct answers are a, c, d, f, g and h.

4. Why do you think a government report has these features? Select the main reason.

a. 

Because it has to provide information to experts


b. 

Because it has to provide information to the general public quickly and efficiently


c. 

Because it has to provide information to its readers while keeping up their interest


The correct answer is a.

5. Which features of language and layout would you expect to see in a government poster informing people about the health risks of obesity? Select all that apply.

a. 

Simple language


b. 

Colour


c. 

Formal language


d. 

Tables


e. 

Conclusion


f. 

Key words


The correct answers are a, b and f.

6. Why do you think a government poster informing people about the health risks of obesity has these features? Select the main reason.

a. 

Because it has to provide information to experts


b. 

Because it has to provide information to the general public quickly and efficiently


c. 

Because it has to provide information to its readers while keeping up their interest


The correct answer is b.

Discussion

Here’s a summary of the features you would find in each type of text and why.

Type of text Features of language or layout Why it has these features
Article from a tabloid newspaper on obesity

Simple language

Sensationalist language

Short paragraphs

Short words

Biased language

Photographs

Quotes

This kind of text has to provide information to its readers, but at the same time keep their interest, as the tabloid’s target is to increase the number of people buying the newspaper.

A government report on obesity

Summary 

Longer words

More formal language

Headings

No pictures but probably other images such as graphs or tables

References

Appendices

Separate conclusions

This kind of text is aimed at experts in the subject who are able to judge the truth or otherwise of the information that is included. However, the information included may only support the Government’s case. Information that is not included could also be significant.

A poster informing people about the health risks of obesity

Simple language

Limited number of words

Key words

Colour

Pictures

This text has one job – to pass on a message to the general public quickly and efficiently. It needs to attract people’s attention though not necessarily for any length of time. Colour, pictures and key words are used to make the poster attractive and easy to understand.

In this section you have looked at:

  • the layout and structure of a range of different texts
  • how the way a text is written can give clues to its audience and purpose.
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