4.1 What is it for?
Many of us see text in a newspaper, either printed or online, every day. The text in a newspaper is made up of sections, stories, headlines and pictures.
Newspapers may include:
- articles of different length
- regular features such as the weather, television programmes and horoscopes
- one-off articles.
Another kind of text is a novel, which is longer and usually has chapters.
Texts can also be very short. A text message and an email can give information and/or send greetings.
To decide which kind of text you are dealing with, you have to look for clues. Here are some ideas.
- Who is the text aimed at (who is the audience)? For example, is the writing aimed at people who might have similar ideas to the author? Or is the author (or writer) trying to get people to change their way of thinking?
- How is the text written? Is it long? Is it short? Does it have paragraphs? Does it have pictures?
- Is the text laid out in a formal way with headings, bullet points, etc. or is it written just to be attractive to the reader?
- What type of language is used? Is it formal or informal? Are long or complicated words used?
- What is the writer trying to do? Is it to inform, instruct, persuade or amuse?
Activity 19 What’s the purpose?
Think of six different kinds of text. This might include things like a recipe, a bus timetable, a holiday website or an estate agent’s advert. For each, write down:
- its audience: who the text is aimed at
- its purpose: why it has been written
- its language and layout: the key features of how the text is written and set out.
For example, for a birthday card you might write:
Audience: Person whose birthday it is.
Purpose: To show you have remembered their birthday and wish them well.
Language and layout: Informal, short message.
Some texts have more than one purpose and more than one audience.
Take a look at some of these ideas.
|Type of text||Audience||Purpose||Language and layout|
|Birthday card||Person whose birthday it is||To show you have remembered their birthday and wish them well||Short message, informal|
|News article on house prices and mortgages||General public||To give information about different kinds of mortgage scheme||Headline, picture, short paragraphs|
|Text message||Receiver of text message||To give information or a greeting||Very short with abbreviations|
|Children’s bedtime story||Children||To entertain||Short sentences, pictures, bright colours|
|Health and safety email||Company employees||To give up-to-date information on health and safety regulations||Short, simple with headings and pictures|
|Slimming magazine||Readers interested in weight loss||To inform, advise and entertain||Contents, articles, letters, pictures, adverts|
Written material can aim to explain, persuade, inform, entertain or describe. Some texts fall into more than one category. You look now in particular at texts that instruct, describe and persuade.