The Sunday News
FORMAL reports are written to present factual information clearly to the reader. Reports are usually directed to an official leader of an organisation, for instance, the chairperson of a governing body. Features of formal reports include: report heading, Example: Report on accidents in practical lessons such as Physical education (PE). Who the report is for: To the head teacher; who the report is from (example, the class teacher).
Sub-headings (example; number of accidents, safety equipment). Impersonal style (avoid the use of “I” – “The report shows . . .”); conclusions and recommendations (that is suggestions for future action). Letters: Letter writing is important, even in these days of emails and mobile phones. Formal letters are still used in business and letters from readers are still often printed in newspapers.
Features of letters include: sender’s address in the top right-hand corner, receiver’s name and address on the left hand side. Correct opening (Dear Mrs Ndlovu, Dear Editor); a number of well-developed paragraphs, a firm summing up of the purpose of the letter (i.e. the topic sentence) and a suitable signing off (e.g. Yours faithfully, Yours sincerely)
Which of the situations that follow would require a formal letter, and which would require an informal letter? Explain your choices: a letter of application for a job in a local shop, a letter of complaint to a radio station for offensive language and a letter to your friend who has recently moved abroad.
Articles: An article is a piece of writing included in a newspaper or magazine. It is not the headline news, but a discussion of a topical issue, often from a particular point of view. Features of articles include: a lively opening to catch the interest of the reader, a clearly-argued position on the topic being discussed, an engaging and entertaining written style and an ending that leaves the reader with something to think about.
When writing an article you need to choose a stand point on your topic — do not sit on the fence. Take a determined approach to your writing, progressing towards a purposeful conclusion. Speeches: Speeches are usually prepared before they are given. This means that speeches can also be prepared as a form of writing. A speech can be formal or informal, depending on who it is aimed at. However, even an informal speech should be written in Standard English.
Guidelines for speeches: In most cases, a speech should begin without fuss. Write in full sentences because you are arguing a case. Notes are not enough — use paragraphs to create a sense of order. Usually you will argue from a personal point of view.
Can you write to suit a particular audience and purpose? Whatever writing task you are given, you will have to write for a particular audience and purpose. The audience and purpose will affect your writing in a number of ways. For example: how you start and finish your writing, how you structure your points, the points you choose to use, how much detail you include, tone and your point of view. Remember tone is the attitude you have towards the subject of discussion.
Differences between writing and speech — The main difference between spoken and written language is obvious — one is heard and the other is read. But there are other differences too. For example, when using written language, you write in sentences and use full stops, commas, question marks and exclamation marks. When using spoken language you can use pauses, volume (loud or quiet) and the way you say words instead. Some ideas directed to intermediate and senior classes who feel neglected by what is usually presented here. When you study your chosen text, you will look at how it presents a particular way of life and how this reflects or influences the way you think about your on life. You may discover situations that seem unfamiliar. However, you are also likely to recognise similarities in the hopes and dreams shared by people around the world.
In different cultures’ texts you might: witness world of harshness and struggle, be shocked by prejudice and injustice, admire how people cope with racism, marvel at how people stand up to loss and tragedy and perhaps even smile at someone caught between two cultures. Think about the text you are studying. Does it feature any of the points listed earlier. Give details for each one.
Openings: The beginning of a novel will often try to capture the reader’s attention. This is the strategy students should follow when writing stories. In some cases the writer may plunge straight into the action or start by setting the scene — giving hints about what is going to come. When looking at openings think about the following questions: How does the story start? What is the first paragraph or page made up of?
How are you drawn into the story? What holds your attention? How much does the writer tell you? Is it possible to tell how the story will develop?
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