Genre, Purpose and Style -2

English Language > Writing > Genre, Purpose and Style

Showing you understand GAPS


Genre means the form of your non-fiction text. The lists below describe a few different forms.

If your non-fiction text is a letter:

  • put your address at the top right of the paper
  • put the address of the person you are writing to at the top left of the paper
  • start with "Dear..."
  • sign "Yours sincerely," (if you know the person's name) or "Yours faithfully," (if you don't - eg if you're addressing an organisation).

If your text is a newsletter:

  • give the newsletter a bold heading
  • use all the presentational devices you think you need - eg picture boxes and captions, subheadings, boxes for quotations etc

If it is a magazine article:

  • use a heading
  • write an introductory paragraph
  • use a by-line ("by X" or "writes X")

TIP: make sure you understand what different genres look like. If in doubt, look back to Section A of the exam. Are any of the texts used there the kind of text you are writing? If so, look at the form and the presentational devices they use.

Make sure all language or presentational choices match your audience and purpose.

Acknowledging genre

The next thing you need to do is show that you know what type of text you are writing.

  • If you're writing a letter, you should include a comment such as, "I'm writing to you because..." or "...and that's why I thought I'd sit down and write you a letter."
  • If you're writing a speech, include a comment such as, "It's great to see so many of you here," and sign off, "Thanks for listening," or "Have a safe journey home."
  • If you're writing an article, think how a published article might open, eg with an appealing description such as "Think you know about teenagers?" Or it could start with a more personal point of view such as "Whenever I'm out with friends, there's always one topic of conversation that's bound to come up."

You also need to signal your purpose and audience as soon as you can: this means showing that you know who you are writing to and why.

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