Genre, Purpose and Style - 4

English Language > Writing > Genre, Purpose and Style

Sample questions - notes and answers

Sample notes

Here are some notes based on responses to two sample questions, which clearly identify the genre, audience, purpose and style appropriate to answer each question.


Write a letter to a friend, explaining why you would like him or her to join you in a visit to a place which you think is very special.


GENRELetter (of invitation)
AUDIENCEA friend (a teenager like you)
PURPOSEExplain and describe (one of your favourite places)
STYLEChatty but persuasive and detailed

Some people think it's wrong that primitive peoples and their communities are disrupted by tourists and TV crews, and that they should be left in peace. Write an article for a travel magazine which argues for or against this idea.


GENREMagazine article
AUDIENCEAdults (who make decisions about where to go on holiday)
PURPOSEArgue (for or against tourism to primitive places)
STYLEFormal and serious but personal and persuasive

A sample answer

Look at the following sample question and answer for ideas on how to write a persuasive letter.


Write a letter to the local newspaper complaining about an article critical of teenagers. Argue that teenagers simply do not have enough facilities to keep them busy.

After laying out the addresses and dates correctly, you might go on to write:

Dear Sir,

I'm writing to complain about an article in your newspaper criticising teenagers. Teenagers are not that bad; they just don't have enough to do.


This is correct, but it is not very interesting. The writer would struggle to write for the rest of the 45 minutes they have in the exam.

A better response would be to ask yourself why you would write a letter like this. The answer is probably because you read the article in the newspaper and it made you cross. The next step would be to ask yourself why it made you cross. The answer to this may be that you are a parent with a teenage son who doesn't have much to do, perhaps because the local playground was sold off. Suddenly you have a scenario and your ideas will come thick and fast. The letter can therefore begin something like this:

Dear Sir,

I was appalled to read the article in your newspaper last week criticising teenagers. As a parent of one myself, I feel personally insulted by the arrogant tone and ignorant attitude of your journalist.

My own son, for example, used to play in the local playground until two months ago when it was closed and bulldozed. All this was done just so some adults (who you might think are excellent role models) could get a nice view from their windows...


This letter now stands out. It ticks all the right boxes and, as a result, this piece of work will get a high grade:


GENRE Letter
PURPOSE Argue a point and make someone do something about it
AUDIENCE Newspaper editor and readers of the newspaper (the best letters get printed)
STYLE Formal and forceful

Remember the key points for writing non-fiction texts:

  • get the genre (form) right (eg magazine article, newsletter or letter)
  • be clear and imaginative
  • use clear and varied sentences and paragraphs
  • use the appropriate language techniques and presentational devices
  • make sure you use correct punctuation and spelling

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