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How Writers Achieve Effects
An e-mail to your best friend would be most likely to contain what?

How Writers Achieve Effects

Style, tone, grammar, punctuation, genre, rhetorical devices - an excellent writer must master these 'tools of the trade' to achieve the desired effect in any piece of writing. Consider the types of writing you most enjoy reading - what makes them good? What if they were written by other authors - how would they be different? Take time to notice the techniques used by writers and try to achieve similar effects in your own writing by experimenting with them.

Here's a quiz on the subject to get you started.

What effect is created by the use of anecdotes?
To make serious subjects appear funny
To trick people into listening to you
To draw in the reader by making them more interested and by making you seem trustworthy
None of the above
Which of the following texts would be most likely to contain interrogative sentences?
An explanation of the sleeping habits of the sloth
A postcard from the dentist informing the recipient that a check-up is due
An advert for a new brand of washing powder
A dictionary entry
Interrogative sentences end in question marks. Adverts often use questions - 'Are you tired of clothes coming out of the wash almost as dirty as they went in? Then try....'
Which of the following would be written to inform?
An advertisement
A school prospectus
A letter to a company complaining about its customer relations policy
A speech promoting a charity
Many types of writing include elements which are informative. Some types of writing (such as a school prospectus) aim to portray the facts fairly without seeking to influence people by using biased language
Which of the following best describes 'tone' in a piece of writing?
The level of formality in a piece of writing
The type of text being written
The expected readership of a piece of writing
The mood the writer conveys, as well as the writer's attitude toward the subject and the reader
What does 'register' mean?
Language style in speech only
Language style in writing only
Level of formality only
Language style and level of formality used in speech or writing
An author who is aware of audience and purpose will take care in choosing his or her...
All of the above
Which of the following could reasonably be expected to entertain its readers?
A newspaper report
An autobiography
A business report
A manual for a new washing machine
Not all autobiographies are entertaining, of course, but many authors do try to tell entertaining stories about their past
What is the effect created by the use of rhetorical questions?
To draw the audience in by presuming its members will agree with you
To make the audience feel unsure
To make members of the audience question their most deeply-held beliefs
To cause confusion as the writer/speaker waits for a response
Rhetorical questions presume, very cleverly, that all reasonable people would agree and that there is no need, therefore, to state the answer
Which of the following texts would be most likely to contain exclamatory sentences?
A letter to a prospective employer
An e-mail to your best friend
A book review
A leaflet explaining how to look after braces
Exclamatory sentences end in exclamation marks - people tend to use these more frequently in less formal / personal writing, such as e-mail
What effect is created by the use of short paragraphs and sentences?
A sense of suspense
A sense of urgency
A feeling of action
All of the above
Journalists often use short sentences and paragraphs, as well, to make their writing easier to understand quickly
You can find more about this topic by visiting BBC Bitesize - Using language effectively

Author:  Sheri Smith

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