GCSE English Quiz - Presentational Devices (Questions)

Presentational devices include: titles, headings, subtitles, illustrations, captions, white space, the use of colour, and more. Good writing isn't only about content, but about presentation. Besides words, there are many visual tools which writers use, called 'presentational devices'. These have the greatest impact in non-fiction writing, but can also be found elsewhere. When taking this quiz, remember that writers choose their devices with care, always taking account of audience and purpose.

1. 'Layout' means...
[ ] the way a broadsheet newspaper looks when it is open and 'laid out'
[ ] the method used to index the text
[ ] the way a text is organised on the page
[ ] how easily a text can be assembled
2. Which of the following statements is NOT true?
[ ] Good layout presents information in a way that's easy to follow
[ ] Good layout guides the reader to the most important aspects of the text
[ ] Good layout is tailored to the audience
[ ] Good layout is impartial and has little effect on the reader's understanding of a text
3. Which of the following is NOT a presentational device?
[ ] Illustrations
[ ] Titles
[ ] Purpose
[ ] Use of colour
4. Which of the following means 'a set of type; the appearance of letters and characters'?
[ ] Bulleted list
[ ] Caption
[ ] Italics
[ ] Font
5. At its most basic level, a title tells the audience what the subject of a text is. A title might also...
[ ] express bias, trying to influence the reader's response to the text
[ ] indicate the tone of the text
[ ] give a clue to the writer's attitude to the subject
[ ] All of the above
6. What guides a writer's choice when using colour in a text?
[ ] The associations a reader might have with any particular colour
[ ] Whether a particular colour suits the writer's wardrobe
[ ] The writer will always choose the cheapest colour
[ ] The writer only wants the text to look attractive
7. A biased caption would...
[ ] only give factual information about the photo or illustration
[ ] allow the reader to decide what the photo or illustration means
[ ] tell the reader how to interpret the illustration or photo
[ ] explain a topic which is completely separate from the photo or illustration
8. Which of the following is NOT a purpose of bulleted lists?
[ ] To provide information clearly, without unnecessary words
[ ] To save precious time when writing
[ ] To draw the reader's eye to the information
[ ] To make information easy to retrieve
9. When are charts and diagrams useful?
[ ] Charts and diagrams are useful for illustrating the meaning of any data or statistics used in the text
[ ] Charts and diagrams are only useful for breaking up the text so the reader won't be bored
[ ] Charts and diagrams are only useful for confusing the reader
[ ] Charts and diagrams are never useful
10. 'Mobile phone company insists woman must pay bill after thieves run up £15,000 charges in TWO HOURS' - what is the purpose of the use of capitals in this headline?
[ ] To be as clear with the facts as possible
[ ] To express a sense of incredulity
[ ] To encourage the reader to skip the headline and go straight to the report
[ ] The use of capitals has no purpose
GCSE English Quiz - Presentational Devices (Answers)
1. 'Layout' means...
[ ] the way a broadsheet newspaper looks when it is open and 'laid out'
[ ] the method used to index the text
[x] the way a text is organised on the page
[ ] how easily a text can be assembled
Specifically, layout describes how writing and any presentational devices are organised on the page
2. Which of the following statements is NOT true?
[ ] Good layout presents information in a way that's easy to follow
[ ] Good layout guides the reader to the most important aspects of the text
[ ] Good layout is tailored to the audience
[x] Good layout is impartial and has little effect on the reader's understanding of a text
Have you ever read a newspaper article with the phrase 'Continued on page 10' halfway through the most interesting paragraph, but then when you turned to page 10, the rest of the article wasn't there, or was there but wasn't obvious?  That's an example of poor layout
3. Which of the following is NOT a presentational device?
[ ] Illustrations
[ ] Titles
[x] Purpose
[ ] Use of colour
Audience and purpose will guide the choice of presentational devices
4. Which of the following means 'a set of type; the appearance of letters and characters'?
[ ] Bulleted list
[ ] Caption
[ ] Italics
[x] Font
A writer will carefully choose the best font for a particular audience.  Writers often use italics or bold in order to draw attention to particular words or to distinguish between different text features (i.e. headlines would not be as noticeable if they were not in a larger, bold font)
5. At its most basic level, a title tells the audience what the subject of a text is. A title might also...
[ ] express bias, trying to influence the reader's response to the text
[ ] indicate the tone of the text
[ ] give a clue to the writer's attitude to the subject
[x] All of the above
Titles can often be analysed as closely as you would analyse a line of poetry - look for emotive language, allusions, or any connotations which words or phrases have
6. What guides a writer's choice when using colour in a text?
[x] The associations a reader might have with any particular colour
[ ] Whether a particular colour suits the writer's wardrobe
[ ] The writer will always choose the cheapest colour
[ ] The writer only wants the text to look attractive
A publisher may sometimes wish for cheaper printing costs, but a writer's only consideration is 'what effect will this colour have on my reader?' (i.e. what does the reader associate with this colour?)
7. A biased caption would...
[ ] only give factual information about the photo or illustration
[ ] allow the reader to decide what the photo or illustration means
[x] tell the reader how to interpret the illustration or photo
[ ] explain a topic which is completely separate from the photo or illustration
8. Which of the following is NOT a purpose of bulleted lists?
[ ] To provide information clearly, without unnecessary words
[x] To save precious time when writing
[ ] To draw the reader's eye to the information
[ ] To make information easy to retrieve
Saving time might seem like a good answer, but remember:  writers choose presentational devices that will have the most effect for their audience and will suit their purpose in writing.  If a writer wanted to save time, how much easier would it be not to write at all?
9. When are charts and diagrams useful?
[x] Charts and diagrams are useful for illustrating the meaning of any data or statistics used in the text
[ ] Charts and diagrams are only useful for breaking up the text so the reader won't be bored
[ ] Charts and diagrams are only useful for confusing the reader
[ ] Charts and diagrams are never useful
Charts and diagrams may seem dependable, but watch out!  Even these truthful-looking mathematical tools can be used in a biased manner by an unscrupulous writer
10. 'Mobile phone company insists woman must pay bill after thieves run up £15,000 charges in TWO HOURS' - what is the purpose of the use of capitals in this headline?
[ ] To be as clear with the facts as possible
[x] To express a sense of incredulity
[ ] To encourage the reader to skip the headline and go straight to the report
[ ] The use of capitals has no purpose
The reader is meant to think, 'That's crazy/terrible/shocking/unbelievable!'