Four Writing Styles

Do you believe in ghosts?

Four Writing Styles

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When writing a piece of work, the author can draw upon four very different styles of writing. These four styles include: the narrative, the descriptive, the persuasive and the expository. Whichever style the writer chooses to utilize will reflect upon a writer’s specific personality, as well as their preferred method of trying to connect and relay their ideas to their readers. So what do these four styles mean?

The Narrative Style: To narrate means to tell a story from your own viewpoint and your own perspective. For example: “I went to the mall and I thought it was confusing to find my way around.” The story is being told by the “first person, i.e., I.” In short, the writer has placed themselves within the story making it a narrative.

The Descriptive Style: When a writer uses great details to describe a person, place or thing, they are using the descriptive style. For example, let’s look at the following two sentences.

Margaret wore a blue ribbon in her hair.

Margaret, whose rosy cheeks complemented her ruby, red lips, wore a blue velvet ribbon that was weaved intricately throughout the many ringlets in her hair, catching everyone’s attention.

The first sentence is a basic, simple sentence. It does give the reader information but provides very little detail. On the other hand, the second sentence provides a great deal of description. It paints a much more vivid image for the reader to actually be able to visualize Margaret. The writer of the second sentence is using the descriptive style.

The Persuasive Style: In this style of writing the author is trying to persuade the readers to accept and embrace the author’s own views and opinions about what is being written about. This style can easily be seen in TV commercials such as product “A” will give you much brighter teeth than product “B” because product “A” contains x, y and z not found in product “B.” In a story, the author can try to persuade the reader to view things differently such as the value or harm wars cause. In general, the author assumes the reader’s opinions are different from their own and their hope is that after reading their piece of work, the reader’s opinions and view will change.

The Expository Style: This style of writing is somewhat different than the persuasive style in that in this style of writing the author presents a specific thought or idea and then presents those thoughts and ideas through the use of unbiased facts, figures and numbers. The author does not incorporate their own opinions and views but, rather, lets the reader come to his or her own conclusions. This style of writing is one of the more popular styles used and is found in many “How to” writings. Facts are given, such as ingredients to make cake, but how the reader uses those facts and interprets those ingredients are solely chosen and decided by the reader.

For each small written piece given below, see if you can determine which style of writing is being used.
1.
It was my first time on an airplane! I was so excited and sick to my stomach at the same time. I also felt rather dumb because I didn’t know how or where to look in order to find my seat. A little boy standing in front of me pointed up to the ceiling above some seats and said, “Mommy, that’s where our seats are.” I followed his finger to see where he had pointed to and noticed a number and a letter. It said 12ABC. My ticket said 16D. Where was “D”? I thought. Turning I looked at the same spot to my left and low and behold, it read, 12DEF. I now knew I would be sitting on that side of the plane. Working hard to hide my fear and show only my “experience,” I made my way to my seat and acted as though this was a normal routine for me.
Narrative
Descriptive
Persuasive
Expository
This style of writing is being told from the first person’s perspective. There isn’t very much description being given and, at this point, there is no persuasion going on nor are there facts being presented in a non-biased way as to make it an expository style of writing. This style of writing is a clear example of a narrative. Answer (a) is the correct style used to describe this passage.
2.
I walked through the soundstage where many of the old westerns had been filmed. I even sat right where I remember seeing Jackie Cooper sit. I was hooked. I wanted nothing more than to be an old cowboy. Of course, old cowboys don’t exist anymore do they? Still, I wanted to be one. My goal now was to find out all that I could to become one – even if it didn’t make my mom and dad all that happy about my choice.
Narrative
Descriptive
Persuasive
Expository
This style of writing is being told from the first person’s perspective. There isn’t very much description being given and, at this point, there is no persuasion going on nor are there facts being presented in a non-biased way as to make it an expository style of writing. This style of writing is a clear example of a narrative. Answer (a) is the correct style used to describe this passage.
3.
Looking into the kitchen Jenny’s first impulse was to turn around and then have someone board it up. Filthy dishes were piled up on every surface available in a lopsided manner that could easily rival the tilt of the Tower of Pisa. Rotting, grotesque green, orange and purple food was smeared on all the walls, the ceiling, the ceiling fan and the picture window. It was evident that the unidentifiable food had oozed its way down the walls and onto the floor that was beyond being caked with who knew what. Jenny very seriously doubted that there was a single, solitary object in that kitchen that had escaped the explosive, volatile spray of the open blender and mixer that some frat-house brother had turned on to impress his party goers.
Narrative
Descriptive
Persuasive
Expository
The author of this piece is giving the reader a great deal of description. The vivid description of the state of the kitchen and what was contained in there can be easily imagined by the reader. The sentences go beyond your simple, basic sentences. In this piece, the writer is not, however, trying to persuade the reader to change their views or opinions nor is the writer allowing the reader to come to their own conclusion about the kitchen. In addition, the writer is not writing from the first person perspective. Rather, this piece is a perfect example of the descriptive writing style. Answer (b) is, therefore, the correct style being used here.
4.
Sewing a button hole on a piece of garment tends to bring a wave of fear to many but it shouldn’t. If you have the correct tools, such as a proper button hole foot pedal for your sewing machine, this process will be easy. Look in your case of sewing foot pedals and locate the pedal that looks like that displayed in figure 2 on this page. Once you locate the proper foot pedal, you will remove the current pedal and secure the new foot pedal in place.
Narrative
Descriptive
Persuasive
Expository
In this style of writing the author is giving the reader instructions. No persuasion is going on nor is it over descriptive or narrative. The writer is merely giving the reader facts on how to do something, i.e., sew a button hole. It is up to the reader to follow those instructions as relayed or use them in a different way as they see fit. This style of writing is clearly that of an expository style making Answer (d) the correct style.
5.
Do ghosts really exist? That’s an age old questions isn’t it? It’s a question that I thought I would try to solve. Over the past decade I have attended over 50 séances, been to dozens of mediums and visited over 200 supposed haunted houses. I’ve talked with many believers and non-believers. This book will present my findings. However, in the end, it will be up to you to decide whether ghosts really do exist or not.
Narrative
Descriptive
Persuasive
Expository
In this writing the author is going to present the reader with findings of what the author learned and/or experienced when it comes to ghosts. Although the author will present the findings, the author is not going to make a conclusion and try and persuade the readers to think one way or another. In fact, the author clearly states that the answer will be decided by the reader. This method is clearly using the expository style of writing. Therefore, Answer (d) is the correct style.
6.
I normally don’t speak about politics but when I do, I do so for a good reason. Mr. Jones is clearly not the best candidate to hold the office of School Superintendent. He has no professional background to support such a position. In fact, he dropped out of school in the tenth grade. In addition, Mr. Jones served a 30 day sentence in the county jail in Vicksburg back in 1983 for drunk driving. Is he really the man you want to be supervising your children? I don’t think so. Vote for Ms. Carlson. She’s been a teacher at Grandview Elementary for the past 27 years. She has also served as Chairperson on the School Committee for the past 4 years. She’s been happily married for nearly 30 years and has an impeccable, law abiding record. Ms. Carlson is the person you want as the School Superintendent!
Narrative
Descriptive
Persuasive
Expository
In this piece of writing the author is clearly trying to persuade the reader on which candidate to vote for. If the reader has a different opinion, the author is putting in reasons why that reader should change their opinion. This style of writing is a clear example of the persuasive style. Answer (c) is the correct style being used here.
7.
Caroline’s dress was a shimmering display of an endless array of colors. With each step she took a flash of a new color was broadly displayed only to quickly disappear with her very next graceful step. At that point, yet another vibrant, intoxicating and even more powerful color was displayed. It seemed as if the dress had a mind of its own because I never did see the same color appear twice. Everyone was so captivated by the dress that no one noticed the satisfaction Caroline’s facial features openly broadcasted. In fact, not only was her dress a work of utter perfection but so was her oval face, creamy complexion, emerald green eyes and plump, smiling red lips.
Narrative
Descriptive
Persuasive
Expository
The author of this piece is giving the reader a great deal of description, first about Caroline’s dress and then about Caroline’s appearance. The sentences go way beyond the simple, basic sentence. The writer is not trying to persuade the reader to change their views or opinions nor is the writer allowing the reader to come to their own conclusion. In addition, the writer is not writing from the first person perspective. Rather, this piece is a perfect example of the descriptive writing style. Answer (b) is, therefore, the correct style being used here.
8.
I must say that I wasn’t very impressed with the art exhibit held at the town square. First off, all I could think about was who chose the pieces to be displayed? Clearly that person, or persons, had no idea at all what constitutes real art. Most of what I saw would have been discarded into the trash had I been the person making the decisions.
Narrative
Descriptive
Persuasive
Expository
This style of writing is being told from the first person’s perspective. There isn’t very much description being given and, at this point, there is no persuasion going on nor are there facts being presented in a non-biased way as to make it an expository style of writing. This style of writing is a clear example of a narrative. Answer (a) is the correct style used to describe this passage.
9.
If you really want the best quality picture, better even than 3D, then you really need to buy a new 4K TV set. The colors are so vivid and the picture pulls you into the scene, making you feel as though you are actually a part of the picture itself. The sound quality is far more superior as well. High-definition TVs had their day but that day has passed. If you want to be on top of technology and get the best there is out there, then you MUST try out the new 4K TV!
Narrative
Descriptive
Persuasive
Expository
This piece of written material sounds an awful lot like an advertisement for the new 4K TV. It is trying to persuade the audience/reader that they really need to buy the new kind of TV if they want the best quality. This style of writing is clearly that of the persuasive style making Answer (c) the correct style.
10.
Holding his breath, he could hear his heart wildly pounding in his ears. In fact, he could hear his blood rushing through his highways of bluish-purplish veins as clearly as he could hear the water flowing from the bathroom faucet. The pounding and the rushing flow of blood was so loud to him that he was certain that the burglars in the opposite room would be able to hear him and locate his hiding place between the twin mattresses on his bed.
Narrative
Descriptive
Persuasive
Expository
The author of this piece is quite obviously giving the reader a great deal of description having to deal with fear. The feelings described by the person helps the reader to image that fear. The pound and the blood flow also help the reader to “feel” that fear. In this short piece of work, the writer is not trying to persuade the reader to change their views or opinions on any subject nor is the writer allowing the reader to come to their own conclusion about the situation. In addition, the writer is not writing from the first person perspective. Instead, this piece is a perfect example of the descriptive writing style. Answer (b) is, therefore, the correct style being used here.
Author:  Christine G. Broome

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