Functional Skills in English

Evaluating the language of a text

These are some of a writer’s techniques you should be able to identify:

  • Words: Simple or difficult, formal or informal, informative or emotive?
  • Sentences and paragraphs: Short or long? Are they all the same length, or do some stand out for emphasis or dramatic effect?
  • Personal pronouns: First person, second person, third person? Singular or plural?
  • Persuasive techniques: Rhetorical questions, groups of three, alliteration?
  • Discourse markers: Casual, chatty discourse markers (eg anyway, you know what I mean, so) or more formal ones (eg nevertheless, therefore, however)?
  • Exclamations: Angry or more thoughtful, emphatic or tentative?
  • Facts and opinions: Objective facts and statistics or opinions? To inform or to persuade, review or entertain?

Adapted from