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The pack includes just the questions (i.e. not the background reading packs you get three days before the exam!)
from some past papers to give you an idea about the range of types of questions that might be set. There is also a
generic mark scheme and extracts from examiners’ reports.

You should already have seen some complete packs of pre-exam reading texts, so you will be familiar with what you
will receive in the three days prior to the exam. In this guide I have included general tips and activities to guide your
APPROACH to this paper.

Editorial Writing has been set as an exam for many years (it used to be called ‘Case Study’) and the approaches which
will lead to success are well known, so take this advice seriously! You need not fear this paper – but it is the one exam
question that truly tests your writing abilities for a particular genre, context, purpose and audience (as well as your
ability at saying WHY you chose to write in a particular way!).


• Make sure that you have the weekend free before the exam - get the day off from your Saturday job, tell Aunty B.
you can’t baby sit, leave your hot-date till the weekend after and dedicate the weekend to your PREPARATION.
• Get plenty of sleep; a good active brain is your main asset on the day.
• Remember to communicate clearly to YOUR audience, the examiner, about your layout plans etc.
• Remember that the basic purpose of the Editorial Writing tasks is some sort of writing, perhaps to
inform/educate/advise - so make sure you’ve revised the characteristics of this type of writing in its different
genres, including spoken ones.
• Take your scissors and glue into the exam but ONLY use them for headlines and photos - it is never a good idea to
paste text (after all, the original text was almost certainly written for a different audience and purpose!). Always
re-label any photos or diagrams you use.
• Text in diagrams also counts towards the final word count – so take care not to include too much of that.
• Take the word count seriously, an overlong text might be unfocussed; too short probably lacks vital content.


1. The ability to interpret a wide variety of texts and recognise the effects of such important aspects
as context, genre, form, language, structure and style.

2. To be acquainted with a variety of forms, modes and registers which you may wish to employ in re-
presenting or transforming the original source material into the new form asked in the question.

3. You should also be able to demonstrate your knowledge of editorial skills in adapting or re-
constructing texts. This will include skills such as:
• subtitling • annotating • summarising
• paraphrasing • introducing • glossing

4. You should aim to be aware of the genre conventions of different types of writing, such as:
• biography • programmes, catalogues, brochures)
• travel writing • drama
• prose • advertising copy
• fiction • features and editorials
• private and public correspondence • instructional texts.

Steve Campsall 2005 – Rev. 11/09/2008

5. You should have experience in editing, transforming and representing different varieties of source
material into new texts for a different audience and purpose.

6. You need to have an awareness of different forms of writing, such as:

• magazine articles • lecture presentation
• short booklets for specific audiences and • discussion documents and reports.

• draft radio scripts (or script writing for pre-
recorded tapes)

7. You should be aware of the main linguistic aspects of effective writing:

• how cohesion is achieved in and between texts;
• the structure of narratives and arguments;
• control of the tone, voice or register
• the importance of context (e.g. what use will be made of a text and where it has relevance);
• use of texts within texts (e.g. diagrams, figures, sound effects, directions to radio presenters);
• the use of paraphrasing and summary;
• the effects of metaphor, figures of speech and lexical choices.


Full sets of source material cannot be included in this short guide so you cannot attempt the questions in full – but you
could analyse the questions thoughtfully to help you in your own exam revision.

For each question, think about making notes on the following:

Identify the AUDIENCE – but be sure to do this precisely, think about:

• Age, gender, educational level and experience
• preconceptions and point of view
• level of expertise
• the reasons they are ‘meeting’ your text
• try to list a few words to describe the people you would be writing for, try target a sense of the audience’s
‘character’ or ‘personality’

Identify the GENRE – again, do this precisely by thinking about:

• where the text will be used
• the conventions attached to this type of genre
• the writing style you should use
• the layout and appearance implications of this genre
• the tone of voice / style you should adopt



A firm that specialises in artists’ materials is marketing a Calligraphy Starter Set that includes some of the nibs, inks,

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paints and paper used in this art form. An illustrated step-by-step instruction manual is to be included with this set.

Use the source material provided to write an introductory section about the history of writing for the manual. As this
accompanies a calligraphy set you should include appropriate references to the tools, materials and techniques for
writing that were employed by scribes through the ages. The set is aimed at 12 - 14 year olds.

You must write a text of approximately 1100 words in total, including a table of no more than 150 words which clearly
shows the most significant developments in the history of writing.


A multi-media company is to publish a CD-ROM for the general public about the American Wild West. One section of
the CD-ROM will feature famous outlaws and Western characters, including Butch Cassidy, Billy the Kid and Calamity
Jane. It will include photographs, early film footage and highlighted links to other material on the disc. There will also
be a short monologue for each of Butch, Billy and Jane delivered by actors. These monologues are intended to reveal
something of the life and times of the characters as well as indicating something of their personalities.

Write the script for two of the monologues, based on the material provided. Each monologue should be between 500 -
600 words. You should, at appropriate points in your text, indicate any illustrations from the file that would accompany
the monologue.


The Mary Rose Trust has decided to put on a special exhibition at the Royal Naval Base at Portsmouth. This exhibition
will include a frequently repeated slide show providing visitors with an audio-visual account of Henry VIII’s flagship
from its construction to its restoration.

You have been asked to write the script for the spoken commentary on:
(i) the sinking of the ship and the unsuccessful salvage attempts immediately afterwards;
(ii) the eventual raising of the Mary Rose in 1982.

Use the illustrations in the file for the slides. Indicate which ones you intend to use and where they come in your
script. The illustrations have been numbered to help you. Use 10 -15 slides altogether.
You should write 1100 words in total. The sections should be of roughly equal length.

A national tabloid newspaper is publishing a series of articles for parents entitled Unusual Places to Visit. The series
will feature places of interest and possible educational value, and will include a sewage farm, a gas works, a coal mine
and a nuclear power station. Each article should inform parents about what there is for the family to discover though
the editor does not want writers to ignore any reservations they may have. The purpose of the article is to enable
parents to decide for themselves whether to go on a family visit.

You have drawn off the Internet and from other sources the material about the nuclear power station and reprocessing
plant at Sellafield on which to base a lively and interesting 1100 word article. Briefly indicate your layout requirements
and any illustrations that might be used.


As part of its farewell to the twentieth century the BBC is planning a series of short programmes for Radio 4 listeners
entitled Historic Moments of the Century. These programmes, based in part on eye-witness accounts of key events of
this century, will also include some brief indication of the background to the incidents and their aftermath.

You have been asked to write the script for the programme about the events at Tiananmen Square in June 1989,
ensuring that you give sufficient guidance as to how the programme is to be presented.

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You should write about 1100 words. Choose your own title.


Royal Mail, in conjunction with the British Philatelic Bureau, regularly issues small sets of beautifully designed special
stamps. Each issue is available as a complete set and is eagerly awaited by enthusiasts in Britain and abroad. Each set
has a theme which celebrates some aspect of British life and is accompanied by notes to provide interesting
background information, suitable for a general audience.
Using the source material provided, you have been asked to select the subjects for a set of four stamps focusing on
the theme of Bridges in Britain and to write the text for the notes.

You have two tasks:

• to provide a short introductory text of a general nature on the theme of Bridges in Britain (about 400 words)
• to write a short text of about 200 words for each stamp. You should include some information about the
technical aspects of the bridge’s construction in addition to historical, social and architectural material.


Parklands, a registered nursery school for children between the ages of 2 and 5 years, is in the process of compiling an
information pack for parents whose children are already enrolled, or who are about to enrol, at the nursery. This pack
is intended to give parents an insight into day care and nursery education and also to give them confidence in
You have been asked to contribute to the pack by writing the following sections:
• Safety in the Nursery
• Play
You should provide information in an attractive and interesting way that aims to meet the needs of the intended

You should write approximately 1100 words in total. The sections should be of roughly equal length. Briefly indicate
your layout requirements.


Killhope Wheel Lead Mining Centre is now the best preserved lead mining site in Britain. It has considerable
educational value, as a reminder of our social and industrial heritage. Durham County Council is keen to promote the
centre, using a range of materials. Among these is an educational pack for use with secondary school GCSE pupils
(aged 14-16).

You have been invited to write the text for this pack. Your text should prepare the pupil for, and interest them in, their
forthcoming visit.

Write about 1100 words. Choose your own format and give a brief indication of your preferred layout, including any
illustrations that you wish to be used.


A national museum has decided to mount a special exhibition focusing on the experiences of servicemen in training at
the start of World War 2. The exhibition will display photographs, films, tape-recorded memories of ex-servicemen,
training manuals and other military memorabilia. As part of the souvenir material, the Museum has decided to publish
a short illustrated book which aims to give a vivid and memorable impression of the initial military training of the

You have been commissioned to write this text and have been given a file of material, written in the main by the
servicemen themselves, which gives a varied picture of military life in the early days of the war.

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Your task is to produce a semi-fictional, semi-documentary account of around 1100 words based on the experiences of
one serviceman, set in its social and historical context. You therefore have to invent an individual character and write a
fictional account of his training experiences based on the material in the file. You need not cover the whole of his
training, but are free to do so.

Below is the “General Mark Scheme” similar to that the examiners will be
using use to assess your answers


Editorial Writing essentially asks you to complete a task; it is not a question paper in the conventional sense of that
term. The examiner who marks your paper is effectively put in the role of editor, radio producer, publisher, information
officer, publicity agent, or whatever, and will judge your script according to the understanding you display of the task,
its purpose and its audience.

The strength and clarity of your overall conception of what you are trying to do will be of paramount importance, and it
is expected that a variety of general strategies and specific details of approach will be demonstrated.

One overriding single question is asked by the examiner of your writing:

“How effective would the script be for the intended user?”

It is important that you do not introduce any information content from outside the source material. If you
do, it will be disregarded by the examiner and it may incur a penalty in the final judgement of your grade.


The best scripts: the writing skills will be of high quality and scripts will display an appropriate tone and register
for the intended audience. Skills of selection, précis, pruning and re-presentation will be high. A high standard of
mechanical accuracy is to be expected. These scripts will demonstrate confident handling of the appropriate

Very good scripts: just miss getting into the highest band because of a flaw or mischance. These will be scripts
which show superior writing skills, good control and mechanical accuracy. They will have many of the qualities of a
top band answer.

Average scripts that show an even balance of strengths and weaknesses. Such scripts may show some of
the qualities of ones in the higher band, but they will lack their confidence and conviction. There may be some
mechanical errors.

Average scripts whose weaknesses will outweigh their strengths. They may be unbalanced in content or
dull and pedestrian in style. The writing may be rather unsophisticated and prone to mechanical error.

Scripts that have serious flaws. Such flaws may be characterised by a failure to submit much new or much re-
writing and by poor quality of presentation. There may be much carelessness and mechanical inaccuracy. You may
have shown little understanding of register or of the conventions of genre.

Scripts that show little coherence or structure, or which have seriously misinterpreted the task or
misjudged the audience. You may show very little understanding of register or of the conventions of genre.
Essays – rather than writing in the correct form – are likely to be found in this band. Such scripts may display a

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high degree of carelessness and mechanical inaccuracy.

Scripts that are little more than rudimentary attempts at the task. You have likely depended on cutting-
and-pasting almost entirely or on copying out large chunks of the original source material. You show minimal or
no understanding of the task, audience or conventions of the genre.

Scripts which are mere fragments.


These criteria are used to assess your work:

• Have you contributed to the creation of a new text? Is the text cohesive? E.g. Are any excerpts used adequately
(and syntactically) linked? Have excerpts been contextualised where necessary? Is there a title, an introduction, a
• Have editorial features been used such as sub-headings, notes, instructions, where necessary?
• Has the reader been guided through the text? What is the proportion of the source material to the candidate’s own
• Is the text coherent?
• Has it something worthwhile to say?
• Is it leading somewhere useful and is it obvious that it is doing so?
For example:
• Has the selection of material been guided by some well considered principle?
• Have you put together a coherent explanation, argument or a narrative, if appropriate?
• Have you kept the task clearly in mind throughout the whole script?

• Is the tone appropriate for your reader and the context?
For example:
• Have you shown control over your use of language?
• Has the source material been glossed, simplified, paraphrased, – where necessary?
• What communication strategies have you employed?


Some important general criteria may be set out in the form of questions:

1. Have you understood/partly understood/generally understood/fully understood the purpose of the assignment?
2. Have you composed a new text hardly at all/partly/in the main/ completely?
3. Have you shown awareness of the specified audience not at all/occasionally/mainly/in a sustained way?
4. Are you in control of the form in which the text is presented weak/occasionally effective/mainly achieved/sustained
5. Is the blending of your own writing and that of the selected source material very uneven/occasionally
smooth/mainly smooth/fluent throughout?
6. Is any shortfall or excess of words a serious deficiency/a moderate but redeemable excess/a small deficiency?
7. Is the range of source material selected excessively narrow (less than 25%); somewhat restricted (less than 50%);
adequately representative (50-65%); comprehensive (65% and over)?
8. Is the quality of your own expression seriously inadequate to the task/ sometimes effective/generally effective but
with occasional lapses of style/wholly successful?
9. Is the sequencing and overall structure of information and argument not discernible/clear in part/generally clear but

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slightly flawed/clear throughout?
10. Is your mechanical accuracy in the use of English seriously unreliable/generally reliable, given examination


Shown below is an actual exam answer and the examiner’s comments on it. As far as possible the student’s answer
has been printed as it appeared (including spelling and grammatical errors). NOTE THAT WHEN THIS QUESTION WAS


Parklands, a registered nursery school for children between the ages of
2 and 5 years, is in the process of compiling an information pack for parents whose children are already enrolled, or who are about
to enrol, at the nursery. This pack is intended to give parents an insight into day care and nursery education and also to give them
confidence in Parklands.

You have been asked to contribute to the pack by writing the following two sections:
• Safety in the nursery
• Play

You should provide information in an attractive and interesting way that aims to meet the needs of the intended audience. You should
write approximately 1100 words in total. The sections should be of roughly equal length. Briefly indicate your layout requirements.

Your text should be accompanied by a commentary in which you explain some of the significant choices and decisions you have
made in writing it. The commentary should be approximately 150-200 words in length.



We at Parklands realise that safety is paramount to our parents. We pride ourselves on our inspection reports which
you can always find pinned to the noticeboard in the reception area. Safety should not only be about protection within
the Nursery School but also protection from external factors as well. This is why the nursery school is inspected
regularly to make sure your children are safe.

Naturally, the school is registered with the local authority because, like most nursery schools, we feel that The job of
looking after other people’s children is a very important one. [cut out from text] Therefore, because we have been
registered, we have been approved by the Local Authority. Both our premises and our staff have been inspected to
make sure that they are suitable for your child. Safety on the premises includes the following features:
• access to the garden, safety within it and access to the roads. (For example,
our pond is fenced in and children are not able to gain unsupervised access
to any road)

[cut out from text and edited]

• outside play area as well as providing an area for the children to run free

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is supervised at all times and is surrounded by a high wooden fence so children
cannot get out and unauthorised people cannot enter.
All locks are childproof and everything surrounding the children is child-safe.


The Childrens Act 1989 sets down guidlines which we must adhere to so that you, as parents, can be assured that
your children are suitably provided for. The Guidlines set out the following ratios between child and carer:

Age Child: Carer

Over 2 & under3 4:1
Over 3 & under 5 -8:1
[cut out from text]

At Parklands, because our clients are aged between two and five our ratio varies from four children to a carer up to
eight children per carer. The children are split into two age groups; the two and three year olds and the four and five
year olds so that they are communicating and interacting with children of a similar age.


Guidelines recommend that at least

half of the staff should have a
relevant qualification; either in
child care - NNEB or B ‘TEC, early
years education or social work

[cut out from text]

We make sure that those who do not have acredited qualifications are trained in all of the basic skills required to care
for your child proficiently and competently.


It is important that your child experiences a broad range of experiences both at home and at Nursery School which is
why we organise regular outings not only to the local library but also to farms, nature reserves and other places of
educational interest. Therefore it is important that we have secure transport for all the children.

We actively encourage the participation of you, as parents, on these outings as it is both a fun day out for you and
your child. We rely on parental help to organise transport at these outings as we believe that safe transport is best left
in the hands of the parents.

All of these guidlines show you, the parent, exactly the standard of our services and shows us the high standards
expected of us from you
[photograph p. 23 source material inserted here]

At this stage in your child’s development play should be both fun and educational. Nursery schools are similar to play
groups in that they:

• Are an excellent introduction to formal school life.

• Provide toys and facilities the child may not have access ‘to at home,
• Allow children to mix at an age (3 years) when they are ready for cooperative play.

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• Provide learning opportunities.
• Encourage independence and allow a short separation period for child and parent.
• Provide activities and games, under the guidance of a trained person, for the age range of the children.
[cut out from text]

As ours is a nursery school for children of a fairly wide age range they require different environmental stimuli, for
example there are differences in both understanding and communication between two and five year olds therefore
letting them play together would prove frustrating for both children.
Just as the child’s home surroundings should be stimulating so to should the nursery school. Our ethos includes the
following points:

• Opportunities for play should be provided and play should not be discouraged because it is messy.
• Playing with natural substances, such as sand, soil and water, will help a child to understand the surrounding
• A child should not be left alone for long periods to become bored and lonely.
• Communication is important, even before there appears to be any response.
[cut out from text]

We encourage craft activities such as leaf printing, sand painting, painting stones and making creatures out of stone.

[picture from p. 3 of source material inserted here]

This stonecraft monster was made from various sized stones glued together with felt for the features.

Our play facilities include:

Farm set
Play people
Dressing up clothes
Picture pairs
Picture dominoes
Story tapes
Play people
Floor-mat layout
[cut out from text]

All of which appeal to children aged between two and five. We also encourage to use their imaginations to conjur up
new games and activities which they can play.


Although the National Curriculum is specifically geared towards those in compulsory education from around five years
of age to sixteen, the activities participated in at nursery closely resemble the curriculum taught in the reception class
at infants school.

At the Parklands we not only provide an atmosphere of fun but also an atmosphere of learning through play for
example at Key Stage Level 1 the child should be able to:

Copy, continue and devise repeating patterns involving one digit numbers represented
by objects/apparatus or one digit numbers.
The examples given are:
Continue a threading bead pattern: red, red, blue, red, red, blue...

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[cut out from text]

At the Parklands one of our many activities includes just that. Therefore, you can be assured that your child is learning
through play and playing through learning.

For further information please contact Mrs. Jean Meadowhall on (01923) 714811 or feel free to visit us at:

‘Parklands’, 12 Harrow Lane, DORSET, DS99 OPQ


• Info, pack for parents of children enrolled or to enroll
• insight into daycare + nursey ed + confidence in PARKLANDS
• write sections: a) Safety
b) Play
• Layout
AUDIENCE: Parents already enrolled + about to enroll PURPOSE: TO PERSUADE + To inform
SAFETY: (2-5 yr olds) MENTION: Davcare + Children Act
1. General Principles
2. Requirements of registration
3. fact that they are registered
4. Fit premises
5. Qualifications
1. Craft project ideas as examples of what goes on
2. (PI4 Books for under 5 + toys for under 5
3. link Nursery School Play has to Nat. Curr

• Bullet Points
• Short sections Pictures, bullet point
lists in boxes
Who am I talking to?: PARENTS


This script has been selected to show what a good, though not outstanding, candidate can achieve in the examination.
It is not a script without faults, but nonetheless, it remains one that is securely within the top band. These minor
weaknesses appear early in the script, and they are easily remedied. There was little point in the candidate cutting out
and pasting in “the job of looking after other people’s children is a very important one” when it would have been just
as easy and less time consuming for her to have written out the words. The extract that she cut out on the ratio of
children to carers should have been more carefully edited as it deals with children both under two and over five. A
third minor weakness was that the candidate repeated information about the premises having been inspected. Other
than these and one or two other minor blemishes, a very competent script was produced.

As can be seen from the rough work, the answer was very thoroughly planned. The candidate reminded herself of the
task, its audience and purpose and selected the material she was to include very carefully. Unlike many candidates,
she was very careful to adhere to the word limits indicated in the question and this made for a compact and easily
digestible piece for parents to read.

One of the marks of a good candidate is knowing what to omit from the answer and this can be seen to good effect in
her section on play. She resisted the temptation to launch into an extended account of child development and the
importance of play in developing both social and linguistic skills, instead restricting herself to writing about similarities

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between nursery schools and play groups and the ethos behind Parklands.

She wrote specifically about Parklands in that this nursery had separate groups for the younger and the older children.
Other illustrations of her ability to select material are her use of the stonecraft monster - other candidates included the
complete set of instructions for making one - and her short list of toys and “play facilities” that Parklands enjoys.
Similarly, her account of the relationship between nursery schools and the National Curriculum was admirably succinct
and clear. Whenever she used material from the source file, she ensured that it was well-integrated with her own
writing. For example: “Nursery Schools are similar to play groups in that they are an excellent introduction to formal
school life ....”.

She also edited cut-out material that she used, where necessary. For example, “access to a garden, safety within it
and access to roads. (For example, ponds should be fenced in and children not be able to gain unsupervised access to
any road)” became “access to the garden, safety within it and access to the roads. (For example, our pond is fenced in
and children are not able to gain unsupervised access to any road.)” Small changes in extracted material like this are
often all that are needed, but they can demonstrate the difference between an able and an average candidate.

Her section on ‘Safety’ began reassuringly and with a personal touch: “We at Parklands realise that safety is
paramount to our parents. We pride ourselves on our inspection reports which you can always find pinned to the notice
board in the reception area” and, as in “Play”, the quality of this section of her script demonstrated itself not only in
what she wrote but also in what she omitted. No statements about racial and cultural discrimination and no long and
semi-bureaucratic extracts from “Day-care and the Children Act”. She also made a sensible distinction between
“protection within the Nursery School” and “protection from external factors as well.”

In short, the script used a range of source material; there was a clearly structured agenda and a clear sense of
format; the text was not dense and the language used would appeal to a wide-range of parents; it met the criterion
for length and did not slavishly copy from the source material. All in all, it was a very good answer that would have
been both informative and reassuring for its intended audience.


• Paragraphs coloured pen)
• Columns • Pictures, logos, etc. (this is not an art exam – a
• White space label will do!)
• Headings • Bullet points
• Underlining • Boxed summaries
• Capitals • Flow charts (or other ways of directing reading,
• Different print sizes and fonts (types) e.g. points radiating from central point)
• Different colours (indicate this if you don’t have a


• Pictures, logos, etc. • Capitals
• Colours • Different print sizes and font (types)
• Short paragraphs • Highlighted quotes
• Columns • Bullet points (lists marked with initial dots, stars,
• White space (blank space between text, pictures, etc.)
etc.) • Boxed summaries
• Headings • Flow charts
• Underlining


• Presenter’s voice (introduction or summary - like headings)
• Different voices (variety and interest - like paragraphs and print types)
• Music (rest for brain - like white space BUT NOTE. silence and long pauses are never used)
• Sound effects (create mood and background - like illustrations)

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• Live interview
• Edited interview take out questions, can be over top of music
• Voice piece single person speaking
• ‘Vox-pop’ edited highlights of variety of voices/opinions
• Scripted links ‘front cue’ - acts as a headline
‘links’ - set scene, summarise (clear, impartial,
‘back announcement’ - rounding off information
• Sound effects ‘actuality’ - recording of the sounds of a real place
‘relevant music’

Summary of radio style:

• Colloquial - but not necessarily chatty
• Personal - as if addressing one person
• Simple - but not simple minded
• Active
• Confident
Try listening to a short radio documentary.
Note the station and topic. Assess the audience.
Comment on the style used. Was it:
— colloquial? — simple? — confident?
— personal? — active?

Different radio styles are determined by:

• audience
and to a lesser extent by:
• topic
It is important to be aware of the difference between the style of Radio 1 and Radio 4. Editorial Writing tasks tend to
focus on Radio 4 or local radio, so it is a weakness, in this case, to use the more chatty and informal style of Radio 1
or commercial radio stations.


Emotional appeals
• Asking opinion of listener
• Offering oneself as surety
• Complimenting one’s listeners
• Threatening disaster
• Disparaging the opinions of opponents
• Mocking opponent by exaggerating
• Using an emotional exclamation
• Summarising in an impassioned manner

Formal techniques
• Metaphor and simile
• Alliteration
• Balanced phrases/use of opposites in balanced phrases
• Listing and building up to a climax
• Repetition
• Emotive words

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Metaphor = Describing one thing in terms of another
‘Ambition should be made of sterner stuff. ‘
Onomatopoeia = A word whose sound reflects the meaning, e.g. “Hush!”
Hyperbole (or “Overstatement”) = exaggeration for effect, e.g. “A million times “No!”
Litotes = Understatement for effect (Doomed Apollo mission) “Houston, we have a problem”.
Antithesis = the placing together of opposites to create emphasis or effect
Alliteration = the repeating of initial sounds, e.g. ‘a tapestry of talents in a classless society, ending false and futile

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