Student Blog

Improve your English writing by asking three simple questions

A student asked me a question today in our teenager English writing class that sparked a conversation with the whole group. As I stood back and observed what was happening, I felt really good.

I have been working with this group for a couple of years now and they have practiced writing in English in many forms including debates, essays, poems and reports. Every new writing form needs is introduced by defining style, structure and content. And, because they are not normally a chatty bunch, I can’t be sure how much they really are taking in.

Which was exactly why the question was so good!

The students were given the task to write a film review of short film watched as part of our current cinema learning theme. We had just reviewed the elements of a good film review in terms of language and structure.

And the question was “So just to make sure. This is not the same as the poetry essay we just wrote, right? You know with the introduction, the three paragraphs and proper conclusion and stuff. This is the new way: telling people whether we think they should watch the movie.”

Which prompted another student to ask, “Yeah and we can be a more ourselves about saying what we think. Less formal and more normal. Right?”

Don’t you just love teenagers?” Less formal and more normal.”

To write well you need to adjust for purpose and audience.

It was a great discussion. The students were guiding themselves through the steps of adjusting their writing for purpose and for their audience which is key to successful writing.

We write for so different reasons and in so many different ways.   For example, we write for practical reasons to provide information in such as shopping lists, forms, postcards and letters. We also write to analyse, discuss or persuade in the form of essays and reviews. And then there is creative writing in the form of stories and poems.

So, if you are looking to improve your writing, before you write, ask yourself the following questions:

Why am I writing? Know what your purpose is. Know if you writing to inform or persuade or entertain.

What sort of writing am I doing? Different forms of writing have different forms. A letter set out like a shopping list would make for difficult reading.

Who am I writing for? Would you write the same way for your teacher as you do to your friends? Every audience has a certain set of expectations about how they want to how your message. Think about who might read your work.

Start with these three questions and you are well on your way to boosting your writing.

Oh. And stayed tuned for some “normal” film reviews coming up!

Submitted by Maura Hannon, November 13th, 2018

Checked and posted by Maura

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *