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Argue, persuade and advise


Writing to advise

Once you can argue and persuade, it should be easy to advise. The trick is to be gentle - it's no good pushing your ideas at your readers, or trying to impress them. Instead, you should come across as friendly, as someone who just wants to help.

A student on their first day at school

For instance, imagine you're writing to advise someone in Year 9 who is moving house and has to change schools. We know that it won't be easy - they'll have to make new friends and cope with all sorts of changes. So you need to be sympathetic and give some ideas you think could help.

The first thing might be to plan each main idea in a separate paragraph because it's easier to follow like this. Then think about how you want to present your ideas. It might be fine to give some information as an order, such as:

If you're not sure what to do on the first day, ask someone.

You can add information to this - perhaps explaining why and giving an example of what to do, so now your paragraph looks like this:

If you're not sure what to do on the first day, ask someone. Most people will be glad to help and it's the quickest way to make friends. You can ask a teacher, but it might be better to ask one of the other pupils. Choose a friendly face if you can, and don't be shy - it might be their first day too.

It is not just the information that makes this a good piece of advice, it's also the style. It includes words like "might" and "can". These make the ideas softer - they are not in your face and pushing you to agree, they just guide you. And they are very simple to use, so make sure you include words like "should, can, could, might, ought to and may" - each one turns an idea into a piece of advice.



Argue, persuade and advise activity

Want to get your own way? Try this activity to learn some techniques



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