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English

Need to know

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Types of text

In the Close reading part of your Standard Grade examination, you'll have to read and answer questions on a piece of text. The texts you will be faced with fall into two types -

Fiction and non- fiction. You'll find it easier to understand these different types of writing if you're familiar with the features of each.

Fiction texts

Fictional texts are stories, so will have all the features of imaginative writing. The piece of text could be taken from a novel or short story.

Here are some of the key features of these texts -

  • the setting of the story (where it takes place) will be made clear early on in the passage
  • there will be characters - probably one or two main ones
  • there will be a main idea (a theme) explored in the passage
  • the main idea will relate to the main characters - they will be mostly involved with the theme
  • something will happen to the characters or the extract will lead up to something happening
  • the story is usually written in the 3rd person
  • language will be used imaginatively. The writer will employ literary techniques to put across her or his ideas.

All the skills you have been using to discuss literature texts throughout your Standard Grade course will be put to good use in the Close Reading part of the examination. You will have read lots of fiction texts during your 3rd and 4th year. Keep reading as much as you can in the run-up to the examination. Think about what techniques the writer has used to put across her or his ideas.

Non-fiction texts

Non-fiction texts include newspaper articles, magazine articles, information leaflets, diaries, travel writing and autobiographies. Any one of these could be the text in your Credit, General or Foundation Reading paper.

Non-fiction texts, of whatever genre, all have one thing in common - they are based on facts - things that have actually happened or are true.

Let's look at the key features of some non-fiction texts -

  • present information and ideas about a topic
  • present a point of view about the topic
  • layout might include headlines, subheadings, pictures
  • the main idea is introduced early on in the passage and then developed in subsequent paragraphs
  • the style of writing will be straightforward and factual, especially in newspaper extracts
  • if it is an extract from an autobiography or a diary, it will be a personal piece of writing recording thoughts and feelings about life experiences and will use more imaginative language. It will be written in the 1st person
  • if it is a piece of travel writing, a place will be described in detail and the writer's feelings about that place will be made clear. It will be written in the 1st person.

Non-fiction texts are all around us in the form of newspapers, magazines, advertisements, junk mail - the list is endless! Read as much as you can so that you become familiar with this type of writing. When you are reading, think about what techniques the writer has used to put across their information in an interesting way.

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Watch

Atlantic rower Debra Veal.

Class Clips

Video clip - an example of a response to descriptive writing

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