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Genre, audience, purpose and style

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To be clear about the type of writing you are aiming for, you need to identify and understand four key areas - genre, audience, purpose and style. Make these part of your planning when you start to write a non-fiction text.

Genre, audience, purpose and style - or GAPS!

With each piece of writing you will be tested on your understanding of genre, audience, purpose and style, so you need to be clear about the kind of writing you are aiming for - who exactly are you writing for and what you are trying to tell them?

For example, your text might be trying to:

  • change someone's opinion
  • encourage someone to do something in particular
  • make sure your audience knows and understands something

The examiner wants to see that you can adapt the way you write to meet different genres, audiences and purposes.

Identifying GAPS

When it comes to the writing tasks in the exam, your first step is to clearly identify:

  • the genre - what type of text should you be writing, eg a magazine article
  • the audience who will be reading your text, eg teenagers
  • the purpose of your text, eg to convince people to do more sport
  • your chosen writing style, eg informal

Make notes on these four areas and use them to help plan your writing. Show that you understand how each of these will persuade the examiner to give you marks.

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