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How Writers Achieve Effects

Style, tone, grammar, punctuation, genre, rhetorical devices - an excellent writer must master these 'tools of the trade' to achieve the desired effect in any piece of writing. Consider the types of writing you most enjoy reading - what makes them good? What if they were written by other authors - how would they be different? Take time to notice the techniques used by writers and try to achieve similar effects in your own writing by experimenting with them.

Here's a quiz on the subject to get you started.

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  1. Which of the following would be written to inform?
    Many types of writing include elements which are informative. Some types of writing (such as a school prospectus) aim to portray the facts fairly without seeking to influence people by using biased language
  2. Which of the following could reasonably be expected to entertain its readers?
    Not all autobiographies are entertaining, of course, but many authors do try to tell entertaining stories about their past
  3. What does 'register' mean?
  4. An author who is aware of audience and purpose will take care in choosing his or her...
  5. Which of the following best describes 'tone' in a piece of writing?
  6. What effect is created by the use of anecdotes?
  7. Which of the following texts would be most likely to contain exclamatory sentences?
    Exclamatory sentences end in exclamation marks - people tend to use these more frequently in less formal / personal writing, such as e-mail
  8. Which of the following texts would be most likely to contain interrogative sentences?
    Interrogative sentences end in question marks. Adverts often use questions - 'Are you tired of clothes coming out of the wash almost as dirty as they went in? Then try....'
  9. What effect is created by the use of short paragraphs and sentences?
    Journalists often use short sentences and paragraphs, as well, to make their writing easier to understand quickly
  10. What is the effect created by the use of rhetorical questions?
    Rhetorical questions presume, very cleverly, that all reasonable people would agree and that there is no need, therefore, to state the answer

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