INFORM - EXPLAIN - DESCRIBE
Remember, to achieve these purposes you need to give more
You might INFORM someone (perhaps your teacher, or your avid
blog fans) about some new information or research results you have recently
To INFORM, you must
- Write clearly and distinctly.
- Address the reader directly.
- Plan a logical order for your ideas.
- Write well-structured paragraphs (i.e. PEE) and link
paragraphs together (Okay, okay, make that PEEL)
You might EXPLAIN
some new concept or idea or plan to your readers. You'd find some writing like this on websites
To EXPLAIN, you must:
- Write clearly and distinctly.
- Show or demonstrate.
- Develop detail to support your points.
- Use examples to illustrate your points.
- Pay attention to order -- step-by-step is usually logical.
- Arrange paragraphs sensibly.
You might DESCRIBE something really interesting to someone
who is not familiar with it. DESCRIBE is
one of the typical purposes on the IGCSE exams.
Read Nerdvark's descriptive writing here.
To DESCRIBE, remember you are not writing a story, but you
could imagine you are writing a descriptive passage from a longer story if it
makes it easier.
Imagine you are sitting in one location and observing
everything that goes on around you for a limited period of time, or walking
slowly through and observing everything that you pass.
Use imagery, which can include vivid verbs and adjectives,
and original figurative language
Pay attention to all five senses. What can you see? Hear? Smell? Feel? Taste?
ANALYZE -- COMMENT -- REVIEW
These are harder because they require higher-level thinking
skills, such as analytic thinking (obviously!), and evaluation.
You are often asked to ANALYZE on a long-answer test. Analyze the character of Huck Finn. Analyze the relationship between Othello and
Desdemona. Analyze the writer's use of
diction to create atmosphere. Analyze the
structure of DNA.
To ANALYZE, think in terms of how? why? what is the effect?
- Usually use the present tense, unless analyzing an author's
- Usually third person, as this is more academic and less
- Use evaluative vocabulary: This character is 'involving';
this story is 'engaging'
You may get more personal when you COMMENT. This is your reaction or response to
something. Many blogs are the writer's reaction or commentary on their life and experiences. Check out the most popular blog in the world today, The Huffington Post.
To COMMENT, you should give some background information
followed by your own opinion.
- Use some of the same techniques as for "REVIEW"
- Include your judgment -- effective or not and why?
- May use phrases like "I expected" or "I was
disappointed" or "It impressed me that..."
Finally, you REVIEW to share your opinion about something
someone else has produced, such as a movie, book, song, album, video game, app,
To REVIEW, you should show the strengths and weaknesses of
something. Your opinion, if well backed
up, could help others make a decision.
This might be a good career for you if you enjoy, for example, playing
video games and writing. Just look at all
the review websites out there, such as PC Gamer, which just happens to be Nardvark's favourite.
Again, you're using higher-level thinking skills: analyze,
give evidence, judge.
- Pros use third person.
It is less personal. Nobody cares
what Nardvark thinks, but if he writes something that appears to apply to
everyone, they might listen.
- Use valid connectives to show how your ideas connect
together: "as a result; however; consequently; therefore; although"
- We review things that can be read/played/watched/done again
and again, so usually use present tense.