Here are some of the important tips to write good articles:
Articles are usually written in Standard English, but colloquial sayings or phrases might be used to emphasise a point. Persuasive devices, such as rule of three, rhetorical questions and alliteration can be used to encourage the reader to agree with your point of view.
Here’s an extract from an article that tries to persuade the reader to eat a more balanced, healthy diet:
Eat Right: Live Longer
It has been scientifically proven that the less junk food a person consumes, the longer they are likely to live. So why isn’t everyone dumping the junk? Jordan McIntyre investigates.
Fast food equals fat
A staple part of twenty-first century British home-life is the weekly takeaway treat: finger-licking burgers, sticky ribs and crispy chicken wings are, for many, the normal Friday night feast. The average national calorie count in the UK is a whopping 4500 a day, a key factor in the obesity cases that are soaring. Fast food is packed with fat and obesity contributes to a range of health issues – most significantly heart disease and depression. So why aren’t we changing our lifestyles?
Short on time
Families these days are spending less and less time at home during the working week. School commitments, work meetings and extra-curricular activities mean that time is short and fewer people are prepared to put in the effort to prepare fresh, healthy meals.
And when time is tight, it seems we are even more willing to compromise our waistlines for a little bit of what we fancy – fast fatty food.
Eat yourself healthy
However, Georgia Thomas of the University of Food says, ‘I am convinced that it is possible to live a busy lifestyle AND prepare healthy, satisfying meals. It seems that people have simply got out of the habit of cooking. We are busy people; how do we reward ourselves? You guessed it – food.’ Britain clearly needs to shift the stodge, and fast.
The article uses a short, bold headline using alliteration to get the reader’s interest and present the topic of the article. The rhetorical question in the opening paragraph encourages the reader to challenge the topic. The subheadings direct the reader through the text, and act as mini headlines, drawing the reader’s attention. The writer uses hyperbole, and colloquial sayings to produce a lively, interesting article. This style of language is used throughout with phrases such as ‘little bit of what we fancy’ and ‘shift the stodge’ adding a conversational tone to the whole piece.
The final paragraph uses quotations from an expert to add credibility to the argument. You would expect the article to go on to explore how we can eat healthily and to conclude with an explanation of how easy it is to do this.
Descriptive language is used to help the reader feel almost as if they are a part of the scene or event being described. Description is useful because it helps readers engage with the world of the story, often creating an emotional response. It can help a reader visualise what a character or a place is like.
Here are some techniques and examples of how they can be used:
|Simile – a descriptive technique that compares one thing with another, usually using ‘as’ or ‘like’.
|The trees stood as tall as towers.
|Metaphor – a descriptive technique that names a person, thing or action as something else.
|The circus was a magnet for the children.
|Hyperbole – a use of obvious exaggeration for rhetorical effect.
|The sun scorched through the day.
|Personification – a metaphor attributing human feelings to an object.
|The sun smiled at the hills, ready to begin a new day.
|Pathetic fallacy – a type of personification where emotions are given to a setting, an object or the weather.
|The clouds crowded together suspiciously overhead as the sky darkened.
|Onomatopoeia – words that sound a little like they mean.
|The autumn leaves and twigs cracked and crunched underfoot.
|Oxymoron – a phrase combining two or more contradictory terms.
|There was a deafening silence
|Emotive language – language intended to create an emotional response.
|A heart-breaking aroma of death filled the air as he surveyed the devastation and destruction that had befallen them all.
In the example below, look at how the writer uses descriptive techniques to create a vivid setting for the reader and how the weather reflects the mood of the text.
The ground crumbled like sand under my feet as I heaved another step towards the summit. Looking below, the trees were dots to my squinting eyes in the midday heat. Beating down upon my back, the sun was relentless as I wiped the drips of salty sweat from my neckline. The silence of the chasm below was deafening; suddenly, eagles broke the silence and screeched above me in hunger.
The writing opens with a simile to show the texture of the ground. The sun is personified as it is described as ‘relentless’, giving it a ruthless personality. The silence is described as ‘deafening’, an oxymoron that helps to emphasise how unbearable the situation is for the character. Pathetic fallacy has been used here – the uncomfortable heat mirrors the character’s struggle as she continues on her journey. These descriptive techniques allow the reader to feel as if they are there and pull them into the story.
The structure of an article is usually in three parts:
If the aim of an article is to persuade the reader, then the opening and closing paragraph will outline the writer’s viewpoint and make it most memorable. Subheadings are sometimes used to signpost the content of each.
A compelling introductory paragraph is crucial for hooking your reader. Within the first few sentences, the reader will evaluate whether your article is worth reading in its entirety. There are many ways to start an article, some of which include:
Don’t assume your reader knows as much about your topic as you do. Think about the kinds of background information that your reader needs to understand the topic. Depending on the type of article, you might give a paragraph with background information before proceeding into your supporting evidence. Or, you might weave in this contextual information throughout your article.
Use eloquent and descriptive language to give the reader a good picture of what you’re writing about. Carefully choose descriptive verbs and precise adjectives.
Wrap up your article with a dynamic conclusion. Depending on your article, this might be a conclusion that empowers the reader. For example, if you’re writing an opinion piece about food labelling, you might convey to your readers how they can learn more about labelling.