Recognizing texts

The text you read and the text you write will be adapted to its situation and its intended purpose.

It may be important to judge what kind of text you are working with and to look for clues that will help you decide what kind of text it is.


Here are examples of different kinds of texts:


Advertisement text

An advertisement text strives for a light, upbeat tone. It may also address you directly, or personally. “You” and “your” are often be used as the advertiser is striving to speak to you. Of course some advertisements may want to use a more serious tone, but common to all advertisements is that the language will be accessible and focused on you. By this we mean that it will be fairly simple so everyone can understand it.


Advertising text aims to make us buy one product instead of a competitor's. The language is full of emotive words. For example:

  • adjectives: bold, bright, new, good, better, best, fantastic, free, fresh, splendid, great, delicious, wonderful
  • evaluative words: glamorous, sure, clean, special, crisp, fine, real, easy, extra, rich, safe, delicate, perfect, expert, lovely
  • simple verbs: make, taste, start, hurry, get, look, need, love, feel, ask for


So if you are comparing texts and one of them is an advertising text, look at the tone, choice of words, accessibility and the way the text addresses the reader.


Newspaper article

A newspaper article will also use fairly simple language because it is also appealing to a very wide audience. This means using short, direct words wherever possible. As a newspaper article is presenting facts, it will strive for an objective tone and will be more neutral in its approach. For example:


Advertising text: We hope you will like our new coffee brand.

Article: People were encouraged to taste the new coffee at the stand in the local store.


Newspaper news articles generally use short sentences and attempt to answer the basic questions beginning with the words: What, Why, When, How, Where and Who:

  • Who is being written about?
  • What happened?
  • Why did this happen?
  • When did it happen?
  • How and where did it happen?



An editorial is a statement or article that expresses an opinion rather than attempting to simply report news. Its language may be a little more demanding than a newspaper article, but it may still attempt to talk to you directly. It generally starts off by trying to capture the reader's attention, often with a shocking statement or perhaps by telling an anecdote.


The editorial is based on a “thesis”. This is the editorial writer's basic argument which he or she then attempts to prove. Having established the thesis, the editorial will present strong arguments to support it. Most likely the strongest argument will be saved for last, as that is what readers tend to remember most. It may conclude by restating the thesis and perhaps end with a call to action, a demand for action to be taken, a vision for the future or food for thought.



A review is an evaluation of a book, movie, drama or performance. The review does not attempt to re-tell the story. Writers of reviews generally use a lot of adjectives while they are evaluating, giving an opinion and recommending whether or not you should read the book or see the play or film.


If you are reviewing a novel you have read, skim through it and note the following points:

  • Main characters
  • Setting
  • Plot and themes
  • What you liked
  • What you found disappointing or did not agree with


For reviewing a film, drama or novel, ask the questions:

  • Did the characters come alive for you?
  • Were the characters believable?
  • Did the character/main characters develop?
  • Was the action well planned?
  • Could you picture the setting? Was the setting effective?
  • Did the plot of the film/play hold your attention?
  • Were there any confusing parts?
  • Was the ending believable and satisfying?
  • Did you enjoy the book/play/film?