Answering style Q’s

Questions on the writer’s style have become more complex in recent years. However, at least they don’t leave you in a vacuum! Instead you are given some features and then asked to demonstrate that you can locate these elements and  discuss them, displaying a clear understanding of what they are, where they are in the text and how they work.

eg. 2014 Text 1

Ford’s writing is characterised by its engaging narrative, lyrical beauty and concrete realism. Based on your reading from paragraph three onwards of the above extract, to what extent do you think this statement is accurate? Refer to features of Ford’s writing style evident in the extract in support of your viewpoint.

You can also be asked to take a comparative approach where you examine two different styles of writing, decide which one you prefer and then defend your preference! So “In my opinion, this writer is better than this writer at making his point because….”

e.g. 2014 Text 2

In your opinion, which of the above novelists, Alan Warner or John Lanchester, more effectively conveys his point of view? Explain your answer with reference to features of style evident in both of their contributions.


Other sample questions on the writers style include:

1. Select three features of the writer’s style and comment on their effectiveness.

2. Do you find the style of writing in this article appealing?

3. What features make this an interesting piece of informative writing?

4. Identify 4 features of argumentative &/or persuasive writing & comment on their effectiveness.

5. Identify 4 elements of effective speech-writing & comment on their effectiveness.

6. Select the quotation used in the passage which the greatest impact on you and give reasons for your choice.


You must be able to distinguish between informative, persuasive and argumentative writing.

See the following article: Summary of Language Genres

Next you must be able to explain what makes each technique effective – this refers to both the effect the technique has on the reader and the impression of the writer this technique creates.

To see a list of techniques and a description of what makes each one effective you’ll need to download this file (Techniques.doc) – it’s too wide to put up as an article.

You might also want to look at this wikipedia article but a lot of the terms are overly complex and you don’t need to know most of them

For a discussion of some of the errors students make when answering style questions, see this article on Vivid Feckin’ Imagery

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