2 What is Discursive Writing? Discursive Writing: This is the overall title for factual writing where you discuss ideas, express opinions and present evidence to justify your (or other peoples’) viewpoint.Discursive writing includes:Argumentative: where you present a balanced view on the topic.Persuasive: where you take a side and persuade the reader of your opinion.
3 Discursive Writing: Exam Questions There are always around 5 discursive essay tasks in every Standard Grade Exam paper.The key words in the task which indicate a discursive essay are discuss or give your views.
4 Discursive Writing: Exam Questions Here are some past examples you could plan essays for:2008: Education is about what we learn both inside and outside the classroom.Give your views.2007: What’s going on with our weather?Individuals need to take steps to tackle climate change. Give your views.2007: These days young people are unfairly treated by the media. Give your views.2006: Look at me! Is it more important to be an individual or to fit in with the crowd? Discuss.
5 Discursive Writing: Exam Questions Tasks tend to be centred around topics like:Education/schoolYoung people/youth cultureTechnologyEnvironmentRevision Tasks: Look through your Past Papers and decide which topic heading each task comes under.Are there any other possible topic headings?Do you think you could write convincingly on any or all of these topics?Plan essays for all these topics and read up about them so you have some convincing evidence and opinions to use in the exam.
6 What’s Expected in the exam Although you should research the topics you will not be expected to produce such detailed and accurate evidence and quotations etc. as you did for your folio discursive essay.The examiner will recognise that you cannot possibly recreate this standard in the exam and they will not be checking that the statistics or quotations you use are exactly correct (although don’t just make up nonsense!)They will be looking for how developed your reasoning is, your structure and the sophistication of your language.
7 Step by Step Guide Structure Introduction Arguments & counter argumentsConclusionLINKING: connectives and topic sentencesContentQuality ideasDevelopment of ideasSupporting evidenceFact and opinionStylePersuasive orargumentative?FormalPresent tenseRhetoricEmotive Language
8 Step by step in the Exam Step 1: Choosing your task. Pick something relevant to you.You are going to have to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of your issues, without the ability to do any reading or research, so it is best if you choose something in which you have a genuine interest and on which you have a genuine opinion.If you have revised and researched the topics listed previously, then you should have opinions and evidence for most of the questions which arise.
9 Step 2: Persuasive or argumentative? Where you give your personal opinion on a topic or issue, and endeavour to persuade the reader to your way of thinking. Works best if you are genuinely committed to the issue.ArgumentativeAllows you to consider, in a balanced way, the pros and cons of a particular topic or issue. Useful if you feel there are strong arguments on a least two sides of the issue or topic.
10 Step 3: Structuring your Essay Argumentative Essay Structure:Opening statement – giving OPINIONSeries of paragraphs:Arguments for x 3Arguments against x3Summary / ConclusionRestating opinion
11 Step 3: Structuring your Essay Persuasive Essay Structure:Opening statement – giving OPINIONSeries of paragraphs each containing the following:Counter-argumentRefute counter-argumentSummary / ConclusionRestating opinion
12 Step 3: Structuring your Essay Persuasive writing: how to structure each paragraph using counter-arguments.1. Give an opinion which goes against your argumentSome people believeIt has been said thatThere are those who say2. Make a statement say the opinion given is WRONG!However this is not the case.This is far from true.Clearly this is unfounded.
13 Step 3: Structuring your Essay 3. Give your own opinion (counter-argument)In actual factIn my opinionThe truth is thatIn my viewI believe / I feelI am convinced
14 Step 4: considering style General Language Features for all discursive writing:First Person (persuasive) OR third person (argumentative)Present TenseTopic SentencesConnectives (linking words and phrases – see next slide)Phrases to give own opinionRhetorical Questions – to pose the issue and involve readersSimiles / MetaphorsExclamations - to make dramatic point
15 Step 4: considering style USING CONNECTIVES1. To give sequence /structure to whole texte.g. firstly secondly, thirdly etc2. To connect CAUSE and EFFECT, linking points within paragraphse.g consequently, as a result, therefore3. To COMPARE and LINK DIFFERENT argumentse.g. however, on the other hand, but
16 Step 4: considering style PERSUASIVE TECHNIQUES: These techniques are mainly used in persuasive writing although they can sometimes in argumentative writing:Rhetorical questions: How could you possibly consider letting this poor dog die?Appeal directly to the audience: You have the power in your hands to save this dog.Emotive language: This poor, weak, defenceless creature should be spared.List in Threes: This poor, weak defenceless creature.Commands: Vote to save a life today!
17 Step 4: considering style Surely there is no one in this world who enjoys ploughing their way through a mountain of these, foul-tasting vegetables!Persuasive words/phrases: surely, obviously, undeniably, certainly.Imagery and exaggeration: mountain of, ploughing through.
18 Step 4: considering style Tone in a discursive essayDo notUse abbreviations (i.e./e.g./etc./UK/&) Contractions (isn't/don't/won't)Slang (e.g. bloke/geezer etc) Colloquial language (mate/bolshy etc.)DoWrite in proper, complete sentencesUse complete words and expressionsUse proper, standard EnglishYou should also try to make sure that you use a decent standard of vocabularyIn particular, try to avoid weak vocabulary such as 'get', 'got' and 'getting'. Relying on this level of vocabulary too often suggests that your power of expression is weak. Build up your word power!
19 Step 5: Opening your essay The following methods are suggestions. It is up to you to decide which style suits your writing best.Provocativee.g."It is difficult to see how anyone can approve of fox hunting."Balancede.g."Fox hunting is a subject about which people hold strongly contrasting views."Quotatione.g."Oscar Wilde once described fox hunting as 'The unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable.'."Illustratione.g."On a glorious autumn morning a terrified, exhausted animal is savaged to death by a pack of baying dogs while a group of expensively dressed humans encourage the dogs in their bloody work."Anecdotee.g."I have always detested fox hunting since I was almost physically sick while watching a television film of the kill at the end of a hunt."
20 Step 5: Opening your essay Rate the following introductions. Which is best? Why?My essay is going to be about living in the town and the country. In this essay I will look at both sides of the argument.Deciding whether to live in the town(city) or the countryside can be difficult, as there are many reasons why both locations might be attractive. However both choices also offer a number of disadvantages which can put people off.City life: bright, exciting, challenging. Rural life: peaceful, idyllic, relaxing. How do you choose between two such different locations when making the crucial decision of where to live?
21 Step 6: Using topic sentences Given the choice, many people prefer to live in the country. One reason for this is…The countryside also…Furthermore, living in the country also…Additionally, country living means that …On the other hand , many people feel that country living…But rural life is not always…However not everybody agrees that living in the country is… Another problem with living in the country is…
22 Step 7: Concluding your essay Rate the following concluions. Which is best? Why?To finish my essay I am going to sum up my ideas for and against living in the town and living in the country.In conclusion there are many good reasons to live in the town, but there are also many good reasons to live in the country. I think I would prefer to live in the town.To conclude, deciding whether to live in the town or the country is a very personal decision. Whilst some people adore the hustle and bustle of the city, other much prefer the tranquil world of the countryside. Having lived in both, I can honestly say that the many amenities and the ‘bright lights’ of the city are what appeal to me most. I definitely prefer living in the city.