Reading comprehension

Language and structure

Explainer Video

Tutor: Kat


Language and structure

​​In a nutshell ​

When writing a piece of writing, authors pay attention to the structure of a text - how it is arranged and how the features fit together. In this summary you will learn how to use and the effect of paragraphs, sentences and word order. 


The opening of a piece of writing is important because it's an opportunity to grab your attention and to tell you what the topic is about. For example, "Once upon a time..."  or "Guess what happened to me yesterday!" sound like the beginning of interesting stories. 


Writers often use different sentence lengths to create different effects - the position of the subject in a sentence can influence how readers react to it. 


Changing the position of the word 'lion' alters how the reader is surprised by the appearance of the lion. 

  1. Tom and Jane were walking down the street and talking about their favourite shows when they saw a lion. 
  2. A lion was seen down the street by Tom and Jane when they were walking and talking about their favourite shows. 


As with sentences, writers use different paragraph lengths to deliver information to a reader. Short paragraphs can be used to force readers to focus on a specific action or piece of information or to surprise them. Longer paragraphs can be used to provide readers with more information.


Conjunctions are words that link two or more words, phrases, clauses or sentences together. Examples of conjunction words are and and but. 


I went to the park and​ bought myself an ice cream. 

I wanted to swim today but I looked outside and it was raining. 


Punctuation helps writers communicate better by reducing confusion for the reader. A full stop, for example, stops two unrelated sentences being read as one long sentence. Punctuation maintains structure in a piece of writing. 

  1. Let's eat Mummy. (This sounds like the author is suggesting that we eat mummy!) 
  2. Let's eat, Mummy. (The comma reduces confusion and makes it clear the writer is asking mummy to join them for a meal.) 


Just like the opening, the ending of a piece of writing is important because it's the final opportunity for a writer to make an impression on a reader. Writers can chose to end their writing with an emotional word, sentence or paragraph to leave the reader with something memorable. "They lived happily ever after," is an example of a satisfying ending. 

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FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions

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