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English

Language in non-fiction texts

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Language in non-fiction texts

In a nutshell 

Authors make language choices that reflect the purpose of their text. This summary will explore the different kinds of language choices authors make in non-fiction texts with examples to help you recognise and understand them. 



Language choices and the purpose of non-fiction texts 

Knowing how to identify and analyse language choices will allow you to understand the purpose of a non-fiction text. This will change the way you interpret and react to it. Some examples of the purposes of non-fiction texts include to inform, persuade, argue, entertain, instruct or review. 


Example 

The language used in an advertisement, such as attention-grabbing slogans and strong positive adjectives, reflects the author's aim of trying to sell you something. This contrasts with the formal and technical language used in an academic journal, which is aims to inform. 



Literary techniques 

Authors also use different ways of formatting language, called literary techniques, to achieve the aims of their text. Here is a list of literary techniques to look out for in non-fiction texts. 



Alliteration 

Alliteration is the repetition of the first letter or sound of words that are grouped close together. 


Example 

A magazine advertises their advice column as 'refreshingly real and relatable'. 



Tricolon

A tricolon is a group of three words or phrases in a sentence used to emphasise the author's point. 


Example 

The author of an online blog reviews a new face wash, stating that 'this product truly left my face feeling clean, refreshed and moisturised'.



Repetition  

Repetition involves a word or phrase being used multiple times close together to emphasise the author's point.


Example 

In a recount of an explorer's experience climbing Mount Everest, they write 'at the beginning it was daunting, really daunting... but I knew if I put my mind to it, nothing could stop me, nothing at all.'



Hyperbole 

Hyperbole is the use of over-the-top words or statements to highlight a point. Hyperbolic language should not be taken literally. 


Example 

An advertisement for an outdoor furniture company states that buying their new garden sun loungers will be 'the best and most life-changing decision you will ever make'.



Statistics 

Statistics like a fact or piece of data from a study might be used to give a text more credibility and authority by supporting the author's point. 


Example 

In an online article about the detrimental effects of climate change, it is pointed out that 'Arctic sea ice is lost at a rate of almost 13% per decade'.



Expert quote  

A direct quote or opinion from an expert might be used by an author to support their claims. 


Example 

In a biography about the life of Elvis Presley, the author quotes a well-respected music expert who states that "Elvis had by far the biggest cultural impact on American music in the 20th century".



Emotive language 

Emotive language involves the use of specific descriptive words to purposely provoke emotion in readers. 


Example 

A news report describing a pensioner being scammed refers to the crime as 'disgusting and heart-wrenching'.


Want to find out more? Check out these other lessons!

Non-fiction text types

Context of non-fiction texts

Structure in non-fiction texts

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

FAQs

  • Question: What are some potential purposes of a non-fiction text?

    Answer: Some examples of the purposes of non-fiction texts include to inform, persuade, argue, entertain, instruct or review.

  • Question: What literary techniques are used in non-fiction texts?

    Answer: Some of the literary techniques used in non-fiction texts include alliteration, tricolons, repetition, hyperbole, statistics, expert quotes and emotive language.

  • Question: How do I understand the purpose of a non-fiction text?

    Answer: Knowing how to identify and analyse language choices will allow you to understand the purpose of a non-fiction text.

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