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Writing to inform

Writing to inform

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Summary

Writing to inform

​​In a nutshell

The aim of writing to inform is to teach the reader something new by giving them facts about a topic. Informative writing pieces can come in the form of letters, adverts, brochures, newspaper articles and autobiographies. In this summary, you will learn how to write informatively.



Getting started

Imagine you are a journalist for your school's newspaper and the editor has asked you to write an article about a new planet with friendly alien life that has just been discovered. Before writing anything, you need to carefully consider your purpose, form, audience and language.


Purpose

Why the article is being written.
To provide a clear, concise, factual, unbiased record of what happened.

Form

The style of informative writing.
In this example it is a newspaper article, but it could be a leaflet or a brochure. 

Audience

Who the article is being written for.
The readers of your school newspaper (your classmates and teachers).

Language

The language, vocabulary and tone required for this piece of writing.
Your language and tone must be appropriate for your intended audience. 



Structuring an informative piece

When writing to inform, your ideas should be organised in a way that presents the facts to the reader in a way they can easily follow. 


Tip: A simple way to structure this is by using the five W's and an H (what, when, where, who, why and how). This technique ensures that you are prioritising the context for the reader by providing them with exactly what they need to know. 


Example

What

Summary of what has happened, which in this case is the discovery of a new planet with friendly alien life.

When

When was this planet discovered?

Where

Where this planet was discovered?

Who

Who was the planet discovered by?

Why

Why is the discovery important?

How

How the discovery of the planet could affect life as we know it


Each paragraph must be brief and concise and have a clear topic sentence that expresses the main idea of the paragraph. Your paragraphs should then include lots of detail to provide the reader with a clear understanding of the topic that is being addressed. Don't forget to make your writing interesting and lively to keep the reader engaged.



CRADLE

This mnemonic device is a useful way to remember the five key features of writing to inform. Whatever the topic is, be sure to remember to include: Connectives, Rhetorical questions, Anecdotes, Direct address, Language and Evidence.


Connectives

Connectives combine one part of text to another. Time and place connectives are used to ensure the reader is aware of when and where things are happening.


Example

Time connectives

Place connectives

Firstly
Not too far from
After that
Between
Suddenly
Close to
Eventually
Nearby
After a while
Beside


"The astronauts retuned from space on Thursday afternoon and were given the weekend to rest and recover from the voyage into outer space. After that began a series of press interviews all over the country as masses of space fanatics gathered to hear first-hand accounts of man's first interaction with alien life."


Rhetorical questions

Using rhetorical questions can be quite useful in getting your reader to stop and think about the information you have just presented.


Example

"There have been a number of UFO sightings throughout history. And today we have witnessed the discovery of an alien planet and extra-terrestrial life. My question is, what else is out there?"


Anecdotes

Including anecdotes in informative writing can create a connection between yourself and the reader and can make them perceive you as relatable and reliable.


Example

"I remember watching 'E.T' for the first time when I was 11 years old, and since then I have always been curious about what lies beyond."


Direct address

Use the second person (you, your, yours) when cautioning or advising the reader against something in your informative piece of writing. Use the third person (he, she, they, it) to refer to the people involved and a combination of past and present tense to describe the events that have happened or are happening.


Language

Writing with clear language that is appropriate to your topic and audience will create an informative tone that highlights the factual nature of your text to the reader. Using a combination of positive and negative language is sometimes necessary to give the reader the full picture and an accurate account of the situation. 


Example

"The alien life discovered on Zandromeda has been reported as "friendly" and "welcoming" by the astronauts that landed on this new planet. However, leading astrologist Carla Harris claims that "we need to study these extraterrestrial beings a little closer before assuming that they only have good intentions.'"


Evidence

You should focus on facts rather than feelings when writing to inform as the reader would be reading your piece of writing to get information on a topic, not just your personal opinion. You should provide the reader with facts and statistics that are relevant to the topic which will act as evidence to support the factual nature of the information you are presenting and will make your piece of writing come across as a reliable source.


Example

'An estimated 6000 astronauts applied for a spot on the V-18 Spaceship, but only eight were lucky enough to make the final cut. However, despite months of rigorous preparation, no amount of training could have prepared them for coming face to face with extra-terrestrial beings!'


'In a recent survey taken by our school's science society, 65% of students believe that aliens exist.'

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Exercises

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FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions

What type of language should I use when writing to inform?

What devices can be used when writing to inform?

What is the aim of writing to inform?

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