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Writing to advise

Writing to advise

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Tutor: Esinam

Summary

Writing to advise

​​In a nutshell

Writing to advise is all about giving advice to the reader. In this summary, you will learn how to use your writing skills effectively in order to advise others.



Getting started 

Writing to advise is a little bit like giving instructions as you are suggesting what someone should do in an informative and helpful way. Before starting to write, you need to be clear on the form, audience and tone of your piece.


Example

Imagine you are an agony aunt or uncle for your school magazine. Students at your school can write to you with their issues, which you do your best to advise them on. 


FORM

Magazine column

AUDIENCE

Students at your school - Your advice is published in the school magazine so other students who may have the same issues will also be able to read it​

TONE

Confident but friendly and understanding



Structure

It is important that you structure your advice well, and each paragraph should have a new point. Before writing anything, it is best to plan out your advice in a logical order. When you are writing paragraphs, link your ideas together using connectives. Avoid using connectives that are too mechanical, and try to use a variety of time connectives to guide your reader through what you are advising them to do.


Example

Instead of this...

Use this...

First
To begin with
Secondly
After that
Next
Once you have achieved that


Sentence variety

When writing to advise, it is important to consider your sentence structure and types. Varying your sentence structure is necessary to keep the writing interesting. Try to include some shorter sentences that are catchy and interesting so that the reader feels advised and encouraged. 


Empathetic and instructional sentences

These are used to demonstrate to the reader that you understand the issue. Anecdotes are useful when empathising with the reader as you can communicate with them that you have been in a similar situation and can relate to how they feel. 


However, when offering specific advice, use instructional sentences that use imperative language to give these instructions. Imperative language is language used to give an order or prompt someone to do something. Try to maintain the friendly tone so that the reader does not feel patronised or like you are telling them off.


Example

EMPATHETIC SENTENCE

INSTRUCTIONAL SENTENCE

I know just how hard it is to make new friends. When I first joined this school, I ate lunch alone for the first few days! But after joining Musical Theatre club I found people who were interested in similar things to me and was able to make some good friends!
Before you decide to give up on making new friends, you should take up a new sport or join a club. You will most likely meet people that have something in common with you, and it is easier to build a friendship from there.



Language

Using second person narrative and directly addressing the reader as 'you' is important as it makes them feel like you are speaking directly to them about an issue that they need help with. Use clear, simple language when writing to advise as this will make your advice clear to follow and understand. 


However, using technical terms and formal language will make your advice sound more authoritative. Your tone needs to be firm but friendly when writing to advise. An easy way to do this is to include a friendly subordinate clause before you give your piece of advice.


Example

"Although talking to new people can be awkward and uncomfortable at times, you must make an effort to initiate conversation and speak to new people at school."


Modal verbs

As you will be making suggestions and giving orders, you will need to use a variety of modal verbs. Modal verbs affect other verbs within a sentence by creating a sense of possibility or necessity.


Modal verb

examples

Could
You could speak to an adult, such as a parent or teacher, about how you are feeling.
Should
You should try to focus on being yourself.
Must
You must remember that making friends takes time.

 

Credibility

When writing to advise, remember to write like you are an expert! You need to communicate in a way that shows your confidence. This gives your writing credibility and can make the reader trust your advice. Using evidence such as facts and statistics can show the reader that you know what you are talking about and can convince them to take your advice.


Example

"76% of students felt anxious about starting their new school because they were unsure how to make new friends. However most of these students find that making friends is not as bad as they thought it would be"



Conclusion

Bring your piece of writing to a close by reminding the reader of the key points you have made and encouraging them to give them a go.

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Exercises

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FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions

How do I structure a piece of writing to advise?

What type of language do I need to use when writing to advise?

How do I write to advise?

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