When you are writing a review or comment piece, you will need to offer your own opinion on a subject area.
If you are asked to write a review of a book that you have recently read, which of the following should your review focus on?
The strengths and weaknesses of the book
The weaknesses of the book cover and the blurb
Only the strengths of the book
Should you use evidence in a review? And why?
No, because evidence is just for essays
Yes, absolutely, because I should state where my opinion is coming from
Yes, because evidence is part of the genre conventions for review writing
Should a review writer draw a conclusion? For example, saying whether something will be useful for, or interesting to, its audience and purpose?
No. It is up to the reader to draw their own conclusion
No. Reviews are not supposed to come to a conclusion. They just stop when they feel they have said enough
Yes. Reviewers should offer their own conclusions and findings and then the reader can decided if they agree or not
Should a review writer offer their own opinion?
Yes. The whole point of a review is to offer a biased opinion
No. Reviews are not supposed to give opinions at all
Yes. Reviewers should be well informed so that they can review with confidence and authority
Imagine that you have been set the task of writing a review of your favourite music artist’s new album for the school magazine. Look carefully at the choices below and select which you think would be the most appropriate for each category:
The context of this piece of writing is a school magazine and the audience is the parents, pupils and teachers who might read the magazine.
What is the purpose of this piece of writing?
To convince people to watch your favourite television programme
To explain the merits of the album and get people to understand why it is so good
To get people to buy the album
When thinking about how formal should your writing be, should you:
Use Standard English and mainly formal language, with some informal choices (to suit your reader)
Write formally as teachers and parents will be reading this too
Write informally throughout the review as the audience are pupils
In your review, what kind of sentences should you be using?
There will be an element of informing and explaining so there will only be complex and compound sentences
There will be an element of informing and explaining so there will be a lot of complex and compound sentences. However, they will also need to sound lively so there will be simple sentences too
The article will need to sound lively for the pupils, so there will be just simple sentences so that it is easy to follow
Would you be addressing the reader in your review writing?
Yes. It's important to engage the reader by using the personal pronoun 'you' or asking rhetorical questions
No. The reader is not important, it is what is being reviewed that is important
Yes. It's important to persuade the reader and use lots of persuasive techniques
What would your vocabulary choices be like when writing the review?
Use very complicated vocabulary to impress your reader with lots of specialist words (i.e. jargon)
Use simple vocabulary for pupils with some specialist words (i.e. jargon) for teachers and parents so that they are impressed
Use straightforward or 'everyday' vocabulary with some specialist words (i.e. jargon) that relate to the music artist and their style of music
What type of language techniques might you use and why?
Figurative language techniques because these help engage the reader by creating imagery that emphasise my opinion
Persuasive language techniques because these help engage the reader by persuading them that I am right
Descriptive language techniques because these help engage the reader by creating movement, sound and feeling