There can be endless reasons and motivations behind crafting a particular piece of writing. From novel writing to explaining a research process and creating company communications or advertising campaigns, there are different elements of language which will be required to make that writing the best it can be.

For example, when writing a novel, authors will need to be descriptive in every element of detail so that readers can picture characters and settings in their heads. Advertisers need to try and persuade people to purchase a product or service. Instructions and recipes need to be straightforward yet detailed.

Striking the balance between these requirements takes practice, and often, more than one writing style will need to be incorporated.

To help guide you through planning and consideration of the type of language to use, we have highlighted four of the main writing styles.

Writing to Inform

Essays are written to inform. As are newspaper articles and professional business documents such as annual reports.

Each of these three examples will have a different approach from authors, but the essence and tone of each piece will have similar elements.

For instance, the point of writing to inform is to convey information to the reader and enlighten them about a topic which is usually non-fiction.

To reinforce points of interest to the reader, you could consider the following:

  • Use a clear writing structure to explain your point
  • Include quotes from notable people
  • Use facts and figures – give specific details to draw the reader in

Writing to Persuade

There are many facets to writing to persuade. Persuasive writing in an academic setting gives writers a great opportunity to utilise many of the tricks of this writing style.

In the world of advertising, persuasion is everything. It’s all about convincing the reader to accept your point of view, and if you are taking a stand on an issue, you can use persuasive language to help carve the strongest possible argument to win over the reader.

Some other instances of when persuasive language is used are in political speeches and campaigns, blogs, reviews and complaints.

Whether you are writing for the public or a professor, make sure to give reasons and convincing arguments, but even more importantly, justify your points with evidence.

If you don’t give evidence, it is merely opinion, which isn’t likely to be persuasive enough alone.

Features of persuasive writing include the following:

  • Rhetorical questions – a question asked without expecting an answer
  • Alliteration – words starting with the same letters
  • Pronouns – e.g. ‘you will love this new product’
  • Adjectives – reinforce the perception of an object, person, product or service
  • Stating the benefits – let them know what they will gain from it
  • Catchy slogans – something to stick in their heads

Writing to Describe

In almost all kinds of writing, descriptive language will be used. It is a culmination of different writing styles, especially for creative writing when a scene must be set, and a story must be told.

Think about when you are reading a book, or if you are a writer, when constructing the ideas. The author needs to be able to visualise their story first, so that they can recount it to readers.

Descriptive writing styles vary between writers, but the common factor is that they possess the tools to adequately describe a setting. Smells, tastes, looks and more need to be so detailed in order to create a truly immersive story.

Here are some of the most common features of descriptive, or figurative, language which we see in the writing styles of all great novelists, in addition to what is used in persuasive writing.

  • Pathetic Fallacy – when the weather is symbolic of the mood, i.e. rainy = sad
  • Repetition – to reinforce a point or to build suspense
  • Personification – giving inanimate objects human attributes, i.e. the wind howled
  • Onomatopoeia – when a word describes a sound, i.e. whoosh
  • Similes – comparing something to being like another, i.e. cunning as a fox
  • Metaphor – describes something as another to explain ideas, i.e. the world is your oyster

This list is non-exhaustive but gives an idea of the different elements which help to build up an image in the reader’s head, whatever the context of the writing.

Writing to Explain

The last of the writing styles covered in this blog is writing to explain. This is the type of writing which has no opinions or persuasive aspects to it. It is purely functional.

Think textbooks, recipes and instruction manuals.

When writing to explain, it is usually to explain a process, which should be in logical order and easy to follow. It should be direct and in language that is easy to understand.

Which Writing Style Should You Use?

We hope this blog has helped to give an overview of different writing styles and the contexts in which each of them are applied.

Proofreading is key to ensuring that whatever your message, it is portrayed properly and without any errors. Read our blog on common errors to look out for so can avoid them in your own writing.

If, when you have completed your project, whether it is a novel, a textbook or an essay, our professional team is more than happy to cast an expert eye over your work. Obtain an instant proofreading quote, or contact us to discuss your requirements.