ARTICLE WRITING-HOW TO WRITE AN ARTICLE?

You are asked to write an article. Exactly what is meant by that? An essay? A newspaper article? A project paper? Here is some general advice.

You might be expected to write an article for an exam. If you follow the link below to the exam paper for 2010, you will see that two of the tasks ask you to write articles.
Engelsk eksamen høsten 2010


In these tasks you are specifically asked to
  • provide an introduction.
  • give a presentation of the issue.
  • discuss the issue.
  • give a conclusion.
  • make a suitable title.

Even if there is a great variety of article genres, they have in common that they should be fact-oriented, stick to the point and have a certain degree of formality and objectivity. They usually contain all the elements listed in the frame above. Utdanningsdirektoratet has provided examples of formats for articles on their web pages.
An article is a piece of writing on a particular subject which is written for publication in a magazine or newspaper. However, when asked to write an article at school or in an exam you are expected to write an essay or paper (in Norwegian, “a stil”) unless a particular type of article is specified e.g. a newspaper article .


Essential tips for writing effective articles
Capture your reader’s eye and attention
  • Start with a catchy headline.
  • Consider adding an attractive, unusual or interesting image to your coursework. For exam writing use boxes containing a written description of the image – there is no need to be an artist!
  • Divide a longer article using sub-headings to guide your reader and add interest and clarity.
Start as you mean to go on
  • Use a short or intriguing, lively and involving opening sentence.
  • Directly address and involve the reader by using pronouns such as 'you', 'we' and 'our'.
  • Consider the use of an initial question.
Prioritise important information but keep it interesting
  • Work out what is important and interesting for your reader to know first and write about this in a concise, snappy way. Leave less important aspects and finer detail until later.
  • Give relevant facts immediately by briefly answering questions such as what, who, where and when?
  • Use a mix of shorter and longer sentences but always keep sentences clear and concise.
  • Use mainly formal standard English but consider using a little well-placed conversational language to develop a friendly and inviting tone.
  • Open each paragraph with a topic sentence that tells, in a nutshell, what the rest of the paragraph will explore in more depth.
  • Use both direct and rhetorical questions to involve the reader.
  • Use discourse markers to help create flow and fluency, for example, 'clearly', 'even so', 'therefore', 'following on from this'.
Gain your reader’s trust - be authoritative and convincing
  • Be sincere and write in a natural, lively style. Avoid pretending you’re someone other than an interesting lively teenager.
  • Remember that if your writing doesn't capture the trust of your reader, it won't be effective.
  • Create a confident tone but avoid the kind of bold unsupported assertions that suggest arrogance. Words like 'could', 'might' and 'perhaps' help to keep your suggestions open.
  • Consider making up an interview with an expert to add authority. (Although this is made up it needs to be believable and entirely realistic).
  • Would the use of evidence from authoritative sources help the sense of trust? Your sources will also be made up but sound believable and realistic.
  • Keeping the needs of your audience in mind at all times, vary your vocabulary and include appropriate technical terms. (This is a mark scheme requirement for this piece of coursework.)
  • Avoid the trap of being overly personal or emotional. In the real world an article would have a wide, unknown audience so you wouldn't know your readers and they wouldn't know you. This means you must write in a way that you yourself would appreciate as a reader. Be calm, polite, mainly formal but friendly and, above all, be yourself!
Improve your writing
We can all improve our writing, however experienced we are! Here are a few tips and tricks.
  • Use 'style models' as a guide. So for this coursework read a selection of professionally written articles - like those in newspapers, magazines or on the internet - to find out how writers become successful enough to earn a living from their writing. You might join them one day!
  • Make it a habit, after each sentence or at least after each paragraph, to 'become' your reader. In this imagined role, ask yourself:
    • Is this writing capturing my attention and imagination?
    • Is it lively and interesting?
    • Is it informative?
    • Is it persuasive?
    • Is it convincing – does it seem authoritative and authentic?
    • Is it enjoyable to read?
  • Be sure you can answer 'YES!' to each question! If you can’t, then reflect and consider your audience and purpose, then re-draft.
  • Be precise in your choice of words – in particular, for this coursework, use an appropriate technical vocabulary.
  • Plan the sequence of your writing and give information in a clear and logical way. Writing that is unstructured risks being unclear and difficult to follow. It loses marks, too.
    • Always work out – before you put pen to paper – a logical and obvious structure, in this case, perhaps moving through the film sequence from beginning to end, or moving through a series of analytical methods, first discussing sound, then lighting, then camera angle and so on.
    • Use each paragraph to introduce a separate and relevant point.
    • Link each paragraph by creating a final sentence that provides a logical and smooth bridge or lead into the topic of the next paragraph.
    • Avoid overly short paragraphs. A good rule of thumb is to write at least five sentences per paragraph.