One of the biggest challenges that you are asked to tackle in the English Language GCSE is to explain the effect of language on the reader. This can sometimes be more difficult in non-fiction texts (such as letters, articles, and speeches) because as a student, you are not always the audience that the writing was originally aimed at! Moreover, you are only usually reading the text for the first time yourself – and in a pressurised exam environment – so it’s sometimes difficult to work out your genuine reaction to a text.

In this blog, we will give you some helpful tips about what kinds of effects different language techniques usually produce in non-fiction texts. All you need to do then is to work out why the writer wants to create this effect in the text you get in the exam.

Of course, the best way to learn about all of these techniques is to sign up for a Get My Grades subscription so that you can access a whole page specifically dedicated to each technique, but here we will look at some examples of language used in non-fiction texts to get you started:



Some techniques are used to make writing sound credible. This means that the writing sounds more factual and the reader is likely to believe what has been written. These techniques include facts, statistics, jargon, and expert opinions.

The purpose of these techniques is to provide evidence to support the writer’s points, making the reader feel more convinced and confident in the arguments being presented.



Some techniques are used to make the writer sound authoritative. These techniques include persuasive language, modal verbs, and personal opinions.

The purpose of these techniques is to make the writer sound more persuasive and powerful, which might impress the reader or persuade them to change their views.



Some techniques are used to personalise the writing for the reader. These techniques include direct address, anecdotes and rhetorical questions.

These techniques help to engage the reader by targeting them directly. They make the reader feel that the writing is aimed directly at them, which can make them feel more invested in the text and in the issues being discussed.



Some techniques are used to emphasise important points the writer wants to make. These techniques include emotive language, repetition, the rule of 3, and listing.

The effect of these techniques is to draw the reader’s attention to a particular point. This can heighten the reader’s awareness of a certain issue and make them more likely to consider this issue as more important than they did before.



Some techniques are used to captivate the reader. These techniques are ones that you would usually see in fiction texts rather than non-fiction texts – they include metaphors, similes, and alliteration. Visit our blog about the effect of fiction techniques to learn more about these.


Need more help?

This list should give you a head start on analysing different non-fiction language techniques. If you know what each one is supposed to do, then you can more easily spot when it works (and when it doesn’t work) in real texts.

You can get access to much more detailed information and help with analysing language for your GCSE by signing up for the Get My Grades online platform, where you can learn about each technique separately and test your knowledge using our huge question banks. What are you waiting for?

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