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How to be Successful on English Paper 1:

Section A: How Writers Achieve Effects

UNDERSTANDING
PRESENTATIONAL DEVICES
Presentational Devices

Presentational devices are things that are used in addition to the writing in a text. They form a very deliberate purpose. Writers use presentational devices to enhance the meaning of what they have written about. Most non-fiction texts will use presentational devices to present information that helps the reader to understand the writer’s argument or particular point of view.

Presentational Devices in the Exam

You will be asked to think about how the writers of the two texts you are given on Paper 1, Section A, have employed presentational devices. It is important that you can show that you understand how, and why, they are effective.

You need to show how the presentational devices enhance meaning.

Types of Presentational Devices

1. Illustrations and photographs

Writers use devices like these in order to find a visual way to engage the reader’s interest in a particular topic. However, this is not the only reason. Often, an illustration of photograph can be used to impact on the reader’s point of view about a particular topic.

2. Captions

It is important to look closely at the caption that accompanies a particular picture. Very often the caption does more than just explain what is in the picture: it can be used to inflect additional meaning on to the image.

3. Colour

Colour is a subtle way to control the reader’s interpretation of material. Very often, a specific colour carries specific connotations and associations. It is important to think about the colours that are used in a text and the possible emotions or feelings that the writer is trying to evoke as a consequence.

4. Charts and diagrams

Simply, charts and diagrams allow the writer to condense facts and statistics into an easily accessible visual form. It allows the writer to take raw data and present it clearly so that the reader comes to think that the writer’s ideas have a basis in quantifiable fact. Presentational Devices

Types of Presentational Devices (cont’d)

5. Logos and Slogans

Logos and Slogans are important because they are visual representation of an individual’s or organisations collective identity. In some texts identity is a powerful element of why the text is convincing: that is, because the reader can identify with the values of the group or individual promoting a particular idea, they are more likely to accept it.

6. Font Styles

The different font styles that a writer employs are key to their strategy in communicating with the audience. The writer may adopt particular font styles in order to draw the attention to a specific point or to distinguish between different words or phrases in the text.

7. Titles

Titles play a central role in any text: they dictate the tone and meaning of the text from the outset. A title is more than a description of a text’s content, it indicates to the reader the approach that the writer is taking to a topic. Titles may carry concealed or implied meaning that only becomes clearer once the text has been read; alternatively, they might also indicate, from the outset, the writer’s perspective on a particular topic.

8. Sub-headings

Sub-headings are both a presentational and structural device. At a very simple level, sub-headings help to divide information clearly so that the reader can follow a writer’s argument with clarity. However, they also form a much more subtle purpose when used effectively. Sub-headings can also be used to condense a complicated argument into carefully managed segments. This approach is not simply concerned with helping the reader to follow the argument, but also leading them to believe that each stage of the argument is leading to a logical conclusion. In turn, the text can be ultimately more persuasive.

A Note about Presentational Devices

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