What is an article?
• is a piece of writing usually intended for publication in a newspaper, magazine or journal
• is written for a wide audience, so it is essential to attract and retain the readers’ attention
• may include amusing stories, reported speech and descriptions
• can be formal or informal, depending on the target audience
• should be written in an interesting or entertaining manner
• should give opinions and thoughts, as well as facts
• is in a less formal style than a report
An article can
• describe an experience, event, person or place
• present an opinion or balanced argument
• compare and contrast
• provide information
• offer suggestions
• offer advice
A realistic article should consist of:
1. an eye-catching title which attracts the readers’ attention and suggests the theme of the article. (Think about why you read a magazine or newspaper article recently - what made you read it?) Articles can also have subheadings before each paragraph.
2. an introduction which clearly defines the topic to be covered and keeps the reader’s attention.
3. the main body of two to five paragraphs in which the topic is further developed in detail.
4. the conclusion - summarising the topic or a final opinion, recommendation or comment.
Before you begin writing it is important to consider:
• where is the article going to appear - in a newspaper or magazine?
• who are the intended readers - a specific group such as students or teenagers, or adults in general?
• what is the aim of the article - to advise, suggest, inform, compare and contrast, describe, etc.?
These three points are the deciding factors in the layout of your article, its style, language and level of formality.
Determine the information you are going to use and organize your ideas carefully into paragraphs. Each paragraph should have a clear topic sentence.
The article could be formal, semi-formal or informal, depending on your intended audience.
Use vocabulary and descriptive language appropriate for the article. Linking words and expressions, and a variety of vocabulary will only improve your work and make it more interesting.
DO NOT use over-personal or over-emotional language or simplistic vocabulary.
DO NOT talk about yourself. You are writing for the general public, not a close circle of friends. Your opinions are only interesting to other people if you can make them amusing, justify them or explain them.
A title is absolutely necessary when writing an article, and should be a concise summary of the information which is going to follow in the article. In other words, the main topic of the article should be stated in the title.
Stimulating the reader’s interest is also essential - if the title looks uninteresting, why would anyone read it? There are various ways to achieve this. For example, if you are writing a description of a place, using adjectives can enhance the attractiveness of the place, before the reader begins reading the article, e.g. “The Tranquillity and Peace of an Island that Time Forgot”. If the task involves proposing a solution to a problem or your opinion, and so on, you can address your audience directly, e.g. “What You Need to Do to Be Successful”, or use a question such as “Is Learning English Really Necessary Today?” for the title. In more formal articles, it is more common to just summarise the topic in a short statement, e.g. “Laughter Can Improve Our Health”. The title should not be too long and should mirror the style of the article - formal or informal.