Presentational DevicesIn section A of your English paper you are being asked to demonstrateyour ability to read unseen texts, identify the arguement (the mainpoints the writers are making), and compare the ways different writersuse language and presentational techniques to make their work moreengaging and achieve a particular purpose. However, one of the mostpowerful resources available to writers is that of presentationaltechniques, which can include anything from bold, dazzlingphotographs of celebrities to subtle use of font and colour to enhance apoint or draw the readers eye. Our job as English students is to be toidentify these techniques and explain why they are being used and whatthe effect is on the reader.Presentational Devices / TechniquesAdverts - come in a variety of styles and forms, but with thepurpose of selling a product or an idea to the you, the consumer.Patterns (e.g. fish scales on a fishing magazine)Fonts for effect (size, shape, patterning). Bubble writing is visuallyappealing to younger people. It is informal and somewhat childish,but what about more angular fonts like Times New Roman? Or AllCaps?Layout (the position of things on a page) - what comes first and last
is always significantTone (formal/informal) - is it posh or not?Lists (easy on the eye - quick information)Quotes (bold, stand-alone quotes)Contrast – Think about colour & toneJuxtaposition (powerful contrast & emphasis)Reverse print – black on white / yellow on black (bold & contrasting)Captions - desribe images, graphs etcPictures - pictures are worth a thousand words! Ask yourself whythat picture has been chosen. Is it biased? Is there a hiddenagenda? How well does it appeal to the Target Audience? Is itappropriate? Thought provoking?Statistics & graphs - are they purposefully misleading?Illustrations - How are they targeted that audience?Cartoons - Fun, but also be serious, satirical even controversialColour schemes - hot or cold / natural or cosmetic?Teasers - little trailers for other stories insideStraplines - long text boxes that highlight a pointText boxes - different shapes and sizesHumour - difficult to pull off, but writers often use humour tosoften us up and engage usOffers and competitions - reasons to buyStructure –How has the writer organised the order or sequence ofhis/her points to strengthen their argument?
One way to think about presentational devices is think about the powerof visual advertising. Typically, the exam board will issue an exampaper with a balance of text and image, but we cant rely on this, so weneed to make sure we can identify and write about a range ofpresentational devices. The ones listed above are just a selection of themore common devices or techniques and before you sit the exam youshould make sure that you understand most of the terms and feelconfident writing about them.