As mentioned previously you have to consider your audience and how to write to them when considering your answer for the Part B and Composition sections. However, while you do so there is another requirement; when you write about topics in a certain register to your audience you also must  communicate such in one of five language genres, either writing aesthetically, argumentatively, persuasively, informatively, or narratively. While such langauge genres will be focused on later it is essential to know their functions so as to identify if a question is asking you to write in a certain language genre. The language genres can be considered in basic form as follows:

  • Aesthetic – the description of feelings and happenings
  • Narrative – telling a (short) story
  • Argumentative – a debate or conflict of ideas
  • Persuasive – persuading someone of something
  • Informative – informing someone of something

Below is a more in-depth focus on what each genre is used for:

Informative, persuasive and argumentative language

The informative, persuasive and argumentative language genres can be grouped together as they involve direct interaction with an audience. This resource will focus on introducing these genres and the purposes they serve.

How are the informative, persuasive and argumentative languages linked?

In these language genres there is, as said, direct interaction with an audience. The names of the three language genres reveal their functions, which confirms their interactive states; informative language is used to inform, persuasive language is used to persuade, while argumentative language is used to argue or debate, all of which need another party to be performed. Below we shall look at these language genres and the different ways they interact with another party. A useful way to consider the differences between the three is the level of influence that is used for each genre. 

Informative language

Informative language, as said, is used to inform another party of something. Here there is no attempt to influence whatsoever; when using informative language one is conveying information, but there is no attempt to force it on the recipient so as for them to accept this as valid.

Persuasive language

Whereas with informative language you simply convey information without any attempt to influence another, with persuasive language there is some attempt to influence the party you are talking to. However this is only a gentle attempt to influence, which shows a recognition that you are trying to persuade this party to adopt your way of thinking but also that it is their choice whether or not to do so.

Argumentative language

Whereas persuasive language seeks to convince but recognizes it is the person’s choice to decide, argumentative language offers no choice. Rather, this language genre attempts to force another party to adopt a way of thinking by not only stressing the validity of this train of thought but also dismissing the party’s current opinion.

Narrative and aesthetic language:

Narrative language

Narrative language tells a story using the fourfold method of introduction, complication, climax and conclusion. However this genre does not just tell a story; an important element of narrative language is also descriptive language as you must also show an audience how the story you tell occurs.

Aesthetic language

Aesthetic language is linked to narrative language as it describes an event that occurs. It does not need to use the aforementioned narrative structure to describe an event but it makes heavy use of descriptive language to show how the event you are describing plays out. In addition, an important element of aesthetic language (which differentiates it from narrative language) is that the subject/ narrator of aesthetic language reveals their opinion, experience and emotions regarding the events they are describing; this is as important an element in aesthetic language as the describing of the event, whereas in narrative language the priority is the telling of the story and how it happens.