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In this lesson you will read nine different texts, all related to just one event or topic.  The purpose of the lesson is to help you understand that texts are greatly affected by audience (who will read this?) and purpose (what is it trying to do?).  Although this is a reading lesson, you will need to consider the same factors in your own writing.


First, draw a table with the row headings TEXT TYPE, AUDIENCE, PURPOSE, ORGANISATION/LAYOUT and REGISTER in the first column on the left.  Label the remaining columns A, B, C etc.


CONTRASTING TEXT TYPES: Questions to Consider

As you read each text, answer the following questions which are designed to help you appreciate the differences between text types.  Write your answers, in note form, in the table you created.


1.       What is the text type?  (e.g. diary entry, argumentative essay, literary narrative etc)

2.     What is the intended audience?  (e.g. friend, educated newspaper reader, cyclist considering helmet purchase)  How does the audience affect the content, use of language or other aspects of the text?

3.     What is the writer’s purpose?  (e.g. to inform, to entertain, to persuade)  How does the purpose affect the use of language or other aspects of the text?

4.     How is the text organised?  Are there any special layout or graphic features?  (The short extract provided here may not display all the organisational features, but you can use your knowledge of similar texts to comment.) 

5.     What is the language register?  In general, is the tone more formal or informal?  (How does the topic affect the language and other features of the text?  How does the relationship between speaker/writer and listener/reader affect the language or other features of the text?)



Hi Zul

            How’s life?  Sorry I’ve taken so long to reply to your email.  We moved house a few weeks ago and we don’t have an Internet connection for our computer yet.  In fact, the place is a real mess – half-unpacked boxes everywhere, and we can never find anything when we need it. 

            Hey, you’ll never guess what happened to me last weekend.  I was knocked off my bike and had to spend a night in hospital!  I was riding home from a hockey match at school and was coming up to a bus stop on Dover Road (you know the one just outside Fairfield Secondary?) when a pickup passed really close to me and then cut across my path to enter the bus stop.  The idiot forced me to swerve and of course I hit the kerb and came off head first.  Stupidly I wasn’t wearing my helmet (Dad was really pissed with me when he heard that) so I got a bloody great whack when I hit the pavement.  Stars everywhere, and a thundering headache, and I could feel the blood seeping into my hair.  Some guy appeared




At approximately 6.10pm on Friday 21st October 2005 I was called to the scene of an accident in the vicinity of Fairfield Methodist Secondary School, Dover Road.  Arriving at 6.21pm, I observed a blue/silver Aleoca bicycle lying on the pavement immediately between the school entrance and the adjacent bus stop.  A white Hyundai pickup truck (Registration SHA 1694) was parked in the exit area of the bus stop.  About 3 metres from the bicycle, a Japanese male teenager wearing a United World College sports shirt and shorts was sitting against the fence receiving First Aid from a man and a woman.  The teenager had a head injury which the woman (Madam Tan Lye Lin, a teacher at Fairfield) had bandaged.  I confirmed that the man had already called an ambulance.  This arrived at 6.24pm and took the teenager to NUH.


The man identified himself as Robert Lim Hun-Tao, the driver of the Hyundai pickup.  In response to my questions he stated that as he drew near the cyclist, the latter began to wobble and look over his right shoulder.  Suddenly, the bicycle …





Rounded Rectangular Callout: Hey, listen, you know that dude that used to go out with Karen Marx?  Kazuhiro, the one with spiky gelled hair?  I saw him getting knocked off his bike yesterday.  A truck hit him.  I swear to God, it’s true.  It was near that school, you know the one with the bible stuff on the walls up at the end of Dover Road?  My bus wasn’t allowed to stop because there was a police motorbike blocking



A United World College student sustained head injuries after he was thrown from his bicycle outside Fairfield Methodist Secondary School, Dover Road early on Friday evening.

          Kazuhiro Shimizu, 15, hit the kerb and fell while swerving to avoid a vehicle.  He was treated for concussion and bleeding at the National University Hospital and was discharged on Saturday afternoon.

          Police are questioning the driver of a Hyundai pickup truck.  Meanwhile, a police spokesperson has confirmed that Shimizu was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.  Witnesses are urged to contact Ang Mo Kio North Divisional Police HQ (Tel: 1800-2180000).




Fri. 21 October 2005

My head hurts like hell but I’m determined to scribble a few words before I sleep.  That is, if I ever do manage to sleep …  God, what a day.  I thought my hat trick at hockey was going to be the highlight of the week, but little did I realise that I was about to have a close shave with death. 

I can’t say that my whole life flashed before me as I fell, but jeez I was terrified.  I really did think I might be about to die.  Hitting the ground was like being struck by a gigantic sledgehammer: instant pain, bright disco lights (all those cartoons are accurate - I really did “see stars”) and an overwhelming feeling of nausea.  I threw up.  And then I just felt incredibly lethargic and thirsty.  I could hear a man’s voice - “Are you alright?” – but he




In the first five years of the new century cyclists have accounted for roughly 8% of road deaths in Singapore[1].  Meanwhile, there have been close to 250 cycling accidents per year during the same period[2].  If the government really wants Singaporeans to abandon their cars and adopt “greener” forms of transport, then they must provide more cycle lanes and other incentives to …




Keen to get home before dark since he had forgotten his bike lights, Kaz didn’t bother with a shower.  The breeze was invigorating as he sped down the long driveway with its ancient shady raintrees and leaned into the main road, barely pausing to check the traffic. 

“Hey man, awesome game,” called Liam at the pedestrian crossing. 

“Thanks, see you around.”

Kaz stood up in the pedals as the lights changed and did a U-turn, swinging right ahead of a line of cars. 

          “Wear your helmet, Kaz.  You might think you’re a safe rider but it’s the other guys you’ve got to worry about.  The world’s full of bad drivers.”  Despite his dad’s plea at breakfast, he had left the helmet at home, unwilling to muss up his hair after taking the trouble to gel it. 




How to Fit a Bicycle Helmet



Flash Graphics Bike Helmet





© Frankie Meehan, 2005

[1] Singapore Police Force (2005) Statistics

[2] 10th Parliamentary Debates Singapore. Official Report, Volume 76 No. 22, 16th October 2003