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How to write an article? | C2 Proficient (CPE)

Level: C2
How to write an article? | C2 Proficient (CPE)

An article

  •  is a text generally intended to publish in a newspaper, journal or magazine
  •  is written for a wide spectrum of audience and should hold the attention of the readers
  • may contain funny stories, reported speech, and descriptions
  • may be formal or informal, depending on the target group
  • should be written in an interesting or funny style
  •  should express opinions and thoughts, as well as facts
  •  has a less formal style than a report
  • may describe an experience, event, person or place
  • may express an opinion or a balanced argument
  • may compare, contrast, provide information,  give a suggestion or offer advice

An article should consist of:

  1. an attractive title – drawing the attention of readers and indicating the article’s theme.
    (consider the reason why have you recently read a magazine or article in a newspaper – what
    motivated you?) Articles may also have subheadings for each paragraph.
  2. an introduction – clarifying the theme and attracting the reader’s attention.
  3. the main body – with two to five paragraphs, giving a detailed description of the theme.
  4. a conclusion – either a summary of the theme or a final opinion, recommendation or
    comment.

Before you start writing:

  • keep in mind where will the article appear – a newspaper or magazine?
  • who is the target group – e.g. students or teenagers, or perhaps adults in general?
    Discover your audience. Are you writing for beginner, intermediate or advanced readers? For example, if you are writing an article about “Creating PowerPoint Slides,” are your readers new to PowerPoint, or business people looking for advanced tips? Having a good grasp on who will be reading your article can help you orient the information and the tone so that it’s as useful as possible.
  •  what is the purpose of the article – to advise, suggest, inform, compare, contrast
    describe, etc.?

The above-mentioned points determine the layout of your article, its style, language, and formality level.

Indicate the information you aim to use and organise your ideas carefully in paragraphs. Each paragraph should provide a clear topic sentence. The CPE article may be formal, semi-formal or informal, depending on the target group. Use a descriptive vocabulary and language relevant to the article. Combining words and expressions with a variety of vocabulary will only improve your work and make it more interesting.

DO NOT: use excessively personal, overly emotional language or simplified vocabulary.

DO NOT: mention yourself. Instead of writing for close friends, you write for the general public. Your opinions are interesting to other people only if you can amuse, justify or explain them.

Article titles…

The title is essential when creating an article. It should be a concise summary of the information presented in the article. Shortly speaking, the main topic of the article should be concluded in the title.

Additionally, it is important to stimulate the reader’s interest – if the title looks uninteresting, why should anyone read it?

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 Tranquility 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.

The title should not be too long and ideally reflect the style of the article – both formal or informal.

Topic Sentences…

To provide consistency in one paragraph, it is essential to group sentences according to the main idea. Therefore, it is required to start either by setting a theme or a topic sentence that sums up the main idea of the whole paragraph. Such a sentence usually appears at the beginning of the paragraph.

Sample topics:

Occasionally there is no topic sentence, merely the topic or main idea. However, to help the reader quickly understand the topic of the whole paragraph and to minimize the chance of completely missing the theme, we recommend placing the Topic Sentence at the beginning of the article.

Planning an article

Now you realize that to write a good article, first, you need to specify a theme or a topic sentence that concludes your intention and then make a plan.

Such a strategy will allow you to write clearly and quickly, helping you to invent a title faster, and making a consistent work. By using the above method, we give the topic sentence of each paragraph and combine it with other paragraphs.

Note that we may do it in one paragraph and then develop it into a whole article. Conversely, the topic sentences, if you gather them together, may be used to cut the whole article into one summary paragraph.

You must! 

  • Write an outline (optional). Not everyone writes an outline, but it may help you to organise your thoughts. Start with an introduction leading to the main point, at least 3 paragraphs of the body, and a conclusion.
  • Write a preliminary draft of the article as follows:
    A) Tell your readers what you intend to say to them. It is your introduction.The information in this article is written for a beginner. The author assumes that you have never used PowerPoint.B) Tell your readers what you promised to tell. C) Recap for your readers what you just told them.
  • Check your article. Read the article aloud to make sure that what you have written makes sense. Notice spelling mistakes or poor grammar and double-check your facts.
  • Re-check your article. This time remove any unnecessary or contradictory information. The only time you should have information that does not support your topic is when you do a “point-counterpoint”. Eliminate everything unnecessary.
  • Write the article again as often as necessary. Once you have rewritten it, ask someone close to you to read it and offer constructive feedback. Write again.
  •  Make sure your article answers five questions: who, why, where, when, what and how?
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