Cambridge IGCSE First Language English Text Types

The Cambridge IGCSE First Language English Papers 1 and 2 require students to write in various genres, or text types. These include Newspaper report, Magazine article, Journal, Interview, Speech, and Formal letter. Here are some suggestions to help students improve their writing for these exams.

NEWSPAPER REPORT

Language features to keep in mind:

  • Five W’s: Who, What, When, Where, Why
  • Third Person
  • Past tense (usually)
  • Direct Speech: speech reproduced exactly as it was spoken, in inverted commas
  • Reported Speech: He told us not to do that.

Format:

Unlike other accounts of events, which are usually chronological, news reports generally follow this order:

  1. Summary of recent event
  2. Background to event
  3. Return to immediate situation
  4. Response of those involved
  5. Look ahead to near future

Some suggestions:

  • Include a headline, a summary of the report in note form
  • Make your headline short
  • The first sentence should sum up the story
  • Write in 3rd person, past tense
  • Break it up into short paragraphs
  • Use both direct and reported speech
  • Be objective and formal
  • Keep opinions and personal reactions out
    • It is known, Was reportedly, It was reported, It is also believed, According to, It is thought

MAGAZINE ARTICLE

  • Purpose: Discursive (asks you to investigate a topic; to gather, read and evaluate evidence; and to present a position on your topic based on the evidence gathered)
  • Structure: A balanced range of views on a topic; the writer’s opinion may be stated at the end, but no view is conclusive)
  • Style: Quotations and reported speech are often included to convey the views of relevant experts or interviewees
  • Voice: More colloquial and indicative of personality rather than other types of response, but still professional
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Some suggestions:

  • Include a catchy title
  • Write a dramatic opening (hook)
  • Use sub-headings
  • Personal/anecdotal style
  • Repetition to keep the reader engaged
  • Humor and idioms
  • Rhetorical questions
  • Varied sentence structures

JOURNAL ENTRIES

  • Journal is a record of events that occurred in the writer’s life.
  • It may be their emotions, ideas, or beliefs.
  • The purpose of writing a journal is to reflect, it is a personal piece of writing and the response to a question should be subjective. 

Language features to keep in mind:

  • Rhetorical questions: asked in order to create a dramatic effect or to make a point rather than to get an answer.
  • Emotive language: language evoking an emotional reaction
  • Anecdotes: short amusing or interesting story about a real incident or person.
  • Humor: amusing or comic
  • Idioms: group of words established by usage as having a meaning not deducible from those of the individual words (Under the weather, Spill the beans, Break a leg, It’s the best thing since sliced bread).
  • Colloquial language: informal, everyday spoken language, usually with emphasis on geographic region (Wicked good, soccer vs football, truck vs lorry, bloke)

What to include:

  • Date of entry
  • First person writing
  • Use of the past tense when recounting events that have happened before writing about them
  • Recounting events that have happened and references to time
  • Focusing on key moments
  • Personal feelings
  • Thoughts/ feelings/actions for the future

How to write a journal entry

  • Write the date and day at the left hand side of the page.
  • Write from a first person point of view; use of the word ‘I’ in your writing.
  • Self-reflective tone. It should be a recollection of memory; thinking back on something you’ve done or seen.
  • Your journal should only reflect on incidents or observations that happened recently.
  • Your thoughts and viewpoints should be expressed with emotive language, giving the reader more insight into feelings.
  • Past or future tense, depending on whether writing about recent events or anticipating future events or situations.
  • Rhetorical questions increase the reader’s curiosity and improve your work.
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

INTERVIEW

Genre Features:

  • Purpose: Informative
  • Structure: The interviewer asks three questions (the question bullet points given) and each is answered relatively in about half a page of full sentences; paragraphs not necessary.
  • Style: As this is a spoken genre, the interviewee can speak somewhat informally, using contractions, but must use full and linked sentences for fluency and a range of vocabulary for interest.
  • Voice: The personality of the interviewee, as inferred from the passage, should be evident from their responses to the questions.

Language features to keep in mind:

  • Rhetorical questions: asked in order to create a dramatic effect or to make a point rather than to get an answer.
  • Emotive language: language evoking an emotional reaction
  • Anecdotes: short amusing or interesting story about a real incident or person.
  • Humor: amusing or comic
  • Idioms: group of words established by usage as having a meaning not deducible from those of the individual words (Under the weather, Spill the beans, Break a leg, It’s the best thing since sliced bread).
  • Colloquial language: informal, everyday spoken language, usually with emphasis on geographic region (Wicked good, soccer vs football, truck vs lorry, bloke)
Photo by Alex Green on Pexels.com

SPEECH

Language features to keep in mind:

  • Rhetorical questions: asked in order to create a dramatic effect or to make a point rather than to get an answer.
    • ‘And ain’t I a woman?’
  • Hypophora: raising and answering a question.
    • ‘There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality.’ -MLK
  • Direct address: “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears.” -Mark Antony, Julius Caesar
  • Emotive language: language evoking an emotional reaction
    • I have a dream that…one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers…” -MLK
  • Imperatives: verb form used to give a command
    • “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” -JFK
  • Anecdotes: short amusing or interesting story about a real incident or person.
    • “Standing on the coastal plain, I was saddened to think of the tragedy that might occur if this great wilderness was consumed by a web of roads and pipelines.” -Carter, Arctic Refuge

Some suggestions:

  • In the first person point of view.
  • Address the audience
  • Use “we” to refer to the audience at times during your speech: evokes a sense of unity rather than division. It unites the crowd and creates a sense of oneness in them.
  • Clear topic sentences with separate ideas for each paragraph. This helps your speech be coherent.
  • Informal language is OK to connect with the audience.
  • Keep the sentences short so you don’t deviate from the topic. Helps the listener follow you. It also ensures your sentence structure is perfect.
  • End appropriately (thank the listeners).
Photo by Oleksandr Pidvalnyi on Pexels.com

FORMAL LETTER

Genre Features:

  • Purpose: Persuasive or argumentative
  • Structure: Begins with “Dear…” Then, 3-4 paragraphs:
    • 1. Explain why you are writing with appropriate references.
    • 2-3. Give the details of the complaint, request or case being presented.
    • 4. Ask for the desired response (e.g. for an issue to be reconsidered, or for a refund).
  • End with “Yours sincerely”  or “Yours faithfully.”
  • For the exam, you do not need an address or date (which normally do on formal letters).
  • Style: Formal in terms of sentence structure and vocabulary, in order to sound impressive and authoritative.
  • Voice: Impersonal and polite, even when expressing strong demands or opinions.
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

2 thoughts on “Cambridge IGCSE First Language English Text Types

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s