Writing to Inform

Whilst you can do the writing to inform question in the exam it is one of the more difficult questions to gain good marks in. It is therefore recommended you answer the writing to describe question. However, it is vital that you are prepared to answer the writing to inform question just in case the writing to describe question is really difficult.

Probably the first and most important thing to bare in mind when writing to inform that the purpose of the writing is to provide information. You should also consider:

The audience
Who is the writing for?

Why is this piece of writing being produced?

Should the piece of writing be formal or informal? (for writing to inform you will mostly have to write in a formal tone, however you should be prepared to write with an informal tone such as if you were asked to write an informative letter to your friend who lives in America)

How should it be organized: generally with an introduction where you will outline the main points to be included; next move on to go into these points in more detail and finally finish with a conclusion where you will summarise the main content making sure you don’t mention anything new.

Like all of the pieces of writing, you must consider the layout; so if it’s a letter make sure you include all of the main components needed in a letter (more on this in the general writing techniques section).

Is it information or alternatively, persuasion?

A point you should remember about informative writing is that is must provide the information in as fair a manner as possible. This is important because if it provides the information favouring a certain aspect then it isn’t informative writing anymore, it is then persuasive writing!

For an informative piece of writing you may subtly use persuasive techniques. For example try thinking about other pieces of writing that may to be informative but are also persuasive. For instance, the majority of newspaper articles are subtly prejudice or biased fairly or unfairly towards a particular and specific viewpoint, and therefore are not a fully compiled information article.

Knowledgeable facts regarding informative writing

When producing a piece of informative writing, it should aim to provide the reader with what they require to know, desire to know, ought to know and are entitled to know. You gain marks not just for giving them basic facts but for writing about these facts in depth. However, this can cause several difficulties. You must go into detail without writing to explain and must also gain the readers interest without providing significant bias. You can give some opinions but you must not deteriorate from the informative nature of the piece; so you can say for example you can say “Comway Castle has many interesting features”.
I think you can now see why this style of writing is so difficult; you really do have to be careful about what you write!

It is quite important that before the exam you familiarize yourself with informative writing. This can be done easily by looking at information on the Internet. You should pay careful attention to the features used in informative writing, for example a scientific report on global warming may begin with a series of facts and build these into a larger picture, next offering the writers personal response to what should be done.


Information is expected to be put across in ways that benefits the reader, to make it easy for them to understand. You should also try to open as interestingly as possible, for example by including several short sentences for effect. This is important as it allows you to gain and maintain the readers interest and in turn the examiner will find your writing more interesting.

The main body should include several paragraphs. A good technique when writing paragraphs is to open with a ‘topic sentence’ where you state the main point that will be dealt with in the paragraph and then move onto inform the reader about this point. For example, you could mention the town has a vivid history and then move on to give examples such a major battle took place there. Remember a paragraph should generally be about 4-5 lines long.

When writing you should use words that follow on and link the text to give a fluency and consistency in the writing. For example: therefore, afterwards, next, precedent, subsequently and in due course. You should also make use of short sentences alternating to long sentences when required; relevant to what it provides to the writing.


Here’s an example of some informative writing

People are beginning to take notice of the revolutionary possibilities nanotechnology offers. In 2004 more than $8.6 billion was spent on nanotechnology worldwide with the main investor being the US government in the long-term products of nanotechnology. Private investors however, are being much more conservative in their investments, instead opting for low risk ventures that can guarantee a return on their capital. This helps to provide a balance between short term investments and long term ventures, thus creating and maintaining jobs and guaranteeing economic stability in this relatively new scientific field.

This piece of writing informs the reader about the effects nanotechnology is having – going into relative detail whilst approaching the situation in a balanced manner. The writer has paid significant attention to the audience and adapted the piece of writing to appeal to this audience (scientists and people interested in this field of science/technology).


Test Yourself Questions

1. Produce an interesting letter, to send to an older relative who lives abroad. This letter should inform them of what has been occurring in your life thus far, and of any plans that you may have for the future.
(27 marks)

2. You have an interest in the environment. Create an article for your school magazine in which you inform the audience about the reasons for you interest in nature.
(27 marks)