Persuasive texts for NAPLAN 5 – evaluative language

In order to express an opinion or point of view, a writer must use evaluative language. This means using words that show a judgement of a person or thing, or by showing emotion.   Evaluative language goes beyond facts that everyone would agree on (e.g. tall, short, 20 centimetres, black, orange). Instead, evaluation presents opinions, judgements and points of view.

Let’s continue to use the example of the NAPLAN persuasive text such as “Reading books is better than TV” and imagine that our thesis agrees with the proposition (i.e. we love books!)


Judging people

When we write a persuasive text, we can make our judgement clear about types of people. We may judge these groups of people negatively:

  • people who don’t read books
  • young people who watch too much TV.

Therefore, we might use evaluative language that shows our judgement.

People who don’t read books might be:

  • unimaginative
  • bored
  • unintelligent.

Young people who watch too much TV might be:

  • sedentary
  • overweight
  • dull
  • ininspired.

On the other hand, we can show our evaluation of people who read books and don’t watch TV as:

  • curious
  • intelligent
  • imaginative
  • interested
  • interesting.

These words will show our judgement and they create a form of persuasion. The writer uses evaluative language to create a version of the world that the reader must engage with (and hopefully agree with!)

Think about other groups of people whom you could judge for this topic: people who make TV programs, network executives, advertisers, writers, booksellers, parents, teachers…  and more.


Evaluating things

In addition to judging people, we can also judge things negatively or positively.  Television might be:

  • light
  • shallow
  • entertaining
  • unintelligent
  • unimaginative rubbish for the lowest common denominator.

Books may be:

  • engaging
  • deep
  • creative
  • entire worlds of potential.

Our evaluation can be shown by what we say about DOING.  Television can trap us on the couch and stop us from thinking for ourselves while books can draw us in and make our brains work hard. Television can give us pre-digested information while books can make us digest information. You can use opposites or doubles like this to show positive and negative evaluations and build very strong persuasive texts.


Showing emotion

In persuasive texts, it is common to show emotion to help persuade the reader. The writer might be outraged at poor television shows or they might adore reading books.

Emotion is a powerful tool and it should be used sparingly in formal academic texts like the NAPLAN writing exercise. See the next blog for how to avoid too much emotion.



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