Persuasive Texts for NAPLAN 3 – modality

Persuasive texts use the resources of modality. It is actually an easy concept because we use modality all the time, especially in everyday speech. Modality helps the speaker or writer take a position of high, medium or low, in relation to the topic.

might could                                                     may                                                      should  must

Low                                                                 Medium                                               High

As you can see, high modality is certain and definite, while low modality is uncertain and indefinite.  In a persuasive text, high modality is common.

 

Modality can be found in:

verbs e.g. must, shall, has to, will, should, ought to

adjectives e.g. obvious, definite, sure, required, necessary, probable

adverbs e.g. completely, entirely, rarely, always, extremely, total, probably

nouns e.g. probability, possibility, certainty, requirement

 

Modality is a tool we use to make our writing persuasive.  Look at these examples to see how modal language can change the meaning of the NAPLAN example thesis:  Reading books is better than TV.  By using modal language (in bold), the writer can show how much they agree or disagree with the thesis.

 

Reading books might be better than TV. (verb)

Reading books must be better than TV. (verb)

It is obvious that reading books is better than TV. (adjective)

Reading books is always better than TV. (adverb)

Reading books is slightly better than TV. (adverb)

It is a certainty that reading books is better than TV. (noun)

Can you spot the modal language in this paragraph?

Watching too much TV is extremely bad for your health. Teenagers can spend 5 or 6 hours per day sitting or lying around watching TV and it is probable that this contributes to obesity.  On the other hand, reading books has never been associated with health problems. Therefore, reading books is completely safe for your health, while TV may cause problems.

 

Answers

Watching too much TV is always bad for your health. Teenagers can spend 5 or 6 hours per day sitting or lying around watching TV and it is probable that this contributes to obesity.  On the other hand, reading books has never been associated with health problems. Therefore, reading books is completely safe for your health, while TV may cause problems.

If you want to see more about modality, you might like to purchase these Literacy Works resources.

There is a chapter on Exposition in each of these books:

  • Basic Grammar Skills Book 2
  • Paragraphs
  • Text Types
  • Literacy Works for Geography Book 2
  • Literacy Works for History Book 2
  • Literacy Works for Commerce Book 2
  • Literacy Works for Visual Arts Book 2
  • Literacy Works for Drama Book 2
  • Literacy Works for Technology Book 2
  • Literacy Works for PDHPE Book 2
  • Literacy Works for Religious Education Book 2

 

 
 

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