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Reviews and discursive texts
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Text types: reviews and discursive texts
by Cindy Leaney

Texts are written for a purpose. The purpose might be to get or give information, to discuss a topic, to present an opinion, or to persuade someone to do something. Writers organize texts in various ways to do these particular jobs. They use different grammar structures and vocabulary depending on the purpose of a text.


A review is an article in which someone gives their opinion about a book, play, film, exhibition etc. Film and book reviews often summarize main events in the story or plot.

The film is set in the early days of the 24th century. Science, technology, and hard work have solved most of the problems humanity faces today but life has become so serious that there is no fun in the world. A team of scientists is sent on a mission to the past to find a sense of humour. This is a delightful, upbeat 'feel-good' movie that will leave you laughing.


Write a short review of a film or play that you have seen recently.

Discursive texts

A discursive text presents and discusses issues and opinions. The purpose may be to convince or persuade someone that a particular course of action is important or necessary, or simply to present all sides of an argument.

Discursive texts usually:

  • compare or contrast two or more things,
  • present a problem and suggest a solution, or
  • present arguments for or against an action.

The opening or introductory section may describe the present situation or different sides of an argument. This is followed by a development section that describes and illustrates different points. The development section may also consider other points of view or objections. The closing section sums up the options or solutions.

Presenting a discussion: useful vocabulary

expressing opinions:
in my view/opinion
I think/feel

giving additional information or reasons:
in fact
what is more

showing cause and effect:
as a result
resulting in

summing up:
on balance
in conclusion
to sum up

ordering ideas:
first/firstly/in the first place/to begin with

giving examples:
for example
for instance
such as

contrasting and comparing:
compared with/to
in contrast
on the one hand
on the other hand


Discuss the following statement:

Ecotourism is responsible for causing many of the problems that it originally set out to solve.

Ecotourism is defined by TIES (The International Ecotourism Society) as 'responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and sustains the well-being of local people'. This 'environmentally friendly' form of tourism aims to help fund environmental protection programmes, stimulate the incomes of the local people, especially those on very low incomes, and promote intercultural understanding. These are commendable goals.

Unfortunately, in my view, they are not being achieved. For example, recent reports from a number of developing countries state that locals have been evicted from their houses. These people are being driven from their homes to make way for the development of eco-parks, resorts, and hotels.

While much valuable work has been done and, no doubt, with the best intentions, ecotourism has made many local people homeless.


Choose one of the topics below to discuss in writing:

Smoking should be banned in all public places.
Parents should control their children's access to the Internet.
Film censorship is a waste of time