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Rhetorical functions in academic writing: Analysing


One thing that you learn in higher education is how to analyse. It is an essential part of writing critically as defined by Bloom.


Typical verbs associated with analysis include: analyses, breaks down, compares, contrasts,  deconstructs, differentiates, discriminates, distinguishes, identifies, illustrates, infers, outlines, relates, selects, separates.

Typical assignment questions/briefs associated with analysis are:

For example:


Scientists group rocks into three main types: igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic.

IGNEOUS rocks are produced by white-hot material deep inside the earth which rises towards the surface as a molten mass called magma. If the magma stops before on it reaches the surface, it cools and forms rocks such as granite. If the magma erupts, it forms a red-hot stream called lava. When the lava cools it becomes rock. One of the most common lava rocks is called basalt. Igneous rock is used in the formation of the other two main types of rocks - sedimentary and metamorphic.

SEDIMENTARY rock is formed by small particles or sediments such as sand, mud, dead sea animals and weathered rock. These are deposited in layers and become solid rock over millions of years as they are squeezed by the weight of other deposits above them.

The word metamorphosis means 'change'. Rocks which have been changed by heat and pressure are called METAMORPHIC rocks. They are formed deep inside the earth. Slate for example is formed from compressed mud or clay. Marble is another type of metamorphic rock. It is produced from limestone which has undergone change through heat and pressure,

Analysis includes:

Writing about pupose/function

Comparing and contrasting

Expressing reasons and explanations

Giving examples


Providing support

Expressing degrees of certainty.

Writing generalisations

Arguing and discussing.

Drawing conclusions


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