Defining Style

The Oxford English A1 Course Companion defines style as “the individual way in which a writer has  used language to express his or her ideas” (280).  A convenient comparison might be a person’s fingerprint, or face; a feature that is unique to the individual.

Look at the following two texts:

The Cave Saramago (Look at the first pages preview)

What do you notice about the following:

  • sentence length
  • description
  • complexity of the language
  • Types of detail
  • narrative voice
  • subject matter/cultural cue
  • literary genre (fantasy, romance etc.)
  • use of dialogue

This is by no means a complete list, but it does make a good start.


Take notes on features that help to define style.

The Cave is not a very subtle example of style. Saramago’s writing is quite unique. Try looking at a piece that is a little more subtle. Malouf’s Remembering Babylon on page 72 of the course companion is a good example.


Choose a text that you are familiar with. Analyse the text for style. Prepare a text to share your ideas with your peers.

Image: ‘jodi2_by_majeed

One Response to “Defining Style”

  1. Yusif November 21, 2011 at 7:40 PM #

    nice photo choice 😀

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