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  • Writing a ‘how-to’ article for a blog or magazine

    Exercise 3

    Fill in the gaps with the words in the box below.

    by – consider – could do – ensure – first – lead – lastly – sure – thereby

    How to Keep Your Indoor Plants Thriving

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    1. Aiming for light

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  • Writing a ‘how-to’ article for a blog or magazine

    Whether you’re teaching someone to bake a cake or conserve energy, a ‘how-to’ article or process essay serves as your guide. It simplifies complex tasks into easy-to-follow steps, offering readers concrete benefits. In this lesson, you will learn how to structure your ‘how-to’ article and engage your audience, and you will explore useful tips and language. We will use a sample article about how to save energy at home to guide you through the process.

    Consider your audience and make an outline

    The very heart of a ‘how-to’ article lies in its relevance to the reader. Tailor your tone according to the platform: a blog might be informal, while a magazine could require a more polished style. Begin with an outline or plan of what you will include in your text and how you will organize the information.

    Structure of a ‘how-to’ article

    Title

    It’s the reader’s first contact with your content. Make it catchy! For example:

    • How to save energy at home.
    • Best tips to save energy at home.
    • Top 5 energy-saving tips.
    • Step-by-step guide to a greener home.

    Introduction

    Write a few sentences to introduce the topic and explain why this information is important and all the benefits the reader will get from learning it. Why should we care about saving energy? Set the stage with engaging language: use a personal tone, maybe a question or two, a fun fact, etc.

    The last sentence should be your thesis statement: a sentence summarising your essay’s main idea; in this case, something like “Here’s a step-by-step guide to making your home more energy-efficient” or “Begin your journey to transform your home into an energy-efficient sanctuary using these practical steps.”

    Body paragraphs

    Each body paragraph can be one of the steps or tasks of the process you are describing. You can use the following structure:

    • topic sentence that describes briefly the step the reader has to follow.
    • An explanation of how to do this and the benefits of doing it.

    You could number each body paragraph and use each topic sentence as a header, followed by the explanation. This layout makes the text more clear and straightforward. For example:

    1. Conduct an Energy Audit
    Explanation.

    2. Switch to Energy-efficient Light Bulbs
    Explanation.

    Conclusion

    The conclusion should be short and summarize the process’s overall purpose and the result the reader will achieve by following the steps.

    Example of a ‘How-to’ article

    Top 3 energy-saving tips

    A warmly lit room on a chilly evening is the essence of comfort. But that comfort can be expensive, and with energy prices going through the roof, every household is looking for ways to save. So, here are some simple, effective steps that you can take to reduce your energy bills.

    1. Change bulbs and appliances
    First, you may want to think about switching to LED bulbs and efficient appliances. LED bulbs are not only energy-efficient but also last significantly longer than conventional bulbs, and replacing your old appliances with better efficient models can also lead to a noticeable reduction in your bills.

    2. Embrace natural light and heat
    Another simple improvement is making the most of sunny winter days. By simply opening your curtains and allowing sunlight in, you can significantly reduce the need for artificial lighting and heating during daytime hours, thereby reducing your energy bills.

    3. Turn down the thermostat
    Finally, another thing you could do is lower your thermostat by just one degree. It might be a small change, but it can make a big difference in terms of saving energy costs.

    A well-lit, cozy home doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. By making these adjustments, you will save money without losing comfort.

     

    Useful language

    ➪ Sequencing the steps

    • First…, Next…, Finally…
    • The first step/thing…, Another step/thing…, Lastly…

    ➪ Giving advice or make a suggestion

    • You may want to think about…
    • Why don’t you…
    • You should consider…
    • Another thing you could do is…
    • It would be advisable to…
    • Make sure you…

    ➪ Showing what to do to achieve a result

    • By… (+ -ing verb)
    • If you…

    ➪ Introducing a result or consequence of doing something

    • This can lead to…
    • This can make a big difference in…
    • Thereby…
    • You’ll ensure that…
    • You’ll see…
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