Writing to Advise: Form, Tone, Register

Writing to Advise: Form, Tone, Register


  • Piece written specifically to guide the reader’s action or thought process.
  • Structure may be drawn out as steps, often leading from a problem to a solution or from a question to an answer.
  • Can be presented as letters, articles, blog posts, emails, or leaflets.
  • Examples of this form include advice columns, self-help guides, or how-to articles.


  • The tone can be friendly, gentler and more personal, encouraging the reader to feel supported.
  • Language can be more conversational, making use of rhetorical questions or direct addressing of reader.
  • Simplicity and directness can help the reader to better understand and apply the advice.
  • Avoid patronising or belittling tone; the aim is to guide, not reprimand.


  • Semi-formal register is common in advice writing, striking a balance between authoritative and approachable.
  • Sentence structure should be varied - use of imperative (commands) to deliver advice, but also questions to engage, and declarative sentences to provide information.
  • Use of second person pronouns (“you” or “your”) to directly address the reader.
  • Some contractions can be used to create an informal, conversational tone, but avoid slang or text speak.

General Tips

  • Understand the needs and background of your target audience - advice should be tailored for them.
  • Be clear and specific with your advice. Vague suggestions may not be helpful.
  • Use examples or anecdotes to illustrate points, making advice more relatable and understandable.
  • Practice writing advice in different formats and for different audiences to build adaptability and versatility in your writing skills.