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Writing Tips - Review

What is the objective of a review? To describe, express a personal opinion, and make a recommendation about something the writer experienced a book, a movie, a restaurant, and so on.
What language should you use? It depends on what you are reviewing and who is likely to read it. The review of a new videogame will probably be less formal than the review of a book, and a movie review may go either way. It is important that you use clear language and avoid very informal, conversational expressions.

A successful story should…

  • inform the readers about the item being reviewed;

  • contain accurate descriptions;

  • balance the positive and negative aspects;

  • contain the writer’s opinion and a recommendation;

  • help readers make up their minds about going to this place, reading this book, seeing this movie, and so on.

ORGANIZE YOUR TEXT!

A well-organized text is much more pleasing to read and easy to understand.

Title
First paragraph → Introduce the topic.
Body → Mention the positive aspects and then the negative aspects.
Last paragraph → Opinion and/or recommendation.

LEARN THE RIGHT LANGUAGE


USE SOME COLORFUL WORDS AND EXPRESSIONS A vast collection of adjectives is always a good thing to have when you are writing about the strong and weak points of something. Using a thesaurus is a great way to find some interesting new words. Here are some ideas for you:

  • POSITIVE ASPECTS amazing, extraordinary, jaw-dropping, outstanding, mouth-watering, remarkable, surprising

  • NEGATIVE ASPECTS disappointing, frustrating, outrageous, poor, distasteful, painful, disturbing, offensive

DON’T BE OFFENSIVE Remember that your review states your opinions, but other people may disagree with you. There’s also the person or people responsible for what you are reviewing. Whatever you write can have an impact on them. If that is something you worry about, you may choose to soften some of your comments, especially the strong, negative ones. Here’s how you can do it:


You think: “This place is too noisy” You write: “The ambiance is ok, but this is not a place where you go looking for a nice conversation. As a matter of fact, I had difficulty hearing my own thoughts.”


You think: “The book was terribly slow and it seemed like nothing happened for pages and pages.” You write: “Do not expect a page turner. The author takes his time and moves the story along at his own pace, which may be a bit too slow for some of the more impatient readers.”


GIVE YOUR OPINIONS Reviews are all about what you think, so you need to have a nice repertoire of expressions to do this, or else your text will seem poor and repetitive. Here are some options:

  • It seems/seemed to me that…

  • I felt as if…

  • The way I see it, …

RECOMMEND (OR NOT) Instead of just saying whether you liked what you reviewed or not, you may say who you think would like this product or experience and why. Here are some ways to do it.


“Outrun the Beast does a good job at scaring players, there’s no doubt about that, but it doesn’t seem to do much more. If you are looking for a good scare and some casual fun, and if you don’t care too much about a compelling story or a challenging gameplay, this can be a good experience for you.”


“It seems to be impossible to leave Burger Peak without a strong opinion about it. There are those who love it, and those who hate it. If you are looking for a complete dining experience, you might as well go somewhere else. However, if you do not care about the crowded place and the awful service, you will have a chance to eat one of the best burgers in town, if not THE best burger in town.”

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