Chapter 2: Working with Words: Which Word Is Right?

2.4 Angle of Vision

Learning Objectives

  • Identify how different wording can change angles of vision and impact on readers
  • Apply techniques to demonstrate different angles of vision and create objective writing

On occasion, you will be asked to write an emotionally expressive or sensory piece—something like your journal entries. However, during your academic studies, your instructors will ask you to write essays that are fact based and academic in tone. This means you will only be able to show your opinions by the choice of ideas you discuss and how you present your evidence. Your instructors will expect you to compose emotion-free papers, which means you have to choose your words carefully. When you write pieces full of emotion without facts, the reader is less likely to trust your argument. Imagine that you feel very strongly on an issue but do not use facts to support your argument. What if the reader disagrees with you? Since you have not provided factual supporting evidence, the reader will not be convinced of your point of view.

In this section, we will explore the impact of emotional writing and the impact on the reader; we will also explore word choices and their possible connotations. To begin, look at the two passages in Self-Practice Exercise 2.10 showing different angles of vision or points of view.

Self-Practice Exercise 2.10

H5P: Noticing Angle of Vision

Passages and Questions

Read these two passages, and then answer the questions below.

Passage 1

What a glorious day! The beautiful sun is shining down on those basking, hoping to absorb its wonderful rays. The surf is playfully nudging the young children who are frolicking in the waves. A group of smiling young people laugh joyously as they plan an exciting game of volleyball. As I watch their rousing game, I enjoy the feel of the warm sand playing between my toes. I love summer at the beach!

Passage 2

It is way too hot! The sun is beating down on all those foolish enough to think it is healthy to get a suntan. They will be sorry when they burn. I keep seeing unsupervised children getting knocked down by the strong waves, and their negligent parents are nowhere to be seen. Nearby, some rowdy teenagers keep laughing obnoxiously every time one in their group misses the volleyball; they are really terrible volleyball players. I would like to move from where I am sitting, but the sand is scorching hot and will burn my feet. I wish I had stayed home!

  • What are the differences in the physical setting that these passages are describing? Are they in different locations or happening at different times of day? Are there different people involved?
  • What evidence beyond sensory perceptions and personal opinion do the writers provide?
  • Which one are you more likely to agree with? Why? Is this because it matches your personal opinion of the beach or because it is combined with supporting facts?

It is clear that the two authors like or appreciate conditions and experiences differently. In Passage 1, the writer likes warm weather and does not mind noise, but in Passage 2, the writer would probably prefer to be at home in air conditioning. Ultimately, the passage that you connect with more is probably based on how you personally feel about going to the beach. Because the passages are based solely on opinion, there is nothing in them to convince the reader that other perspectives or angles of vision are valid. This is why you need to use facts to back up your ideas when writing (and of course include citations, which are discussed in Chapter 9: Citations and Referencing). However, before we look at objective, fact-based writing, your first assignment will give you an opportunity to practise choosing your words to show differing perspectives; it will also help you to see how changing words can completely change the effect of the writing.

Assignment 1: Angles of Vision (2.5%)

H5P: Angles of Vision

Assignment Preparation

Choose a place where you can sit and observe for 15-20 minutes. For this assignment, you will be asked to write two focused descriptions of this scene that will enable your reader to see what you see. You will actually have to write two descriptions of the same scene. One will be of the scene from a positive or favourable perspective; the other needs to convey a negative or unfavourable impression.

Both descriptions must contain only factual details and must describe exactly the same scene from the same location at the same time. This means that you cannot just change the facts like making the weather cloudy instead of sunny; your descriptive words need to do the work for you.

Length: combined total of 300 to 400 words for both paragraphs.

  • Spend some time noting details and jotting down the key words that come to mind as you observe this space. Try to focus on the negative details first.
  • Spend some time noting details and jotting down the key words that come to mind as you observe this space. Try to focus on the positive details first.

Reviewing the Criteria

Remember that your paragraphs should meet the following criteria:

  • 150-200 words each (300-400 words total).
  • Include only factual details.
  • Have one from a positive and one from a negative perspective, but the facts remain the same.
  • Be detailed enough to evoke a clear response from the reader.
  • For each of the criteria listed here, click the Add Criteria button and explain how you will meet the requirements for this assignment.

Drafting Your Paragraphs

Make your first attempt at drafting your negative paragraph. Aim for 150-200 words and include some of the details you identified in your first step.

Reread what you’ve written, and look at your surroundings some more. Are the change you want to make? Revise your paragraph here.

Drafting Your Paragraphs

Make your first attempt at drafting your positive paragraph. Aim for 150-200 words and include some of the details you identified in your first step.

Reread what you’ve written, and look at your surroundings some more. Are the change you want to make? Revise your paragraph here.

Reviewing Criteria Again

Reflect on each of the parts of your assignment as laid out in the criteria.

Assignment 1 shows you that changing your wording even slightly can completely change the impact or effect. This exercise also showed you an example of subjective writing—something that is writer centred often based on the writer’s sensory perceptions or emotions.

We have also talked about how the reader’s angle of vision may differ from the writer’s, and since there are no facts to give the reader a solid and believable perspective, the reader could be unconvinced. Now, we will look at an objective, or quantifiable, factual/scientific, example of the same type of passage.

Self-Practice Exercise 2.11

H5P: Passages and Questions

Read this passage, which offers a contrast with the kind of writing you read in Self-Practice Exercise 2.10, and answer the questions below.

On the morning of Saturday, June 10, I decided to visit the beach. The sky was clear with no clouds visible in the sky. I arrived at the beach at about 12:30, and it was already quite warm. I had to drive with the windows open, and it read 25C on the car’s temperature display. Just before getting out of the car, I remembered to grab my 30 SPF sunscreen because I got burned so badly last year, and I do not want to experience that blistering again this year. In front of me, there were five children who were about six years old playing in the foot-high waves; it looked like their parents were sitting watching them carefully from about four metres away probably just in case the waves got too high and they needed to dash to their children quickly. I chose a spot 10 metres to the right away from a group of young people, maybe 16 years old, playing volleyball, close enough to watch them having fun but far away enough to not get hit by any stray balls. These teenagers must have been playing just for fun because it seemed like someone missed every second ball, and the entire group started laughing when they did. Thankfully I wore my sandals, so I could feel the warmth of the sand between my toes but protect my feet in case the sand got too hot.


  • How is this passage different from the subjective examples in Self-Practice Exercise 2.10?
  • What evidence beyond sensory perceptions and personal opinion does the writer provide?
  • Is the passage more positive or negative? Does it discuss both good and bad things? What is different about how the different perspectives are presented?

In the passage above, the writer has presented both positive and negative situations, but the language she used is neutral and without judgment. The writer has linked bad past experiences and put a positive spin on them or was able to see possible negatives but also present solutions. She also provided enough detail (measurements, temperatures, distances, etc.) to present a more complete description, so the reader could visualize where everyone was situated in the scene, how hot it was, how high the waves were. Essentially, the writer presented a complete, unemotional, and objective perspective that is supported by quantifiable evidence.


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Writing for Success - 1st Canadian H5P Edition Copyright © 2021 by Tara Horkoff is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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