Mammoth Memory

Types of effects

The kinds of effect that language features have on you depends on the writer’s intention (assuming that he or she is a competent writer!) Here are some effects that writers might aim for, under each of our four main headings:

Man in bath suddenly understands, English language exam, effects of language features 


The language feature changes your view, or understanding:

  • Increases your knowledge (inform/advise)
  • Teaches you how to do something you couldn’t do before (learn)
  • Helps you gain a different view on an issue/dispute/question/belief (different view)
  • Helps you to know someone better (get to know)
  • Makes you more aware of choices of food, clothing, etc (more aware)
  • Alerts you to dangers/scams (be alert)
  • Teaches you facts/numerical data for use in support of arguments (learn facts)


SenseHuman senses, smell, touch, taste, hearing, sightThe language feature makes what’s being described seem real in your mind:

  • You can see in your mind’s eye what a person or thing looks like (create picture)
  • You can “taste” the gruel being dished up to the workhouse children in Charles Dickens’s Oliver Twist, or the caviar being eaten by the guests in a novel about high society (create taste)
  • You can “touch” or “feel” the person’s skin, the animal’s fur or scales, or the surface of some other object (create feel)
  • You can “smell” the aroma of the coffee the hero is drinking, or the disgusting, neglected farmyard full of animal faeces (create smell)
  • You can “hear” the sounds that the writer refers to (create sound)



English language features and effects, types of effects, respond

The language feature makes you respond: 

  • Makes you feel happy/sad (happy, sad, shaken)
  • Leaves you wanting to get involved (get involved)
  • Changes your mind about something (change mind)
  • Makes you feel enraged/engaged/sympathetic/unsympathetic/ supportive/opposed (influences your view)
  • Engages you interest (hooks you)
  • Gets you to join a cause (join in)
  • Persuades your to adopt a new belief (new belief)



English language features and effects, types of effects, remember

The language feature makes the words more memorable:

  • Imprint an image of someone/something on your mind (imprints image)
  • Invoke personal memories you have of childhood/school days/jobs/ family etc (recall people, events)
  • Provide you with data you can recall for future use (remember data)
  • Help you remember the meanings of words (remember words)


NOTE: There are thousands more possible effects, but if you work systematically through Understand, Sense, Respond and Remember when reading a text or source, you should cover everything worthy of note in the particular piece.

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