Task: Work assignment

Exercise 1 - Style and Function

Published: 20.05.2010, Updated: 30.03.2011

What would you call the genre that this text belongs to?

The following short text appeared in the Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail on April 20, 2010. Read it and answer the questions at the end.

This mid-50's SW gentleman seeks an L/T relationship and he comes with some accessories. He is tall, fit, and handsome. He is an accomplished executive. Given his discriminating taste, he is in search of a cosmopolitan keeper (45-50) who is classy, beautiful and slender. She is independent, but knows the value of sharing. She is sensuous and lives a healthy lifestyle (and intends to look hot at 60!) She also enjoys good conversation and romantic interludes.

SW gentleman = single/white            L/T relationship  = long-term relationship


  1. Is the writer somebody who describes the gentleman in his mid-50’s, or is it the gentleman himself? Give your reasons, one way or the other.
  2. What is the purpose of this text?
  3. What would you call the genre that this text belongs to?
  4. What is noteworthy about the way the language is used here?


Suggested key
  1. Most likely, the writer is the gentleman himself. The reason for this is that it would be very unusual for somebody else to put in such an advertisement.  The use of the third person pronoun he/his, rather then I/mine, serves to ‘depersonalise’ the ad.  All the positive qualities that he claims for himself would appear even more boastful if he had used I/mine.
  2. The purpose is to find a suitable partner.
  3. The text can be said to belong to the genre/category of personal (e.g. a personal advertisement).
  4. All the adjectives paint a very positive picture of the gentleman: tall, fit, handsome, accomplished executive, discriminating taste and comes with some accessories (sounds like a commercial product). The same style is carried on in the description of the partner he seeks. In addition, the he/his forms make it sound as if somebody else describes him. There are direct and indirect references to attractive physical attributes, even sex: accessories, sensuous, look hot.

    [Incidentally , the phrase   …’one last dance’  brings to memory titles of many songs and films, not least the film One Last Dance starring Patrick Swayze (2003).]