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Instructional Writing


Instructions are written to show someone how to do something, such as cooking a meal, building furniture or getting somewhere (directions).


Instructions must be written carefully so the reader can complete the task. 

Key features of instructions:

  • Title - tells the reader what it is they are making or doing.

  • What you will need - this could be ingredients (for a recipe) or tools if the instructions are for making furniture. 

  • Chronological Order - write the instructions in time order (the order in which they need to be completed). Number the instructions to make the order clear. 

  • Imperative verbs - 'bossy' or commanding verbs (action words) will make the actions the reader needs to complete clear.

  • Time conjunctions - these can introduce the individual instructions and help order each step. For example, first or primarilynext or thenfinally or ultimately.

  • Adverbs – use adverbs to give detail and describe how something should be done. For example, finely chop the carrots OR gently stir the chocolate.

  • Detail/adjectives – use adjectives to make the instructions even clearer to the reader. For example, chop the nuts into small pieces OR screw the bolt in so it is tight.


Click the link below and complete.


Activity 1

Test your knowledge by highlighting the imperative verbs within the text (interactive quiz)



Activity 2

Take a look at these recipe examples. 

In each one, indicate 

  • the ingredients list (circle) 
  • an imperative verb (highlight yellow)
  • an adjective (highlight green) 




Activity 3

Watch the video to learn about Robert Falcon Scott’s Journey to the South Pole. 

Imagine you are Robert Falcon Scott and write a set of instructions for walking to the South Pole. 

Use the writing frame to indicate: 




Writing instructions with Stefan Gates | English - Facts about Non-Fiction

Suitable for 5-14s.TV chef Stefan Gates uses a cake recipe to outline how to write a set of instructions. From a series of BBC clips teaching key writing ski...






Use the ‘Writing Instructions Activity Sheet’ to write your own set of instructions.

What task will you guide people to do? Here are some examples....

  • How to look after a pet
  • How to make a cup of tea 
  • How to get to school in the morning 
  • How to tie your shoelaces


You can use the Instructions Checklist to check you have included all the relevant features.

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