Narrative Texts are about EVENTS taking place. They tell you a story. When you write a narrative, a story, you have to give readers the setting first (people involved, time/space, problem), so that they have a framework of reference. Then you have to develop the problem and finally solve it. WATCH OUT!: They often include DESCRIPTIONS, too, and DIALOGUES and MONOLOGUES!
Structure: Beginning - Development - Ending!
Language: lots of verbs!
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Descriptive Texts are about information on OBJECTS themselves (people, things, landscapes…). A description can be external (picture the whole and then move onto the different parts), functional (picture the instruments and/or parts and describe their function), or psychological (the feeling the object described produces in the writer).
Structure: marked by your point of view, which means you have to think about the structure of your descriptive text. How are you going to organize it? Around the physical? (from top to bottom?, left to right?, general to particular?, the other way round?), in a thematic kind of organization?, chronologically?...
Language: lots of adjectives and stative verbs (i.e. verbs indicating states, like look, seem, be...) [Particularly useful is a comment in "Having ideas", How to Write 2]
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Instructional/Procedural Texts are HOW-TO texts, texts about how to do things!
Structure: The structure is very clearly ordered. First step 1, then step 2...! It begins at the beginning of the process described, moves on along with such process and ends also when the process finishes. This means no conclusions or opinion-like endings are included.
Language: lots of imperatives, sequencers…
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Argumentative Texts are about ideas. They show the process of supporting or weakening another statement. "Defending a position" means EXPLAINING THE IDEAS AND GIVING REASONS FOR THEM. "Defending a position" is not prevailing, or fighting people.
Structure: There are several types of structure (find more examples)
a. Introduction (the purpose of my...)
b. Explanation of the case under consideration (there are two different approaches to this issue... historically the debate...)
c. Outline of the argument (the difficult points are the following... + as it was said above...)
d. Proofs supporting the argument (as a matter of fact... it cannot be forgotten... furthermore... what is more…)
e. Refutation (even though... it is obvious that... nobody would believe that...)
f. Conclusion (on the whole... as a result... as a conclusion... finally... summing up...)
• Pros and cons discussion: pro-con-pro-con or con-pro-con-pro.
• One-sided argument: no counterarguments.
• Eclectic approach: some of the views on the subject.
• Opposition's arguments first, author's arguments: Traditionally it has been believed…; it seems to be a fact...
• Other side questioned: no direct refutation, mainly posing questions.
Language: everything has to be clearly explained and supported, not counting on the reader's knowledge or on the rightfulness of your position.
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Letter-Writing is a world of its own. In our website section called Writing you’ll find a whole section devoted to the subject.
Formal and informal letters, e-mails, notes too, on various topics or with various purposes need to be practiced.
Structure: hello part, body with whatever you need to tell organized according to your viewpoint (but group topics, please), good-bye part (usually in two steps: I need to stop now + Love). Also, you-me, you-me, you-me structure.
Language: language showing closeness: informal, slang, contractions...
Structure: you have to be careful with the structure of formal letters, for it is non-creative, fixed, as it is much of the language used in it. Create your list of types of formal letters and analyze their structure. Typical case: Reasons why you are writing + Relevant info + Contact info + Closure.
Language: NO contractions, fixed or typical sentences, no slang, no informal language (re-read the VERY INEFFECTIVE job-application letter here so you remember the importance of adjusting language to our aims and kinds of texts). Useful language for formal letters here.
Printer-friendly version of Introduction to Textual Analysis 1 & 2 (2 pages)
NB: Notice the title of this piece is "Introduction". This is just a little simplified comment, but helpful to start understanding our approach to texts.
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More: Intro to Textual Analysis 3 How to Improve your writing skills How to Write Paragraphs Point of View / Creativity (Exercise) Reference: Pronouns Brainstorming (Exercise) Brainstorming (Theory) Write a Story Outlines Journalism