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Text types

Descriptive texts
A descriptive text is a text that wants you to picture what they are describing.

A novel might want you to imagine the characters and see them in your mind.
A travel book will want you to see the country it is describing.

Descriptive texts usually:

make use of adjectives and adverbs
use comparisons to help picture it - something is like something
employ your five senses - how it feels, smells, looks, sounds and tastes

The morning air was crisp and sharp as Sean walked down the road.
The pavement was slippery and cold beneath his feet like a slimy wet fish.

To learn more about words to help you describe people, places and things look
at the Skillswise Describing words (adjectives) module.

Instructive texts
An instructive text is a text that instructs or tells you how to do something

A recipe wants to instruct you how to cook something.

A leaflet with a piece of furniture wants to tell you how to put it together or take
care of it.

Instructive texts:
are written as though the reader is being spoken to -
(although the word 'you' is not usually used)
language is direct and unnecessary words are left out
often use 'must' and 'must not'
sometimes use diagrams or pictures to help understanding

Put all ingredients into bowl together. Whisk until fully mixed.

Go to the end of the road and turn left past the pub on the corner. Keep walking
until you come to a park and then turn right into Hawker Street.

To learn more about writing instructions, look at the Skillswise Instructions

Informative texts
An informative text is a text that wants to advise or tell you about something.

A newspaper article might give you information about a health issue like giving
up smoking.
A website might give you information about a movie, band or something that you
are interested in.
A handout from school might be advising you about what your child will be doing
during the next term.

Informative texts usually:

avoid repetition
contain facts
give information in a clear way - introducing the subject and then developing it

Make a plan to help you try and give up smoking. Plan the date you'll give up,
how you'll try to deal with temptations and a list of the reasons why you are
giving up to keep motivated.

Autumn term: Your child will be covering simple fractions during weeks 1-6.

Persuasive texts
A persuasive text is a text that really wants you to do something

An advert might want you to buy something.

You might write a letter to persuade a friend to go on holiday with you, or to try
and get off a parking ticket.

Persuasive texts might use:

repeated words
text in capital letters
exclamation marks
rhetorical questions (questions where no answer is needed)
an emotional one-sided argument

SPECIAL OFFER! Buy today! Would you want to miss this SPECIAL offer?
Phone NOW...

"I really think that you need this holiday. You have been working very hard lately
and are so worn out. Just think of how nice it will be to lie on the beach in the

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For text types of the New Testament, see Textual criticism.
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Textual types refer to the following four basic aspects of writing:


• 1 The descriptive text type

• 2 The narrative text type
• 3 The expository text type
• 4 The argumentative text type
• 5 See also
• 6 Literature

• 7 External links

[edit] The descriptive text type

Based on perception in space. Impressionistic descriptions of landscapes or persons are
often to be found in narratives such as novels or short stories. Example: About fifteen
miles below Monterey, on the wild coast, the Torres family had their farm, a few sloping
acres above the cliff that dropped to the brown reefs and to the hissing white waters of
the ocean ...

Purpose Description is used in all forms of writing to create a vivid impression of a

person, place, object or event e.g. to: • describe a special place and explain why it is
special • describe the most important person in your life • describe the animal's habitat in
your report Descriptive writing is usually used to help a writer develop an aspect of their
work, eg. to create a particular mood, atmosphere or describe a place so that the reader
can create vivid pictures of characters, places, objects etc.

Features Description is a style of writing which can be useful for a variety of purposes: •
to engage a reader's attention • to create characters • to set a mood or create an
atmosphere • to bring writing to life.

Language • aims to show rather than tell the reader what something/someone is like •
relies on precisely chosen vocabulary with carefully chosen adjectives and adverbs. • is
focused and concentrates only on the aspects that add something to the main purpose of
the description. • sensory description - what is heard, seen, smelt, felt, tasted. Precise use
of adjectives, similes, metaphors to create images/pictures in the mind e.g. their noses
were met with the acrid smell of rotting flesh. • strong development of the experience that
"puts the reader there" focuses on key details, powerful verbs and precise nouns.

[edit] The narrative text type

Based on perception in time. Narration is the telling of a story; the succession of events is
given in chronological order.

Purpose The basic purpose of narrative is to entertain, to gain and hold a readers'
interest. However narratives can also be written to teach or inform, to change attitudes /
social opinions e.g. soap operas and television dramas that are used to raise topical issues.
Narratives sequence people/characters in time and place but differ from recounts in that
through the sequencing, the stories set up one or more problems, which must eventually
find a way to be resolved. The common structure or basic plan of narrative text is known
as the "story grammar." Although there are numerous variations of the story grammar,
the typical elements are: • Setting—when and where the story occurs. • Characters—the
most important people or players in the story. • Initiating event—an action or occurrence
that establishes a problem and/or goal. • Conflict/goal—the focal point around which the
whole story is organized. • Events—one or more attempts by the main character(s) to
achieve the goal or solve the problem. • Resolution—the outcome of the attempts to
achieve the goal or solve the problem. • Theme—the main idea or moral of the story. The
graphic representation of these story grammar elements is called a story map. The exact
form and complexity of a map depends, of course, upon the unique structure of each
narrative and the personal preference of the teacher constructing the map.

Types of Narrative There are many types of narrative. They can be imaginary, factual or
a combination of both. They may include fairy stories, mysteries, science fiction,
romances, horror stories, adventure stories, fables, myths and legends, historical
narratives, ballads, slice of life, personal experience. Features • Characters with defined
personalities/identities. • Dialogue often included - tense may change to the present or the
future. • Descriptive language to create images in the reader's mind and enhance the
Structure In a Traditional Narrative the focus of the text is on a series of actions:
Orientation: (introduction) in which the characters, setting and time of the story are
established. Usually answers who? When? Where? E.g. Mr. Wolf went out hunting in the
forest one dark gloomy night.

Complication or problem: The complication usually involves the main character(s)

(often mirroring the complications in real life).

Resolution: There needs to be a resolution of the complication. The complication may be

resolved for better or worse/happily or unhappily. Sometimes there are a number of
complications that have to be resolved. These add and sustain interest and suspense for
the reader. Further more, when there is plan for writing narrative texts, the focus should
be on the following characteristics: • Plot: What is going to happen? • Setting: Where will
the story take place? When will the story take place? • Characterization: Who are the
main characters? What do they look like? • Structure: How will the story begin? What
will be the problem? How is the problem going to be resolved? • Theme: What is the
theme / message the writer is attempting to communicate?

[edit] The expository text type

It aims at explanation, i.e. the cognitive analysis and subsequent syntheses of complex
facts. Example: An essay on "Rhetoric: What is it and why do we study it?"

[edit] The argumentative text type

Based on the evaluation and the subsequent subjective judgement in answer to a problem.
It refers to the reasons advanced for or against a matter.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

A narrative is a story that is created in a constructive format (as a work of speech,

writing, song, film, television, video games, in photography or theatre) that describes a
sequence of fictional or non-fictional events. The word derives from the Latin verb
narrare, "to recount", and is related to the adjective gnarus, "knowing" or "skilled".[1]
Ultimately its origin is found in the Proto-Indo-European root gnō-, "to know".[2]

The word "story" may be used as a synonym of "narrative", but can also be used to refer
to the sequence of events described in a narrative. A narrative can also be told by a
character within a larger narrative. An important part of narration is the narrative mode,
the set of methods used to communicate the narrative through a process called narration.
Along with exposition, argumentation and description, narration, broadly defined, is one
of four rhetorical modes of discourse. More narrowly defined, it is the fiction-writing
mode whereby the narrator communicates directly to the reader.

Stories are an important aspect of culture. Many works of art and most works of literature
tell stories; indeed, most of the humanities involve stories. Owen Flanagan of Duke
University, a leading consciousness researcher, writes that “Evidence strongly suggests
that humans in all cultures come to cast their own identity in some sort of narrative form.
We are inveterate storytellers” (Consciousness Reconsidered 198).

Stories are of ancient origin, existing in ancient Egyptian, ancient Greek, Chinese and
Indian culture. Stories are also a ubiquitous component of human communication, used as
parables and examples to illustrate points. Storytelling was probably one of the earliest
forms of entertainment. Narrative may also refer to psychological processes in self-
identity, memory and meaning-making.


• 1 Conceptual issues
• 2 Literary theory
• 3 Narrative aesthetics
• 4 Narration as a fiction-writing mode
• 5 Psychological narrative
• 6 Historiography
• 7 See also
o 7.1 Other specific applications
• 8 Sources
• 9 Further reading

• 10 External links

Conceptual issues
Semiotics begins with the individual building blocks of meaning called signs; and
semantics, the way in which signs are combined into codes to transmit messages. This is
part of a general communication system using both verbal and non-verbal elements, and
creating a discourse with different modalities and forms.

In On Realism in Art Roman Jakobson argues that literature does not exist as a separate
entity. He and many other semioticians prefer the view that all texts, whether spoken or
written, are the same, except that some authors encode their texts with distinctive literary
qualities that distinguish them from other forms of discourse. Nevertheless, there is a
clear trend to address literary narrative forms as separable from other forms. This is first
seen in Russian Formalism through Victor Shklovsky's analysis of the relationship
between composition and style, and in the work of Vladimir Propp, who analysed the
plots used in traditional folk-tales and identified 31 distinct functional components.[3]
This trend (or these trends) continued in the work of the Prague School and of French
scholars such as Claude Lévi-Strauss and Roland Barthes. It leads to a structural analysis
of narrative and an increasingly influential body of modern work that raises important
epistemological questions:

• What is text?
• What is its role in the contextual culture?
• How is it manifested as art, cinema, theatre, or literature?
• Why is narrative divided into different genres, such as poetry, short stories, and
• Why are narratives put into literature?

Literary theory
For general purposes in semiotics and literary theory, a "narrative" is a story or part of a
story. It may be spoken, written or imagined, and it will have one or more points of view
representing some or all of the participants or observers. In stories told orally, there is a
person telling the story, a narrator whom the audience can see and/or hear, who adds
layers of meaning to the text non-verbally. The narrator also has the opportunity to
monitor the audience's response to the story and modify the manner of the telling to
clarify content or enhance listener interest. This is distinguishable from the written form
in which the author must gauge the readers' likely reactions when they are decoding the
text and make a final choice of words in the hope of achieving the desired response.

Whatever the form, the content may concern real-world people and events; this is termed
"personal experience narrative". When the content is fictional, different conventions
apply. The text projects a narrative voice, but the narrator belongs to an invented or
imaginary world, not the real one. The narrator may be one of the characters in the story.
Roland Barthes describes such characters as "paper beings", and fiction comprises their
narratives of personal experience as created by the author. When their thoughts are
included, this is termed internal focalisation: when each character's mind focuses on a
particular event, the text reflects his or her reactions.

In written forms the reader hears the narrator's voice both through the choice of content
and the style — the author can encode voices for different emotions and situations, and
the voices can be either overt or covert —, and through clues that reveal the narrator's
beliefs, values and ideological stances, as well as the author's attitude towards people,
events and things. It is customary to distinguish a first-person from a third-person
narrative: Gérard Genette uses the terms homodiegetic and heterodiegetic narrative
respectively. A homodiegetic narrator describes his or her personal and subjective
experiences as a character in the story. Such a narrator cannot know anything more about
what goes on in the minds of any of the other characters than is revealed through their
actions; a heterodiegetic narrator describes the experiences of the characters who appear
in the story and, if the story's events are seen through the eyes of a third-person internal
focaliser, this is termed a figural narrative. In some stories, the author may be overtly
omniscient, and both employ multiple points of view and comment directly on events as
they occur.

Tzvetan Todorov (1969) coined the term "narratology" for the structuralist analysis of
any given narrative into its constituent parts to determine their function(s) and
relationships. For these purposes, the story is what is narrated as usually a chronological
sequence of themes, motives and plot lines; hence, the plot represents the logical and
causal structure of a story, explaining why its events occur. The term discourse is used to
describe the stylistic choices that determine how the narrative text or performance finally
appears to the audience. One of the stylistic decisions may be to present events in non-
chronological order, using flashbacks, for example, to reveal motivations at a dramatic

Narrative aesthetics
The art of narrative is by definition a highly aesthetic enterprise. There are a number of
aesthetic elements that typically interact in well-developed stories. Such elements include
the essential idea of narrative structure, with identifiable beginnings, middles and ends, or
exposition-development-climax-resolution-denouement, normally constructed into
coherent plot lines; a strong focus on temporality that includes retention of the past,
attention to present action and protention/future anticipation; a substantial focus on
characters and characterization which is “arguably the most important single component
of the novel” (David Lodge The Art of Fiction 67); a given hetergloss of different voices
dialogically at play, “the sound of the human voice, or many voices, speaking in a variety
of accents, rhythms and registers” (Lodge The Art of Fiction 97; see also the theory of
Mikhail Bakhtin for expansion of this idea); possesses a narrator or narrator-like voice,
which by definition “addresses” and “interacts with” reading audiences (see Reader
Response theory); communicates with a Wayne Booth-esque rhetorical thrust, a dialectic
process of interpretation, which is at times beneath the surface, conditioning a plotted
narrative, and other at other times much more visible, “arguing” for and against various
positions; relies substantially on now-standard aesthetic figuration, particularly including
the use of metaphor, metonymy, synecdoche and irony (see Hayden White, Metahistory
for expansion of this idea); is often enmeshed in intertextuality, with copious
connections, references, allusions, similarities, parallels, etc. to other literatures; and
commonly demonstrates an effort toward bildungsroman, a description of identity
development with an effort to evince becoming in character and community.

Narration as a fiction-writing mode

As with many words in the English language, narration has more than one meaning. In
its broadest context narration encompasses all written fiction.
As one of the four rhetorical modes of discourse, the purpose of narration is to tell a story
or to narrate an event or series of events. Narrative may exist in a variety of forms,
including biographies, anecdotes, short stories and novels. In this context, all written
fiction may be viewed as narration.

Narrowly defined, narration is the fiction-writing mode whereby the narrator is

communicating directly to the reader. If, however, the broad definition of narration
includes all written fiction, and the narrow definition is limited merely to that which is
directly communicated to the reader, what comprises the rest of written fiction? The
remainder of written fiction would be in the form of any of the other fiction-writing
modes, such as description, exposition, summarization, etc.

Psychological narrative
Within philosophy of mind, the social sciences and various clinical fields including
medicine, narrative can refer to aspects of human psychology.[4] A personal narrative
process is involved in a person's sense of personal or cultural identity, and in the creation
and construction of memories; it is thought by some to be the fundamental nature of the
self.[5][6] The breakdown of a coherent or positive narrative has been implicated in the
development of psychosis and mental disorder, and its repair said to play an important
role in journeys of recovery.[7] Narrative Therapy is a school of (family) psychotherapy.

Illness narratives are a way for a person affected by an illness to make sense of his or her
experiences.[8] They typically follow one of several set patterns: restitution, chaos, or
quest narratives. In the restitution narrative, the person sees the illness as a temporary
detour. The primary goal is to return permanently to normal life and normal health. These
may also be called cure narratives. In the chaos narrative, the person sees the illness as a
permanent state that will inexorably get worse, with no redeeming virtues. This is typical
of diseases like Alzheimer's disease: the patient gets worse and worse, and there is no
hope of returning to normal life. The third major type, the quest narrative, positions the
illness experience as an opportunity to transform oneself into a better person through
overcoming adversity and re-learning what is most important in life; the physical
outcome of the illness is less important than the spiritual and psychological
transformation. This is typical of the triumphant view of cancer survivorship in the breast
cancer culture.[8]