Before we start to write we need to be clear about the purpose of our writing. Writing for a specific purpose has its own particular language and structure or ‘text type'. There are three broad text types:
- Literary texts
- Factual texts
- Persuasive texts
The table below shows examples of the various text types that exist within these categories:
An imaginative account of the characteristic features of people, places or events.
|A retelling of the events of a story.|
|Gives a personal opinion on an imaginative text.|
|An analysis and personal opinion on an imaginative text.|
|A story told through an imaginative sequence of events.|
Describes in factual terms a real place or thing.
|Retells real events accurately.|
|Gives a detailed factual account of something, which has been researched from reliable information resources.|
|A set of instructions about how to do something.|
|Tells how or why something happens.|
Explains a point of view in an attempt to convince others.
Provides arguments and evidence about all sides of an issue in an attempt to arrive at a decision.
For text types of the New Testament, see Categories of New Testament manuscripts.
Textual types refer to the following four basic aspects of writing: descriptive, narrative, expository, and argumentative.
Descriptive text type
Based on perception in space. Impressionistic 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 Sido 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...
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.
Descriptive writing is usually used to help a writer develop an aspect of their work, e.g. 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
- 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, smell, 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.
Narrative text type
Based on perception in time. Narration is the telling of a story; the succession of events is given in chronological order.
The basic purpose of narrative is to entertain, to gain and hold 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 characters 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
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.
- 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 story.
In a Traditional Narrative the focus of the text is on a series of actions:
- (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).
- 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?
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?"
There is a chance that your work may fall flat if you have not chosen one of the really good expository essay topics. Not all topics out there are interesting or meaty enough to be thoroughly investigated within a paper. Make sure you put effort into choosing a topic that has a lot of material to cover it and pique the interest of readers! 
- Trending Topics: Are there any hot issues that deserve some deep discussion? If so, consider educating people on this seemingly new occurrence through the use of a well-written essay.
- A topic close to your heart: It is easy much easier to defend a thesis if you find yourself passionately thinking about the topic. If you have an advocacy and want to inform others, choose this path and you might be able to sway beliefs!
Comparing the past and the present is a good way of framing an argument, especially if a lot has been written about it.
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. The writer usually argues with another side to convince the reader to join a certain side.
A literary text is a piece of written in water, such as a book or poem, that has the purpose of telling a story or entertaining, as in a fictional novel. Its primary function as a text is usually aesthetic, but it may also contain political messages or beliefs. American schoolchildren and their parents are taught that literary texts contrast with informational texts that have the purpose of providing information rather than entertainment. Informational texts, such as science briefs and history books, are increasingly receiving emphasis in public school curricula as part of the Common Core State Standards. As a result, many parents have challenged the idea that literary texts are of less pedagogical value than informational ones.