Check out these two specific concepts about nonliterary texts.
Organizational Pattern of an Informational Text
Informational text will be organized in one of five ways:
- Sequence order
This topic could be measured in the constructed response-question for this category, so it is important to be able to identify organizational patterns.
Problem-solution is an organizational pattern where information in a passage is written as a problem and something was, could be, or should be done to fix the issue. This structure can be easily confused with cause and effect, but can be identified when you look specifically for a problem and solution, not just why or how something happened.
- Problem-solution signal words: answer, propose, solution, issue, problem, problematic, remedy, prevention, fix.
Cause and effect is an organizational pattern where Information in a passage is structured to describe why something happened, or the effects of something. Generally, this structure is used in expository and persuasive text.
- Cause-effect signal words: as a result, because, caused, since, due to, resulted, effect.
Sequence order is an organizational pattern where a passage is organized by the order in which it occurs. Usually this organizational pattern is used when giving instructions or directions, but it can also be used to explain various processes in nature or politics.
- Sequence order signal words: first, next, before, then, lastly
The descriptive organizational pattern is used to give a detailed description of something so the reader gets a mental picture while reading.
- Description signal words: describe, for instance, such as, characteristic
Compare and Contrast
Compare and contrast is a pattern of organization where the similarities and differences of two or more things is described. For a text to be considered a compare and contrast piece it must discuss similarities AND differences. If just similarities, or just differences are described, it is not truly compare and contrast.
Compare and contrast signal words: like, both, unlike, similar, neither, different
Rhetorical strategies are tools that help the author play on words to create an effect to their writing.
- Satire is the use of humor, exaggeration, or criticism to try to change the reader’s stance on an issue. An author sometimes uses it to influence the reader’s political or social opinion.
- Irony is when the unexpected happens in a situation that is expected. Example: Raining on your wedding day. Being offered a free dessert after you’ve already paid for yours.
- Understatement is making something seem less important. The author might use an understatement to be polite or sensitive to the reader.
- Hyperbole is an exaggeration or overstatement. The author might use hyperbole to be more dramatic or add a level of humor to the text.
Methods of Appeal or Persuasion
Authors use various methods when trying to persuade or appeal to a reader. Three of the most common are using expert opinions, generalizations, and testimonials.
- Expert opinions are typically used to try to sell a product or experience. An author will use the word of an expert in a given field to try to appeal to readers. For example, if an author is trying to persuade parents to use a new sunscreen for their child, the author could quote a pediatric dermatologist who claims their sunscreen is medically superior to other products.
- Generalizations are sweeping statements about a whole group, but based only on one or two members of that group. If the reader believes the generalization it can be effective in persuading the reader, but if the author is not believed, a generalization could actually discredit the author. For example, if a newspaper wrote an article on two teenagers stealing from a convenience store, and called for all teenagers to have stricter curfews in place because most teenagers steal.
- Testimonials are used to typically sell a product or experience, usually in ads, and are a person’s written or spoken statement about a product. For example, if a celebrity gives a testimonial about a new skin cream and an author uses that to try and persuade readers to also use the skin cream, it could be more persuasive than not having the testimonial.