THE INSTRUCTIVE TEXT

COMMUNICATIVE PURPOSE AND TEXT TYPES:

THE INSTRUCTIVE TEXT

TEXTS, either visual, written or spoken, are meant to trigger a reaction on the reader / listener. This is called COMMUNICATIVE PURPOSE.

As you may recall, these are basically four:

TEXT TYPES1.  Instruct

2.  Inform

3.  Describe

4.  Persuade

 

Not all texts have got only one communicative purpose. In fact, all texts INFORM. But, besides this basic feature, information may be used to convince you to buy a product of a specific brand rather than any other, or to guide you through specific steps to bake a delicious pizza, for example!

We are going to review the basic features of the INSTRUCTIVE TEXT.

Examples of these text types are:

MANUALS and GUIDELINES

If you examine these, you will realise the following:

– They have a statement of what we are going to achieve

– They have a clear list of materials / tools / ideas and concepts that we need to have before we begin

– They have a list of steps ordered in a specific sequence that has to be followed

– They have different illustrations and diagrams to visually identify the different stages we have to accomplish

The framework or layout of an instructive text usually looks like this:

SET OF INSTRUCTIONS

On the other hand, guidelines or handouts also give you steps to follow, but also suggestions and “tips” to carry out the intended task in the best way possible. Your teachers usually give out these to explain instructions you must follow and elements you should remember or avoid. For example the following is an extract taken from TechProse, by The Natchez Group, University of Berkley. This text goes beyond the simple, plain and straightforward instruction. It provides suggestions and ideas to consider. Let us read:

“1.2 Identify the Audience and What They Need

A key to good writing is understanding the audience. The document must be directed

at specific readers, and take into account their level of technical knowledge, the

amount of detail they want, and their level of interest in the subject. This is often

called user or needs analysis. Design the document to meet the needs of its specific

readers in terms of subject matter, vocabulary, level of detail, and writing style. In

general, assume that the audience is less familiar with the subject than you are.

For example, if the document is to be read only by engineers, use appropriate scientific

vocabulary and detailed supporting data. If it is a tool for executive decisions, present

data in lay terms, with clear supporting graphics.”

Let us go over the following Pptx:

INSTRUCTIONS

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