A text is a piece of writing that you read or create.
The type or the characteristics of a text are very important for any work of summarisation on it. It is easier to select the main ideas from certain types of texts, as the narrative ones (texts “telling a story”) then from others, such as expository texts (texts “speaking about”).
The type of a texts depend on their purpose, structure and language features.
One of the most commonly used classification text materials is that one based on text’s purpose and meaning. In this classification, there are three main categories:
- Expository texts
- Narrative texts, and
- Argumentative texts.
An expository text is intended to identify and characterise experiences, facts, situations, and actions in either abstract or real elements. Expository texts are meant to explain, inform or describe and they are the most frequently use to write structures. Expository structures can be classified into five categories:
- description, where the author describes a topics characteristics, features, attributes, etc. and gives examples.
- procedure or sequence: the author lists different activities in their chronological order or enumerates items in a numerical order.
- comparison: the author explains how two or more objects, events, experiences, are alike and/or different.
- cause-effect explanation: the author presents ideas, events in time, or facts as causes and the resulting effect(s) in time.
- problem-solution presentation: the author describes a problem and gives one or more solutions to the problem.
In the expository category, the non-fictional texts have specific role to inform or to teach the readers. They can come in a various formats, depending of the area of use:
- business: reports, letters, executive summaries.
- journalism: essays, news reports, press releases, sports news.
- technical communication: user guides, technical reports or standards.
- academic and scientific communication: textbooks, student guides, scientific reports, scientific journals’ articles, encyclopedia articles.
- general reference works: encyclopedia articles, or on-line, multi-domain informative texts, as the Wikipedia articles.
A narrative text entertains, instructs or informs readers by telling a story.
Narrative texts deal with imaginary or real world and can be fictional (fairy tales, novels, science fiction, horror or adventure stories, fables, myths, legends, etc.) and non-fictional (articles, newspaper reports, historical writings).
Argumentative texts aim is to change the readers’ beliefs. They often contain negative qualities or characteristics of something/someone, or try to persuade their readers that an object, product, idea is in some way better than others.
You should note that few texts are purely one type: expository or argumentative texts can contain narration or evaluative elements.
Remember that the text types refer to the meaning the writing, and they should not be confused with writing (or other materials) formats: book, article, letter, report, essay, etc.