Text Analysis Course

A genre is a particular category of writing which has some common characteristics of style and language. These characteristics are determined by the purpose of the text, for example whether it aims to inform, to analyse or to persuade, or if it aims for a personal approach.

ta course 1

When analysing or writing a text it is important to know what genre you are working with.

  • If you are asked to analyse a text or explain which genre it belongs to, you must be able to recognise common characteristics of the various genres.
  • If you are given the option of choosing your genre in a writing task, you must choose a genre you are familiar with, and which suits the purpose.


Looking for the purpose of a text

The texts you analyse or write will often do one of the following things:

  1. describe or explain something – an event, a situation, a development, an idea, a text. We can call texts like this expository texts, from the word expose, meaning to uncover.
  2. analyse something, i.e. look more deeply into a topic or issue, and draw conclusions on the basis of what you find. We call these analytical texts. There is no clear borderline between an expository and an analytical text, but the degree of interpretation is greater in the latter.
  3. argue something, give a considered opinion on an issue. We call these persuasive texts because the purpose is to persuade the reader of the rightness of your opinion.
  4. give a personal response to an issue. We call these personal texts, and they differ from the others in that they are openly subjective and expressive. (Expressive language creates images in the reader’s mind, for example by using metaphors or symbols.)

Sometimes a text may have elements of more than one of these text types, but generally it is a good idea to decide what the main purpose of a text is. Too much personal response in an analytical or a persuasive text, for example, can undermine the credibility of what the writer is trying to say. Similarly, too much factual explanation can undermine the expressiveness of a personal text.

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