What are 7 most important types of text structure?


text structure


Text structure is the way in which all the information in text is organized. In other words, authors use text structure to convey their main intent and ideas in text. It is important that language learners acknowledge different text structures to comprehend different texts in English. Further on, the main text structures are mentioned and explained in details.

Text structures in English language

Text structure has many types or patterns. Learning the different patterns of text structure helps you to get a good comprehensive analysis of the details and sequences of information in text. It also helps you to organize the main elements of the text you are going to write about.

There are seven types of text structure in the English language. The seven types are: process, compare and contrast, chronological, cause and effect, problem and solution, inductive and deductive, and descriptive text structure.

In this article, seven types of text structures are presented. The seven main text structures are:

1) sequence or process structure

2) time order or chronology structure

3) cause and effect structure

4) compare and contrast structure

5) definition structure

6) inductive and deductive structure

7) problem and solution structure.

We are going to explain each type of text structure in details. Let’s see the distinctive features of each text structure:

Sequence or process text structure

The focus of this pattern is the procedure or phases of a certain result. Chronological order and cause and effect relationships are the dominant features of this text structure type. In the following, there is an example of a process text:


Topic: Chocolate Cake Recipe

You should mix the dry ingredients including flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and espresso powder by a paddle attachment to make a delicious chocolate cake. Then, you should add the other ingredients including milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla to the flour mixture. In the end, add boiling water to bake the cake for 30-35 minutes.

Sequence or process pattern expresses the steps of a certain process or project. The steps are stated in a chronological order. Thus, all the phases are explained step by step. For example, if you want to write about “the project of your investigation”, then you should follow this type of text structure.

You should write all the components of an essay in a logical order. You can see the words showing the order of the process such as “first”, “then”, “second” and so on in this pattern. Keep in mind that this type of text structure is not based on time order or cause and effect relationships.

The author illustrates the process or project through certain phases in text. Thus, each paragraph can indicate a certain phase of the process in this pattern. Sequence or process text structure is applied in all the recipes and instructions because recipes and instructions refer to an explanation of doing a certain project or process.

For example, An easy about “making a chocolate cake” as a recipe tends to talk about the steps which you should take to do a process or making a cake.

Time order or chronology text structure

Most narratives follow this pattern. The elements such as “flashback and foreshadowing” are sometimes used in such texts. The dominant feature of a chronological text structure is “time order.”



Topic: The Great Wall of China


Building the great wall of China goes back to the Qin Dynasty period (221_206 BC). During the Ham Dynasty period, the new fragments of the wall were added in 206 BC_ 220 AD. The Great Wall of China was completed during the Mig Dynasty period in 1644.

The author explain the information of the text based on a chronological order. Thus, the succession of the information must be in time order in this pattern. For example, if you want to write a composition about “the first day of your school”, then you should follow this pattern because you want to tell the events in a chronological order.

Many authors of stories and novels use this type of text structure to convey the events and the circumstances of the novels or the stories. It is also can be seen in narrative essays. The elements of a narration usually come together in a chronological sequence.

Cause and effect text structure

This type of text emphasizes the reasons and consequences. Therefore, it is based on the time order pattern. A cause and effect text implies that certain effects are the products of certain causes.


Topic: Pneumonia

Pneumonia is a serious illness affecting the lungs and breathing process. The cause of pneumonia are viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Also, Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) is the common cause of pneumonia speed in the United States.

If the author wants to illustrate the cause and effect or reasons or results of something, he must use this type of text structure. For example, if you want to write an essay about “the side effects of smoking on pregnant women”, then you should explicitly state the dangerous results of the action of smoking.

In short, cause and effect pattern refer to the results produced by a certain cause. In other words, this pattern gives an exact explanation of the consequences following certain antecedent.

Compare and contrast text structure

text structure

The focus of this pattern is on indicating the similarities and dissimilarities between objects, actions, ideas, or processes. The keywords of such text type are usually “same as, different from, although, whereas, while, like, and in contrast.” There is an example of a compare and contrast text in the following:


Topic: City Life and Village Life

The lifestyles of urban and rural people differ in many ways. The rural people are exposed to cleaner air and water while the urban people spend most of their time in traffic and polluted unhealthy air. There are many modern buildings in cities where’s villages have more natural beautiful attractions.

Compare and contrast text structure show both the similarities and differences between two things which belong to the same group. For example, if you want to state the similarities and differences between “a duck” and “a swan”, then you must use compare and contrast pattern.

Authors usually dedicate one paragraph for similarities and the other one for differences. The differences and similarities must be written so well organized that the reader never gets lost or confuses. Keep in mind that if you compare and contrast two items which do not belong to the same group, then you will not have a compare and contrast structure. (You will have an analogy structure.)

Definition text structure

Descriptive structures present the illustrations, examples, features, and descriptions of a certain topic.  The clue words of descriptive structures are “such as the same as, for instance, and example.” You can see some of the mentioned keywords in the following example:


Topic: Audrey Hepburn

One of the old Hollywood superstars is Audrey Hepburn. This beautiful Belgian-born British actress has also devoted her life and money to humanitarian work and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She was a thin cute ballet dancer in her youth.

This pattern refers to definition or explanation of a thing or a concept. Keep in mind that the thing that you are going to give the definition for should be abstract. In other words, you should define something new to the readers in this pattern. For example, if you are going to write about “What is happiness?”, then you must give definition in your text and follow this pattern.

Inductive and deductive text structure

The arrangement of information in a deductive structure is general to specific. That is, the introduction of such structures encompasses the main generalization or definition. The main aim of deductive structures is to reach a logical conclusion.

An inductive structure first starts from the specific details such as observations, suggestions, and unanswered questions and then goes to the main points. In an inductive structure, readers realize the author’s intent step by step. The “cause/effect, proposition/support, and judgment/critique relationships” are the dominant common feature of inductive structures.


Topic: the OSCE exam

The PLAB2 is the OSCE exam is rather difficult. One out of three people usually fails this exam. Sam is going to take the PLAB exam in the following month, therefore, Sam is likely to fail if he does not get prepared for the practical exam well.

The authors usually use two approaches to impose the readers to believe something is true. The two approaches are knowing as inductive structure and deductive structure.

In an inductive structure, the author uses many different evidences, examples and reasons in order to lead the readers to a general true conclusion. In other words, the author gets the readers to make logical connections between the specific data and the generalization. The inductive text structure moves the readers from detailed information to a general truth.

An example of inductive reasoning:

The birds used to come here. (Detail one)

They love here and feel safe here. (supporting evidence for the detail one)

The birds will migrate here this spring. (a generalization)

In deductive pattern, the author gets the readers to move from a general truth to a detailed conclusion. In this pattern, the author initially states a generalization and then begins to state related details, information and evidences to support the general truth. Therefore, the truth of the conclusion is unavailable in this type of text structure.

Example of deductive reasoning:

It is dangerous to go at night alone. (generalization)

It is 11:00 pm. (supporting evidence)

So, it is dangerous to go out alone. So, it is better to stay home now.

(the specific conclusion)

So, you can barely see that while both inductive pattern and deductive pattern are used for the same purpose (trying to convince the readers that something is true.), the pattern have opposite text structures.

Problem and solution text structure

text structure

A problem and solution or Hypothetical text structure presents solutions for a dilemma or a concerning issue. The words such as “reason, as a result, so that, and consequently” are seen a lot in problem and solution structures. The conclusion paragraph of a problem and solution structure is often the resolution of the problem.

Problem and solution pattern consists of a dilemma or a concerning issue and the measures which needs to be taken to improve the issue. In other words, the author initially expresses a certain problem in the text and then begins to bring solutions for the problem.

Keep in mind that this pattern is very different from cause and effect structure as it expresses solutions to the concerning issue. But, the author just states the reasons or the effects of a certain a cause in cause and effect structure.

Problem and solution text structure can also refer to more than one problem and their possible solutions in the situation. For example, if you want to write an essay about “social issues”, then you should follow the pattern. You should first express a certain social issue and then you should refer to all the possible solutions related to the social issue in your essay.


Overall, text structure is a way of organizing the information in text. It helps the authors to reflect their main ideas more clearly and orderly. Text structure has seven commonly used types or patterns as we mentioned above.

the seven text structures were mentioned and explained briefly. Each text structure containing certain words or phrases follows a certain pattern to meet the purpose and style of writing. All the text structures are used in paragraphs, passages, and texts.

You should get the hang of the common text structure patterns in order to comprehend or write the main ideas and concept of a any text meticulously. Learning the patterns of text structure also helps you to get to know the sequences of given information in text.

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What text structure means?

A text is a combination of well-organized written sentences. A structure means the way different components combine to create a well-written text. Therefore, a text structure is an organized structure presenting certain related information or description in a long text.

A certain type of text structure indicates the arrangement of information. Take an “inductive text structure” as an example, it shows that the author reveals the main information at first. Therefore, the arrangement of the details in a writing depends on the texttype.

Recognizing types of text structure have two important advantages for English learners. First, it enables the learners to retain and comprehend different English texts much better and faster. Secondly, it empowers the learners to organize their thoughts, feelings, opinions, or ideas in their listings effectively and comprehensively.

There are seven types of text structure as state in the above section. Each type of structureshas a certain underlying body appropriate for a certain purpose or genre. Without such structures, no text would exist in the English language.

Teaching the types of text structure should be in the initial part of the English grammar teaching process. Otherwise, English learners will face difficulty in understanding and using the grammar rules and they will not have a good performance at reading comprehension and English writing styles. Therefore, learning the structures of English texts effectively improves English reading and writing skills.


In short, structure refers to a certain way or method with which authors express their information. It is a strategy used for conveying certain details and ideas. It is an essential component of the building of a text.

What text structure means?

A text is a combination of well-organized written sentences. A structure means the way different components combine to create a well-written text. Therefore, a text structure is an organized structure presenting certain related information or description in a long text.

How to identify text structures?

Identification of text structures plays an important role in reading comprehension. It attracts readers’ attention to key concepts and points. Plus, it accelerates the reading process; that is, readers can easily skim or scan a text in case they can identify the structures correctly.

Regarding the importance of identifying text structures, it is important to tell different types of structures apart. Readers can take advantage of the helpful devices to identify text structures correctly. The following items assist readers in the identification of text structures:

Patterns and examples

English readers must know all the patterns of text structure types. Take the “chronological ” as an example, the readers should know that the arrangement of all the events and information is based only on time.  In this way, the readers can easily follow and get the messages conveyed by each structure.


Each type of text structure mainly contains some keywords. For example, the words such as “then, after, before, when, and while” are usually frequently used in a process text structure. Therefore, readers should perfectly know the keywords of all text structure types to identify the underlying structure accurately.

 “Wh” questions

Asking key questions is one of the best methods ofidentifying text structures. It helps readers to realize the purpose of the text and the author’s writing style. While reading, readers should ask themselves the following three questions:

  1. What is the topic of the text?
  2. What does the text imply?
  3. How does the text give the details?

Such questions make readers identity the text structure well. They indicate the author’s intent for writing. They also help readers to think and analyze the text much deeply and wisely.

Graphic organizers

Graphic organizers are one of the practical visual tools indicating the relationship between the supporting or minor sentences with the central idea or the major sentence of a text structure. They are also known as knowledge maps, concept maps, story maps, cognitive organizers, advance organizers, or concept diagrams. They best indicate the underlying structure of the whole text body.

To draw a correct graphic organizer, students must know what are supporting sentences and central ideas are and how to identify such components correctly. Then, they should put the central idea in the main part of the graphic organizer and put the supporting sentences in the branches of that graphic organizer. In this case, they can easily identify the text structure.


To be brief, the identification of text structures plays an important role in reading comprehension and a general understanding of a text. If readers can identify text structures well, then they will not be able to be good readers. There are five items, stated in the article, which perfectly guide readers to identify different text structures much better.

Identification of text structures plays an important role in reading comprehension. It attracts readers’ attention to key concepts and points. Plus, it accelerates the reading process; that is, readers can easily skim or scan a text in case they can identify the structures correctly.

How to identify text structures?

1. Patterns and examples
2. Keywords
3. “Wh” questions
4. Graphic organizers


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