The structure of a text is directly identifiable, even unconsciously, when the subject is well organized, hierarchical and presented. How it works?

For clarity of reading, the texts are built according to a precise structure which makes it possible to organize the ideas they express. In the same way that a website is also built on a structure, a certain formatting, as we see in this article on the information architecture specific to a website. This architecture, this design makes it possible to find one’s way, to retain the organization of the contents and to find one’s way in the screen space.

A good textual architecture makes it possible to better follow the order of enunciation of the text, and to better understand its meaning.

What are the elements to know in order to be able to locate the structure of a text? What are the indicators that allow the structure to be observed?

Identifying the structure of a text: why and how?

Depending on the type of text, the structure will not be exactly the same. This depends on theintention and some function desired by the person who writes.

We can, among other things, distinguish the texts informative, the texts injunctive (the aim of which is to encourage action to be taken) and the texts persuasive (who try to convince by advancing an opinion).

Identifying how a text is constructed allows us to identify logical links, from identify the main ideas and their hierarchy. A good textual architecture makes it possible to better follow the order of enunciation of the text, and to better understand its meaning.

A very simple method for locating the structure of a text is the QQOQCP method. It is also used, this method, to design a text elsewhere. If the text follows this structure, it is easy for the reader to spot it. Often, the intertitles include elements of the structure. As in the subtitle of this paragraph, which talks about the why and the how. This method also makes it possible to structure the ideas generated during a brainstorming, for example. Especially since brainstorming tends to use techniques such as association, analogy, comparison, etc. which are often used to articulate a text as well. We talk about it below, in the paragraph on logical connectors.

Identify important ideas

To better understand the structure of a text, therefore, a first step is to identify and qualify the important ideas, and to locate Indicators which associate ideas, bind them together, ensure the succession from one idea to another.

It then becomes easy to distinguish the articulation of the text and the links between its different parts.

This work should even make it possible to establish a mental diagram, giving titles to the main parts and sub-titles for each idea stated.

Articulate ideas in the structure of a text

The typographic elements are essential for understanding a subject. At the very least, they make it easier to grasp quickly, at the first level. Titles, candles, boxes, quotes, paragraph arrangement: thanks to these reading aids, the reader easily locates the hierarchy of ideas in the text. However, it must be remembered that the same idea can be developed over several paragraphs (just as a single paragraph can also contain a single argument).

Who says structure says syntax …

Then we will look for the logical connectors: they articulate the text and serve to establish a relationship between the opinions or arguments put forward. The coordinating conjunctions or from subordination, relative pronouns, prepositions and other phrases are all logical connectors, which can be used to express different types of articulations:

  • addition (and, as well as, again …),
  • opposition (but, although, however, despite …),
  • cause (because, because, indeed, thanks to …),
  • consequence (therefore, so that, that’s why …),
  • example (for example, that is to say …),
  • goal (so that, in order to …),
  • hypothesis (if, in case of),
  • conclusion (therefore, ultimately, ultimately …)

These connectors also help to organize the arguments hierarchically (first, second, second…).

Finally, the transitional sentences or paragraphs put binder in the articulation, to add emotion and character to the functional and rational structure of the speech. And you, how do you locate the structure of a text?

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