Conventions of Non-fiction texts

These are some of the generic conventions which you would be expected to recongnise and recall for the non-fiction comparison and unseen non-fiction questions in an exam.

Travelogue

  • Narrative and/or linear structure
  • Reflective tone
  • Evocative language  to convey sight, sound, and smell
  • Sensory language
  • Semantic field of travel
  • Comparative language
  • Intercultural references
  • Descriptive
  • Engaging language (e.g. rhetorical devices, humour, direct address)
  • Realistic
  • Commentary on methods of travel
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Reportage

  • Changes in register (changes depend on context)
  • 1st person
  • Discourse markers
  • Facts and statistics
  • Headline and sub-heading
  • Chronological and linear structure
  • Rhetorical devices
  • Descriptive and figurative  language
  • Feelings and emotions
  • Evidence of drafting and re-drafting
  • Highlights previous experiances
  • Varied sentance lengths
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Online article

  • Standfirst (introductory paragraph summarizing the article)
  • Pullquote (key phrase or quote pulled from article)
  • Sidebar (short article with extra infomation)
  • Headline
  • Caption
  • Byline
  • Visuals (e.g. tables, graphs, statistical representations)
  • Cohesive structure
  • Clear paragraphs
  • Sense of audience (e.g. direct adress, appealing to the reader)
  • Mix of informal and formal tone
  • Clearly structured arguement
  • Rhetorical devices
  • Quotations
  • Summary remarks
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Print article

  • Mast-head (Title of newspaper)
  • Byline
  • Standfirst (introductory paragraph summarizing the article)
  • Drop-cap
  • Visuals (e.g. tables, graphs, statistical representations)
  • Cohesive structure
  • Clear paragraphs
  • Sense of audience (e.g. direct adress, appealing to the reader)
  • Mix of informal and formal tone
  • Clearly structured arguement
  • Rhetorical devices
  • Quotations
  • Summary remarks
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Review

  • Opinionated - clearly praise or criticism
  • Persuasive
  • Paragraphs
  • Clear structure 
    • Intro - biographical infomation on writer
    • P1 - plot
    • P2 - themes
    • P3 - characters
    • Con - summary
  • Paragraph-point structure
  • Intertextual references
  • Title/headings/subheadings
  • By-line
  • Quotations
  • Mixture of registers
  • Rhetorical features
  • Attempt to appear objective
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Interview

  • Question and answer structure - adjacency pairs
  • Various types of questions
    • linking
    • tag
    • rhetorical
    • open/closed
    • extended
  • Spontaneous features (e.g. interruptions, pauses, repetition, false starts, overlapping, repairs)
  • Scripted elements
  • Hedging
  • Discourse markers
  • Subject shifts
  • Colloquial/formal register
  • Introduction and conclusion
  • Phatic talk
  • Rhetorical devices
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Speech

  • Rhetorical devices
  • Figurative language
  • Synecdoche and extended metaphors
  • Repetition
  • Emotive language
  • Changes in address
  • Changes in tone and register 
  • Anecdotes and digressions
  • Discourse markers
  • Varying sentance lengths
  • Clear structure
  • Changes in syntactical structures (e.g. tripling, reverse syntax)
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Podcast

  • Informal register
  • Spontaneous speech (most of the time is scripted, with spontaneous features written in)
  • Framing devices
  • Rhetorial devices
  • Turn-taking
  • Elliptical phrasing
  • Semantic fields
  • Intertextuality
  • Adjacency pairs
  • Exchanges between participants
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Blog

  • Short
  • Informal
  • Can have any subject matter 
  • Self-referential language
  • Links to other media, blogs, websites, etc.
  • Series of entries - similar to diary-like structure, often organised by dates.
  • Often 1st Person - not always the case though
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Radio Drama

  • Langauge appropriate for audience
  • Sustained tones (tension, drama, etc.)
  • Narrative framing devices
  • Use of voice
  • Cues, graphology, stage directions, etc.
  • Aural signposting (F/X) and sound effects
  • Fades in/fades out
  • Use of music
  • Titles
  • Credits
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Screenplay

  • Dialogue
  • Monologue
  • Stage directions
  • Slug lines (describes locaions, the text in CAPS)
  • Characters names in CAPS
  • Cues
  • Language choice depends on subject
  • Visual description of action - what the writer wants the camera to see
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Memoir

  • Divided into chapters rather than dates/events
  • 1st person
  • Reflective tone
  • Usually in past tense
  • Sense of re-evaluation of past events
  • Sense of audience - public
  • Changes in tone and register
  • Figurative language (e.g. metaphor, simile, synecdoche, etc.)
  • Generally narrative
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Diary

  • Graphology - organised into dates
  • Relfective tone
  • 1st person
  • Past tense
  • Sense of audience - varies with purpose
  • Series of entries connected by dates/events
  • Sense of the 'everyday'
  • Semantic fields that relate of the author's life
  • Syntactical structures with internal references (e.g. in-jokes, sociolect, etc.)
  • Phatic subject matter
  • More informal register (subject to change)
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Biography

  • The name of the person forms the title
  • Image
  • Factual
  • 3rd/1st person
  • Purpose is to inform
  • Usually has bias
  • Features true anecdotes about the person
  • Awareness of audience 
  • Contextual elements 
  • In a retrospective manner
  • Figurative language
  • Characteristics of fiction
  • Deixis - pointing outwards from the text to events in the author's/subject's life
  • Personal tone - often emotional
  • Linear structure - not necessarily chronological
  • Chapters that relate to particular dates/episodes
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Autobiography

  • Reflective tone
  • Past tense
  • 1st Person personal
  • Sense of dual voice
  • Time and place adverbials
  • Nostougic tone
  • Detailed descriptions
  • Selective - important events
  • Chronological
  • Emotional
  • Figurative language
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Letter

  • Salutation and validiction
  • Direct address
  • Polite forms
  • Signal ending
  • Narrative - anecdotal
  • Discourse markers
  • Date addressed
  • 1st person
  • Paragraphs - varied
  • Stream of consiousness - topic shifts
  • Occasionally breaks rules of grammar
  • Structure: 
    • salutation
    • why you are writing
    • text
    • what you would like the recipient to do
    • validiction
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Eulogy

  • Personal
  • Emotive language
  • Humour
  • Biographical details
  • Structured
  • Anecdolal 
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Obituary

  • Euphemisms (mild/indirect ways to put something which is too blunt for the context e.g. death)
  • Intertextual references
  • Biographical 
  • Photographs
  • Messages from others
  • Time and place adverbials for services
  • Announcement of death
  • Emotive language
  • Awareness of an audience - newspaper
  • Declaritives
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