Explanatory text

The explanatory text is intended to convey a phenomenon, an event or an affirmation by explaining its causes and consequences. The explanation is very objective and is based on facts and scientific research. This type of text answers questions like Why? and how? Of course, the explanatory sequence is dominant.

Explanatory texts can be found in encyclopedia, magazine, textbook, etc. articles.

The explanatory text is generally written in the third person of the singular, therefore to the he. Pronouns like me, us, I, etc. are therefore to be avoided.

The tone and vocabulary
Since the explanatory text aims to inform, the tone is neutral, objective and didactic. The vocabulary is precise and often linked to a scientific and technical universe.

How are the islands born?


The islands are formed in different ways. First of all, they may be ancient parts of the continent isolated as a result of the rise of the sea. Then, they can arise from the isolation of a geological block by fractionation. Then, some are the result of the accumulation of rocks and sediments.

It is important to adapt the text according to the target audience (the recipient). If the terms are complex, it is appropriate to provide definitions and examples of what is explained.

Graphic elements


In an explanatory text, several graphic elements serve to separate parts of the text and to structure it:

  • The title usually presents the subject of the explanation. It can even sometimes be formulated as a question.
  • The superscript, located above the title, in smaller font, generally presents the title of the heading, the general area of ​​the article or simply a title of less importance.
  • The subtitle can be placed between the title and the cap in the same characters as the subtitle. It is often used to provide additional information on the title.
  • The hat announces the phenomenon that will be explained or summarizes the text.
  • The headings bring out the elements of the explanation.
  • Illustrations, photos and graphics help to better understand the words.
  • Typographic elements draw attention to important elements of the text.
  • The boxes often provide additional information.

The importance of sources in an explanatory text


Since the purpose of an explanatory text is to explain a reality, it is important to verify the information and to verify the truth of the facts. It is possible to judge the credibility of the information by looking at the name of the author, his profession, the media that disseminates it, etc. In addition, it is generally recommended to mention the references that made it possible to write an explanatory text.