Information text: definition, types and characteristics
Information texts are intended to convey information about a specific event or topic.
These types of texts are intended to be objective, since their intention is to inform. In addition, they should facilitate the understanding of the subject matter explained and give enough detail so that the reader can understand what is being explained.
In these lines we will see what the characteristics of the informative text are and its main types.
Characteristics of the information text
These types of texts describe real events and themes. Its purpose is to transmit information about reality, touching on different themes . Therefore, it is a type of text in which the data described are not fiction or, at least, are supported by a real fact.
It avoids repeating something that has been previously explained and the information is intended to be given as clearly as possible. Its structure generally consists of an introduction, a development and a conclusion.
The language used can be specialized, varying according to the subject matter explained. Moreover, this language must be coherent, direct, objective and must avoid using linguistic resources such as metaphors or popular jargon , since it can make the reader interpret the information explained in a different way from the way the sender has intended.
To make it easier for the reader to find and understand the information, several resources can be incorporated in the informative text: index, bold or highlighted text, glossary with specialized words, graphics, legends, tables, as well as references to be able to expand the knowledge even more.
For an informative text to be appropriate, it is necessary that the content presented be precise and explained in an impersonal way . The purpose of this type of text is always to explain a certain subject to a reader, and that by the end of the reading he has acquired new knowledge.
The ideas set out in the text must be correctly ordered . For this reason, examples, bibliographical sources and clarifications are usually used to ensure that the recipient fully understands the subject matter being explained. One aspect that may seem obvious is the importance of knowing how to use punctuation correctly: period, comma, question marks, etc.
There are basically 4 main types of information text. They are described here, with all their distinctive features.
This is the description of a recent event that the issuer wishes to make public . It is the informative reference text, given that in the news the issuer tries to explain the event as faithfully as possible.
The writer of the news must relate the facts in the most objective way possible, offering all the information he can, looking for witnesses who lived the event and interviewing them. What should never be done is to falsify the information with the intention of offering one’s own vision of the event and, thus, manipulating public opinion.
Every news story tries to answer six questions:
- What happened?
- When did it happen?
- Where did it happen?
- Who or who was involved?
- How did it happen?
- Why did it happen?
As for its structure, the news presents the following parts:
Epigraph: It is a single line that conveys the central idea of the news and invites the reader to read it.
- Headline : It is the name of the news and it must be related to the subject explained.
- Download : Expands the information presented in the headline.
- Lead : It is the first paragraph of the news, where the main thing is summarized.
- Body : Goes into depth. The information presented ranges from the most fundamental to that which is less important.
2. Formal letter
Its main objective is to transmit to the receiver information that concerns him, which must be treated seriously.
Formal letters are usually written for people who are not personally known or with whom you do not have a relationship of friendship and camaraderie. You can also write this type of informative text to an authority or a company, to give some examples.
Formal letters can express opinions, feelings, justify a course of action, or simply describe a set of events to another person.
In this type of text it is very important to show a respectful tone and to take care of the language used.
They follow the following structure:
- Date and place where it was written.
- Header: Write the name to which it is addressed.
- Polite and formal greeting.
- Introduction: this is the first paragraph of the letter and it contains the information that allows us to understand the rest of what will be explained.
- Body: All the information about the event or topic is explained.
- Farewell: the main idea of the letter is summarized and politely dismissed.
3. Memorandum or memorandum
It’s basically a letter, but much shorter. It is used a lot in companies and other types of organizations, since allows to communicate in a fast and synthetic way .
In this type of informative text the language is formal, but it does not require all the protocol aspects that are in the letters.
It consists of the following parts:
- Title: usually “memo” or “memorandum”.
- Header: you put who sends it, for whom and the reference of the subject of the memorandum.
- Body: the information to be transmitted.
It is an informative text whose purpose is to divulge . For this reason it is a type of text widely used in scientific disciplines, research or to describe the situation of a company.
As it is an informative text, it should be stressed that it is not intended to persuade its reader. However, in this type of text recommendations can be included to guide the reader to a specific objective .
Although it has all the characteristics of informative texts, it does not have a defined structure. However, the following elements can be found in most of them:
- Body: as it is a text for dissemination, it is very important that it includes as much information as possible and in the most objective way.
- Alfonso, I. (1997): The informative text. Caracas, Contexto Editores.
- Díaz, A. (1987) Aproximación al texto escrito. Medellín, Colombia, Editorial Universidad de Antioquia.