What is Genre?

You may have heard the word genre before at school or have seen it written somewhere.

A definition of genre is a style of text or written language where each piece has a purpose (what are we writing for) and an audience (who are we writing for).

There are two types of Genres – Literary Type and Non Literary Type Genres:

  1. Literary Type Genres – are written to entertain
  2. Non-Literary Type Genres – are written to inform

1.        Literary Type Genres:

Personal Recount: a personal recount is basically a retelling or recounting of events that have happened. You can write a recount after a special event or day, like what you did on Australia Day; after an excursion or field trip; or after the holidays. The basic outline of a recount includes -:

  • Orientation: when and where it happened and who was there
  • Sequence of Events: tells about what happened in the order they happened
  • Ending: tells how the experience ended and gives a personal opinion of events

In a personal recount there is the use of verbs, describing events and sentence joining words like after, then, next and that.

 Narratives: a narrative is basically a story told based on true events or the imagination. The outline or structure of a narrative includes -:

  • Orientation – beginning of the story, introduces who the main characters are and sets the scene, describing where and when the story takes place.
  • Complication/Problem – something goes wrong or a problem arises. As in most stories you read, there is something that happens to one of the main characters. Here you can write information building up to and describing this problem or complication.
  • Resolution – problem or complication is solved. This can be a good or bad resolution. The resolution also includes the ending of the story – tying up of loose ends.

There are a number of narrative styles that you can develop to include short stories, mysteries, adventures, plays and fairy tales.

Poetry: Poetry can include rhyming verse, ballads, songs, haiku etc

2.     Non Literary Type Genres These can be broken down into transactional, procedural, report and expository type genres.

Transactional: these include greetings, invitations, apologies, introductions, vote of thanks, telephone conversations, personal letters and advertisements.

Procedural: include instructions, lists, recipes, science experiments and rules for games.

Directions: these can be written or spoken. Directions need to include:

  • Goal: where you want to go
  • Steps: the steps needed to get to your goal

Instructions: Instructions are used to make or do something. Instructions include recipes and science experiments and includes the following structure:

  • Goal: what you want to achieve
  • Materials/Ingredients: list what you will need to achieve your goal
  • Steps: sequence the steps needed.

Instructions often include many action verbs and are written in present tense.

Report: includes information reports, book reports, descriptions and news reports.

Information Reports: Information reports at school are mainly written to give information about either animals, plants or places. The structure needed in an information report includes –

  • Title – what you are writing about
  • Introduction – give a description or definition about the topic
  • Body – this can be broken down into categories – each having a sub-heading
  • Illustrations, photos and diagrams – to help describe the topic
  • Conclusion
  • Glossary – can include a list of words that are particular to the topic and may need defining.

Expository: type genres include explanations and display advertisements.

Explanations: are written to explain how and why things are. The basic structure for an explanation includes:

  • Title – a how or why statement or question
  • A Basic Statement – a basic definition about the title topic
  • Explanation – explains in logical steps the statement or question process as in the title.

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I am NOT an on-line free tutoring service.  My resources on this website are for general use only.  I do not write student’s essays for them or give advice on essay prompts. However, for more intensive tutoring in a specific area of English, I will visit students in their own homes for private tutoring sessions that are paid on an hourly basis.


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