Everything to learn better...



Non fiction texts

Structure in non-fiction texts

Structure in non-fiction texts

Select Lesson

Explainer Video

Tutor: Sam


Structure in non-fiction texts 

In a nutshell 

Structure refers to the way a text is organised. The structure of a text can affect its meaning and the way you respond to it. This summary will explore the structural techniques authors use in their non-fiction texts with examples to help you recognise and analyse them. 

Structure of a whole non-fiction text 

When analysing the structure of a text as a whole, you should not only consider the order in which the text is written but also changes in the tone or focus of a text. The author uses these structural features to have a particular impact on the reader. 


Tone means the mood of a text. Analysing the language, grammar and literary techniques used in a text will help you recognise changes in tone.


In a biography of a struggling artist who eventually rose to fame, the author might initially establish the tone of the text by writing that 'his early life was full of self-doubt, sadness and pessimism'. This would contrast with the language describing his later success. 


A shift in the focus of a text happens when an author changes their topic of discussion. This is usually done to encourage progression in the reader's thoughts and change their reaction to the text. 


The author of an online crime blog might describe a criminal's initially kind seeming nature and family-orientated persona before describing the details of their gruesome crimes to shock the reader. 

Structure within a non-fiction text 

As well as analysing the structure of a text as a whole, it is also important to consider the structure of paragraphs and sentences within a text. Here are some in-text structural techniques to look out for.

Topic sentences  

Authors usually use a topic sentence at the start of a paragraph to give the reader clarity about the contents of the text to follow, to emphasise the point they are about to make or to create dramatic effect.


An informative charity leaflet might start with the sentence, 'This has to stop.' before describing the severity of a humanitarian crisis and how to help. 

Sentence length

Authors use different sentence lengths to create a particular effect on the reader. The length of the sentences they use will depend on the purpose and tone of the text. 


An author of an instruction manual is likely to use short sentences to increase understanding. Contrastingly, an author in an academic journal is likely to use long and detailed sentences to provide more information and present a formal tone of the text.

Word order  

Sometimes authors will use a different order of words in a sentence to emphasise a particular word and have a stronger impact on the reader. 


An advertisement poster for a local cafe might read: 'Delicious and affordable, come to us for the best breakfast deal in town'. By being placed at the beginning of the sentence, the words 'delicious and affordable' have a more powerful impact on the reader. 


Repetition is a literary technique that involves a word or phrase being used multiple times close together. This changes the structure of a text to put emphasis on the author's point. 


A magazine article reviewing red carpet looks might write 'stunning hair, stunning makeup, stunning outfit... she has it all!' 


Punctuation can affect the meaning, tone and impact of a sentence.


In a published diary entry, the following sentences would be read and interpreted differently by the reader as a result of punctuation choice:

'I still can't believe this has happened to me!'

'I still can't believe this has happened to me...'

Create an account to read the summary


Create an account to complete the exercises

FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions

How do I tell if the tone of a text has changed?

What are some structural techniques used in non-fiction texts?

What does the structure of a text mean?


I'm Vulpy, your AI study buddy! Let's study together.