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Comparing non-fiction texts

Comparing non-fiction texts

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Summary

Comparing non-fiction texts

In a nutshell

Comparing non-fiction texts will help you understand how language can be used in different ways to achieve a text's purpose. To compare non-fiction texts, you should think about their similarities and differences. This summary will explore different kinds of comparisons to make between non-fiction texts as well as provide essay advice. 



Comparisons to make between non-fiction texts 

Here are some of the similarities and differences you can draw between non-fiction texts with examples:


Text type 

What kind of non-fiction texts are you dealing with?


Example 

Some examples of non-fiction texts include newspaper articles, biographies, recounts and diary entries. 


Topics  

What are the texts about? What kind of subjects do they explore?


Example 

Whilst the contents of an online tech blog might be reviewing the newest tablet, a biography might be discussing the life of Barack Obama. 


Author's standpoint 

What are the opinions of the authors? What views are they trying to express to their audience?


Example 

The author of a magazine advice column might be discussing their views on the importance of self-confidence, whilst an autobiography of a famous actor might be expressing distaste towards the difficulty of making it into the film industry.


Aims 

What is the purpose of these texts? For instance, are they trying to inform, persuade, describe or argue?


Example

Whilst the purpose of an advertisement is to sell you something, the purpose of an academic journal is to inform.


Language 

What kind of language choices have the authors made? Have they used particular vocabulary or literary devices which stand out to you?


Example

A newspaper article headline might include alliteration to catch your attention, such as 'Lucky lady wins lottery'.


Structure  

How have the authors ordered their texts? Have they presented a change in tone or focus? Maybe they've purposely used specific word orders and sentence lengths? 


Example

An author of a fun online blog might use short sentences for an easy read which keeps your attention, whilst an author in an academic journal might use longer and more technical sentences to give a detailed explanation. 


Tone 

What mood has been implied by the authors of these texts? Have they made language and structural choices to make you feel a certain way?


Example

Whilst the tone of a newspaper discussing a serious crime is likely to be dramatic and solemn, the tone of an online celebrity gossip blog post is likely to be chatty and light-hearted. 


Target audience 

Who are the intended readers of these texts? How do you know? Who would resonate with or be interested in these texts?


Example

An upbeat non-fiction text which uses short and simplistic language is likely to be for children. 



Tips on comparing two non-fiction texts in an essay

  1. Plan your essay beforehand. 
  2. Use a clear structure. This should include an introduction, the main body (which mentions some of the comparative points listed above) and a conclusion answering the essay question. 
  3. Use quotations from both texts as evidence to support your points.
  4. Do not discuss one of the texts in much greater detail than the other - try to alternate between the texts throughout your essay.
  5. Use connectives to show that you are comparing the texts. For example, use phrases like 'similarly' or 'in contrast to'.


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FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions

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What comparisons should I make between non-fiction texts?

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