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Comparing texts

Comparing texts

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Tutor: Joel

Summary

Comparing texts

In a nutshell

When comparing texts, you should generally identify their similarities and differences. Being able to compare texts shows that you are skilled at breaking down features of multiple texts and you can critically think about their effectiveness. By the end of this summary, you will know how to compare the similarities and differences between texts.



Purpose

When you identify the purpose of a text, you are identifying why the text was written and what the author wants to achieve by writing the text. Here are a few examples of what a writer may want to achieve through a text:

  • To inform
  • To argue
  • To persuade
  • To entertain
  • To reflect

Comparing the purpose of texts can be a good starting point in identifying how the texts are linked in their messaging or how they may be different in their messaging. It's also helpful when you are identifying any other comparisons between texts because these other points of comparison can often be linked back to why the writer chose to communicate the purpose in that way.


When considering the purpose of texts, they will either:

  1. Share the same purpose, but achieve it in a different way
  2. Share the same purpose, but the topic is different
  3. Differ in purpose, but the topic is the same
  4. Differ in purpose, but have a similar approach



Type of text

Once you have identified the purpose of the texts you are comparing, you can look at the types of texts the writers have chosen to communicate their purpose. Here is a list of some of the different types of texts:

  • Article
  • Blog
  • Letter
  • Newspaper article
  • Advertisement
  • Novel
  • Short story

You can compare the types of texts by considering the following:

Consideration

Further guidance 

Why did the writers choose a particular type for their text?
You can likely answer this by identifying the purpose of each text and relaying how the type affects the way the purpose of each text is communicated.
How does the chosen type allow a particular tone to be conveyed?
Each type of text will allow a certain tone to be conveyed much easier than another. 
Examples of tone are: Enthusiasm, matter-of-fact, melancholy, reflective, humour, tense, optimism, pessimism
What are the similarities and differences in the structure when thinking about the type of each text?
Each type of text has a particular set of rules in terms of structure.

For example, a letter has the sender's address and the recipient's address, indicating that the form is catered to a private audience. However, newspapers have big and bold headlines to catch people's attention and contain content that caters to a public audience.

Examples of structural considerations are: Sentence length, sentence structure, repetition, paragraph structure, punctuation



Language

The language that a writer uses will indicate their perspective, viewpoint, attitude toward the topic and ideas they want to focus on expressing. When comparing the language between texts, you should identify what the writer of each text is trying to achieve through their language choices.


For instance, if the tone of a text is reflective, the writer may use rhetorical questions to invite their readers to adopt a reflective attitude as they read on. Conversely, an informative text may use technical and factual language to prove to readers this text is a reliable source.



Signposting

When comparing texts, it is important that you are doing so throughout your writing. Every paragraph should mention both texts and consistently compare each text to a similar degree. In order to effectively compare one text with the other, you should signpost. 


Signposting is a method whereby you use phrases or words to guide the reader through written content. It allows you to link ideas, sentences and paragraphs together. By signposting, you can keep your ideas related to one another while being able to bring in new points that add to the topic. 


Examples
  • Furthermore
  • In addition
  • Comparatively
  • In comparison
  • Similarly
  • In the same way
  • To summarise
  • In conclusion

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Exercises

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FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions

How is the form linked to the tone of texts?

Where should I start when comparing texts?

How can I link my ideas when comparing texts?

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