Subject Material

4E - The Text Level

Published: 25.05.2010, Updated: 03.03.2017
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We have said that the information/end-focus principle tells us to place new and important information at the end of a clause, and to start the clause with information that our reader/listener already has. This example of a ‘mini-text’ illustrates the point.

Empty info      new, salient info                                   Known info     new info
There was        a car parked outside our front door.        It was               a yellow  convertible

If we follow the information principle, we help our readers process our messages. It also explains why the majority of clauses in running texts start with a definite noun phrase, which, by definition, refers to something already talked about, cf. it above.

When we write longer stretches of texts, e.g. well-written paragraphs, catchy advertisements, coherent argumentation, we have to pay attention to the reader’s need

  • to grasp the main topic of our text
  • to understand the coherence between our sentences
  • to follow the logical progression in our argumentation
  • do take in our conclusion

The ideal outcome is that the reader is moved by our story, convinced by our arguments, persuaded to take our advice, etc. as the case may be.

The following simple table presents the over-arching organising principles of text production.
It must be added, though, that texts vary tremendously, depending upon their genre, audience, subject-matter, etc. This break-down shows the conventional structure of an argumentative text. It is still a very useful yardstick. When you know how to organise a conventional text, you can start experimenting with alternative structures.
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Grammartable 05

Table: Per Lysvåg. Red: Amendor AS

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