No matter what kind of writing style you’re trying to master – blogs, essays, or research papers – the starting block is always the same. No writing project can be completed without first understanding the basic writing structures. In fact, they can be make or break for your readers!
Knowing when, where, and how to use different types of structure in writing can help take your writing from ordinary to extraordinary in one fell swoop.
In this simple guide to some of the most common writing structures, we’ll teach you about the foundations of each structure, and how to implement them flawlessly.
Chronological Writing Structure
Chronological structure is like storytelling with a built-in timeline of events. It’s a way of organizing this timeline or information into the logical order of when certain events happened.
Generally, you’ll want to use this structure when retelling a story, sharing historical events, or even noting down someone’s biography. It helps the reader to follow along with what you’re telling them and can help avoid confusion by jumping back and forth in the timeline.
A good example of this is writing a story that chronicles the sequence of events for a treasure hunt. You would first need to explain when and how the map for the treasure was discovered before you moved on. For instance, you might speak about the obstacles that may have been important on the hunt and finally end your writing piece with how the treasure was found.
If you start your story by telling the reader about the obstacles, then how the treasure was found, and only then how the map was found, it won’t make very much sense. Instead, you can grab the reader’s interest by using a chronological structure.
Logical Writing Structure
We know that writing isn’t for everyone – it can be really tricky to put your ideas together and explain your point of view in a way that flows and makes sense. This is particularly true for academic writing, where you may need to build a solid case by arranging your key information and evidence logically.
That’s where the logical writing structure comes in handy. This structure can organize your ideas and information within the main body of your essay and make your writing style more convincing. For it to be effective, you need to pay attention to your sentences and paragraphs and how they tie up loose ends.
With logical writing, every idea should smoothly transition to the next in a way that mimics your natural pattern of thought progression.
In each paragraph, you need to have key components like assertion, context, evidence, interpretation, and transitions. Ultimately, these transitions help to wrap up one thought or idea before you move on.
Since logical writing can become complicated, you can always use Smodin’s AI Essay Writer tool to help you organize your information. Plus, you can use it to find online sources for your evidence, which makes it easier to support any claims you’ve made.
Argumentative Writing Structure
When you want to make a clear, strong argument in your writing, the most fitting type of structure would be the argumentative structure. Argument-based writing structures revolve around your claim, which is what you’re trying to prove (the point you’re arguing).
You’ll also need evidence to support your claim since it’s hard to win your reader over without proof of what you’re saying. Still, there’s a twist. You’ll also need to address the other side’s argument to prove that their point of view doesn’t hold up against yours. This is known as the counterargument.
When you need to write research papers or essays, an argumentative writing structure is a fantastic way to explain your point. You can also use one of three methods, including:
- Classic: This method is straightforward. You can state your argument, address the opposition, and provide evidence.
- Rogerian: The Rogerian method always looks for a middle ground and respects both views.
- Toulmin: The Toulmin method helps you to dive deep and break your argument into smaller chunks for a more thorough analysis.
Any time you want to persuade someone, argue your point or prove something to be true (or false), the argumentative style should be your go-to structure. You can also cite your sources quickly and easily with our AI Writing tool.
Comparison and Contrast Writing Structure
The comparison and contrast (also known as “comparative” or “compare and contrast”) structure, helps to put two points or ideas side by side so that you can examine their similarities and differences.
This method is more commonly used in research papers, essays, and articles, and is perfect for academic writing and analysis. For example, you can use this structure to analyze literature, historical events, or scientific concepts.
Persuasive writing may sound similar to the argumentative structure. However, instead of favoring one side over the other or proving your point, you’re persuading people one way or another by showing the similarities and differences between certain subjects.
You can do this by using point-by-point comparison, where you match up a feature of something with the counterpart of the other. For example, if you’re comparing two cars, you would match them on the same points – fuel efficiency, design, safety features – and mention which one comes out on top.
On the other hand, you can use the block structure, where you discuss every component of one thing before you move on to the other. Using the same car example, you can think of it as discussing all the features of the first car before giving a breakdown of the second car in a separate section.
Problem and Solution Writing Structure
The problem and solution (PAS) structure is an excellent way to structure any type of writing style – but it’s especially effective for academic writing. When you use this method, it acts as a guide for your readers and helps to walk them through issues. It does this by first identifying the problem, looking at different perspectives, and then exploring possible solutions.
You can use the PAS method with other writing structures, like persuasive or logical writing. With persuasive writing, you can use this method to showcase your expertise in an area and persuade your reader to use a specific solution. On the other hand, you can use logical writing to smoothly transition from the problem to the possible solutions to the problem.
A good example of this structure is writing about the scenario of planning a high school event. Finding a date and time that works with everyone’s schedules and other commitments they have can be tricky, and therefore presents a problem.
To explore all of the different perspectives, you could discuss how everyone feels about the proposed date and time before presenting your solution: having everyone write their schedules down in a shared calendar to see which day would work best for everyone involved.
Cause and Effect Writing Structure
The cause and effect writing structure is often confused with comparison and contrast. However, unlike other forms, cause and effect helps you to outline a chain reaction. Simply put, it makes it easier to explain why something has happened, and what followed this event.
For example, a bakery discontinued a product (cause), which led to a drop in its sales (effect). You can also use statistics or other proof to show how these two events are related:
Bakery X discontinued its blueberry muffin cupcakes, which made up 5% of their profits in the month of August. In September and October, Bakery X lost 5% of their profits each month.
With this structure, you can start your writing with a simple introduction and then dive into the main points or causes before backing them up with evidence. After, you can connect the dots between the causes and the effects that they had using more detail and evidence.
While the structure of cause and effect may be similar to a comparison, it has its own structure where you relay the cause and effect in order. So, instead of comparing the amount of sales that the bakery had done in August and September or October, you’re showing the link between the “why” (the discontinued product) and the “what” (decreased sales numbers).
Categorical Writing Structure
So, what do you do when your writing doesn’t need to follow a specific structure or order to make sense? For instance, if you’re writing about the 10 best novels for young adults, the order in which you mention them isn’t all that important. Instead, your focus is on giving the same amount of information on each of the books.
When you want to write about several topics that are all equally important, your best move is to use a categorical structure. All you need to do is make sure that you’ve covered all of the topics or subjects in your writing.
Keeping with the same book example as before, you would need to cover all 10 of the books you’ve chosen to write about. But it’s also important that you include the same information (author, genre, plot, length, etc.) for each one for this structure to work.
Since this structure is more flexible, it’s easy to put all of your ideas onto your page without having to craft the perfect order.
Sequence Writing Structure
The sequence or sequential writing structure is like the fraternal twin of the chronological structure since it also groups things into a pattern or sequence of events. However, sequence writing is all about details or instructions rather than a timeline.
The easiest way to spot a sequence structure is to look out for step-by-step processes. And, if you’re writing about these processes, it’s the best method to use to keep your readers following along and engaged with what you’re telling them.
Imagine a how-to guide on putting furniture together or baking a cake. Both of these scenarios would call for step-by-step instructions since they would need to be done in a certain order for you to get the result that you want.
In blog posts, you might see these steps written down next to a numbered sequence. But in an essay, you will typically use words like “Firstly”, “Secondly”, “Next”, or “Finally”. Of course, words like “Next” or “Then” can become really repetitive, which is where Smodin’s AI Paraphrasing tool may come in handy – it can help you rewrite or rephrase your work without sounding monotonous.
Narrative Writing Structure
A narrative structure is the backbone of storytelling. Without a compelling narrative, you really don’t have a story at all – it’s all just words that make no sense or that lead nowhere. Generally, this structure follows a narrative ‘arc’ and includes the following features:
- Exposition: The introduction of characters and settings.
- Rising action: This helps to build tension and conflict within your stories.
- Climax: The climax is the story’s turning point – the peak of all the events.
- Falling action: Resolving any tension or conflicts that were introduced before the climax.
- Denouement: Ending the story and tying up loose ends.
Using a narrative structure sets the pace of a story and makes it easy for your reader to understand. It’s fantastic for coherence and hooking the reader in when something resonates with them. Ultimately, it guides them through the story and makes them want to keep reading instead of losing interest.
Choosing the right writing structure is essential for more effective communication through the written word. Now, with all the right tools in your writing toolkit, you can pick the structure that most suits your writing style and the content of your essays or any other writing project you might have.
From organizational structures like chronological or sequence to persuasive structures like argumentative or comparison and contrast, you can use these methods to boost your writing skills. And if that doesn’t work, there’s always Smodin AI to help you get your writing projects started!