Instructional Text – Concept, function, structure and examples

We explain what an instructional text is, its function, structure and various examples. Also, other types of texts.

instructional text
An instructional text indicates a series of steps to follow.

What is an instructional text?

An instructive text is that type of text – not necessarily written – that is made up of instructions, that is, that provides the recipient in an organized and systematic way the information they need to carry out an action determined or solve a problem. They are, more simply put, texts that tell how to do something.

These types of texts are very abundant in everyday life, and appear in common or technical contexts. They can be aimed at audiences of all kinds, or at specialized audiences. Very often they are accompanied by descriptive texts that provide the necessary information to understand the subsequent instructions, and they are also usually broken down in a schematic way, that is, into numbered steps to follow one by one.

The structure of instructional texts can vary widely, from a conventional expository text model, to a schematic breakdown in which each entry or item corresponds to a step to be taken by the receiver. However, the characteristic of the instructional text is not its structure, but its functionality.

Instructional Text Features

The main function of an instructional text is to provide instructions, as its name expresses it. In that sense, it is about ways of assistance or help in taking an action or solving a problem, which establish a series of steps or actions, more or less detailed, that the receiver should follow. So the role of the instructional text is direct or guide whoever reads it towards the accomplishment of a specific task.

Examples of instructional texts

Examples of instructional texts are the following:

  • The warnings of using a blender: “Always place the glass on the motor and operate by pressing the buttons. Make sure not to introduce any member of the body into the bowl when the blades are turning. Always use the glass corresponding to the blender model. For inquiries or complaints call 0-800-Blender ”.
  • Instructions for assembling a piece of furniture: “Step 1: insert part a1 into the slot of part b2, using short screws (m9). Then repeat the procedure with part a2, in the adjacent groove. Step 2: place part b1 perpendicular to the assembly, and secure it using long screws (m10) ”.
  • The prompts of the computer troubleshooter: “Check that the network cables are securely in place, and that the router is turned on. If the problem persists, restart the computer and check the error status ”.

Other types of texts

In addition to instructional texts, it is common to refer to other textual types, such as:

  • Descriptive texts, in which the detail of the features or characteristics of an object, person or situation predominates.
  • Argumentative texts, in which ideas, allegations or reasons are given to the receiver to adopt a certain point of view or be convinced of something.
  • Narrative texts, in which a story or a recount of temporarily organized events is carried out.