Non-literary text: what it is, characteristics and classification of texts


What is a non-literary text?

When we talk about non-literary texts, we are talking about a series of texts whose main purpose is to transmit information, different from literary texts, which are focused on an aesthetic and artistic objective. In this way, we see that non-literary texts have to be approached in the plane of objectivity and reality in order to achieve their purpose.

What is a non-literary text

The referential or informative function of this type of text allows it to be constructed to address a specific audience and in this sense, it must be adapted to it. That is why there is no room for ambiguity or the use of rhetorical figures that contribute to particular meanings, but everything must be connected to each other to guide and fulfill its communicative function.

Characteristics of non-literary texts

It is time to look at some features shared by this type of texts that allow us to distinguish them from other types of texts that have been developed throughout history. Among their main characteristics we find that they contain the following aspects:

Objective character of the texts

One of the central features of non-literary texts is the fundamental objective character that must be included in their development, since this prevents there from being room for a great possibility of interpretations, but rather, they are oriented towards the same meaning without leaving room for ambiguity or free understanding.

Use of language

The way in which non-literary texts use language allows the text to be oriented to its objective of informing. That is why, in order to avoid an interpretation different from the one proposed by the author, the language lacks literary figures that can broaden the interpretative horizon and therefore, we are left with a concrete language that contains words and ideas that clearly express what is intended to be said according to the specific modality of the text. They must be texts that include coherence and cohesion.

Importance of content

Unlike literary texts that tend to focus on the form in which they are written, non-literary texts pay more attention to the message they are trying to expose. In this way, the importance falls on the content, much more than on the form or poetic sense, although it is not left to chance, but the information to be conveyed in an accurate way is prioritized.

Identified audience

Although literary texts also identify a type of audience, the truth is that in this case we are talking about very varied audiences and in which there is no defined set of treatments to whom they are addressed. On the other hand, non-literary texts have a specific audience because in their task of informing they also meet the need of those who must have access to it, and for this reason we speak of other functional characteristics such as instruction or direction.

Classification of non-literary texts

Now we will see all the types and modalities of non-literary texts that we can find, which, in turn, can also have another series of factors that allow them to be classified in other types of texts within the framework of the non-literary. Let us see what they are:

Administrative text

This is a type of text that gathers all those documents in which unidirectional messages are developed and in which citizens and specific administrations frequently communicate. They are mainly characterized by the formalism they implement and the non-response of a receiver, similar to a communiqué sent to a person or a group of people.

Argumentative text

These are texts in which the purpose is to support a thesis or idea that is presented from a detailed scheme of justifications or reasons organized in a logical and coherent way. The main objective of argumentative texts is to persuade the reader from the formulation of an idea in which the content develops justifications that support this thesis. It has a defined structure.

Scientific text

It consists of texts that include information directly related to theories, concepts or topics based on scientific knowledge. Scientific texts are characterized by the use of technical and specialized language, which is why they are texts aimed at a knowledgeable, specialized or interested audience that can understand the information explained therein. Their content includes elements such as data, descriptions of processes, results, procedures, conclusions, among others.

Descriptive text

Descriptive texts are defined as all those that have ideas organized in a coherent way and their totality responds to an integral sense. This type of text offers characteristics, aspects or real information in relation to a specific topic, whether it is a representation of the appearance, the parts of an artifact, a person, a description of a situation, an experience, a procedure, etc.

Expository text

In this category are those texts whose objective is to inform about topics of general interest, which is why they are not texts aimed at a specialized audience, but their general composition allows a wide interest with a composition that facilitates the comprehension of the information. This type of text generally provides knowledge about different areas.

Historical text

These are texts that bring together documents and information subsequent to an interpretation about a topic of the past in the history of mankind. Thus, a historical text is understood as all documents that are narrated chronologically and include summaries of relevant facts following an objective line. Although they include subjective comments based on interpretation, especially by specialists, this participation is usually limited.

Instructional text

In this category are all texts that present a series of instructions or indications for different processes, whether for the construction of an artifact, the organization of an element, the performance of an experiment or any other type of procedure in which a series of concrete steps must be carried out in order to fulfill it. Thus, the purpose of this text is to provide the reader with teaching instructions.


Informative text

As its name indicates, the main purpose of informative text is to offer a type of information to the reader. This information can often be related to an event or situation that belongs to the past or present. It is characterized because the way in which the text is constructed implies a series of descriptions or real data, in addition to a fully objective sense on the part of the author or issuer. This is one of the types of text that involves aspects of other types of text for its composition.

Normative text

Normative text is a type of document that includes rules or instructions for the execution of a specific process, so that the author resorts to the appellative function for its construction, making sure to create an easily understandable text. It is possible to find several formats of normative text, often related to issues of human conduct, such as regulations, manuals, conditions of participation, among others, although there are also follow-ups for other processes.

Legal text

It gathers all those texts of a legal nature. In other words, they are all those documents used in the legal framework. The main function of the legal text is to provide knowledge about a specific event, fact or situation, as well as to provide information regarding the rights and duties of the person in a given case. This type of text is made up of a relatively simple language to understand, although it may include special terms in relation to the area of law in which it is implemented.

Technical text

The technical text comprises all those texts that are based on a precise discourse and that include determined processes or methodologies for the performance of an activity. Their main characteristic is that, since they are related to specific knowledge about a given area, they include specialized terms related to it. Technical text has topics that involve technological, industrial and scientific knowledge.

Advertising text

It is a type of text that has the purpose of leading the reader to perform a specific action. Since this type of text appears in the area of marketing and advertising, they are texts that focus on guiding the reader to make a decision regarding a specific process, although they can also be found in other environments. They are characterized by the use of resources that enrich the text and reinforce the message they are trying to convey.

Academic text

Academic texts are those that are the result of research and intellectual processes that are developed in an academic field, as its name implies. That is why we will see this type of text in a discipline in a formal way, following a rigorous structure of writing, consultation of recognized sources and with the purpose of disseminating knowledge from the communication of information and the possibility of acquiring knowledge as well. It is written by a student, academic professional or researcher in a specific area.

Humanistic text 

It refers to all those texts that are developed on the field of humanities, which implies the human being and its culture. In this way, the humanistic text puts in dialogue different elements that are part of the human being’s development sphere, dealing with topics that may belong to the fields of philosophy, society, anthropology, history, arts, culture, etc. They are characterized because they have a formative intention in which a point of view is developed based on authors and sources that the author has previously consulted.

Didactic text 

A didactic text is known as all those whose main intention is the teaching of a specific topic, process or aspect. Although they can also be developed in the academic field, they are not the product of research in a compulsory way, but they use pedagogy in order to use practical teaching methods to provide information and knowledge about an element. They can have a much simpler language than a humanistic text and cover a wider audience, such as children.

Journalistic text

In this last category we find all those texts that are developed in the area of social communication and journalism, in addition to other professional sectors in which the intention of these texts is to update the public to whom they are addressed. They are texts that offer information of general interest, although they may vary in terms of their level of specialization, subject or structure. That is why we find several types of journalistic texts such as the opinion column, the report, the review, the news and the chronicle.

And so we end our section on non-literary texts, one of the broadest categories of text. We frequently come into contact with them, which is why it is vitally important to distinguish and recognize them. Remember that by accessing each of them you will be able to find complete information to go deeper.