Functional Texts: Characteristics, Functions, Types, Examples

The functional  or instrumental texts are those that indicate steps, instructions or actions to carry out one or more tasks, activities or actions. They are addressed to the reader in a direct, clear and precise way so that they can solve a problem or achieve a specific objective.

Some examples of this type of text are cooking recipes, user manuals that come with electronic devices, style or protocol manuals, class schedules, instructions in a written exam or road signs.

The appellative function of language is the one that predominates in this type of text. This means that the content is written to generate a response from the receiver. This response is usually an action guided by the instructions specified in the text.

Functional texts are of great importance in everyday life, as they facilitate the performance of activities that would otherwise be very complicated. Its uses range from putting together a table for the living room to how to properly use a drill at home safely.

Characteristics of a functional text

For a text to be considered functional, it must present certain features or characteristics. Among them we have:

Seeks to achieve a goal or solve a problem

Functional texts seek to solve a problem, they are useful for someone who wants to do something. For example, a text that explains how to assemble a game console or a text to repair a bicycle.

Written in formal and specialized language

These texts are written with a formal, impersonal language and directed in a direct and precise way. Everything must be coherent and maintain order to achieve understanding.

On the other hand, functional texts often include specialized language to give better explanations. For example, in a gardening text caring for a plant might include specific botanical terms.

They fulfill a specific function

These texts are used to carry out a single determined action and their content is characterized by being objective. Also, the inclusion of unnecessary things that do not help to understand the instructions is omitted.

Illustrations

In some cases, functional texts may contain graphic elements to give a better understanding of what is to be explained. This gives an extra help to the reader.

Usually what is included are drawings of parts or installation plans with numbering, spaces in which to place each element and movements to follow.

Functional texts are generally instructive. In this case they will present some additional characteristics, notable in their structure. Among these we have:

Title

This characteristic must always be present in the instructional functional texts. It will indicate precisely what what we are about to read is about.

Subtitle

If the text is long, on some occasions we can find subtitles for a better location of the information.

Numeration

They are used to sequence the instructions in the functional text. This will make it easier to follow the steps.

Functions of functional texts

Functional texts can have different functions:

Explain

A functional text can simply explain how to do something, take the step by step to solve a problem or reach a specific goal. Examples:

  • Instructions for solving a computer problem
  • A style guide for writing

Refer

Functional texts can also refer; It is mainly about narrating or making known a specific event. This does not contain any kind of sentiment or opinion of the issuer. In addition, it is accurate and verifiable data. Examples:

  • Launch of a new vaccine. (Scientific news).
  • World poverty rates. (Newspaper news)

Persuade

Its function is to transmit a message to the receiver that convinces him of what is correct and to generate a reaction. For this, appellate techniques must be applied that take the reader on the desired path. It is common to use dominant language. Examples:

  • Promotional flyers.
  • Advertising posters.

Apply for

Another possible function of functional text is to make specific requests from the writer. Examples:

  • Letters of Resignation
  • Circular of a condominium

Types of functional texts

The main types of functional texts are:

Advertising

This type of functional text has as its main mission to encourage the recipient to purchase a certain product or service. They can also contain data to publicize places or events. In general, as your objective is to attract the attention of the public, you use rhymes or sentences that are quite striking.

Journalistic

The journalistic functional texts are made to inform, train and recreate:

  • It must contain reliable data, showing clarity and reliability. They must be done impartially. Therefore, subjectivity is not allowed in any way.
  • These types of text have an impact on opinion about a fact. That will be different according to the interpretation of the receiver and will generate a collective reaction.
  • They can also have content to cheer up, and can be presented as add-ons.

Literary

They are made to stay in time. They are aimed at the general public, to connect the writer with his readers. Its predominant genres are dramatic, epic and lyrical.

Scientists and technicians

These are dominated by the referential function of language. They must be accurate, clearly presented, and verifiable.

Historical

They are used to make a story. These should include characters and the actions they perform. They are usually set in ancient times.

Of entertainment

They are made with the purpose of entertaining. The idea is that the reader is distracted without expecting to learn something from the reading.

Informative

They are basically used to publicize a specific event or condition. They are based on informing the recipient. The opinion or feelings of the issuer are not important and should not be expressed.

Other classification

Functional texts can also be classified as personal, school and work:

Personal

They are written in an intimate way. They are based on the person’s own information, day-to-day experiences, future plans, among others. Examples:

  • Agendas.
  • CVs.
  • Diaries

Schoolchildren

They are made to capture information that has been learned. Once done, they are used for teaching. They can contain narratives, explanations or diagrams among other alternatives that make it functional.

In its elaboration a sensible language and basic rules are used. A form must be maintained that allows its effective understanding. Examples:

  • Diagrams
  • Conceptual maps.

Labor

They are designed with a specific function in the workplace. To give information regarding work, its purpose is to communicate. Examples:

  • Memorandum.
  • Letters of petition.

Examples of functional texts

Manuals or guides

Manuals or guides can be considered functional texts, since they have the function of explaining how to do something to achieve a specific objective or solve a problem.

School functional text: cHow to recreate the story of Little Red Riding Hood with cutouts

The first step is to write the plot of Little Red Riding Hood in five basic scenes. Each one on a different sheet. These would be:

  • Little Red Riding Hood talking to her mother and then going out to her grandmother with food.
  • Little Red Riding Hood heading to the forest.
  • Little Red Riding Hood meeting the wolf.
  • Little Red Riding Hood at Grandma’s house.
  • The hunter arriving at the grandmother’s house.
  • The end.

After describing each moment on separate sheets, they proceed to draw each of the scenes on their drawing block. H6 pencil is suggested for the edges, light colors for the fill and rounded shapes.

Lego to finish the drawings, they must be cut out and glued with glue stick in the respective scene.

Assembly instructions

Similar to the user manual but more specific for the assembly or construction of household items or furniture. They include descriptive text and images that serve as support so that the user knows how to fit the pieces. The IKEA company manuals are an example of this.

Personal functional text: swork order

Mr. Juan Méndez

The purpose of this document is to let you know that I wish to apply for the agricultural engineer vacancy of your company. I have 10 years of experience in agricultural engineering. I am a graduate of the Universidad de Los Andes with honors.

Without further ado, I say goodbye to you.

Yours sincerely: Engineer José Monagas.

Instructions in a written exam

Any type of instruction is an example of functional text. Therefore, even the indications in the written examinations are texts of this type:

Read the instructions carefully. Select two of the questions below and develop them on the blank sheet of paper.

Each response should have an introductory paragraph, two or three development paragraphs, and a concluding paragraph. Minimum 300 words for each answer, maximum 450.

Schedule

The schedules are functional texts, since they give indications about the place and time when a lecture will be given or an event will be given.

Prospectus of a medicine

The leaflet of a medicine is a printed paper that contains information on certain products, such as their composition, characteristics, dosage, risks, instructions for use or prevention. It is typical of the drugs sold in pharmacies.

User manuals: How to install the SIM card in your phone?

The manuals present the steps that a user must follow to ensure the proper functioning of a computer. They are a clear example of functional text:

Press the phone’s home button for three seconds, until the device has turned off. Remove the battery cover and battery.

Insert the SIM card into any of the slots marked with the words “SIM1” OR “SIM2”. Make sure the gold contacts on the card are facing the phone.

Phone directory

Telephone directories give directions that may be helpful. They not only provide contact information, but also indicate the address where certain establishments are located.

Signaling

The signs present in public and private spaces are examples of functional texts: with a few words they give precise instructions and indications.

Some examples of these are:

– Slow down, school zone.

– Slow down, dangerous curve.

– Ladies bathroom / Men’s bathroom.

– Don’t stop. Parking lot.

Pamphlets

Some brochures and brochures are examples of functional texts. For example, those who announce the opening of a store:

This Thursday, September 28, will be the grand opening of Buenos Momentos, your music store. Here you can find from sheet music to musical instruments of the best brands. Attend! We will wait for you!

Other examples

  • Kitchen Recipes
  • APA style manual for bibliography of a work

References

  1. Functional Texts. (S. f.). (N / A): Reading and Writing Workshop II. Recovered from: tlr-ii.blogspot.com.
  2. Functions and characteristics of functional texts. (2019). (N / A): Reading and Writing Project. Recovered from: proyecturayred2a.blogspot.com.
  3. Functional Texts. (Sf). (N / A): Synoptic table. Recovered from: win.
  4. Classification Of Functional Texts. (2017). (N / A): Classification of. Recovered from: org.

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