functional text



We explain what a functional text is, its characteristics and what types exist. Also, various examples from everyday life.

A functional text provides information on a specific subject.

What is a functional text?

It is known as texts functional or instrumental to those who pursue a utility practical and concrete, generally around giving you information the reader regarding a specific matter of daily life. Therefore, its reading is entirely practical, that is, it does not seek entertainment, aesthetic experience or dissemination, but rather to fulfill some immediately useful task.

Functional texts are very common and abundant in everyday life, and represent the most basic and fundamental level of literacy, that is, its application to the resolution of problems daily activities, such as transmitting information, serving as reminders, alerting about a specific situation, etc. In them, the functions always predominate referential Y appellative of language.

We must not under any circumstances confuse them with the founding texts, which are the great classic works of the literature or the mythology that, as its name implies, served as the foundation to start a cultural, religious tradition or even an entire civilization.

Characteristics of functional texts

Broadly speaking, functional texts are characterized by the following:

  • These are texts of variable length, usually short and concise, which convey to the reader some information of immediate interest and practical application.
  • They usually get to the point (without preamble) and use simple language, designed for quick understanding by the target audience.
  • They pursue an obvious, explicit and useful purpose, so they do not lend themselves to the aesthetic, the reflective, or the encyclopedic.
  • They are always tailored to the recipient, and they make sense in a real context.

Types of functional texts

Given the variety of functional texts, there is no universally valid classification for them, but it is possible to distinguish between the type of tasks they pursue, as follows:

  • Functional texts of a personal nature, when they are part of the daily universe of a person, and make sense mainly for her or those who know her. For example, a note in someone's calendar.
  • Functional texts of a professional nature, when they are part of the universe of work, whatever it may be, and they make sense for those who practice the profession or work in the same context. For example, a memorandum business.
  • School-type functional texts, when they are part of the educational universe, that is, they convey practical information in the field of learning. They can be considered a subtype of personal text. For example, the notes that are taken in the class notebook.

Examples of functional texts

Functional texts seek to be understood quickly.

Here are some diverse examples of functional texts, taken from everyday life:

  • A grocery list for the market.
  • Someone's phone number listed in a personal address book.
  • A doctor's appointment reminder on someone's desk.
  • The life curriculum of an applicant for a job.
  • A detour announcement because a street is interrupted by construction.
  • Conceptual maps made by a university student.
  • The description of a product in an online catalog.
  • The label that identifies the shelf of a library or bookstore ("classics", "philosophy", "self-help", etc.).
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