Textual Prototypes

We explain what textual prototypes are and what the characteristics of each one are. Also, what are its internal and external features.

Books of different themes are exhibited at a fair.Books of different themes are exhibited at a fair.
Textual prototypes function as a pattern from which to organize and structure texts.

What are textual prototypes?

The textual prototypes are the sets of characteristics that each type of text presentsand that function as a template or pattern from which to organize and structure texts as they are produced.

A textual prototype brings together features, both internal and external, that They define the text and make it recognizable by its recipients.. Internal features are those that have to do with the construction of meaning in the text, while external features have to do with its layout and structure. Both apply to both oral and written texts, since they are ways of conceiving a text according to its purpose and intentions.

However, the use of these textual patterns It is not necessarily something conscious and deliberate. When someone tells an anecdote, for example, they resort to a set of conventions and structures specifically established for narrative texts, that is, to a preconceived idea of ​​what a narrative is and how it operates. These preconceived structures are what make up a textual prototype.

There are five types of textual prototypes, distinguishable from each other by the types of text they allow to be produced. These are:

  • Narrative
  • Descriptive
  • Expository
  • Argumentative
  • Dialogic

See also: Textual typologies

Narrative prototype

The narrative prototype is the one that allows the construction of narrative texts, that is, stories and narratives. Is about events arranged chronologically, presented to the interlocutor from a specific point of view and often resorting to poetic or rhetorical resources.

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The narrative texts They can be real or fictitious, and they can be done for the purpose of providing relevant information or for pure entertainment, for the pleasure of sharing a story. Apart from the figure of the narrator (that is, the point of view), characters and settings appear in these texts, and dialogue is often used to stage what is said.

Some examples of this type of text are:

  • Works of literature, such as stories, novels, short stories or scripts.
  • Retellings of real events, such as chronicles and reports.
  • Personal or intimate stories, such as diaries, autobiographies or memoirs.
  • Historical texts, such as biographies or history books.

More in: Narrative text

Descriptive prototype

The descriptive prototype is the one that allows the construction of descriptive texts, that is, descriptions. in them an object, subject or event is approached based on its own featureswhether essential (those that define it in itself) or supplementary (those that it shares with other similar references).

Descriptions are often at the service of other types of text, since describing something provides the interlocutor with relevant information that can be used for an exposition or an argument, for example. The main exception, however, is poetic texts, since they provide a subjective description of some experience, person or idea, with no other objective than aesthetic enjoyment.

Some examples of descriptive texts are:

  • Technical or scientific descriptions of natural phenomena.
  • Product descriptions in catalogs.
  • The poetry texts.

More in: Descriptive text

exhibition prototype

The expository prototype is the one that allows the construction of expository or informative texts, that is, focused on the transmission of information in an objective, direct and concrete way. These texts, therefore, do not include personal opinions and positions, since the purpose of an exhibition is to provide information to the recipient on a specific topic, which can be real or imaginary, concrete or abstract.

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Expository texts respond to different information presentation strategies: they can go from the general to the specific, or vice versa. In them information legitimization resources are usedsuch as textual quotes, data tables, graphs, among others.

Some examples of expository texts are:

  • Formal, scientific or academic articles, published in specialized books and magazines.
  • Instructions for use of a device or machine.
  • Literary essays and theoretical reflections.
  • Technical reports on economics, administration and other social sciences.

More in: Expository text

Argumentative prototype

Italian politician Giorgia Meloni speaks to her audience.Italian politician Giorgia Meloni speaks to her audience.
Argumentative texts seek to convince or influence their recipients.

The argumentative prototype is the one that allows the construction of argumentative texts, in which The sender assumes a defined position and tries to influence the one the receiver has. regarding the topic. That is, these are texts that seek to convince or influence their recipients.

In argumentative texts, in this sense, different convincing strategies are used, the purpose of which is to defend the issuer’s position and/or attack those of third parties. These strategies include examples, reflections, accusations, among others.

Some examples of argumentative texts are:

  • Editorials and opinion articles from newspapers.
  • Political propaganda, especially electoral propaganda.
  • Protest pamphlets or banners.
  • The speeches and addresses of politicians.

More in: Argumentative text

Dialogical prototype

In a literary event, the interviewees dialogue with the public.In a literary event, the interviewees dialogue with the public.
Dialogues reproduce the speech or ideas of two or more people.

The dialogic prototype is one that allows building dialogues, that is, representations of verbal exchange between two or more individuals. This type of text is generally part of literary works, but it is also used in other types of discourse, with the purpose of exposing the ideas of two individuals at the same time, such as in debates.

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Dialogues normally dispense with any type of description, exposition or argument. They only reproduce the speech or ideas of two people, who alternate in the role of sender and receiver.

Some examples of dialogic texts are:

  • The main text of the plays.
  • Dialogues in stories and literary novels.
  • Interviews and conversations transcribed in the newspaper or recorded in audiovisual format.

More in: Dialogue


  • “Textual prototypes. Parameters for writing academic texts” by José Reyes González. In Normalist today (sn, 2020) from the State Institute of Normal Education of Nayarit (Mexico).
  • Zacuala F, Rojas, E. Rey, O. Vital, A. (2005). Reading and writing texts. (7th ed.) Mexico City: Santillana.
  • “Textual prototypes” (video) on Escuela TV.