Saturday, 29 January 2011

What is an Explanation text?

An explanation text explains the processes involved in the formation or workings of natural or non natural/ sociocultural phenomena. In addition, An explanation text gives you a step by step explanation. The explanation sequence contains a sequenced explanation of why or how something occurs. This explanation is written in paragraphs.

The concept of an explanation text:

Purpose: To explain the processes involved in the formation and working of natural or socio cultural phenomena

Text Organization/ structure:
1. A general statement to position the reader (introductory paragraph)
2. A sequenced explanation of why or how something occurs
3. Closing or concluding statement/ paragraph (optional)

Language Features:
· Focus on generic, non-human participants
· The use of general and abstract nouns
· The use of action verbs
· The use of simple present tense
· The use of passive voice
· The use of conjunctions of time and cause
· The use of noun phrases
· The use of complex sentences
· The use of technical language

Read the example of an explanation text below!


A general Statement:
A tsunami is a very large sea wave that is generated by a disturbance along the ocean floor. This disturbance can be an earthquake, a landslide, or a volcanic eruption. A tsunami is undetectable far out in the ocean, but once it reaches shallow water, this fast-traveling wave grows very large.

Tsunamis occur when a major fault under the ocean floor suddenly slips. The displaced rock pushes water above it like a giant paddle, producing powerful water waves at the ocean surface. The ocean waves spread out from the vicinity of the earthquake source and move across the ocean until they reach the coastline, where their height increases as they reach the continental shelf, the part of the Earth’s crust that slopes, or rises, from the ocean floor up to the land.

Tsunamis wash ashore with often disastrous effects such as severe flooding, loss of lives due to drowning, and damage to property.

Now read the other example of explanation text!

Petroleum products, such as gasoline, kerosene, home heating oil, residual fuel oil and lubricating oils, come from one source. Crude oil is found below the earth surface, as well as under large bodies of water, from a few hundred feet below the surface to as deep as 25.000 feet into the earth interior. Crude oil is obtained by drilling a hole through the earth, but sometimes more dry holes are drilled than those producing oil. Pressure at the source, or pumping, forces the crude oil to the surface.

Crude oil wells flow at varying rates, from ten thousands of barrels per hour. Petroleum products vary greatly in physical appearance: thin, thick, transparent, or opaque. Their chemical compositions are made up of only two elements: carbon and hydrogen, which form compounds called hydrocarbons. Other chemical elements found in the union with the hydrocarbons are few and are classified as impurities. Trace elements are also found, but these are of such minute quantities that they are disregarded.

The various petroleum products are refined from the crude oil by heating and condensing the vapors of crude oil. These products are called light oils such as gasoline, kerosene, and distillate oil.

Cahyono, Kristiawan Dwi and Eka Purnama.2006. Communicative Competence 2B: A course in Acquiring English Communicative Competence, For Senior High School Level, Grade XI Semester 2. Jombang: CV Karunia Agung

Sudarwati and Eudia Grace.2007. Look Ahead: An English Course for Senior High School Students Year XI, Science and Social Study Program. Jakarta: Erlangga

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