The textual pattern is a way to classify the textual style and content. The textual pattern that constructs an article varies according to the difference of the textual style, which means the textual style restrains the textual pattern.

There are five types of textual pattern.

1. Problem-solution pattern

It narrates the conditions first, and then the problem appears. As a response is made to the problem, the problem may or may not be solved. And an evaluation is prompted at last. Therefore, the order shall be “scenario – problem – response – evaluation/result”.

This pattern is quite common and appears in science essay, experiment report, news report, etc. The order may be different, or one of the four elements may be missing, but in a well –formed text, it is always expected to present all of them.

e.g. Helicopters are very convenient for dropping freight by parachute, but this system has its problems. (scenario) Somehow, the landing impact has to be cushioned to give a soft landing. (problem) The movement to be absorbed depends on the weight and the speed at which the charge falls. (response) Unfortunately most normal spring systems bounce the load as it lands, sometimes turning it over. (evaluation).

2. Claim-counterclaim pattern

The writer first prompts a commonly received opinion, and then clarifies it with his/her own opinion, or makes a counterclaim.

e.g. Every other critic has said that On Food and Cooking is brilliant, a revelation and a unique combination of scientific insight and literacy which sweeps aside all myth and jargon as none have done before.

McGee’s book is indeed well written, is full of good things and is good to have on the shelves as a continuing source of reference and quotes. But it also has its fair share of mistakes, omissions and misalignments of emphasis.

Claim-counterclaim pattern is a typical pattern for debate and argument. In most articles, there is one or more than one claim, but there is only one counterclaim, with the iconic words such as “say, claim, assert, state, false, in fact”, etc.

3. General –specific pattern

The general –specific pattern is also called the “general-particular pattern”, “general-example pattern”, or “preview-detailed pattern”. Its structure breakdown is as follows:

General statement – Specific statement 1 – Specific statement 2 -Specific statement 3 -…

e.g. All forms of activity lead to boredom when performed on a routine basis. We can see this principle at work in people of all ages. On Christmas morning children play with their new toys and games. But the novelty soon wears off, and by January those same toys can be found tucked away in the attic.

When parents bring home a pet, their child gladly grooms it. Within a short time, however, the burden of caring for the animal is shifted to the parents. Adolescents enter high school with enthusiasm but are soon looking forward to graduation.

(to be continued)