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Explanations: Structure 1

Explanations are usually quite short assignments. They are common in the earlier stages of a course of study, where their function is to check students' knowledge. They usually contain information that is available in textbooks and/or from lectures.

They are factual, and, therefore, do not contain any argument. They tend not to describe actions, but states, processes, qualities and properties.

They often include diagrams, tables or figures.

Explanations can classify, explain methods, explain systems and processes, or compare and contrast.

A typical structure of an Explanation:


What is it? Perhaps include a definition - taken from a textbook, not a general dictionary.

You may also include some indication of its significance.


Include a description of its history, properties, functions, uses or how it works.

This will be organised in some clear way: past to present, top to bottom, left to right, outside to inside, general to particular, etc.


A summary or general statement,

Include a comment on the significance or importance of what you have explained; for example, something about the future and its broader relevance to society, economy, the discipline, etc.

Examples of Explanations include:

  • account of natural phenomenon
  • business explanation
  • concept/job/legislation overview
  • instrument description
  • methodology explanation
  • organism/disease account
  • site/environment report
  • species/breed description
  • system/process explanation

Try these tasks to learn more about the structure of Explanations.

Task 1

Drag the stages into the correct order - put the first one at the top.


Task 2

Read Explanation 1 (under Download below) and decide which answer best describes the organisation of the text.


Task 3

In the explanation stage of Explanation 1, the author identifies the main dimensions and then explains them in order. Match the paragraphs to the dimensions.




I am going to share something with you, in fact I know the tenses, passives, direct and indirect, modal, part of speech etc. But while I write to someone I regularly get complaint for the mutual individual, that your wrote massage has grammatical and order problem, so please give me useful instruction and information regarding this.

Farhad wahaj.

Hello Farhad,

I don't know enough about your writing to give you personal suggestions, and this is not a service we can offer as we simply do not have time to do it - it is a job for your own teacher. I can tell you that the best way to improve writing is to see lots of examples of the kinds of texts you wish to write. Think about what kinds of texts you need to write - emails of different kinds, reports and so on - and look for examples. You can find many on LearnEnglish in the various sections, and you can find many more on the internet. You can compare the phrasing and organisation of these examples with your own, and that will show you what makes your texts less easy to understand.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hi, I am a new user to this website. Can somebody let me know which sentence below is correct? Did you understand what was she saying ? OR did you understand what she was saying? Thank you. Regards,

Hello Elward,

The second sentence is the correct one. In reported questions, the word order in the second clause is normal.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

I alway trying to spoken English fluently

please, i'm a new member and i would need each of your help on editing my work. I'm I welcome to post it?

Hello Michael,

You're welcome to post your work here for other users to give you feedback, but I'm afraid we are too small a team to be able to do this ourselves.

Good luck!

Best regards,
The LearnEnglish Team

Helllo,I just joind this group yesterday I don't know where to begin .I have ilets exactly a month today do I have a chance to learn and pass

Hello Oluwatoyin 8,

To prepare yourself for the IELTS, I'd recommend you take a look at our IELTS section and TakeIELTS. You can find useful tips and practice materials on both sites.

Good luck!

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

i want improve my English knowledge how can i do it?