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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.




hello everyone, i'm a new member here. it's hard for me to understand what the examples mean. just because i don't really know the vocab as unusual. i have to much learn the vocablaries now

get a lot of help
Thanks you very much !

This kind of exercises helping me a lot to understand more about the English grammar.
I often need help to improve my understanding, it's not easy by myself, this exercise opened my head. Thanks

Hi stuff member, thank you for you guidance about explanation in writing. if we share our writing task here, can you help use to edit our writing correctly.
all the best

Hello raman78,

You are welcome to ask us a specific question about a specific sentence, but I'm afraid that in general we don't provide the service of giving feedback on users' writing.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

I want to learn english better , and who can help me ? We can share email to talk more . My email is " --------------" , I will be happy if we can share together.

Hello again tungnguyen,

I'd also recommend you read our House Rules, where you'll see you're not allowed to share personal information such as your email address. You're welcome to have conversations with people here in the comments, but I'm afraid it won't be possible to share contact information to speak to others users.

You might want to take a look at our Facebook page. There are great tips for improving your speaking there and you can interact with other users a bit more dynamically.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team


Task 2 above tells us to read example 1. I can't seem to find example 1 to read it and answer to questions

Hello Mandy1,

'Example 1' in the instructions refers to the first PDF in the Download section (which is between the Tasks and the Comments). I've changed the instructions to say 'Explanation 1' instead, which will hopefully make it clearer for users who do this task in the future. Thanks for your help with this!

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

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