Explanatory resources types and examples

Explanatory resources

The explanatory resources include all those strategies that are commonly found in expository texts to help their readers understand the information that they are trying to convey. To a large extent, the structure of the text and the topic addressed to determine what types of resources are appropriate to achieve this goal.

In this sense, an expository text, also called explanatory, is a text in which objective facts about a certain topic are presented. This can be aimed at both a general and a specialized audience. In either case, the main function of the expository texts is to inform, explain or persuade.

On the other hand, these writings are linked to the dissemination of knowledge in the fields of science, technology, or art. It is important that the information is displayed in a logical, clear, and orderly manner. Its main characteristic is objectivity and the predominant linguistic function is representative, that is, they account for reality.

So, in order to fulfill this informative mission, the authors use different explanatory resources. These are justified by the author’s desire to anticipate the difficulties of understanding that his work could cause to the addressee. In this way, they provide in advance the necessary tools for reading comprehension.



The definition consists of the delimitation of an object or subject to include what belongs to it and exclude what does not, distinguishing it and giving it a precise meaning.

This class of explanatory resources is recognized because they begin with verbal expressions such as containsis calledrefers tois defined as, or is constituted by, among others.

On the other hand, the definitions can be of three types. The definitions by equivalence are those in which a known term that has a similar meaning is used. Mainly, it is recognized because it uses the verb to be as markers. Explanatory resources types and examples

Second, there are descriptive definitions, which are achieved through a detailed relationship of the characteristics of the object of interest.

This resource is easily recognizable by the use of markers such as is composed ofis formed byis composed ofconsists of, and other equivalents.

Finally, there are the functional type definitions. In this type of definition, the object is presented indicating its function, its purpose, or its use.

The specific markers for this type of definition are the expressions used foris used forhas as functionhas a purpose, and other parallel expressions.

Comparisons and analogies

Comparing is paying attention to two or more objects or concepts to point out their similarities and differences. This is a procedure used to test or reinforce the characteristics of something based on the characteristics of a different object.

For its part, an analogy consists of the use of comparisons and metaphors relating the explained or defined objects with others from a different field with which they maintain some kind of similarity relationship.

By establishing analogies, it is clarified or illustrated by creating relationships between a concept with other concepts in other fields. This resource is very useful to understand concepts that are difficult to understand because they are not in everyday use.


In characterization, objects or concepts are grouped into classes or categories according to some established criteria. This kind of explanatory resources are based on the use of adjectives and verb forms. Among these verb forms the most common are has , presents ,   is formed by , among others.


Reformulation is the repetition of a concept using terms or structures other than those already used. It is a redundant procedure, but essential to fix concepts and make them understandable.

This resource is recognizable because it uses as linguistic markers that is , ie , in other words , in other words , or the like. Explanatory resources types and examples


The use of examples brings formulations that might otherwise be abstract or distant to the experience of the reader.

They are identified by the use of connectors such as , for example , to know and others. Examples are also sometimes included just after a colon or in parentheses.

When exemplifying, the idea is transferred to a scenario close to the experience of the interlocutor. The examples that are used to exemplify can be sayings, facts, problems or situations.


Quotes are very effective explanatory resources. These bring to the explanation expert voices that confirm and give credibility to the explanatory approach.

Quote is a resource through which the reliability of a fact or explanation is appealed. This reliability rests on the prestige of the person who formulates it (an expert or a textbook).

Examples of explanatory resources


“Feeling experienced by one person towards another, which manifests itself in desiring his company, rejoicing with what is good for him and suffering with what is bad …”. (Definition of love according to María Moliner in her book Dictionary of Spanish use )


“The basic characteristics of love are: giving, caring, responsibility, respect, knowledge and freedom. Without these 6 characteristics, the love we exercise can be anything, but it is not love, even when it is called that way… ”. (Characterization of love according to Salvador Alvarado in his book A gift of love )


“Rosacea is a chronic skin disease that usually affects the forehead, nose, cheekbones, and chin. Groups of capillaries near the surface of the skin dilate, producing facial erythema, that is, reddened areas with papules and sometimes pustules, which simulate acne… ”. (Rosacea according to Nutritious recipes that heal )


“… Input units, for example the keyboard, which provides information to the computer; output unit, for example, the monitor, which displays the results ”. ( The great reference book of the global newspaper El País)


“This species [Amaranthus dubius] is similar to Amaranthus spinosus, but differs in that it is a spineless plant.” (In the work Principal weeds associated with bean cultivation in the Andean Region )


“… and I quote Ángel Rama,” to the extent and to the extent that the imperial expansion of the European industrialized powers are shaping the countries of the continent with the economic and social forms of their capitalist organization. ” (In Woman and modernity in the chronicles of José Martí, by Inés Guerrero Espejo) Explanatory resources types and examples

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