Normative text characteristics with types and examples

Normative text

The Normative text are those intended to target or explain to a reader how to act in certain places and situations, indicating steps, expected behavior, and prohibitions if they come to the case.

This category includes texts as old as the Code of Hammurabi (1750 BC), the oldest set of laws that we have news of and of which a large part is preserved, or as modern as the rules of coexistence on social networks such as Facebook or Instagram.

Normative texts are the rules and norms of coexistence, regulations, laws in general and religious commandments. Its objective is to be clearly understood to facilitate coexistence, avoid conflicts or risk situations.

Normative texts are also considered those that establish protocols or steps to be followed in accessing restricted spaces (laboratories, military zones or special sanitary areas).

Some authors include the instructions as normative texts, others prefer to distinguish them by considering that the function of the former is to provide steps to learn how to operate a device –such as user manuals– or to learn an activity, such as recipe books, while the normative ones are destined to regulate performances in social groups.

Characteristics of normative texts

A normative text, to fully comply with its objective, must have the following characteristics:

1-Identified recipient and object

The subject to whom the normative text is directed must be clearly identified, as well as define the object, place or situation that it is intended to regulate. For example: “Rules for the use of municipal swimming pools for users between 15 and 20 years old.”

2-Neat structure

It is usually presented in short paragraphs and numbered, written in easily understandable, clear and direct language.

In some normative texts, such as laws or decrees, there is usually an introduction explaining the reasons why such regulations are established.

The text must be sequenced: go from the general to the particular, step by step; Although you must use technical language, the instructions must be clear and precise.

3-Appellate function of language

The verbs in the regulatory text are generally in the infinitive ( “enter”, “eat”, “assist”), or in the imperative ( “beam”, “Pass”, “look”); When verb tenses are used in 3rd person singular, the particle se is usually used and forms impersonal sentences (“authorization is required to enter”).

4-Illustrations and graphics

Normative texts are often supported by illustrations and graphics to facilitate their understanding, especially when they are presented in more than one language.

Types of normative texts

We are surrounded by normative texts from birth and throughout our lives, and in some cultures there are texts that govern human behavior even after death, such as the Egyptian Book of the Dead , or the Bardo Thodol , the Tibetan Book of the dead.


Laws in general, and all those included in constitutions, criminal and commercial codes, or in decrees and other forms of legislation. They are the normative texts par excellence and they have accompanied us since the emergence of states and religions.

2-Rules and Regulations

The rules and regulations, such as the rules of coexistence in neighborhood groups, the rules of use in public swimming pools or recreational parks; standards for users in hospitals and hotels; the regulations of sports and table games (soccer, chess, among others).

3-Codes of conduct

The codes of conduct of different unions or institutions, such as those established between doctors, journalists or teachers, or in educational institutions, such as schools and universities.

4-Company statutes

The statutes of companies and civil associations with different objectives, generally legally certified in registries and notaries.

5-Privacy policies or regulations of use

Telephone or digital service regulations, such as “privacy policies” on the internet or contracts for use on cell phones, social networks or search engines are also considered normative texts.


Steps and procedures in carrying out an activity, or for the processing or manufacturing of a product; also the protocols for accessing laboratories or any special use facility (military facilities, farms, etc.).

7-Social norms

In education systems, those texts intended for the social formation of citizens, such as the rules of the good listener and the good speaker, or the duties and rights of the citizen.

Another classic example of normative text is that of courtesy manuals (such as Manuel Carreño’s Manual of civility and good manners , published in 1865), which until a few decades ago were used to teach children and young people the rules of social behavior. : from the greeting in the street to how to offer the chair to a lady.

8-Terms of reference

They are specifications for the realization of technical drawings or for the elaboration of maps or graphs, or the so-called terms of reference (TDR), which are the general indications that precede the presentation of job offers, or give the guidelines for the realization of an activity.

Examples of normative texts

Example 1: Fragment of the Decalogue , according to the Catholic Church (religion)

“3. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days you will work and do all your work, but the seventh day is a day of rest for the Lord, your God. You will not do any work.

  1. Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be prolonged in the land that the Lord, your God, is going to give you.
  2. You will not kill ”.

Example 2: Fragment of the General Norms of Use of the Parque Centenario Municipality of Arica. Green Areas Section

“-Don’t damage plants , trees and gardens.

-Don’t pick flowers or damage the lawn.

-Don’t write on the trees.

-Don’t set up tents in the park ”.

Example 3: Fragment of the Facebook Community Rules, Violence and Criminal Behavior section

“To prevent the use of Facebook by dangerous people and organizations, the following activities on this network are prohibited:

-Terrorist activities.

-Hate organized. Normative text characteristics types

-Serial or mass murder (including attempted murder).

– Human trafficking.

-Organized crime or criminal activities ”.

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