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An explanation is a text used to describe how things work and why things happen. It may cover both nature and technology.

Explanations can:

  • describe how things work, for example 'how does a camera work?'
  • describe why things happen, like 'why is there lightning in a storm?'
  • show how things are similar or different, such as rainwater and sea water
  • try to solve a problem, like 'how do I remove a stain from my shirt?'

An explanation tries to provide answers to questions that the reader may have so that the reader learns new things.

Structure

  • Phenomenon identification
  • Explanation sequence

 

Language features

 

         Technical terms (e.g. evaporation, degradation)

         Action verbs and present tense (e.g. runs, develops, becomes)

         Passive voice (e.g. water is pulled up..)

         Cause and effect terms (e.g. because of.., due to.., therefore, as a result)

 

 
Example of Explanation a short extract 

 

Earthquakes are caused when tension is released from the rocks in the Earth's crust and upper mantle. This tension is due to friction between what scientists believe are large 'plates' floating on magma on the Earth's surface. Sometimes earthquakes happen when the rocks in the earth's crust bend and break. This causes shock waves to travel on the earth's surface, resulting in widespread destruction.

 

 

   
 

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Question 1/5

1. Which sentence would you most likely find in an explanation?

What are the best ways for us to use rain water?

Rain falls when there is too much moisture in a cloud.

Rain is water and it is made up of two elements, oxygen and hydrogen.

Raindrops keep falling on my head.

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