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Snap Language

Getting Smarter through Language

5 Rhetorical Modes of Writing
Types of Writing

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Practice 1. Identify the rhetorical mode of writing in short passages.

Writing for Different Purposes

We write for different purposes. We write stories to entertain our readers, share experiences, and present life lessons (the “moral of the story”) through storytelling.

We also write to inform or teach something to our readers. We create graphs, lists, infographics, and tables to make it easier for our readers to learn and remember the information better.


We write business proposals to focus the reader’s attention on important details about a project. Other times we outline steps and procedures or try to convince our readers that our ideas are worthwhile.

These are only a few examples of how we use writing to communicate ideas. Depending on our ultimate goal, we may end up with different types of writing.

Keeping Your Readers in Mind

Writing a recipe in the form of a poem would be an interesting way to express your creativity; however, would it be an effective to teach our readers how to prepare a dish?

Similarly, you would probably not want to write a short story to persuade your employers to promote you. You would more likely want to list your strong points, your accomplishments, and your vision for your company to create a logical argument for your promotion.

Readers have an expectation about how information is presented. They expect stories, recipes, and business reports to be written a certain way. Choosing the right type of writing is important so that your message is conveyed the most effectively.

Rhetorical Modes of Writing

Rhetorical mode of writing refers to different types of writing used to convey information. If you want to tell a story, you choose the narrative rhetorical mode of writing. If you want to convince your readers or change their opinions about a topic, you choose the persuasive mode. Each type has certain characteristics that make it the most effective in conveying a specific type of information.

Sometimes you mix rhetorical modes, but you still have a main mode. For example, when you tell a story, you use the narrative mode of writing, but you use a lot of descriptions and you may even teach your readers some information. However, it is still a story, so the main mode of writing is the narrative mode, which is the storytelling mode of writing.

Choosing the Right Mode of Writing

When we consider the topic, our purpose, and our readers, we end up choosing from five types of writing or modes of writing appropriate for the task: expository or informative, narrative, descriptive, persuasive, or reflective. Choosing the right type of writing is important so that your message is conveyed the most effectively.

Let’s go over the five main types of writing.

Writing tip

Before you start writing on a topic, you should think about what your main purpose is, consider your readers and their expectations, and plan the best way to convey your main point. This will help you choose the best way to write your idea, that it, it will help you decide on the rhetorical mode of writing that you should use.

Up Next: Expository Mode

Continue the course to learn about the expository mode of writing.