Basic Terms and Terminology Relating to Using Text Features

  • Text features: Texts of all kinds and with all purposes have several features that intend to guide the reader and to bolster their comprehension of the reading passage.
  • The title of a text: The title of a text alerts the reader about the contents of the text which can be a formal text or an informal text such as a memo, an announcement, a newspaper article, an email, an essay, a research study and an essay, for example.
  • The headings of a text: Headings of both formal and informal texts are often used when the text is a longer and lengthier one than a simple paragraph or two and also in shorter texts to highlight and draw attention to some of the critical parts of an announcement or public notice, for example.
  • The subheadings of a text: The subheadings of a text further narrow and define the content of the text headings.
  • Fonts: The size and shapes of numbers and letters that are used in informal and formal texts.
  • Traditional fonts: Fonts such as the Arial and times new Roman, with a 10 or 12 point size, are acceptable for the composition of formal texts.
  • Aesthetics: The quality of a work in terms of its eye pleasing and eye catching beauty.
  • Sidebars: Sidebars are pictures, graphics and/or texts that appear and are placed outside of the margins of the remainder of a text or within the text itself when they are walled off and distinctly differentiated from the rest of the text. These sidebars feature some important detail about the content of the text.
  • In text citations: Those citations that occur and are placed in and within a text sporadically and intermittently to give credit to the person, other than the author, who has, or had, this thought or idea.
  • End text notations or citations: These notations or citations are found at the end of the paper on a separate page sometimes referred to as a bibliography or reference page.
  • The key or legend of a text: The key or legend of a text includes information about the symbols found in a text or another form of printed communication such as a map.
  • The glossary of a text: The glossary of a text is an alphabetical listing of words, terms and abbreviations and their definitions which are found and used in the book. The glossary is typically found at the end of a book before the index.
  • The table of contents: The table of contents has the headings, and often, subheadings, of the contents of the book. The index of a book is the last section of a book. An index contains words which are found in the book and the page or pages where the words or phrases can be found.
  • The index: The text feature that allows the reader of the text to readily find information about the word that they are looking up.
  • A search engine:A search engine is a computer software program that searches of information on the World Wide Web. It is similar to the index of the book.
  • Writing styles: Formalized formal writing guidelines that address the overall formatting in terms of margin, spaces and other specifics in the piece of formal writing
  • American Psychological Association (APA) style: One type of a formalized writing style
  • Modern Language Association (MLA) style: One type of a formalized writing style
  • American Medical Association (AMA) style: One type of a formalized writing style
  • The Chicago style: One type of a formalized writing style

Text Features

Texts of all kinds and with all purposes have several features that intend to guide the reader and to bolster their comprehension of the reading passage. Text features also help readers to organize their thoughts as they are reading the passage. As you know, texts can be in hard copy form and they can also be in other media, such as on the internet.

Some text features include:

The Title of the Text

The title of a text alerts the reader about the contents of the text which can be a formal text or an informal text such as a memo, an announcement, a newspaper article, an email, an essay, a research study and an essay, for example.

Titles can include things like:

  • Evolution
  • Elvis Presley: An Anthology For the Years
  • The Grand Canyon: America's Wonder of the World
  • Nursing History: From Households to Hospitals
  • Music: Throughout the 20th Century
  • Football Registration
  • Safety Committee Meeting
  • The Upcoming Family Reunion
  • The Effect of Sunlight on Mood
  • The National Rifle Association: Friend or Foe?

Titles, as you can see in the above list, are short, concise and capitalized; the size of their font is typically larger than the remainder of the text and the kind of font may be different from the font that is used in the remainder of the text.

For example, the titles of a text can look like these:

The title of the text should reflect and be consistent with the content of the text, its main idea, and it's supporting ideas unless, of course, the author is unskilled and NOT knowledgeable about how to decide upon a title that is accurate and appropriate according to the rules of formal writing.

The Headings of a Text

Headings and subheadings of both formal and informal texts are often used when the text is a longer and lengthier one than a simple paragraph or two and also in shorter texts to highlight and draw attention to some of the critical parts of an announcement or public notice, for example.

Below is a possible title of a text and its possible headings:

Possible headings for this text can include:

  • Music During the 18th Century
  • Music During the 1910s
  • Music During the 1920s
  • Music During the 1930s
  • Music During the 1940s
  • Music During the 1950s
  • Music During the 1960s
  • Music During the 1970s
  • Music During the 1980s
  • Music During the 1990s

The Subheadings of a Text

The subheadings of a text further narrow and define the content of the text headings. Here are some examples of subheadings that can be found in a text.

Please note that the font styles of these subheadings are the same as and identical to the headings of the text, however, the font is smaller than that of the headings.

The Font or the Print that is Used in Both Formal and Informal Texts

Traditional fonts, such as the Arial and times new Roman, with a 10 or 12 point size, are acceptable for the composition of formal texts. Less traditional and fancy texts can be used to for informal texts particularly when the attention of the reader is desired and/or it adds to the aesthetic quality of the work in terms of its eye pleasing and eye catching beauty.

Special Fonts Like the Use of Italics, Bold Print, Underlining, Superscript and Subscript

Special fonts like the use of underlining, italics, bold print are used for specific purposes and in a very limited and judicious manner in formal and informal texts. When bold fonts, underlining, and italicized fonts are over used, they lose their purpose and emphasis. Additionally, some writing styles prohibit and/or strictly restrict the use of italics, bold and underlined words and phrases.

For example, the limited and judicious use of bold and italicized may be acceptable in these instances.

  • Italics can be used for the title of a book or another proper noun like a piece of art
    Examples:
    A Tale of Two Cities
    James and the Giant Peach
    Mona Lisa
    Starry Night
  • Italics can be used for foreign words and phrases within an English text
    Examples:
    Reason d'etre
    Crème Brulee
    Carpe diem
    Tete a tete
  • Italics can be used for emphasis
    Examples:
    Not
    Except
  • Bold fonts can be used for a point of emphasis and also for the titles, headings and subheadings of the text
    Examples:
    Not
    Except
    Global History
    Global History in the 18th Century
  • Underlined words and phrases are used for emphasis.
    Examples:
    Not
    Except
    With the exception of

The use of superscript and subscript fonts are even more limited than other specialized fonts such as bold, italics and underlined words and phrases.

Superscript is a font that is smaller than and above the level of and higher than the remaining font used in the text. Subscript is a font that is smaller than and below the level of and lower than the remaining font used in the text

Superscript font can be used in the citations for some writing styles such as the MLA style of writing and for mathematical exponents and with numbers that specify sequential order. Some examples of superscript fonts are 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, rather than 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th).

Subscript fonts can be used in chemical names and chemical equations.

Here are some examples of superscript fonts that are used for the appropriate purpose and in an accurate manner:

  • The Prince of Wales stated, "I prefer the wedding to be in June". 16 (An in text citation)
  • These researchers found that stress increases with radical changes in terms of ambient temperatures.77 (An in text citation)
  • 342 (A mathematical exponent that indicates that 34 should be squared)
  • 143 (A mathematical exponent that indicates that 14 should be cubed)
  • 23445 (234 to the 45th power)
  • 45th power (A number in sequential order)
  • 1st. 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc. (Numbers in sequential order)
  • April 21st, June 19th and December 25th (Dates in sequential order)

Here are some examples of subscript fonts that are used for the appropriate purpose and in an accurate manner:

  • H2O 2
  • CO2
  • H4 C6

Simply described and defined, sidebars are pictures, graphics and/or texts that appear and are placed outside of the margins of the remainder of a text or within the text itself when they are walled off and distinctly differentiated from the rest of the text.

These sidebars feature some important detail about the content of the text. At times, the content of the sidebar may also be found verbatim in the text and, at other times, the content of the sidebar is not found in the text itself but the sidebar does amplify and emphasize an important detail in the text.

Students often ignore the sidebars found in their text books. These sidebars should not be ignored because they are often a highly important fact or detail and sidebars not only assist the reader with their reading comprehension; they are also often tested on a college exam because they are important facts.

Sidebars can be placed on the left side of the page, like the one above, on the right side of the page, and in the middle of the page. Despite their location, the reader should be readily able to locate and identify sidebars

The Use of Footnotes and Citations

We cover this particular area of interest within Writing Styles Used for Research Papers and Academic Writings.

The Key or Legend Contained in the Text

The key or legend which includes information about the symbols found on the map.

A Glossary

The glossary of a text is an alphabetical listing of words, terms and their abbreviations which are found and used in the book. The glossary is typically found at the end of a book before the index.

The reader of a book can use the glossary to look up an unfamiliar word or term that is encountered when one is reading the nonfiction book.

The Table of Contents

The table of contents has the headings, and often, subheadings, of the contents of the book. The table of contents is used by the reader of the text to readily locate information and sections of a book without flipping through all the pages of the book to find the information or section of the book that one is looking for.

A table of contents can be found in both fiction and nonfiction books, including textbooks.

The Index of a Book

The index of a book is the last section of a book. An index contains words which are found in the book and the page or pages where the words or phrases can be found.

The index allows the reader of the text to readily find information about the word that they are looking up.

The Features of Other Media

Other media, particularly internet media and texts, have several helpful features that allow the reader to do research and understand or comprehend the material that they want to understand and comprehend.

Among these features, among others, are:

  • Search Engine
  • Search Terms
  • Active Links

Search Engines, Search Terms and Active Links

The results of a search for the term "lunar eclipse" in a web-based image search engine

A search engine is a computer software program that searches of information on the World Wide Web. It is similar to the index of the book.

The user of the search engine types in the word or the words that they would like more information about and then the search engine rapidly returns results so that the person doing the query can open these active links and see the information that they searched for. When these active links are clicked, the search engine rapidly, and almost instantaneously, brings the person to the website that they want to see.

The results of the search will return a collection of articles, images and other types of information.

Popular search engines include Google.com, Bing.com, DuckDuckGo.com, etc.

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