An ELT Glossary : Genre

Definition : A class of texts (spoken or written) viewed by the speech community as being of the same type because sharing a set of common features (eg of layout, organisation, linguistic style and other linguistic features.

Examples : Novels, church sermons, weather forecasts, advertisements, speeches, charity appeals, letters, news articles etc. These may further divide into sub-genres : eg letters may be letters of application for a job, letters of complaint etc; novels may be crime novels, fantasy novels, historical novels etc; advertisements include print adverts, advertising features article, TV and radio adverts. Each sub-genre will share many of the features of the main genre, but also show some of their own.

Further information : As an example, typical features of news article are :

  • Introduced by a headline in large bold type, which uses specific linguistic features such as the use of present simple verbs to express past events (here "dies"):

    Woman dies after farewell to horse at Wigan hospital

  • the use of apposition to introduce the protagonists of the story - Infirmary nurse Gail Taylor ....
  • the use of direct speech to report what protagonists say : Infirmary nurse Gail Taylor said: "The horse, Bronwen, walked steadily towards Sheila."