A mode is a way of describing an approach to writing that has a specific purpose, or goal. The narrative mode is a mode of writing that is driven by a story; it tells what has happened, whether the story is fictional or true. This might be an opportunity for reflecting upon an event, or maybe just a way to tell an entertaining story about something interesting that happened.
When would you use this mode? You would definitely use narration to tell the story of a recent vacation, but you might also use it academically or professionally.
EXAMPLEIf you're writing a paper for a communications class and want to imagine how a conflict between a manager and a team member could influence office productivity, you might use the narrative mode.
Because the narrative mode is frequently used in professional and casual social situations, understanding this approach will strengthen your communication skills across all aspects of your life.
Description provides details that zero in on a specific person, place, or thing. It’s used to draw a clear and vivid picture.
As seen in the example above, it can be used along with narration for an academic paper, or in your professional career.
How else might you use the descriptive mode?
EXAMPLEIn a business setting, you may want to pitch a new product. Using the descriptive mode, you can clearly describe its features and uses.
Similar to the narrative mode, the descriptive mode is also used in a variety of situations, both professional and non-professional, strengthening your communication skill.
While you won’t be practicing the narrative and descriptive modes specifically in this course, it’s important to understand how these modes work, as they are often incorporated into other modes of writing.
The informative mode is a mode of writing designed to inform, describe, or explain. It is thus similar in some ways to narration and description, and may use those modes. It’s also specifically used for informing, which involves giving the reader facts without offering an opinion about them.
This mode is written with as little bias as possible. Your feelings about the facts cannot change whether or not they’re true.
EXAMPLEWhen writing a history paper, you would likely use the informative mode to inform your readers about past events. You cannot pick and choose which elements of the truth you’ll include.
The persuasive mode takes a clear position on a debatable question and backs up claims with evidence and reasoning. This is where you present a thesis statement, or a clearly-stated main point, which takes a side in a debate and presents supporting evidence, logical arguments, and reasoning to back up that position.
Obviously, you’ll use this mode if you’re assigned an opinion or persuasive paper, but you likely already use this mode often in your daily life.
EXAMPLEYour friends want to go out for Chinese food, but you’d rather have a burger, so you try to convince them to head out for burgers instead. When you do this, you’re using the persuasive mode.
Communication: Skill in Action