A photograph of lines of beach umbrellas and chairs on a beach.

Source: Changing Pattern, Pierre Andrews, Flickr

Writers of expository texts can use many organizational patterns. Some common patterns include cause and effect, compare and contrast, sequential order, problem and solution, and proposition and support.

As a review, read through the organizational patterns described in the boxes below. Then, match the organizational patterns with the examples that follow. Drag each organizational pattern to its example. If you are correct, the choice will “stick.” If you need to try again, the choice will bounce back to the list.

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Being aware of organizational patterns not only helps you accurately predict what is coming next, but it also helps you summarize because you can easily see what is most important in the text.

Next you will briefly review the differences between facts, opinions, and commonplace assertions. Then you will look more closely at two of the organizational patterns.

A pastel chalk drawing of a middle school classroom.

Source: Classroom at Enola D. Maxwell Middle School, The Art Don’t Stop, Flickr

You probably know about facts, and you can probably distinguish them from opinions. How about commonplace assertions? You may not be familiar with this term.

Commonplace means something that happens all the time, something that is not unusual. Assertion just means “a statement.” Commonplace assertions are usually statements that seem to be true, but you can't always prove them, and they might actually be false.

You may have heard people say that constantly looking at our cell phones is making our attention spans shorter. A scientific study proving this statement to be true or false may be available, but most people who make this statement are not researcher scientists. Instead, they are ordinary people making a commonplace assertion: a statement that is frequently made and sounds like it is probably true but could be false.

See if you can drag the statements on the right into the correct boxes on the left to show that you know the difference between facts, opinions, and commonplace assertions.

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