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Writing to inform, explain and describe

Informing gives objective factual information. Explaining gives reasons for how or why something happens. Describing tries to paint a vivid picture in the reader's head.

A scenario

Imagine this scenario: You feel ill and go to see a doctor.

Which of the following is informing, explaining or describing?

You tell the doctor how you feel. The doctor gives you the facts. The doctor explains what a cold is and tells you more.

  • Describing - telling the doctor how you feel.
  • Informing - the doctor gives you the facts.
  • Explaining - the doctor explains what a cold is and tells you more about it.

These areas do overlap, but you should keep in mind that:

  • information is factual
  • explanation is factual, but with more detail
  • description is usually about how something makes you feel

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