"Topical structure is a method of expressing the link between the evolution of sentence subjects and the topical depth, which reveals the semantic hierarchy" ("Topical Structure" 320). Readers should be able to predict the "discourse subject," which shows the main idea, based on the thematic structure. For example, if you were to ask someone what they thought about when they thought about America, they might say images of sports stars or politicians would come to mind first, followed by thoughts about the United States.
This structure can be seen in the following sentence: "The image of John Lennon came to mind first, followed by thoughts about Yoko Ono." Here we can see that images of people are topics, while ideas are concepts. This type of structure is known as a topical structure because it shows how topics arise over time as well as their relationship to the speaker/writer.
Images, facts, objects, and other topical structures can be combined with temporal elements (such as verbs) to create narrative sentences. These types of sentences are called topical-narrative sentences because they combine information about both topic and story development over time ("Topical-Narrative Sentences" 321). Narrative sentences are important in writing essays because they allow readers insight into the author's thinking as well as provide information about the events that led up to the essay's conclusion.
Because it is applicable to practically any topic or kind of speech, a topical pattern is the most frequent approach to arrange talks, particularly informational addresses. A topical structure entails breaking down your key notion into subject categories or sub-topics that surround the main theme. These subjects can be people, places, things, or abstract ideas.
In addition to categorizing information, using topics also helps speakers organize their thoughts and express themselves clearly. Generally, topics are introduced by stating who, what, when, where, and why/how patterns. They are then followed by sentences that relate this information to the main theme of the talk.
There are two types of topical speeches: descriptive and argumentative. Descriptive speeches list facts and details without taking a position on them. Argumentative speeches present a point of view and try to convince the audience to agree with it.
Descriptive speeches are often used as introductions to events or programs. They can also be used to report on activities such as meetings or workshops. Examples include speeches for inaugurations, openings, and closings; reports; and letters.
Argumentative speeches are used to share opinions on issues such as plans, proposals, and policies. They can also be used to confront problems or difficulties. Examples include speeches for resignations; protests; and hearings.
A topical pattern organizes information based on multiple sub-topics inside a bigger topic, or the "types" of objects that fit under a broader category. Each "type" in this pattern represents a major portion of information. Assume a writer wanted to describe various types of wine. She could do so by discussing red wines, white wines, sparkling wines, and dessert wines. This would produce four major topics inside a larger topic called "wines."
The topical pattern is very common in books and articles that deal with many different subjects. It helps readers find information more easily because they don't have to read through an entire book before finding what they're looking for. A writer uses this pattern when she wants to cover several related subjects within one article or book.
In literature courses, students often identify major themes inside works of fiction or poetry. For example, one might say that John Steinbeck's 1962 novel The Grapes of Wrath focuses on social injustice against farmers during the Great Depression. Students can also identify major topics inside books that haven't been written by authors who study literature as an academic discipline. For example, one might say that Jacques Cousteau's 1972 book The Silent World explores marine ecology while William Shakespeare's 1596 play Romeo and Juliet discusses love and death. Many non-literary works also follow this pattern, including how-to books, documentaries, and magazines.
The patterns are most commonly seen in textbooks and academic papers.
Some examples of topical patterns include: ecology - animals - mammals - humans; physics - electricity - magnetism - atoms; history - Britain - Germany - France; etc.
The advantage of using a topical pattern is that it helps readers find what they're looking for much faster because they don't have to read through an entire book before finding relevant information. Also, topics within each type can be explored in more detail without having to go back and forth between them. Finally, topical patterns make it easier to compare items that belong together since they'll usually share at least one characteristic in common (such as being part of the same country or having been invented around the same time).
There are two types of topical patterns: hierarchical and non-hierarchical. In a hierarchical pattern, there is a clear sequence of topics with only one topic allowed at any given level. For example, in a biology textbook that uses a hierarchical pattern, you would never find mammals outside of animals.