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In speaking and writing, organization can refer to the overall structure, that is, the order of ideas and information or paragraphs within a speech or piece of writing; or the order of sentences within a paragraph. Some types of academic and professional writing have standardized or prescriptive structures that writers need to follow, for example, a lab report, grant proposal, or case study.

Some of the most common organizational patterns for communicating are

  • Chronological (progression of time)
  • Sequential (steps in a process)
  • Climactic (from least important to most important)
  • Reverse climactic (from most important to least important)
  • Spatial (how things exist within a physical space)
  • Topical (Topics and sub-topics)
  • Comparative (two or more subtopics are presented and explained or analyzed side-by-side; this can also apply to pros and cons, or the perspectives in an argument).

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