8 Difference Between Linear And Non-Linear Text

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What Is Linear Text?

Linear text refers to traditional text that requires to be read from the beginning to the end. This type of text has an order or sequence; it’s typically the author of the text who decides the order of the text or its reading path.  Generally, texts printed on paper are considered as linear texts.

Examples of linear texts include: Novels, poems, short stories, textbooks, letters, Newspaper articles, educational texts and all those text that we have to read from the beginning to the end.

What You Need To Know About Linear Text

  • Linear text refers to traditional text that requires to be read from the beginning to the end.
  • It is the most common type of reading; it focuses on the arrangement of words, both grammatically and stylistically.
  • There is only one reading path, which is decided by the author.
  • Typically includes printed texts.
  • It somehow takes time for the reader to find the information they are looking for.  
  • In linear texts, contents are in linear and sequential structure.
  • In linear texts, there is focus on grammar and style.
  • Examples of linear texts include Novels, poems, letters, newspaper articles etc.

What Is Non-linear Text?

Traditionally the pathway in a text is from left to right and top to bottom with information organized sequentially. In many digital texts, multiple pathways for interaction become possible through hyper-linking, making it a non-linear text. These allow a reader to access information as needed and a writer to create opportunities for a reader to make these choices.

The main reason for non-linear texts is to highlight important thematic conflict by skipping over boring details and provide context and character background. Flow charts, knowledge maps, digital texts with hyperlinks and encyclopedia are some examples of non-linear text.

What You Need To Know About Non-Linear Text

  • Non-linear text refers to the text that does not need to be read from the beginning to the end.
  • Non-linear text is a text combined with visual elements.
  • There are multiple reading paths (the reading is not sequential). They are determined by the reader. In other words, the reader can choose his own reading paths.
  • Typically include digital texts.
  • Non-linear texts allow readers to find specific information more quickly and efficiently.
  • In a non-linear text, contents are organized in a network structure.
  • In non-linear text, focus is on specific information. Less attention is given to grammar and style.
  • Examples of non-linear texts include Flowcharts, knowledge maps and encyclopedia.

Difference Between Linear And Non-Linear Text In Tabular Form

BASIS OF COMPARISON LINEAR TEXT NON-LINEAR TEXT
Description Linear text refers to traditional text that requires to be read from the beginning to the end.   Non-linear text refers to the text that does not need to be read from the beginning to the end.  
Nature There is only one reading path, which is decided by the author.   There are multiple reading paths. They are determined by the reader.  
Includes Typically includes printed texts.   Typically include digital texts.  
Time Factor It somehow takes time for the reader to find the information they are looking for.     Non-linear texts allow readers to find information more efficiently.  
Text Structure In linear texts, contents are in linear and sequential structure.   In a non-linear text, contents are organized in a network structure.  
Focus In linear texts, there is focus on grammar and style.   In non-linear text, focus is on specific information. Less attention is given to grammar and style.  
Examples Examples of linear texts include Novels, poems, letters, newspaper articles etc.   Examples of non-linear texts include Flowcharts, knowledge maps and encyclopedia.