Informative Mini-Genre: How-to Tip

Take a look at the following three how-to tips:

Technology How-To Tip

figure 6.1

Household How-To Tip

figure 6.2

Work How-To Tip

figure 6.3

Use the Toolkit

Let’s use the three genre toolkit questions from Chapter 1 to examine this genre.

What is it?

These three informative genres are how-to tips from websites featuring informative articles and instructions as well as tips. Each of these examples includes directions for specific tasks people can perform, often presented as numbered lists. Notice that two of them (Examples 2 and 3) use an imperative, or command, verb form: “Look for areas” or “Have the best resources.” This imperative form is one of the hallmarks of how-to tips and instructions.

Who reads it?

These how-to tips are posted on websites that address users who need to solve the problem in question or who may find the tip useful. Most likely, those users have searched the web for that type of information, although they may simply be browsing a site for fun. For example, people are most likely to read up on tips for getting rid of ants if they are currently experiencing an ant infestation.

What’s it for?

How-to tips are meant to help readers solve problems or improve their everyday lives. The tips for working at home, for instance, are meant to help readers in that situation to better manage their time and increase their productivity. Presumably, those who might search online for information about working at home would be people who currently have trouble staying focused while they work from home—they have a problem for which they need information or instructions.