7 junio, 2024

Textual microstructure: concept, characteristics, examples

What is the textual microstructure?

The textual microstructure It is each of the main ideas (also known as propositions) that, semantically related to each other, manage to support the general idea of ​​a text. For its elaboration, the good understanding and use of connectives and punctuation marks is crucial.

The term textual microstructure was brought to the level of linguistics by the philologist Teun Adrianus van Dijk. The renowned intellectual from the Netherlands wanted to give another vision to the study of written discourse, organizing it by structures, to facilitate its understanding and elaboration.

Van Dijk proposed appreciating the texts from three perspectives: a general organizational one, called the superstructure; another global one of a hierarchical and functional nature, called macrostructure (subject to the previous structure, and which gives it meaning); and the microstructure, the most basic but no less important.

The textual microstructure relates successions of thoughts linking them in a logical and coherent way, allowing each of the parts that make up an argument to be clearly conceived.

If we seek to see this concept in a simple way, we can imagine a 12-story building. The building is the superstructure; each floor, hierarchically ordered, are the macrostructures; and the partitions, beams and other elements joined by rivets and concrete (which come to be the links that give cohesion) are the microstructures.

Characteristics of the textual microstructure

Give cohesion to the text

They allow a logical relationship to exist between the words that make up a sentence and, in turn, between the different sentences that make up a text. This allows an assimilation of the continuation of ideas and responds to the presence of the concordance of number and gender in the textual plane.

Cohesion also seeks to enrich the perception around ideas. To expand cohesion and meaning in a text, reiteration is used, and within this there are several very useful literary resources. Among these we will highlight five of the most used:

use of synonyms

Use words of the same or similar meaning. For example: car, car, car.


Through a conclusion regarding a phenomenon, we can infer that others will behave the same. For example: “That snake killed that man with his poison. It is certain that all snakes of that species are venomous.»


Using repeatedly, and in various parts of the speech, a main term to achieve fixation of the idea in the speaker. For example: «Gato Negro rechargeable batteries are the best on the market, because Gato Negro lasts like no other».


An element of the speech is suppressed without damaging the meaning of the idea. For this, what is eliminated is presumed by means of contextual logic. For example: “Juanito arrived tired. He was very thirsty ”.


They are all those discursive elements that allow to unite ideas of the text. For example, the copulative conjunction “and” stands out: “this and that”.

They bring coherence to the argument

When cohesion is achieved in each of the propositions present in a text, the argument begins to be conceived as an integral whole that can be understood and assimilated by the speaker.

They relate the ideas

This quality is closely associated with cohesion and all the resources it offers. Without the semantic relationship between the ideas, there is no sequence and the communication thread breaks.

They are the most basic when creating a text

Let us remember what was stated previously: the microstructures are the partitions that, intelligently linked, support and give meaning to the text.

They demand accuracy

An important part of a good argument is getting to the point, leaving out the fillers and making the ideas as refined as possible. This facilitates their understanding and communication gaps are eliminated.

How to build textual microstructures? (Examples)

As we saw previously, textual microstructures are lexical organizations that contain a series of propositions that seek to strengthen the speaker’s perception of a general idea within the text. In order to achieve this, inter and intra sentence relationships must be used.

To build them in the most appropriate way, it is necessary to create links between the propositions, preferably causal and/or referential links.

Below is a clear example of how to properly build a textual microstructure:

Step 1: generate the propositions

– “The tenth spinel is a poetic form born in the 16th century”.

– “The tenth spinel has 10 verses”.

– “The verses of the tenth spinel are perfect eight syllables”.

– “The verses of the tenth spinel rhyme as follows: abbaaccddc”.

Step 2: unite the propositions

– “The tenth spinel is a poetic form born in the 16th century, it has ten eight-syllable verses that rhyme as follows: abbaaccddc”.

The comma after the «XVI» allowed the suppression of the subject, which is «the tenth spinel», in addition to linking the first proposition with the second.

The word «verses», being repeated, allows us to suppress the excess, while the relative pronoun «that» serves as a link with the last proposition, and also facilitates the suppression of the second subject; in this case, “the verses of the tenth spinel”.


The study of textual microstructures provides a greater understanding of the linguistic fact to the speaker, broadening the horizons around the important role played by each of the elements of a text. In addition, this philological element gives other perspectives, improving the argumentation in the writing.

Among the most important contributions, we can highlight the fact that textual microstructures allow speakers to conceive the minuscule communicative particles that give way to great argumentative ideas. It is going to the depth of the language, but in a simple and didactic way.

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