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5 Types of Knowledge Writers Need to Create an Effective Text

And one obsession second language writers have

In “Second Language Writing“, an academic book I’m reading for my Master’s dissertation, Hyland (2003: 27) says that writers bring five kinds of knowledge to create effective texts:

  1. Content knowledge – of the ideas and concepts in the topic area the text will address
  2. System knowledge – of the syntax, lexis, and appropriate formal conventions needed
  3. Process knowledge – of how to prepare and carry out a writing task
  4. Genre knowledge – of communicative purposes of the genre and its value in particular contexts
  5. Context knowledge – of readers’ expectations, cultural preferences, and related texts

Second language writers, in my experience, are obsessed with number 2.

I certainly was.


Hyland, K. (2003). Second Language Writing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Fabio Cerpelloni is an English language teacher, writer, author, and podcaster from Italy. You can find out more about him and his work by clicking on his glass of beer in the photo.