What Is Spatial Order And How To Use It In Essay?

When it comes to effective writing, high school and college students typically think about aspects like good story content, convincing evidence, appropriate word choice, correct grammar, etc.

But the clear and logical organization is an essential part of effective writing, too.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

There are several patterns of logical organization that can be used in writing academic essays and term papers:

  • Chronological order.
  • Compare-contrast pattern.
  • Order of importance.
  • Spatial order.
  • Problem-solution method.
  • Cause-effect pattern.
  • Advantages-disadvantages pattern.
  • Topical pattern.

There are no strict rules which pattern should be used for an effective conveying of ideas. Think carefully of patterns that make sense, and would help your readers get a better understanding of the information.

Besides, paper organization principles have many variations, and very often, different methods are combined.

Let’s talk of the most commonly used patterns: the spatial order meaning and its function.

Spatial order as a principle of organization

Writing an impressive high school or college academic essay depends on the logical organization of the content. Organizing your thoughts is as important as the choice of relevant facts to prove your point of view.

For example, in a description of a scene or setting, a specific logical order helps the audience visualize the scene.

… So, what is spatial order?

It is a type of logical organization pattern that is used in descriptive writing. Its main feature is that things are described as they appear when observed.

This approach makes it easier for writers to paint a vivid picture for readers.

Let’s discuss this concept in detail and begin with spatial order definition.

Spatial order definition

…How would we define spatial order?

It’s a principle of descriptive writing when items are arranged in the order of their physical location or correlation.

This structural order in descriptive paragraphs determines the readers’ perspective and how details are perceived. Focus is on location; time is ignored.

How may this organizational arrangement be used?

  • In fiction, it is used for descriptions of objects and places; in nonfiction – for describing physical or social phenomena.
  • Technical writers can use this method for explaining how a mechanism works or how parts of a machine fit together.
  • Food critics apply this pattern when they review a new restaurant for a description of the dining area.
  • Architects utilize this order to describe designs of buildings.

What is the spatial order?

…What does spatial order mean?

If talking about descriptions, this method means that the writer explains or describes objects as they are arranged in space. It creates a picture for readers, and the audience’s perspective is the viewpoint from which the writer describes what’s around.

First, the writer has to choose a specific starting point and then create an orderly logical progression by providing readers with directional signals they should follow from place to place.

When describing a room, f.e., the writer may start from creating a picture of what is seen as one enters the door, then tell about what they see in the middle of the room, and conclude by describing the far side.

If the description is complicated, you can use a simple chart or diagram to help your readers understand it quickly.

Spatial writing: the details

A spatial organization of information in paragraphs is also called descriptive writing. It is often used when a narrator wants to describe how something looks. For example, you can use this approach in descriptive essays about a person when you describe someone’s appearance, starting from the feet and moving up to the head.

Take a look at spatial order example which describes various layers of a volcano.

A volcano is a beautiful and dangerous natural phenomenon. The magma chamber, an extremely hot part which people rarely see, is under the Earth surface beneath the bed’s rock. The conduit is running from the volcano’s magma chamber to the crater which is at the top of the volcano.

Logical order of location in space can be used in some narrations, classifications, comparisons, and other forms of expository writings.

Have a look at this description paragraph.

According to annual weather patterns, there are 6 major climate regions. In the extreme northern latitudes, the climate is polar without any plant life. Next to it, there is cold tundra in the extremes of the north of Asia and North America where we can find shrubs and grasses. In the adjacent temperate regions, there are forests with a rich diversity of plants.

What are spatial order signal words?

Here is a short list of spatial order signal words which might indicate that a speaker or a writer is following a spatial organization pattern.

Many of these words are prepositions that are placed at the beginning of sentences to connect them with the ideas expressed in the preceding sentences.

  • Into
  • Above
  • Opposite
  • Against
  • Between
  • On the left hand
  • On the right hand
  • Through
  • Below
  • Beneath
  • Attached to
  • Across
  • Beside
  • Next to
  • Nearby
  • At the top of
  • To the side of
  • Behind
  • In front of
  • Alongside

These words are used to build a vivid picture that the audience can grasp.

Spatial organization in writing: how to..?

The spatial pattern works well when writers want to create mental pictures of something that has various parts distinguished by physical location. You may start by describing a scene, object, or a location as a whole and then focus on specific details in the setting.

This type of organization is the best for describing a setting and scene, but writers can also utilize it for giving directions or instructions.

If you wish to apply this method of organization in your description, you need to make a series of decisions.

  1. First of all, decide what scene you want to describe first. You should take the perspective of your readers and determine what details are the most important and relevant for them.
  2. Then you should think about the aspects of the scene you want to include in your description and describe all the elements in a logical order, choosing a starting point. When utilizing this pattern in essays describing items, writers can start from the left and move gradually to the right or go from top to bottom, from inside to outside or from west to east.
  3. It’s essential to use transition words and phrases to show logical relationships between the details.

Read this description of a room where all the details are described in the order of their location in space.

When you walk in the door of my bedroom, the first thing you notice is a large bed on the wall. In front of my bed, there is a grey carpet on the floor. Above the bed, there is a beautiful picture and an old clock. As you turn to the left, you will see a wardrobe and a big mirror.

This approach to the logical organization has some disadvantages as well. When a writer describes elements in such a way, all of them get equal weight.

But if you want to emphasize one specific aspect of a scene and draw particular attention to something, a spatial pattern makes it hard to achieve that goal so you’d better choose another organization method.

Without a clear organizational pattern, your readers could become confused.

A solid organizational pattern helps your audience see connections and allows them to stay focused. Spatial organization in writing a descriptive essay allows readers visualize something as the writer wants them to see it, by evoking a scene using five senses (sight, taste, smell, touch, and sound).

But you shouldn’t use spatial writing in long text because they may sound monotonous and your readers will be bored. Think about other methods of organizing your ideas.

There are different ways of organizing a descriptive essay, and you should think carefully to select the best structure for the scene you want to convey.

Sometimes, it is better to use a chronological pattern or even just stream-of-consciousness method to communicate a specific idea in a clear, intelligible manner.


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