Login

What Is Nonfiction? - Definition & Examples

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Fact vs. Persuasion vs. Informed Opinion in Nonfiction

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:01 Types of Literature
  • 0:46 Characteristics of Nonfiction
  • 1:49 Types of Nonfiction
  • 2:41 Examples of Nonfiction
  • 4:14 Lesson Summary
Add to Add to Add to

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Login or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Create an account to start this course today
Try it free for 5 days!
Create An Account

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Angela Janovsky

Angela has taught middle and high school English, Social Studies, and Science for seven years. She has a bachelor's degree in psychology and has earned her teaching license.

There are a wide variety of genres of literature, but most can be separated into two categories. Watch this video lesson to learn about one of those categories: nonfiction.

Types of Literature

Literature: it's a big term that encompasses just about every type of written word. It may be overwhelming to think about all the different types of literature, but there are actually two main groups all literature can be categorized under. These two categories are fiction and nonfiction. Fiction includes all written works that are invented or made-up by the author. This includes novels, short stories, and poems. Nonfiction, then, comprises of the written works based on real events. In this way, literature that is nonfiction can help us understand our world. Let's look closer at the characteristics and examples of nonfiction.

Characteristics of Nonfiction

There are several important traits of all nonfiction works. Most importantly, nonfiction writing must involve real people, places, and events. The stories told in nonfiction works must be true. If something in the story is made-up, then it falls under fiction. Nonfiction must also contain facts, which are information that can be proved to be true. With this in mind, a writer can select and organize the facts in a number of ways in order to accomplish his purpose. Some facts can be omitted, and others can be shown in a specific light, but overall, facts must be present in the written work.

Most nonfiction works also have a similar author's purpose, which is the reason the author writes. Most nonfiction is written to express or to inform. If the author's purpose is to express, the concepts expressed are always based on true, real-life situations. Because of this, one could argue all nonfiction serves to inform the reader, as well.

Types of Nonfiction

Now, let's look at the two types of nonfiction. The first is literary nonfiction, which includes nonfiction writing that reads like fiction. This means that literary nonfiction includes the elements of fiction, like characters, setting, and plot; however, in nonfiction these elements must be real and not imaginary. The stories are meant to amuse the reader, as well as inform on true stories. Literary nonfiction includes biographies, autobiographies, and essays.

The other type of nonfiction is informative nonfiction. The purpose of informative nonfiction is to explain or inform about a concept or situation. This type of nonfiction exists to provide the reader with factual information. Informative nonfiction includes articles and interviews.

Examples of Nonfiction

There are many types of nonfiction examples in the world of literature. Remember, literary nonfiction includes works written like stories, but based on true events and people. All autobiographies and biographies fall into this category. Here are some well-known autobiographies and biographies:

  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  • The Story of My Life by Helen Keller
  • Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson
  • Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff
  • Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman by Robert K. Massie

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register for a free trial

Are you a student or a teacher?
I am a teacher
What is your educational goal?
 Back

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 10 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 95 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 2,000 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it free for 5 days!
Create An Account
Support