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spatial order


spatial order

Dry Tears: The Story of a Lost Childhood by Nechama Te (Oxford University Press, 1984)


In composition, a method of organization in which details are presented as they are (or were) located in space--such as, from left to right or from top to bottom.

Descriptions of places and objects commonly rely on spatial order.


See also:


Examples of Spatially Organized Paragraphs and Essays:


Place Transitions:
farther along
in back
in front
on top of
to the left
to the right


  • "Our new home was one of a number of wooden single-story units huddled together in a horseshoe enclosing a courtyard. Our new apartment was toward the rear center of the horseshoe, away from the entrance to the courtyard. To reach the kitchen, one had to pass through a small windowless anteroom made of loosely arranged planks. Anybody inside could easily look through the chinks without being observed. Against the wall opposite the entrance to the kitchen was a large stove, which took up about one fifth of the room. Right next to the stove was a bench with a bucket of water resting on it. Past the bench, in the middle of the wall, was a door leading to the only other room. To the right of the door stood a cupboard for pots, dishes, and food. Next to the cupboard, leaning against the wall on the right, was old Helena's bed. The kitchen was too small to accommodate another bed. There was just enough room for a table and chairs, which had to be placed next to the kitchen window. It was a strategic window, affording a view of the entire courtyard."
    (Nechama Tec, Dry Tears: The Story of a Lost Childhood. Oxford Univ. Press, 1984)

  • "Far to his left, in the northeast, beyond the valley and the terraced foothills of the Sierra Madre Oriental, the two volcanoes, Popocatepetl and Ixtaccihuatl, rose clear and magnificent into the sunset. Nearer, perhaps ten miles distant, and on a lower level than the main valley, he made out the village of Tomalín, nestling behind the jungle, from which rose a thin blue scarf of illegal smoke, someone burning wood for carbon. Before him, on the other side of the American highway, spread fields and groves, through which meandered a river, and the Alcapancingo road."
    (Malcolm Lowry, Under the Volcano, 1947)

  • "The loach, in its general aspect, has a pellucid appearance: its back is mottled with irregular collections of small black dots, not reaching much below the linea lateralis, as are the black and tail fins: a black line runs from each eye down to the nose; its belly is of a silvery white; the upper jaw projects beyond the lower, and is surrounded with six feelers, three on each side: its pectoral fins are large, its ventral much smaller; the fin behind its anus small; its dorsal fin large, containing eight spines; its tail, where it joins to the tail-fin, remarkably broad, without any taperness, so as to be characteristic of this genus: the tail-fin is broad, and square at the end. From the breadth and muscular strength of the tail it appears to be an active nimble fish."
    (Gilbert White, The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne, 1789)


Also Known As: order of place, space structure

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