A lot vs. Alot: 9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[nar-uh-tiv] /ˈnær ə tɪv/
a story or account of events, experiences, or the like, whether true or fictitious.
a book, literary work, etc., containing such a story.
the art, technique, or process of narrating, or of telling a story:
Somerset Maugham was a master of narrative.
consisting of or being a narrative:
a narrative poem.
of or relating to narration, or the telling of a story:
My English teacher's narrative skill makes characters seem to come to life.
Fine Arts. representing stories or events pictorially or sculpturally:
narrative painting.
Compare anecdotal (def 2).
1555-65; < Latin narrātīvus suitable for narration. See narrate, -ive
Related forms
narratively, adverb
nonnarrative, adjective, noun
seminarrative, adjective
1. chronicle, tale. Narrative, account, recital, history are terms for a story of an event or events. Narrative is the general term (for a story long or short; of past, present, or future; factual or imagined; told for any purpose; and with or without much detail). The other three terms apply primarily to factual stories of time already past. An account is usually told informally, often for entertainment, with emphasis on details of action, whether about an incident or a series of happenings. A recital is an extended narrative usually with an informative purpose, emphasizing accuracy and exhaustive details of facts and figures. A history, usually written and at some length, is characterized by a tracing of causes and effects, and by an attempt to estimate, evaluate, and interpret facts. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for narratives
  • He was also a great storyteller, creating narratives in every medium he touched.
  • It plays out through the narratives and the characters and the wars that ensue.
  • As real evidence went mute, the public imagination worked on two possible narratives.
  • For writers the past is a way to streamline narratives.
  • All require the construction of narratives after the compilation of facts.
  • We are programmed to enjoy narratives around campfires.
  • Honor, glory, and revenge are central features in these narratives.
  • Essays by distinguished authorities complement the visual and textual narratives that compose the heart of each chapter.
  • The tension here comes from the narratives that faculty members develop to explain decisions and policies made above them.
  • Consider using bulleted lists instead of long narratives, especially in your research statement.
British Dictionary definitions for narratives


an account, report, or story, as of events, experiences, etc
the narrative, the part of a literary work that relates events
the process or technique of narrating
telling a story: a narrative poem
of or relating to narration: narrative art
Derived Forms
narratively, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for narratives



mid-15c., from Middle French narratif, from Late Latin narrativus "suited to narration," from Latin narrat-, stem of narrare (see narration).


"a tale, story," 1560s, from Middle French narrative and from narrative (adj.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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