Distinguishing Between Narrative & Recount

Narrative vs Recount

A past event serves as the basis for a writer to create either a recount or a narrative. While both describe a past event, making them appear similar to readers or listeners, there are several differences between the two that will be discussed in this article.


When you attend a party or event and later tell a friend who was not there about everything that happened, you are providing a recount. You are giving an account of a past event or party based on your feelings and experiences. Teachers often use recounts to assess students’ writing and imaginative abilities by asking them to recount an event they attended in the past. If you have been on a trip, you might be asked to recount the trip in your own words. It is important to remember that recounts are always written in the past tense. The key components of a recount are what, who, where, and when, with chronological answers to these questions forming the recount.

A recount can be factual, such as when a news reporter recounts a story they covered, procedural, as when a writer informs readers how to do or make something, or personal, when the writer recounts a holiday or other past experience. Biographies and autobiographies are always recounts, as are news stories in newspapers and television news.


A narrative is the retelling of something that happened in the past. If you are telling a story to a young child, you are using a narrative as you are telling a fable or folktale in your own words. It is crucial to remember that a narrative is not the story itself but the act of storytelling. Therefore, it can be a written narrative or an oral narrative.

Key Takeaways

  • Recounts are chronological and describe events as they took place in the past.
  • Narratives are an art of storytelling that can make the story more interesting and exciting than it is.
  • There is a fundamental difference in the structures of narratives and recounts.
Maria Nguyen
Maria Nguyen
Maria Nguyen is a talented writer with a flair for developing captivating content in a range of formats. Her commitment to thorough research and producing top-notch material has contributed to over 4 years of professional writing and editing experience. Outside of work, Maria finds pleasure in solitary activities and immersing herself in nature. Her introspective nature and passion for self-reflection inspire her creativity. She believes that spending time alone and observing the natural world can provide valuable insights and foster personal growth, broadening her perspective as a writer.


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