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[Writing] Ring Structure

Updated: Jul 22, 2021

Hello, this is Cynthia from Think-team.

I attended a course about writing a thesis for two weeks. Along the course, I learn some misunderstandings that I had regarding writing English for academic purposes. The interesting part is when the lecturer shared a little secret about how to structurize your idea in writing.

First, what do you see from the figures below?

If you notice, the structure of those artifacts is symmetrical. It is almost the same case when we organize our argument/idea into writing.

This structure has been discussed among writers and poets lately and is widely known as the ring composition. These linguisticians agreed that parallelism is an important element in the ring structure. Similar to those artifacts above, there is a beginning and an end in writing divided by a clear middle point (or you may say the main idea).

If I may quote from a book by Mary Douglas (2007), parallelism in the ring structure between the beginning and the end is not done consecutively, but juxtaposed. A ring is much more interesting than simple parallels that are simply laid out consecutively.

The simple structure of ring composition would be AB-C-B'A'. AB is the beginning as the background before jumping into C (the main idea) while B'A' is the closure (or the end) that has the same idea from the beginning.

The minimum criterion for a ring composition is for the ending to join up with the beginning. (Douglas, 2007)

To make it clearer, let me give you an example. Here, I take an abstract from one of the articles written by our CEO, Tak.


Then, I identify the ring composition by highlighting similar keywords (in black color) in the abstract as below.

And here is the ring composition from the abstract. Now you see the structure, don't you?

From the paragraph, you can also apply this structure to different forms of writing like reports, novels, poems, etc. Even one of the famous authors, J. K. Rowling deployed the ring structure to her book series, Harry Potter.

According to the lecturer, this topic is rarely discussed in writing courses. I would say, I agree with the lecturer because I have been writing intuitively that, the ideas should not be over the place. There is a structure even in a paragraph and this is one of them.

So, maybe could you share other examples that you can notice the ring composition in it? It can be a song, lyrics, poem, novels, and so forth.

I hope this information can be helpful for you in organizing your idea when you write. Thank you for reading. See you on the next blog!

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