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Paper 1 Question 2 

Focus: Language Analysis                   Marks: 8                     Time: 10 mins (2 paragraphs)

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Q2 is all about analysing language...NOT about using language terms! The examiner is not impressed that you can identify a simile; they want you to explain the effect the simile has on you as you read. Look at these two examples:

Example 1

The writer uses metaphors to describe the clouds as 'boiling' and 'simmering'. It's a metaphor because they're not actually boiling. They also personify the sky by saying it's 'frowning down' on the girl with 'an angry glare' like a person. The writer uses a simile to describe the weather as 'hot as hell' which compares the heat to hell and is also alliteration of the 'h' sound. The writer adds to this powerful description by using dynamic verbs such as 'ran', 'streaked' and 'crashed'. 'Crashed' is onomatopoeia because the word sounds like the noise...


Look at all those language terms. Are you impressed? Well, let's read Example 2:

Example 2

The writer describes the clouds as 'boiling' and 'simmering'. This sounds as if the clouds are thick and hot, almost like soup. It creates an oppressive atmosphere of heat. I can imagine them rolling round in the sky like a boiling liquid. It also makes the clouds sound threatening as both 'boiling' and 'simmering' have connotations of anger. It could suggest the clouds are dangerous, like something is about to explode and rain down on the girl. The idea of anger links to the phrase 'frowning down'...

Hhmm...there are no language terms in Example 2. So which gets more marks?

Example 1 is a Level 1 answer and would score a maximum of 2 marks. There is NO ANALYSIS.

Example 2 is a Level 3 answer and would score 6 marks. It's ALL ANALYSIS.

Top tips! 


- There are two ways to increase your marks: being PERCEPTIVE or being DETAILED. Making perceptive comments is     challenging, so aim to be as DETAILED as you can. 

- You DON'T have to write about each bullet point. Avoid commenting on sentence forms (it's very hard to do well).

How are you marked?

There are three skills on the mark scheme:

  1. Analyse / explain the effects of the writer's choice of language.

  2. Select relevant quotes.

  3. Use subject terminology.

The skills are NOT equal. Your mark depends on how well you analyse/explain the effects of the language. 

How to succeed

  • Choose interesting, descriptive language that you understand.

  • Write a lot about a little - zoom in on certain words

  • Include what the certain word makes you think and feel (effect on the reader).

  • Make your comments SPECIFIC and DETAILED.

Common mistakes

  • Choosing language you don't understand.

  • Choosing simple, un-descriptive words.

  • Making brief, vague comments about a long quote.

  • Feature spotting - identifying language features but not analysing them.

  • Not linking your comments to the story.

  • Go to the Skills section and choose Analysing.

  • Go to the Paper 1 practice papers and try some Q2s.

  • Read some marked answers so you can see what makes a clear Q2 answer.

Further practice

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