English Language brief summary

This is a revision summary for the AQA English Language exam, but it should help people with other boards too

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  • Created by: Amrit
  • Created on: 08-01-12 17:51
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Revision summary for English Language
Language features: Sentence and paragraph types, significant vocabulary, punctuation, Imagery (similes,
metaphors and personification) and other linguistic devices and the style of language.
1) Sentences and paragraphs:
-Short sentences can suggest speed or excitement, e.g. He ran forward. The ball fell at his feet. He shot.
They can also indicate surprise or despair, e.g. Her inspiration stopped. Her career ended.
-Long sentences can indicate calm, e.g. The sergeant reported that right along the river, teams of men and
women were resting at last and preparing to return to their headquarters for a much-needed break.
Or they can build climax, e.g. The crowds gasped as the top of the mountain blew away, clouds of ash shot
hundreds of feet into the sky and rivers of lava, terrifying in the early daw, shot upwards, then cascaded down
into the valley.
Paragraphs, too, can create dramatic effects:
-Very short paragraphs can be used to attract the reader's attention, to pick out the main details in an article or
to offer a `punchy' idea. Popular newspaper articles often have short paragraphs so they can be read more
-Longer paragraphs can provide more detail and analysis. Articles in more serious newspapers often have
longer paragraphs.
2) Significant Vocabulary
The kind of words can also tell you a lot about the purpose of the text:
-Imperative verbs such as `follow' and `begin' suggest instructional or advisory writing
-Connectives like `since' and `because' are typical of explanatory writing that because these connectives link
ideas together
-Connectives such as `however', `nevertheless' and `indeed' tend to be used in persuasive or argumentative
writing where a point of view is being expressed
The words or vocabulary chosen can also tell you about the audience for a text.
-More complex vocabulary indicates that the text is aimed at a more intelligent readership
-A text containing specialist vocabulary, for instance scientific vocabulary, will be aimed at those with a special
interest in that area
-A text including slang and colloquialisms could indicate a teenage target audience
3) Punctuation

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Similes, metaphors and linguistic techniques
You must be familiar with writing about simile, metaphor, alliteration and onomatopoeia; it is frequent that
writers use these techniques in non-fiction texts.
This Extract from an autobiography includes effective examples of all of them
They held us in a small room. (1) We felt like condemned men and smelt like battery hens. We had no idea of the
day or the time and (2) dreaded the dull echoes of sharp boots and the(3)crank of the lock on the door.…read more

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Only yesterday, a shop assistant said
to me...
-humour, to get the audience on the side of the writer: There was more life in my popcorn than this film.
-lists, for emphasis: She packed the potatoes on top of the bananas, the bananas on top of the tomorrow and
the tomatoes on top of the eggs.
Key language techniques
You need to look out for these when analysing the nonfiction texts!
Simile-A comparison (using like or as) e.g.…read more


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