English Language & Literature AS (1)

Framework for analysing single texts

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Overview [content/context]

Content The subject matter of a poem - as opposed to the form.

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Structure & form

Is the regular pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables that make up a line of poetry. Meter gives rhythm and regularity to poetry.

Iambic meter - An end stressed two syllable foot e.g. from In Memoriam by Lord Tennyson

This example is an iambic tetrameter - i.e. it has four iambic feet and therefore the total number of syllables in the line is eight. Iambic is an example of rising meter.

Trochaic meter

A front stressed two syllable foot.

e.g. The Song of Hiawatha by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

BY the  | SHORES of | GIT chee | GUMee,

This example is trochaic tetrameter - i.e. four two syllable feet. Therefore the total line has eight syllables. Trochaic meter is less commonly used than iambic meter. Trochaic is an example of falling meter.

Anapestic meter

An end stressed three syllable foot e.g. The Destruction of the Sennacherib by Byron:

And the SHEEN | of their SPEARS | was like STARS | on the SEA,

This line is an anapestic tetrameter i.e. it has four feet containing three syllables each. Therefore the total number of syllables in the line is twelve.

Dactylic Meter

A front stressed three syllable foot e.g. The Lost Leader by Robert Browning

WE that had | LOVED him so, | FOLlowed him | HONoured him,

This line is an example of dactyllic tetrameter  i.e. it has four feet containing three syllables each. Therefore the total number of syllables in the line is twelve.

Each of the above meters can be used in lines with varying numbers of feet. The number of feet in a line is usually classified as follows: monometer (one foot), dimeter (two feet),trimeter (three feet), tetrameter (four feet),pentameter (five feet), hexameter (six feet),heptameter (seven feet) and octameter (eight feet).

Couplet Astanza

comprising of two lines. 

Half Rhyme Occurs with feminine or three-syllable words where the initial accented syllables rhyme but the unaccented syllables don't

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Narrative stance

Point of View of the narrator/writer

Simple Present - He speaks. 

  • action in the present taking placeonce, never or several times
  • facts
  • actions taking place one after another

Present Progressive -   He is speaking

  • action taking place in the moment of speaking
  • action taking place only for a limited period of time
  • action arranged for the future

 Simple Past -  He spoke.He did not speak.

  • action in the past taking placeonce, never or several times
  • actions taking place one after another
  • action taking place in the middle of another action

Past Progressive -  He was speaking.

  • action going on at a certain time in the past
  • actions taking place at the same time

Present Perfect Simple - He has spoken.

  • putting emphasis on the result
  • action that is still going on
  • action that stopped recently
  • finished action that has an influence on the present
  • action that has taken place once, never or several times before the moment of speaking

Present Perfect Progressive - He has not been speaking.

  • putting emphasis on the course or duration (not the result)
  • action that recently stopped or is still going on
  • finished action that influenced the present

Past Perfect Simple He had not spoken.

  • action taking place before a certain time in the past
  • sometimes interchangeable with past perfect progressive
  • putting emphasis only on the fact(not the duration)

Past Perfect Progressive He had been speaking.

  • action taking place before a certain time in the past
  • sometimes interchangeable with past perfect simple
  • putting emphasis on the duration or course of an action

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Grammar and sentence structure

Simple sentenceThe basic English language sentence is called a simple sentence. It requires a subject and a verb. We ordinarily include some additonal words that explain the subject. The sentence or a part of a sentence that contains a subject and a verb and constitutes a complete thought is called an independent clause.

Complex sentence - contains an independent clause and a subordinate clause. The independent clause can function as a complete sentence. The subordinate clause also contains a subject and a verb but cannot function as an independent sentence.

Compound sentence  - A compound sentence contains two independent clauses. Two independent clauses may be joined by a comma and a conjunction, or by a semicolon, or by a colon.

sentence mode: 

declarative sentence is used to make a statement.
An interrogative sentence is used to pose a question.
An imperative sentence is used to give a command or to implore or entreat.
An exclamatory sentence is used to express astonishment or extreme emotion.

Enjambement The continuation of a sentence or phrase across a line break - as opposed to an end-stopped line. 

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Lexis and Imagery



The creation of images using words. Poets usually achieve this by invoking comparisons by means of metaphor or simile or other figures of speech

The explicit comparison of two objects/phenomenon/states using 'like' or 'as'


metaphor - An imaginative comparison between two actions/objects etc which is not literally applicable.

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Phonology and sound patterning

alliterationThe effect created when words with the same initial letter (usually consonants) are used in close proximity

sibilance -  producing a hissing sound like that of s/sh

The language tenchique for alliteration of the letter H is called aspirants. For instance, "His hands hung limply by his sides". The repetition of the "H" is soft and comfortable on the readers ears
plosive - A plosive alliteration is an example of like Broke and Brought. Alliteration in the br and the plosive in the B. So the sentence could be ''I accidentally BROKE what my mum BROUGHT''

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Orthography and punctuation

CommaThe appositive further explains and is equivalent to the noun or noun phrase in apposition.

Broken quotationThat remark tells the reader who is being quoted

semicolon - The basic use of the semicolon is to separate two independent clauses.

Conjunctive adverb-In the sentences below a semicolon is used to separate two independent clauses, but note that a conjunctive adverb is part of the connecting mechanism.

ColonThe colon is used in a sentence to separate an independent clause from a list.

Ellipses.... are periods. A series of three spaced periods in a sentence indicates an omission from a quoted sentence. 

exclamation mark-The exclamation mark at the end of a sentence signals surprise or astonishment.

Caesura A break in the flow of sound in a line of poetry 

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