How to write an essay

Tips and structures for specific essays in exam quesrions.

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English Language:

  • Start with the PAT of the text - Purpose, Audience, Type of text - within the introduction paragraph to determine contextual factors and also to let yourself just get into the essay
  • Be systematic with paragraphing and follow a strict structure:
    • make a point
    • back up with evidence from the text
    • apply a theory/terminology TO THE EXAMPLE, explaining what this theory really means if necassary
    • explore why this theory might apply to the example (e.g. blending in order to appear more colloquial and to relate to audience)
    • OPTIONAL: if possible, try and apply language theories to the example (e.g. nativist, prescriptivist etc.)
    • EVERY PARAGRAPH: try and link in contextual factors for why this change might have happened
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Ideas for essay structure

Go through the Frameworks:

  • Lexis
  • Pragmatics
  • Grammar
  • Graphology
  • Orthography (if applicable)
  • Semantics
  • Discourse (included in introduction)
  • Phonology

This should give you plenty to write about. BE SYSTEMATIC!! Go through one after the other, perhaps linking them together if they share common contextual factors or if a single example can be applied to several different frameworks. Each of these should probably take up a paragraph, including context.

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Individual essays

  • If only studying one text, in each paragraph, use both the text's examples and talk about why it is different to the modern text/ adult speech
  • If studying two texts and comparing, both texts can be compared in the same paragraph, interweaving examples and theories together (which might perhaps appear more sophisticated) or compare seperately in different paragraphs, which allows a more systematic approach.
  • For Language Change, USE OWN EXAMPLES. This shows awareness of theory and further knowledge, applying and comparing these examples to examples seen within the text.
  • For Language Acquisition, if there are adults, talk about them and how they might apply rules and influence to the children. This is Child Directed Speech or a contextual factor to apply.
  • Always try and apply theory: Language Acquisition: Nativist, Behaviourism, Cognitivism, Social Interactionist. Language Change: Prescriptionist, Descriptivist, Jane Aitchinson
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Exam timings and what to do with them

2hr. 30mins.

I hr 15mins per question, 15mins per question IS FOR PLANNING ANSWER. Can even take longer if it means you might provide a better answer.

Annotate texts with terminology and examples, noting which framework/paragraph/idea these annotations will apply to. IF YOU THINK OF IT, WRITE IT DOWN!! IT WILL BE A LONG EXAM!

Neatness and correctness is not as important as getting it down. Asterixes, dashes, note writing and wrong spelling is fair game if it means you will finish with as much info within your answer as possible but structure well.

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