Structuring An English Essay Gcse History

When talking about language there are a number of things to look for:

  • the literary devices an author uses, like similes and metaphors
  • the emotive language - language designed to make the reader feel a certain way
  • the connotations of particular word choices
  • the types of words used in the text, eg dialect words, long and complicated words or short and straightforward words
  • the types of sentences used, eg long or short, simple or complicated

Find out about the characters by looking closely at the words they use in dialogue. If they use long, difficult words, it might show how clever a character is (or thinks they are!).

Language also tells us a lot about the underlying ideas of a text. Words have two sets of meanings:

  • denotations - their dictionary meaning
  • connotations - the ideas they link to

For example, the word 'desk' literally denotes a table, but it has connotations of work and study.

Words can reveal a theme, such as death, or love, or create a particular mood in a scene. For instance, specific words and phrases might be used to create tension.

Structure

Your overall structure is simple: an introduction, four or five paragraphs, each containing one main point, and finally a conclusion.

The points need to flow in order. When you’ve written your list of points in your plan, think about what order they make most sense in. You need to be able to make a chain, linking each point to the next. Use connectives to link each paragraph to the previous one. In the exam make a quick note of the order you’ve decided on by putting a number next to each point.

Each paragraph needs its own structure, too. You could use P-E-E:

  • The point you are making.

  • Evidence - an example of why you are right (such as a quotation or an observation from a specific point in the text).

  • Explanation - what the quotation or observation means, why it explains your point, and anything else that is interesting about what is happening in the quotation.

To get the highest marks make a further development, linking your point to further evidence that backs up your point, or ending with a link to the next point.

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