You are on page 1of 36



This Guide


Brief Overview


Before You Begin


So How Do You Go About Planning This Essay


Writing Your Essay: Introduction


Writing Your Essay: Main Body


Writing Your Essay: Conclusion


Helpful Tips For Writing Essays


Common Misspelled Words


IB Grading Criteria


MYP Grading Criteria


Language Issues




Linking Words


Excellent Essay Writing


What Does This Text Appeal To?




Literary/Poetic Devices




Ideas For Literary Analysis


Reading and Analysing Fiction


Reading and Analysing Poetry


Bibliography and Referencing


Internet Research Validity


Checklist For Effective Writing


Proofreading Checklist


Graphic Organisers


Useful Sources and Essay Guides


This guide has been written to help students, plan, write and organise their
essays, with an emphasis on IB literature based responses. It has been written
using a variety of sources as well as first hand experience from problems Anglo
students have encountered and errors they have repeatedly made. Do not be put
off by its length, this is valuable information that, if followed, will have an
immediate effect on your grades. Good luck.

A very basic pattern for writing an essay is to
follow the simple strategy of:
Introduction Say what you are going to say
Main Body Say it
Conclusion Say what you’ve said
Of course that is a very simplistic way of writing
an essay, but it does illustrate the basic essay

Always begin with an essay plan. You will find that this really helps to organise
your thoughts. This should include your initial reaction to the essay title, your
basic ideas and thoughts and some quotations you want to use. You may find
that you do not stick completely to your plan and this is okay, as the more you
think about an essay your ideas will evolve and change. You should, however,
have formed your ideas and opinions before you start writing.
In planning your essay it is important to have done preliminary reading. This may
involve surfing the web and checking out relevant sites or it may involve reading
your novel/text to hunt out some quotations to justify your argument. Whichever it
involves, MAKE SURE you write down the sources of this information for your
referencing and bibliography. There is no avoiding the fact that you cannot write
a good essay without first having done the research, just as a lawyer will NEVER
go into court and try a case without having done substantial research and
preparation. Imagine going into court and just making it all up on the spot, how
embarrassing would it be? That is what it is sometimes like reading badly written
essays at this school: embarrassing!


Look at the web address of the site you are using as this domain type indicates a possible bias and the information may therefore be unreliable. journals. Draft a quick step by step outline of your essay. Ensure the most valid and important points are raised at the beginning. Establish your opinion. Preliminary reading a. Turbo10. 3. c. Go to a library and see what resources are available there. With over 550 billion websites how many can really be reliable academic sources? b. Try to use academic websites and not blogs or blatantly subjective writing. This helps you focus your ideas from the beginning. Freeality. This is a disadvantage of the internet. Lookoff. The more complete the outline. readings. Do not merely use google. c. The Anglo now has an agreement with The Luis Angel Arango Library. Make sure you copy down the question exactly and do not change it in any way. Try brainstorming all of your ideas on the topic. MSN or Ask Jeeves as a search engine. or try using a graphic organiser to help you in this stage of the planning. Ensure you have written the title of your essay at the top of your question paper. Try also using specifically academic search engines such as Beaucoup. What proof and evidence (sources and quotations etc) do you have to justify your point of view? Have you got all the necessary information for the referencing and bibliography? c. Do you agree with the essay title? Do you disagree? How will you answer it? What is your stance? b. Collegebot. a. the easier it will be to write the essay. (Johnson) d. This is a wonderful resource and a fantastic opportunity for you to be able to produce excellent. periodicals etc that they have in store is available to you. Colossus or Lincon. Planning in advance saves you from last minute panics! 4 . Use the internet to begin your investigations. persuasive arguments. not all sources are reliable. website may be an animal rights websites with subjective. When you have done your research and collected a variety of sources carefully plan the direction of your essay. but remember it is not set in stone and can change.SO HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT PLANNING AN ESSAY? 1. well researched work. Write your essay’s outline. b. For example a . Virtual Free Sites. (one of the biggest and best libraries in South America) and so any of the texts. Searchbug. Do not just use the internet. Check out some of the graphic organisers at the end of this booklet to see if any of them could help you focus your initial ideas and planning. Use it! 2.

a history of capital punishment. Your introduction should be a brief statement outlining the aims of the essay. you WILL NOT get a good grade. or thesis. but answer the EXACT question. It is important that you impress your examiner in your opening paragraph.WRITING YOUR ESSAY INTRODUCTION Answer the Question! Do not answer what you want the question to be or do not change the question slightly to fit your pre-planned essay. Try this technique: start by underlining key words in the questions/essay title. In it you must address the question directly in the opening paragraph. So if the principle goal of your introduction is to grab the reader' s attention. The point of the introduction is simply to introduce the examiner to your point of view and tell them the direction your essay will take. It is amazing how regularly students do not follow this very basic rule. a summary of the role of women in Greek Society. do not give an overview of euthanasia. Euch. how do you go about achieving this? Why not try including one of the following suggestions… • An interesting fact • A surprising piece of information • An exciting quotation • An intriguing paradox • An explanation of an odd term • A short narrative/anecdote (not fiction) • A provocative question The entire introduction should lead toward the presentation of your arguable assertion. DO NOT just give background to the text or title i. in summary: Do not make your introduction too long. (Johnson) So. 5 . whereby you take a stand on the issue you are discussing.e. If helps keep your focus. Deliver your thesis at the end of the introduction so that your reader knows what general position you will take in your essay. but you should give the reader a good idea of what your argument is. It is simple: if you answer a different question. particularly if it would be bulky and unintelligible to the reader who lacks all the ensuing reference and context. Remember that they will be reading anywhere between 20 and 200 essay papers on the same topic! This can become very monotonous and you want your paper to stand out and impress at the beginning: first impressions last a long time. You don' t need to spell out all the details of your thesis in the introduction. too short or too obvious. A tip on how to stay on track and not wander off the topic is to regularly refer back to title at the beginning or end of a paragraph.

begin a new paragraph instead. Try following the simple pattern of: Statement Quotation Analysis Begin a paragraph by making a statement. If there is an overriding error students make in writing essays. and writing an essay is no different in that respect. Students that do this will not receive good grades. This is rather like a hamburger! Each paragraph is a hamburger with the quotations being sandwiched between a statement and its analysis. not three or four. Your examiner/teacher has read the text and does NOT want to simply reread a summary. The Analysis should be more detailed than the other sections of the paragraph – just think about your hamburger again: if the bread on the bottom is too weak the whole thing falls apart. If you find yourself shifting gears to start a new topic. But you will also not win your court case without explaining the relevance of the evidence. (Johnson) Do NOT summarise plot! This is one of the worst things you can do in an essay! Too many students try to fill up word counts by explaining what happens in the novel… do not go down this path. A paragraph is a discrete unit of thought that expands one specific idea.MAIN BODY Your Main Body should address each point of the essay one paragraph at a time. back that up with a relevant quotation from your text and then analyse it. you must go on to analyse them. Each paragraph should have a clear. singular focus to it. and so it is with your quotations. rather than continuing to develop the same idea they began with. it is shifting topics within the same paragraph. you cannot win a court case without relevant and convincing evidence to prove you are right. Using the quotations from the text is like evidence. 6 .

Make sure that your conclusion is not a total surprise for the reader! You will not score a high mark if your essay comes to a conclusion that contradicts the general flow of the essay. you are summarising what you have already said and you want to avoid repetition. if you simply recap what you have already written the ending will be drab and dull. Your conclusion should not be overly long. Every argument has two sides to it and these need to be addressed if you are to give a thoughtful. how? If you are not evaluating these ideas in your essay you will not be scoring a high grade. well rounded argument to your essay. You should probably be referring to the effect on the reader/audience every paragraph. You must avoid this as the examiner is about to grade your work. after all. Even though your conclusion is a summary of your essay. Ensure that you are always analysing the effect on the reader.If there is an opposing view to the discussion make sure you address this and do not think that by ignoring it. CONCLUSION The conclusion should be a brief summary of the most salient points. • How is the reader being involved and drawn into the text? • What literary devices is the author using to communicate with the reader? • How is the reader being emotionally involved with the text? • Is the author creating any sympathy or empathy with any of the characters? If so. so you want to leave them thinking highly of you! You need to say something that impresses the examiner and results in your work standing out above the rest. 7 . This will almost certainly have come about through poor planning. if appropriate with personal evaluation. it will go away.

8 .e. You should be convincing the marker of your position. “I feel” Instead try using . ‘probably’ etc. one of the above six methods will usually result in a memorable. i..not presenting anything new. In hearing the written word aloud you often detect grammatical and contextual inconsistencies more easily than by reading it in your head. This situation -. (Johnson) HELPFUL TIPS FOR WRITING ESSAYS Always use 3rd person. therefore. avoid chatty language and avoid swear words! Keep your language formal and use your language to impress the examiner with your level of English.. NEVER use the term ‘book’. Never write. don’t use ‘maybe’. If studying a poem use the word ‘poem’.Try one of the following ideas to impress the reader… • Giving a thought-provoking quotation • Describing a powerful image • Talking about consequences or implications • Stating what action needs to be done • Ending on an interesting twist of thought • Explaining why the topic is important You should not introduce any totally new ideas in the conclusion. If studying a novel use the word ‘novel’. In doing this you will notice spelling mistakes/grammatical errors and will be able to correct them. Avoid long sentences. “I think”. however. if you find your sentence running long. simply break it up into two separate ones. Reread your work once you have finished. Avoid slang. • The reader can see the use of imagery… • The importance of _____ must be considered… • The inevitable conclusion. If studying a play use the word ‘play’. is that… • The author’s purpose here is to… Be affirmative in statements you make. “I believe”. and neither just sticking with the old – at first seems to be a paradox. However. If possible. Pay attention to the register that you use in your essay. stinging or impressive end to your essay. The average length of a sentence in English is 17 words. Do NOT use contradictions such as don’t or weren’t. avoid colloquialisms. try reading your essay out loud to yourself. you should not merely repeat your thesis either. with a little effort. A viable alternative is to use the word ‘text’.

but instead write. You should be able to cover all aspects of the essay in 1500 words or less (unless instructed otherwise). Below there is a substantial explanation of how to source.” And remember to stick to this tense throughout the essay… do not changed it as this heavily affecting the flow. When you make a new point. If you use this style of referencing you should be underlining the text name. It shows that you cannot be bothered to complete the thought or sentence. as opposed to using one of the other options. Do not write. The introduction and the conclusion can normally be written in one paragraph. “Holden goes to a bar on page 12. “In the other hand” is not a phrase you should be using in an essay (unless it is a creative piece and you wish to write something along the lines of “In the other hand she was holding a poor little bird that fallen from its nest). When studying the play Othello with the protagonist Othello for example. Always refer to literature in the present tense. “Holden went to a bar on page 12”. particularly in the introduction/conclusion. the italics (or the inverted commas or underline) differentiate between the title and the character. start a new paragraph. The phrase you should be using in “On the other hand…” Get it right! A novel is written by an author A play is written by a playwright (note the spelling) A poem is written by a poet A reader reads a novel An audience sees a play An audience hears a poem 9 . Either finish the thought/list or write a synonym of ‘etc’ such as “and so on”. (See!) Avoid writing “etc” in an essay. for example. ‘The Great Gatsby’ or The Great Gatsby or The Great Gatsby. reference and bibliography texts using the MLA style. When writing the title of the text put it in inverted commas. It is very important that you do this. in italics or underline it. especially when the title of a text is the name of one of the protagonists. so do not waffle.Include a word count. Don’t make paragraphs too long.

etc • Writing. This is careless and you should ensure that you do not let yourself down here. Are you consistently reaching the highest levels of achievement? If not. writer. Watch out for the following… • These / those • This / that • Were / where / which • Beginning • Conscious • Receive. Much of this information can also be used in your paper 1 commentary (also worth 25%) and both of your written assignment pieces (worth 20%). Read your essay through carefully. MYP & IB GRADING CRITERIA IB A2 Essay Paper 2 Criteria In the IB A2 language course your essay (paper 2) is worth 25% of your overall grade. checking it against the following criteria depending on whether you are taking the IB or the MYP. When writing your essays you should finish the process with self evaluation. written • Disappear • Recommend • Caffeine • Accommodate • Autumn • Committee • Imitation • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Disappoint Weird Loneliness Embarrassed Occasion A lot – it is always two words! Acceptable Mayor / Major Immediate Approximately Separate Library Whether / weather Patience Whilst there are many more commonly misspelled words than are on this short list. your examiner almost certainly will be! 10 . perceive. believe. these examples have all been made recently by Anglo students and as such should be paid special attention.COMMON MISPELLED MISSPELLED WORDS By making common spelling errors you are throwing away grades. All of the information in this guide is pertinent to that exam. why not? How can you edit your work to ensure the top grade? Be tough on yourself. So if you have paid careful attention to this guidebook you will find 70% of your IB A2 course significantly easier.

although errors and inconsistencies are apparent • The register and style are to some extent appropriate to the task • The range of vocabulary and idiom is fairly limited 5-6 The candidate has an adequate understanding of the implications of the question • Ideas are generally relevant and focused • There is evidence of critical thinking • Ideas are generally supported by examples 5-6 The essay is organized • The essay structure is mostly coherent • Supporting examples are generally well integrated into the essay 5-6 The language is mostly fluent and appropriate • There is an adequate degree of accuracy in grammar. spelling and sentence construction. etc) 0 0 0 Level 1 is not achieved Level 1 is not achieved Level 1 is not achieved 1-2 The candidate has little awareness of the implications of the question • Ideas are frequently irrelevant and/or repetitive • There is little analysis of the subject matter • Ideas are not supported by examples 1-2 Little organization is apparent • The essay has little structure • Supporting examples are not integrated into the essay 1-2 The language lacks fluency and appropriateness • There are many basic errors in grammar.The IB A2 (H) essay is graded on the following criteria… Note that whilst this is for A2H it is very similar to the criteria for Standard Level Criterion A: Response to the Question Criterion B: Presentation Criterion C: Language • To what extent has the candidate understood the implications of the question? • How relevant and focused are the candidate’s ideas to the argument? • Is there evidence of critical thinking? • Are the ideas supported by well-chosen examples? • How organized and persuasive is the essay? • How coherent is the essay structure? • Are examples well integrated into the essay? • How fluent. structure. spelling and sentence construction. spelling and sentence construction are sometimes accurate. spelling and sentence construction • There is little sense of register and style • There is little variety in vocabulary and idiom 3-4 The candidate has a superficial awareness of the implications of the question • Some ideas are relevant • There is some analysis of the subject matter • Ideas are occasionally supported by examples 3-4 Some organization is apparent • The essay has some structure • Supporting examples are sometimes integrated into the essay 3-4 The language sometimes lacks fluency and appropriateness • Grammar. varied and accurate is the language used by the candidate? • How appropriate to the essay is the candidate’s choice of register and style? (Register and style include the selection of appropriate vocabulary. spelling and sentence construction. tone. although the essay is not necessarily free from error • The register and style are effective and appropriate to the task • Vocabulary and idiom are varied and appropriate to the task 9-10 The candidate has a thorough understanding of the implications of the question • Ideas are relevant and focused • A high degree of critical thinking is shown • Ideas are fully supported by well-chosen examples 9-10 The essay is well organized and very persuasive • The essay structure is coherent and effective • Supporting examples are well integrated into the essay 9-10 The language is fluent and entirely appropriate • There is a high degree of accuracy in grammar. although the essay is not necessarily free from error • The register and style are consistently effective and appropriate to the task • Vocabulary and idiom are varied and highly appropriate to the task 11 . although some minor errors and inconsistencies are apparent • The register and style are mostly appropriate to the task • Vocabulary and idiom are mostly varied and appropriate to the task 7-8 The candidate has a good understanding of the implications of the question • Ideas are mostly relevant and focused • A good degree of critical thinking is shown • Ideas are mostly supported by well-chosen examples 7-8 The essay is well organized and persuasive • The essay structure is mostly coherent and effective • Supporting examples are mostly well integrated into the essay 7-8 The language is fluent and appropriate • There is a good degree of accuracy in grammar.

7-8 The student demonstrates a good understanding of the relevant aspects of the topic or theme. no attention is paid to critical apparatus. When such devices are required. pronunciation. Occasional errors in spelling. and arguments are presented in a logical manner. punctuation and syntax hinder communication. Paragraph structure and transitions effectively develop and substantiate the ideas being expressed. clear and coherent. including description. pronunciation. pronunciation. Some errors in spelling. The work displays substantial detail. and arguments are not presented in a logical manner. critical conventions and apparatus are used in a sophisticated manner. Creative pieces reflect a degree of imagination and sensitivity. 7-8 The student’s work is usually well organized. Paragraphs and transitions are weak. and an effective response to literature. The work displays insufficient detail. 9-10 The student’s use of vocabulary is always appropriate and greatly varied with very infrequent errors in spelling. Regular errors in spelling. The student has mastered the use of a register suitable to intention and audience. The student attempts to use a register suitable to intention and audience. 5-6 The student demonstrates a sufficient understanding of the relevant aspects of the topic or theme. Very frequent errors in spelling. Appropriate register and language should be chosen. The student often uses a register suitable to intention and audience. The student’s response to literature demonstrates a good appreciation of the author’s intention and techniques. Creative pieces do not reflect imagination and sensitivity. 0 The student does not reach a standard described by any of the descriptors given above. The work consistently displays illustrative detail. little attention is paid to critical apparatus 3-4 The student’s use of vocabulary is sometimes inappropriate and somewhat varied. Paragraph structure and transitions help to develop the ideas. The student’s response to literature sometimes demonstrates an awareness of the author’s intention and techniques. 5-6 The student’s work is basically organized. 9-10 The student’s work is consistently well organized. punctuation and syntax. MYP Criterion B: Organization MYP Criterion C: Style and Language Usage Maximum 10 This criterion covers the student’s ability to: express ideas with clarity and coherence. When such devices are required. Creative pieces reflect substantial imagination and sensitivity. The student’s response to literature demonstrates an awareness of the author’s intention and techniques. structure arguments in a sustained and logical fashion. some attention is paid to critical apparatus 5-6 The student’s use of vocabulary is usually appropriate and generally varied. The student’s response to literature demonstrates a sophisticated analysis of the author’s intention and techniques. pronunciation.MYP Criterion A: Content Maximum 10 This criterion refers to the student’s ability to demonstrate: an awareness of the function of language A through critical and creative writing. 0 The student does not reach a standard described by any of the descriptors given above. punctuation and syntax sometimes hinder communication. development and support. The student consistently uses a register suitable to intention and audience. development and support. pronunciation. punctuation and syntax persistently hinder communication. an understanding of the works studied. but lacks significant logical order. clear and coherent. logical manner. development and support. 1-2 The student’s work is generally disorganized and confused. When such devices are required. When such devices are required. Paragraph structure and transitions are very weak. punctuation and syntax rarely hinder communication. 1-2 The student demonstrates very limited understanding of the topic or theme. clear and coherent. and arguments are presented in a thoughtful. development and support. and support these arguments with relevant examples. The work lacks detail. 12 . analysis and persuasion. according to intention and audience. When such devices are required. Little attempt has been made to use a register suitable to the intention and audience. 9-10 The student demonstrates a perceptive understanding of the relevant aspects of the topic or theme. 3-4 The student’s work shows the beginnings of organization. sufficient attention is paid to critical apparatus. 1-2 The student’s use of vocabulary is often inappropriate and limited. Creative pieces reflect a high degree of imagination and sensitivity. The student’s response to literature demonstrates little or no awareness of the author’s intention or techniques. 0 The student does not reach a standard described by any of the descriptors given above. Maximum 10 This criterion refers to the student’s ability to use language for a variety of purposes. The work displays adequate detail. 7-8 The student’s use of vocabulary is appropriate and varied. Paragraph structure and transitions are apparent. 3-4 The student demonstrates a limited understanding of the relevant aspects of the topic or theme. Creative pieces reflect limited imagination and sensitivity. development and support. and arguments are presented in a perceptive and persuasive manner.

Contractions aren' t necessary and shouldn' t be used. 15. 11. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are (usually) unnecessary. Proofread carefully to see if you any words out. 20. 12. Kill all exclamation marks!!! 17. (Guidelines for essay writing) 13 . Verbs has to agree with their subjects. Avoid clichés like the plague. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive. Use the apostrophe in it' s proper place and omit when its not needed. Be more or less specific. 3. 7. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations etc. 18. not groan readers. 16. (exceptions can be made) 4. 6. 10. Puns are for children. 2. 19. Never use a big word when a diminutive one would suffice. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with. 8. Also. not necessary. that are.LANGUAGE ISSUES Clarity and expressiveness of language is obviously particularly important in essays on literature. One should never generalise. irregardless of how others use them. always avoid annoying alliteration. Eliminate commas. Use words correctly. 14. 13. and the development of an accurate and engaging writing style is one of the aims of a degree in English Literature. And do not start a sentence with a conjunction. 5. Don' t use no double negatives. No sentence fragments. 9. A satirical checklist of common errors that should be avoided is reproduced below: 1.

melancholy. enthusiastic. tranquil. emotional. dramatic dark. bitter. playful. serious light. bleak. matter-of-fact formal. reflective. sarcastic. excited. Use the synonym checklist below to help you: jubilant. flippant. dogmatic impersonal. solemn. gloomy. tender self-mocking conversational. whimsical. Additionally The effect on the reader is… The writer utilises this because… Obviously this shows that… Following this… Penultimately… On the other hand… In comparison Introduction: Firstly Primarily Chiefly Importantly The writer/author/poet/playwright introduces… Main Body The reason for this is… Secondly. poignant. clinical. warm calm. ironic. Do not force the use of the following phrases. lyrical. Lastly. assertive.TONE When analysing literature be sure to carefully study the tone that is being used. mellow. cold personal. cynical. tongue-in-cheek. The message conveyed is therefore… To summarise… 14 . When describing the tone be sure to use a variety of synonyms to demonstrate your extensive vocabulary and to avoid repeating yourself. philosophical. You can often ascertain the appropriate tone by looking at the language and any repetitions in the lexical field. dispassionate. joyful. sentimental. stately LINKING WORDS It is important to use a variety of linking words and phrases to demonstrate your versatility in writing. earnest. intimate. If every paragraph/sentence begins with the word “then”. irreverent angry. detached. you will NOT score well. but include them in your writing where appropriate to help the flow. harsh. good-humoured. mocking. Thirdly etc Moving on… The reader can see from this that… The author writes… because… Another/ Also/ Therefore/ Then/ Next… Significantly… The writer then moves on to… This literary technique is significant because… Conclusion In summary In conclusion It is important to conclude with… Weighing up the evidence… Finally. exuberant. sombre. humorous satirical. gentle.

uk/attachments/4014.EXCELLENT ESSAY WRITING A good literary essay will present a series of logically ordered points. It will start with the key concept or idea that study of the text(s) has generated and then ‘prove’ this with close analysis of the textual evidence. Instead of drawing towards some conclusions through the process of discussing relevant points. By the end of the essay.teachit. each substantial with close textual reference and/or quotation. each clearly linked to the essay question or there is a gear shift between a good literary essay and an excellent one. 15 What is the effect on the reader of appealing to the senses? . In this sense. However. Does the text appeal to… Ethos (morals) Logos (reason or rationality) Pathos (pity or compassion) Mythos (spirituality or beliefs) The Senses o Sight (visual/ocular) o Hearing (auditory) o Taste (gustatory) o Touch (tactile) o Smell (olfactory) Having identified any of the above you MUST go on to analyse the effect on the reader of such literary devices. the excellent essay is perhaps more like a legal argument than a straightforward presentation. the excellent essay will present a clear case from the start. (Teachit (UK) Ltd 2005 www. Exploring this kind of structure will help you understand how to produce a more sophisticated essay. Its conclusion is likely to move beyond the individual text(s) to draw out the wider issues of significance. This requires careful critical thinking about the relationship between ideas. it will draw to a general conclusion. as well as giving you important practice in the critical analysis of argument. An excellent essay will present a conceptualised argument.pdf 6/11/07) WHAT DOES THE TEXT APPEAL TO? The text that you are studying may appeal to a variety of human emotions and senses and it is important to analyse this and include your assertions in your response.

for example. Transitions or linking words are often used for this purpose. to shift emphasis. it is vital that they are organised and ordered correctly and that they flow smoothly. (Guildford College) 16 . while Semitic paragraphs often value parallel lines in development. by time and so on.PARAGRAPHING Paragraphs form the bulk and heart of your essay and. and Meyer) Begin each paragraph with a direct and focused sentence that immediately tells the reader the direction and purpose of this particular paragraph. You should start a new paragraph when there is a shift or a change in your essay. Just like sentences. but similarly do not include ridiculously loooong paragraphs. or to indicate a change in place and time. by classification. It is also important that your paragraphs are arranged in the best possible way – by order of importance. Such changes are called paragraph shifts and can take place for any of the following reasons: to introduce a new main point. These paragraphs should flow clearly and smoothly from one to the next. the Oriental paragraph tends to develop thought in a more circular pattern. The interesting diagram below illustrates the different styles between various language bases. (Kemper. Romance languages and Russian tend to prize digressions. Whereas the English paragraph tends. Sebranek. As you can see. as such. the first sentences in each new paragraph should somehow be linked to the proceeding one. it is advisable to vary the lengths of your paragraphs. English writing should be direct and to the point. to follow a direct line of development. In order to achieve this flow. Often Anglo students write lengthy sentences (I recently read a sentence that was 218 words long!) and this must be avoided.

a .the .bang .bang. I lie down by the side…’ Onomatopoeia Use of words resembling the sound they mean • Boom! • Smash! • Crash! • Moo Rhyme Repetition of the same sounds • The small girl .crea-ture' s .shoots . you MUST go on to analyse their importance within the text and their effect on the reader/audience.fli-ckers (9) She .she . (8) And .girl .dead. for example.bang .small . • • Oink Baa (A) (A) (B) (B) Rhythm The internal ‘feel’ of beat and metre. to write: “In line three of the text we can see an example of personification.her .from . (9) She . . She whips a pistol from her knickers. . she shoots him dead. (8) 17 . identification is just half of the job. One eyelid flickers.One .LITERARY/POETIC DEVICES Listed below is a list of just a few literary (poetic) devices.aims . for example. It is no good.kni-ckers.whips . “The importance in line three of personification is to create a deep bond between the protagonist and his surroundings. And bang bang bang.him .smiles. She aims it at the creature' s head.pis-tol .” Simile A comparison using "as" or "like" • ‘He is as fast as a cheetah’ • ‘Her smile is as bright as the sun’ Metaphor A direct comparison NOT using "as" or "like" when one thing is said to be another • ‘The Internet is an information superhighway’ • ‘There is a fire in my heart’ Alliteration The deliberate repetition of consonant sounds • ‘The green grass grew’ • ‘The bright blue bicycle’ Assonance The deliberate repetition of identical or similar vowel sounds • ‘Adam Ant ambles along’ • ‘… .head. better perceived when poetry is read aloud • The . However.” You must include the author’s intention of including this literary device.eye-lid . It is very important that when analyzing literature you can identify these.

And more… Check out these other literary terms and/or poetic devices and where appropriate… a. use them in an essay or creative writing piece • • • • • • • • • • • • Allegory Irony o dramatic o verbal o situational Malapropism Parody Pathetic fallacy 18 Pseudonym Satire Stream of consciousness Tragic hero Caesura Enjambment Refrain . come up with examples for them c. we shall fight in the hills. • The tropical storm slept for two days Anaphora The repetition of the same word/group of words at the beginning of several consecutive sentences or verses to emphasize an image or a concept • We shall fight on the beaches. Is what he says true or false? Personification Attribution of human personality or behaviour to an impersonal thing • The wind moaned and screeched. • A man says that he is lying. you see how little you know. understand their definition and purpose b. we shall fight in the fields and in the streets.Hyperbole Exaggeration for dramatic effect • ‘I’ve eaten so much I could burst’ • ‘I’ve told you a million times already’ Oxymoron A seeming contradiction in two words put together • The living dead • • The Peace Force • • A pair of plastic glasses • Pretty ugly A work party Head butt Paradox A statement or concept that contains conflicting ideas. we shall fight on the landing grounds. but that may yet have some truth in it • When you increase your knowledge. (Churchill) • I have a dream speech (Luther King) Foreshadowing The giving of hints or clues of what is to come later in the plot.

skillful. well-behaved. inferior.dictionary. corrupt. shocking. horrific. Therefore. imperfect. decomposing. 19 . When looking up synonyms in www. base. repentant. terrible. well-mannered. depraved. damaging. faulty. noble. cruel. fair. proficient. abysmal. expert. mild. disobedient. Now substitute the word good for a more appropriate synonym. unhealthy. capable. wicked. wholesome beneficial. first-rate. excellent. regretful.SYNONYMS You are not showing off your linguistic abilities if you use basic primary school words in your essays. immoral. (Encarta) Bad: poor. Repeat this exercise for the words ‘bad’ and ‘nice’. apologetic. worthy. advantageous. remorseful. sound. accomplished. Below are just a few examples… Good: high-quality. There are no excuses for using these limited words. ghastly. debauched. reliable. (Encarta) Activity How many synonyms can you think of for the word ‘nice’? Write ten sentences with the word ‘good’ in I found 477 synonyms for the word ‘good’. contrite. defective. upright. ruinous. merciless. useful. first-class. shameless. unscrupulous. fine. rotten. dangerous. injurious. ‘bad’ and ‘nice’ should all be avoided. words such as ‘good. unpleasant. guilty. sour. stale. dreadful. deficient. sunny. respectable. off. appalling. substandard. decaying. trustworthy. ruthless. evil. fine. blameless. able. polite. In using these words to analyse literature you are severely hampering yourself as it shows a lack of thought on your part. clear. putrid. ashamed. badly behaved. virtuous. clever. safe. talented. prejudicial. rancid. 324 possibilities for the word ‘bad’ and 84 entries for the word ‘nice’. naughty. penitent. flawed. moral. decayed. skilled. harmful. superior. pleasant. competent decent. awful. moldy.

11. and Meyer. and so on? 3. What forces or circumstances make the characters act in a certain way? (Consider the setting. How does the writing – descriptive phrases. Consider the role of the antagonist and how they relate to the protagonist. the conflict. Does the title hint at or suggest anything? Adapted from Kemper. How do the themes engage with the reader/audience? Characters 5. Does the setting expand your understanding of a specific time and place? Style 20. Does the main character have a confidant? How important/reliable is this person? 10.IDEAS FOR LITERARY ANALYSIS Theme 1. What external or internal conflict(s) affect the main character? 14. Is the structure noteworthy or unique? How does the structure add to the overall impact of the text? 26. words and actions.) 7. Does the author seem to be saying something about ambition… courage… greed… jealousy… happiness? 2. Do the characters’ actions seem believable within the story? 9. Does the author have a point to make about a specific historical event? 4. How does the climax come about and how does it change the story? 17. loneliness. Writers Inc p231 20 . What effect does the setting have on the characters? 19. etc. Is the audience/reader able to identify with the protagonist? How? And Why? Plot 13. Are there any other examples of literary/poetic devices? What effect do these have on the reader? 25. Sebranek.) 8. Does the selection show you what it is like to experience racism. What is the role of the subsidiary characters? 12. How is suspense built and maintained in the story? 15. What are the most revealing aspects of the characters? (Consider his or her thoughts. other characters. Are there key figures of speech such as metaphors and similes? (What do these add to the writing?) 24. Is dialogue or description used effectively? (Give examples) 22. Are there examples of foreshadowing that hint at the story’s resolution? 16. How does the main character change or develop as the text progresses? 6. Is there an important symbol that adds meaning to the text? (How is this symbol represented in different parts of the story?) 23. Are there any twists in the plot? (What do they add to the story?) Setting 18. Analyse the title of the text. images and so on – create an overall feeling or tone in the selection? 21.

Before You Read… • Learn something about the author and his or her works. Adapted from Kemper. • Notice the author’s style and word choice. then decide how good a job the author did in getting that message across to the reader. What were the major influences on their writing? • React thoughtfully to the title and the impact of the opening pages. • Think about the plot and try to predict what will happen next. As You Read… • Identify the following story elements: setting. Try to follow the recommended steps as you read and your literary analysis will improve. and central conflict. Sebranek. o How effectively has the author used literary devices? o Why did the author use a particular word or phrase? • Discuss the story with others who are reading it. tone. o What motivates the characters? o Do they relate to other characters in literature? Are they based on real life people? o Have I faced situations similar to the ones faced by the main characters? (Whilst you may not include this in your literary analysis of the text. riters Inc p365 21 . How do they change and why? • Decide what you think the story’s message or main theme is. it will help you gauge the effect of the writing on the audience/reader. After You Read • Think about the development of the main character/s. and Meyer. theme.READING AND ANALYSING FICTION The following notes are intended to be used as a guide to help you get the most out of fiction whilst you are reading. ie you!) o Would I have reacted in the same way? • Think about how the time and place in which the author lives (or lived) may have influenced the story. • Record your thoughts (or draw/mind map/list) in a reading journal as you go. main characters. Their insights may complement your own. • Think about the characters and the things they do.

and special treatment of words and syllables. Does this poem follow the usual pattern of that particular type? If not. Pay attention to the “sound” of the poem. why not? • Determine the literal sense of the poem. Second Reading… • Read the poem again – out loud if possible. What is the poem about? What does the poem seem to say about its subject? • Look carefully for figurative language in the poem. syllable by syllable – observing the punctuation. rhythm. How does the structure complement the themes or the message? Having noticed all these different devices. • Jot down your immediate reaction to the poem.READING AND ANALYSING POETRY Whilst reading and analysing poetry employs some of the same skills as reading fiction. it is also distinct. Third Reading… • Try to identify the type of poem you are reading. symbols – support the literal meaning of the poem? • Take note of the structure of the poem. similes. rhyme. Sebranek. Use the recommendations below when you are reading poetry. First Reading… • Read the poem all the way through at your normal reading speed to gain an overall impression of the poem. • Read slowly and carefully – word by word. • Think about what the poem is saying. assonance. How does this language – metaphors. you MUST then go on to analyse their effect on the reader! Adapted from Kemper. Writers Inc p366 22 . spacing. • Not the examples of sound devices in the poem – alliteration. personification. and Meyer.

OR… When paraphrasing an idea from elsewhere (an introduction. Don’t do it. 85). e. it very important that you do it. you have two options. “He gave her every single goddam play in the whole game – I’m not kidding. If you are caught having plagiarised by the Anglo your case is handed to the disciplinary committee and generally results in a suspension. By including this information you are telling the reader where you got your sources of information from. This device is used in order to build up a more convincing rapport with the reader. Keep in mind that the primary purpose of an in-text citation is simply to point readers to the correct entry in the Bibliography at the end of document.g. Along with the author also include the page number. If you are caught having plagiarised by the MYP/IB then you will be disqualified from that subject. In an essay with a word limit. See the following for examples and use these formats in your work… When using an exact quotation e. 34). people are often confused about how to refer to these sources within their papers. In-Text Citations Because Internet sources typically have no page or paragraph numbers. Consult the internet for a more detailed guide. Be careful that by leaving out material you are not changing the meaning of the text. Or B) keep the full quotation. and Web sites often list no author. It comes highly recommended and its specific details are included below. 23 . but set off the quotation by indenting each line by 10 spaces. In writing this guide the textbook Writers INC was used. Without including this you could be accused of plagiarism so. If you are going to include a direct quotation from the text and include it in the main body of your essay it must be under four lines long. The following information is a simplified version of MLA (Modern Language Association) Referencing. you will not receive your certificate/diploma and all your years of hard work will be in vain. a textbook. A) split it into two using an ellipsis at an appropriate point (…) . You can generally predict that something important or tragic is going to happen if there is a storm or rain during a scene (Thompson.g. and use the source’s title otherwise (or a shortened version of the title). The answer is to cite the author' s name whenever possible. the internet.” (Salinger. If the quotation you wish to use is longer.: Weather is very important in Shakespeare’s plays. be careful about using lengthy quotations as it will limit the ideas you can write.: Holden Caulfield continually uses a quotidian and colloquial language in his narration.BIBLIOGRAPHY AND REFERENCING You must include ALL references in your essay and you must finish your essay with a bibliography. a research paper etc) you MUST still give the source.

fearfully.g.g. date. City: Publisher.: Kerouac’s life was very similar to that of Sal Paradise. Bibliography Study the following to see how to correctly format your bibliography. This especially appeals to an adolescent readership who feel as though they can identify with ‘old’ Holden. and a search for his true identity through his nomadic travelling across the United States (Chatwin. Book Title.g. “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind” (qtd in Hamlin.g. be sure to give more than just a page number. when discussing literature. you wish to add in to your response specific words used repeatedly by a character in the novel. for when it comes it means failure” (83. The Life of Jack. 153) When citing a piece of literature prose that has more than one publisher or edition. So as well as including the author’s name you should also give the title. e. e. 1991 24 . New York: Vintage. So if you have written his name in the text as part of your sentence.: In ‘A Handmaid’s Tale’. drugs. Atwood portrays a society in which women have become little more than transportable wombs. For a Book entry… Author’s last name. in discussing the idea of Biblical retribution said. you must write it in the brackets at the end of the sentence. chapter or section. Note that when the entry spills over the first line onto a second or a third that you must indent the subsequent lines by 10 spaces. If they fail to become pregnant they are expelled to certain death in the colonies. you do not have to reference the page number exactly as it appears in many places. and the page reference. Don’t forget that you need not mention the author’s name twice. If in your Bibliography you have listed two (or more) works by the same author you need to give more than just the name in the parenthetical citation. e. it was fuelled by drink. you do not need to write his name in parenthesis at the end of the sentence. in” (quoted in) before you reference the source. Sandra. you choose not to write the author’s name in the main body of your essay. e. 221).: Holden Caulfield grabs the reader’s attention through continual the use of ‘goddam’ profanities.g. If however.If. e. “Each month I watch for blood. ch13).: Cisneros. After the page reference add either the part. Pregnancy therefore becomes their one and only goal. in abbreviated form after a semicolon. The House on Mango Street.: Gandhi. or a shortened version of the title. If you cite an indirect source (someone’s remarks published second hand) write “qtd. First name.

pamphlets. texts with multiple authors. pag.” National Geographic 15 Nov. newspapers. Ross. 2001: 116-127 For an On-Line entry… Author’s last name. and others illus. Trans. For a fill list either consult Writers INC or the Internet. reprinted sec. The Sound of Waves. New York: Vintage International. illustrator. 1994 There are of course many other types of text that you could use to obtain information (eg>. First name. no place of publication or no publisher given n. 2007 <http://www. Date posted or last updated. no date given no. volume 25 .aresearchguide. Yukio. interviews etc) but to list them all here is unnecessary. editor(s). quoted rpt. sections vol. no page numbers p. edition(s).” Barnes and Noble.” Information on print version (if any). “SparkNote on Agamemnon. date e. or edited by et al.: Mishima. First name. “Article.html Abbreviations Take note of (and use!) some of the following abbreviations when writing papers. illustration.” Periodical Title date: page nos.: Douthat. Date accessed <Electronic address> e. Sponsor. illustrated by n.: Johnson. Site title. City: Publisher.g.For a Periodical entry… Author’s last name.p.d. number (s) n. 25 Oct. “Title.g.g. Trans. Meredith Weatherby. First name. e. pages qtd. chapter(s) ed. The following website was useful in writing this guide and may help you too: http://www.sparknotes. Translator’s First name Last name. Book Title. “Life in the cold of Antarctica. page pp. Hugh. For a Translated work… Author’s last name.

you want the very latest information.htm 26 .com/eval.thewritesource.INTERNET RESEARCH VALIDITY There is a great deal of information available to you on the Internet. These questions can help you judge them: Is the source a primary or secondary source? Facts from a primary or firsthand source are often more trustworthy than secondhand information. Is the source an expert on the subject? An expert is someone who is respected in the field and considered an authority. you need to ask yourself whether or not your sources are trustworthy. Because of this. Is the source biased? A biased source is one that favors one side or opinion over the others. Is the information complete? Is information presented on all sides of an issue. Before you use that information. a biased source is not always a reliable source of information http://www. not just facts that support the author’s opinion? Is the information current? Generally.

engaging introduction The main body is well organised and links together well to flow smoothly The conclusion is an effective and challenging summary The essay provides correctly referenced quotations to justify the ideas Engaging Voice The voice used is engaging and appropriate to the task Language Contains an appropriate level of language Contains a variety of language.Checklist for Effective Writing… Stimulating Ideas Presents interesting and valuable information Maintains a clear. vocabulary and idiom The sentence & paragraph beginnings are varied and help the essay flow Contains a variety of sentence lengths Verb tense is correct and maintained throughout Formatting Word Count included 27 . specific focus or purpose Grabs the reader' s attention and holds it Answers the question! Does NOT add unnecceasy information Does NOT retell plot Logical Organisation Has a direct.

places. vivid verbs and descriptive adjectives/adverbs? Punctuation Does each sentence have the correct end punctuation? Did I use commas and apostrophes correctly? Did I punctuate dialogue correctly? If I use the title of a book (Othello for example) have I underlined it? Capitalisation Did I start all of my sentences with capital letters? Did I capitalise the proper names of people. there.Proofreading Checklist Sentence Structure Did I write clear and complete sentences? Do my sentences flow smoothly? Did I vary sentence length? Do my sentences begin with a variety of linking words and phrases? Word Choice and Usage Did I avoid unnecessary repetition? Did I use the correct word (their. they' re)? Did I use specific nouns. things and ideas? Grammar Do the subjects and verbs agree in all my sentences? Did I use the correct verb tenses and do all the verb tenses all agree? Spelling Did I check for spelling errors? 28 .

USEFUL SOURCES AND ESSAY GUIDES The following two sources (one textbook. others paraphrased.guilford.htm “Organisation. The American University in Cairo. “Ten Steps to Writing an Essay.” The University if Edinburgh.aucegypt.“ Guilford College. Sebranek.html 15th Nov 07 29 . Kemper. one website) have been invaluable in the writing of this document. 2001 Johnson. They both come highly recommended if you require additional information on essay writing. and Meyer. I hope that all have been appropriately referenced. 15th Nov 07 http://www. Various sections have been copied. Writers INC. MA: Houghton Mifflin.htm Other useful sources… “Guidelines for Essay Writing. 14th Nov 07 http://www1. 14th Nov 07 Have at the look at the following examples and try implementing them in your essay writing. Wilmington.GRAPHIC ORGANISERS Graphic organisers can often help you to clarify your thoughts and plan your essay before you write it.cartoonstock.” August

30 .

31 .

32 .

33 .

34 .

35 .

36 .