Guidance and Practice on Sentence Structure

National 5
Exam preparation
Reading for Understanding, Analysis
and Evaluation
• Answering questions using your own words
• Picking out and explaining why certain words
have been used
• Explaining why sentence types are effective
including linking
• Summarising points/ideas made by the writer
• Explaining effective imagery and use of language
• Identify and explain the tone/attitude of the
This week – Sentence structure/link
You need to explain how the sentence is put together
and explain why it has been done in a certain way.
In order to get the marks you should:
Identify the feature of sentence structure
 Quote or give the line number
Comment on the effect of the sentence
Task One: Copy out this list of possible sentence
structure features
Short (minor) sentence
Rhetorical question
Use of list, climax/anti-climax
Antithesis (balanced structure)
If you don’t know what these words mean then ask!
You won’t get marks for just mentioning the feature
Now try a couple of examples
The transaction seemed to fluster her, as if she might
not have enough money to pay for the few things she’d
bought. A tin of lentil soup. An individual chicken pie.
One solitary tomato. Maybe she did need the avocados
– or something else.
Q: How
does the writer emphasis that the woman had
bought ‘few things’ through the use of sentence
A: To emphasise how little she bought the writer puts
each item in a sentence of its own.
The surreal plot emerged from bedtime stories Dahl told to
daughters Tessa and Olivia. The hero, four-year-old James, is
orphaned after his parents are killed by a rhinoceros. James is
sent to live with his wicked aunts, the start of a traditional Dahl
theme – the solitary child at the mercy of cruel adults.
Q: Describe a feature of sentence structure in this paragraph
and explain the purpose of this feature.
A: Use of a dash.
Used to introduce the traditional theme
Here are some key punctuation features you should
Dots used to tail off a sentence or to
show gaps in speech or writing
Often used to introduce a list, a quotation,
an idea, information, an explanation or
Dash (parenthesis)
Can be used like a pair of brackets to set
aside information or singly to introduce a
piece of information
Inverted commas
Go round exact words said when someone
speaks or round the words quoted or can
imply that something is just ‘so called’
Used to separate off information
which is interesting but not vital. The
sentence would still make sense
without the information in the
Linking questions
You could be asked to explain how paragraphs (ideas) are linked
together through the structure of a sentence.
There are 4 things you should do in order to get full marks:
What the idea is BEFORE the link
QUOTE from the link sentence showing that idea
What the idea is AFTER the link
QUOTE from the link sentence showing the new idea
The three witches in Macbeth, prancing and cackling round their
cauldron, provide the accepted cliches of witch behaviour and
taste. Alas the Macbeth witches have merely served to reinforce
prejudice, rather than cast illumination.
So does the witch deserve her poor image?
It is probably that the Wiccan creed goes back to the dawn of
religious belief, when cave dwellers peered out and saw wonder
in the rhythm of the changing seasons. Early witchcraft was
probably no more than a primitive attempt to make sense of the
Q: In what way can the single sentence be regarded as a link of
the ideas within this article?
1. ‘her poor image’
2. Refers back to the prejudiced ideas about
withes mentioned already, such as those
found in Macbeth.
3. The questions ‘Does the witch deserve…?’
4. Introduces the next part of the passage,
which is going to present a truer history of