Close Reading Analysis (powerpoint)

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Close Reading
Analysis
Introduction…
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Analysis questions ask you to think about
how a writer has expressed ideas.
Make sure you focus on how a writer is
writing rather than what a writer is writing.
Analysis questions have “A” next to them
on the question paper.
The Style…
Analysis questions will deal with all
aspects of style.
 Look very carefully at the question and
pick out what you need to analyse.
 We will look at:
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Structure.
Language.
Tone.
Structure…
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The structure of a sentence is the way it is
made up and how the elements are
arranged.
Important elements to look out for are:
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The type of sentence.
How the sentence is linked or separated by
punctuation.
The patterns of sentence structures.
Sentence Structure 1
– The type of sentence…
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The following slides outline the 5 types of
sentences you need to be aware of.
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
Copy down the names, definitions and reasons
for using the five main types of sentence.
Copy down my examples, or write your own.
Sentence Structure 1
– The type of sentence…
A
statement
 John
is sitting down.
 Statements are usually in
narrative or factual writing.
Sentence Structure 1
– The type of sentence…

A question

Is John sitting down?
 Questions may be used in reflective or
emotive writing. Note especially, the
rhetorical question. This is a question to
which no answer is really expected; it may
have the effect of a strong statement:

What time of night do you call this?
Sentence Structure 1
– The type of sentence…
 An

exclamation
John is sitting down!
 Exclamations are used to convey a
tone of amazement, shock or strong
emotion.
Sentence Structure 1
– The type of sentence…
A

command
Sit down, John.
 Commands are used in instructions
and in writing aiming to persuade,
such as advertisements.
Sentence Structure 1
– The type of sentence…
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A minor sentence

Where the verb is omitted for dramatic effect – usually,
but not always, this is some form of the verb ‘to be’.
For example:

He looked in his rear view mirror. Nothing coming.

The words ‘Nothing coming’ do make complete sense,
despite the missing verb; they are more than just a phrase.
This is a more concise way of saying ‘Nothing was coming.’
Minor sentences are used for various reasons:

To create impact, suspense or urgency
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To suggest informality

As abbreviations in notes and diaries
Paragraphing…
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A new paragraph in a close reading
passage usually marks a new stage in a
narrative or argument.
Paragraphing can be used for effect – to
make something stand out or to slow the
action and create suspense.
Punctuation…
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You may be asked to comment on the use of
punctuation. We all know about full-stops and
question marks, but what about other types?
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Inverted commas: used for titles, speech, quotations
and to separate some words.
Colons: introduce a quotation, list or explanation.
Semi-colons: can separate a list or create a finishing
pause.
Parenthesis: information is separated from the rest of
a sentence. May be an explanation or some other kind
of additional information.
Sentence Patterns…
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Sometimes sentences are written in a certain order for effect.
Inversion
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A sentence written in reverse. Instead of the subject coming first
(Flames leapt up and up), the rest of the sentence comes first
(Up and up leapt the flames).
Repetition
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Some words are repeated to make them stand out.
Climax/Anti-climax
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Climax: a list of words that get stronger.
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Anti-climax: A list of words that get weaker.
Antithesis
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A sentence with balanced statements (You can take the boy out
of Scotland, but you can’t take Scotland out the boy).
Length
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Short or long? Why?
Language…
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The writer's use of language is an important
element of style and meaning.
We need to look for:
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Formal vs informal language
Literal / Figurative language
Remember, these are analysis questions,
asking how the writer writes.
Formal vs Informal Language…
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There is a simple distinction between
formal and informal language:
Formal
Informal
Usually written
No abbreviations
Correct grammar and structure
Spoken, or a written version of speech
Uses shortened forms
Grammar and structure not as
important
More common, everyday words used
Wide range of word choice including
technical and complicated words
Impersonal tone – the writer does not
get involved personally with the topic
Factual and accurate
Personal approach (use of I, we, you)
May include feelings and opinions
Formal vs Informal Language...

Within the formal/informal split, there are other
examples to be familiar with:
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Jargon (Formal): A special technical language associated with
a certain field.
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Rhetorical language (Formal): Language used for effect in
persuasion. Often tries to involve the reader or ask questions.
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“Byte”, “Icon” and “Font” are examples of computing jargon.
“How can we stop trying to succeed when victory is so close?”
Dialect and slang (Informal): Dialect is language used in a
particular area; Slang refers to conversational, non-standard
communication.

“Ah hivnae got a clue whit ye're talkin' aboot”
Literal / Figurative Language
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Literal language means words are used to mean
exactly what they say.
Figurative language means using figures of
speech and comparisons to write more
expressively and effectively. We will look at:

Using comparisons
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Sound effects
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Overstating and understating
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Contrasts
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Old and New language
Literal / Figurative Language
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Using comparisons
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Simile: When something is compared to something else
using “like” or “as...as”
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Metaphor: When something is said to be something else
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“She cried like a baby”
“His voice was as loud as a foghorn”
“She was a crying baby”
“His mouth was a foghorn”
Personification: Giving an inanimate object human or other
living qualities
 “The sun smiled in the sky”
Literal / Figurative Language
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Using comparisons – how to answer:
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Identify the imagery: simile, metaphor or
personification?
Ask yourself what is being compared to what
In what ways are the two things similar?
How does the comparison help you to visualise the
subject better?
Literal / Figurative Language
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Sound effects:
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Alliteration: When several words together start with the
same letter or sound.
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Onomatopoeia: When words imitate the sound they are
describing.
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“The clip-clop of clogs on the cobblestones”
“crash”, “bang”, “boom”
Pun: A play on words which sound similar, giving a comic
effect.
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“Waiter, what's this?”
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“It's bean soup, sir”
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“I don't care what it's been. What is it now?”
Literal / Figurative Language
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Overstating and understating:
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Hyperbole: Deliberate exaggeration to emphasise something
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“Is there anything to drink? I'm dying of thirst!”
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Litotes: The opposite of hyperbole – deliberate understatement
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“The teacher was slightly annoyed about my lack of homework”
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Euphemism: A less direct and less direct way of saying something
unpleasant
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“I have some bad news. I'm afraid your father has passed on”
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Circumlocution: To “talk around” something – often used by
politicians to avoid answering a question!
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“Are you going to spend more on education, prime minister?”
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“The education of our young people is a government priority”
Literal / Figurative Language
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Contrasts:
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Paradox: A statement that appears to be a contradiction, but on
closer inspection contains a truth
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“To preserve the peace, prepare for war”
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Oxymoron: A condensed version of a paradox, with two opposites
placed together
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“Sweet and sour”
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Juxtaposition: Literally means side by side. An oxymoron
contains two statements in juxtaposition
Literal / Figurative Language
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Old and New Language:
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Neologism: An invention of a new word, usually to
describe a new development where a word does not
yet exist
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Recent examples: “filofax” “modem” “chav” and “emo”
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Archaism: Language from the past, no longer in use
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Examples: “thou”, “thy” and “thee”
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Cliché: A word or phrase that has become overused
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Examples: “In this day and age” and “thinking outside the box”
Tone...
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The tone of a piece of writing refers to the way in which it
would be said if read aloud.
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The tone refers to a particular attitude or feeling conveyed
by the writer.
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e.g. Consider the question - “Where have you been?” Discuss with a partner how this would be read out in the
following situations?
–
- By someone welcoming their friend back from
holiday
–
- By someone to their friend they have not seen in a
while
–
- By a parent to a teenager who arrives home at 4am.
Different tones...
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Serious: For important topics and passages.
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Within serious, the tone could be described as formal,
ponderous (thoughtful), pompous (know-it-all) and even
solemn (for sad pieces of writing.
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Humorous: For more light-hearted and comical passages.
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Within humorous, the tone could be described as flippant
(an irreverent attitude to something normally taken
seriously), conversational (chatty and friendly) and ironic
(saying the opposite of what one means for comic effect)
Different tones continued...
Effusive: Used to persuade the reader.
Emotive: To stir emotions in the reader. Typically
uses hyperbole, rhetorical language and imagery.
And so on...Try not to simply describe the tone as
serious or humorous – use more descriptive
words to describe the tone.
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