English Language GCSE Paper 1 Question 2

Paper 1 Question 2 is always about language techniques. It’s worth 8 marks. I initially understood that for this question there should be four PEEL paragraphs, ie 8 sentences, but when I looked at the indicative answers they were definitely not structured that way. I think it would be fairer to say that you need to read the question, then look at the text and find two relevant techniques from the list below. Then write four detailed sentences about them.

These are the techniques which might be included:

  • Adjectives (describing words)
  • Alliteration (several words together, starting with the same consonant for effect)
  • Assonance (lots of repeated vowel sounds)
  • Sibilance (lots of repeated ssssss sounds)
  • Colloquial language (informal language, slang)
  • Emotive language (creating emotional impact)
  • Exaggeration or hyperbole (extreme exaggeration)
  • Five Senses (using several senses to describe something)
  • Imperatives (orders, e.g. sit down)
  • Juxtaposition (look for contrasts)
  • Nouns (people, places, things)
  • Proper nouns (people, places, organisations)
  • Onomatopoeias (words which sound like what they mean)
  • Oxymorons (deafening silence)
  • Imagery (detailed description of a scene)
  • Metaphors (expressions which say one thing but mean another)
  • Personification (can be of anything, but pathetic fallacy if they are inanimate things)
  • Pronouns (she, he, him, her, they, we, I)
  • Repetition
  • Rhetoric (persuasive writing)
  • Rhetoric questions (questions asked for effect, not because an answer is expected)
  • Rule of three (grouping things in threes for effect)
  • Semantic field (‘language group’ of words meaning almost the same thing, to emphasise the theme)
  • Simile (comparing two things, usually with the word ‘like’ or ‘as’)
  • Superlatives (usually ending in ‘- est’ e.g. loudest)
  • Tenses (look for changes between past, present, and future)
  • Verbs (doing words, which name an action, e.g. walk
  • Adverbs (words added to verbs to describe how something happens, usually ends -ly)

It’s a long list, but you only have to pick two, and the question may even give you a hint about which techniques they want you to look for.

Once you’ve found two language techniques you use the PEEL paragraph method to write about them, for example:

  • Point: The writer uses sibilance to create the sound of the sea.
  • Example: He writes: โ€œThe surf broke softly over the sandโ€.
  • Explanation: The repeated whispering ‘s’ sounds indicate that the sea is gentle and calm.
  • Link: Describing the sea using sibilance adds to the peaceful atmosphere in this extract.

I have deliberately avoided using overly complex language in this example, to show what might eventually be within reach for my son. At the moment sentences three and four would be challenging for him to write, so it’s good to know that just writing one point and one example could be enough to get him two marks!

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