GCSE English Language: Question 4 example – by Rikesh

Our class have just finished our mock GCSE English Language exams. Perhaps predictably, our results for the tough language comparison question (question 4) were all lower than we would have hoped. However, there is no need for us to despair. We still have 6 months to prepare for the real exam and we have a clear idea of where we need to improve.

Additionally, we are very fortunate that Rikesh (who performed well in the mock exam) has typed up his answer to question 4. This was graded as a Band 4 response and helped him to achieve an overall A* in his mock. Please use this resource to help you with revising for the exam yourselves: it is a response to the June 2015 exam. 

Source 3 begins with the fact that there are “starving millions in India.” The use of the vague figure “millions” is very powerful due to the fact that there is no real number on the number of starving people there. Alternatively, the word “millions” could suggest that we are just assuming how many people starve and the situation may be much worse, but Anne does not want to face the facts. Similarly, source 1 uses the facts to give us an indicator of how many child labourers there are and “in eight years’ time” there will be “190 million” child labourers. This too gives us an insight of how many people are not really living their lives. However, due to the fact that this figure comes from an article, it may be more reliable since it tells us directly “190 million” and not a vague number as seen in source 3. The use of “eight” years may make readers feel that that is not good enough as that indicates that there are people who are working for the same low pay for a very long time.

Source 3 uses a simile to describe how the big cities “draw the poor like a magnet from the countryside.” The use of the word “magnet” implies that it gives the people false hope since they will still live in bad conditions, but the sheer thought of a successful life attracts them there. On the other hand, it could communicate to us that they have no choice but to move there as it couldn’t be any worse than it is for them currently. This may make readers sympathise for them as it is false hope that they cannot resist. Likewise, source 1 uses the metaphor “mining is like a magnet for child labour.” Once again, the figurative language includes a “magnet” which shows how the children cannot resist the temptation of earning money for their families. On the other hand, “mining” could suggest that it is the only job for them as they are small enough to work there, but this also adds to the temptation. This also makes the reader sympathise as it is false hope.

Source 3 is describes a “sliver of new moon” which could represent light which is a connotation for hope. However, the use of “sliver” could convey that there is only a little hope. However for the purpose of the source, which is about Anne’s experiences in India, a little hope is all the poor people could even dream of. This makes the reader feel happy for the people as it gives them something to hang on to and strive towards. In contrast, source 1 leaves the child workers with absolutely no hope at all, especially when “international agencies and aid donors” choose to “turn a blind eye.” The use of “blind” could show that the elimination of child labour is very possible, but it is not helped by the fact that no one wants to help. This makes the readers lose faith in humanity since we are not willing to help each other when in need.

Lastly, both sources use emotive language for effect. Source 3 indicates to us that there are “starvelings without hope.” The sheer use of the name “starveling” implies that they are seen as different compared to everyone else in society, and therefore should be treated differently. Alternatively, it could be to target those who are homeless as it makes it easy for some to understand. This could potentially make readers feel that there is inequality taking place and therefore despise those that refer to them as “starvelings’.” Similarly, source 1 uses emotive language when Gordon Brown describes child labour as the ““new slavery” for our age.” This shows that he has a powerful opinion that makes people upset to think that “slavery” is taking place in this time. The use of the phrase “new slavery” could suggest that it will last for a long time until eradication. This also makes readers annoyed as slavery is seen as a thing of the past – so we thought.

Language Paper Question 4: Comparing Language by Guled

Following on from our post about comparing language, Guled has kindly typed up his detailed and perceptive response to language in the articles about Lampedusa and Voting.

The headline in source 1 uses the phrase ‘just don’t care’. The use of such a phrase presents the writers opinion and of course it is controversial. This is used for effect and it certainly divides audiences. From the headline I can infer that the writer is older and their aim is to present their biased view to those who are reading making most old people nod in agreement and younger people wonder how someone comes to such a judgemental conclusion. Another interesting thing the writer does is present their opinion as fact, and they do this throughout the article and in the headline, this helps to strengthen the writers point and make it seem less of the opinion piece it is. In fact, there are hardly any real cold facts in this article just some hand-picked quotes.

In the source 3 the language used in the headline is more emotive and the writer does this through the use of personal pronouns such as ‘I’ and ‘my’, this makes the story the writer is sharing more intimate and personal. Moreover, the writer uses key words which each evoke a sense of sympathy, words such as ‘refugee’, ‘fleeing’, ‘surviving’ These all grab the readers’ attention and really helps Hakim Bello tell his story. The use of the parenthesis in the headline makes the reader pause. This pause is instrumental in creating a sense of suspense before relieving to us that he survived. Similarly, in both headlines they use it as an overview of the text. From the headlines in Sources 1 and 3, we get a sense of what the articles will be about. This is why headlines must be effective as they allow the reader to anticipate what is coming.

There is a use of rhetorical questions in the source 1, for example, ‘are we there yet’. The use of this phrase is used to patronise and belittle the young subjects of the article, mimicking what young children say. The use of such a rhetorical question definitely evokes a reaction from the reader, I, as a young person, already knew I wouldn’t like the article from the headline, but that rhetorical question definitely made me detest what this writer had to say. I am sure that for most older, richer and conservative people would laugh at this and think his use of a rhetorical question is genius. This division in opinion is surely what the writer sought to come out of this. That is not the only example of the writer in source 1 using rhetorical questions to belittle and patronise young people. They do it again as he discusses recent news in politics then says ‘oh, does it really matter?’ This again presents his biased opinion to the reader.

On the other hand, in source 3 the writer uses a rhetorical question once where he says ‘how is it my life here is worse than under Muammar Gaddafi’s dictatorship?’ This question hits quite deeply with the reader and makes them really contemplate the hardships this person had to go through. Unlike source 1 it is not used as a mockery to the subject of the article but rather the writer directly asking the reader ‘why?’. This coupled with the writers use of personal pronouns really makes the article deeply personal pronouns really makes the article deeply personal. Almost like a one-on-one conversation.

Going back to the use of facts in both articles, which I briefly mentioned when discussing the headline, I find that both articles make use of presenting some opinions as facts. This is seen in source 3 as the writer describes the Mediterranean passage to Italy as ‘the deadliest border in the world’. This is not something heard about the hundreds of people who were killed in this passage and has been domination the news. This is effective to the reader as it truly solidifies what the emotions the writer is trying to present.

In source 1 the use of facts is scarce. The writer makes an effort to use quotes that he undoubtedly chose to fit his narrative that the young are ‘highly unlikely to vote at all’ This in itself would create a divide among audiences with older people typically taking these as a representation of the millions of young people in this country, and the younger people disagreeing with his biased representation.

English Langauge Exam: Reading Past Paper

This blog will show some responses to a past paper (June 2011) to give you an idea of the difference in content and detail between band 2/3 and 4 answers. The answers provided aren’t fully developed – as part of your revision, you could write your own responses to the questions.

Source 1

source 1

Question 1 Responses: 

answer 1

Source 2:

source 2(1)Question 2 Responses:

answer 2

Source 3:

source 3

Question 3 Responses: 

answer 3

Sources for Question 4 – Comparing Language:

source for answer 4

Question 4 Responses:

answer 4

Happy Revising 🙂