Standard grade close reading analysis 2 – exam technique
Close ReadingAnalysis – ExamTechniqueMr Connor’s Class
Analysis Questions Such questions are becoming more common in Close Reading exams of all levels, from Foundation at Standard Grade to Higher. Instead of asking you to explain “what is being said”, which tests your Understanding, Analysis questions ask “how it is being said.” This means that you must be aware of how a sentence, paragraph or entire passage is structured or put together. Think of expressions, sentences and paragraphs as the building blocks of language which create the entire structure of a passage.
Punctuation You are expected to understand the functions of: the comma the semi-colon the colon brackets dashes inverted commas the question mark the exclamation mark capital letters
Sentence Length Analyse the lengths of the sentences in the lines of the passage dealt with in the question. Are there any particularly long or short sentences? Is there a very short sentence between two long and complex sentences? Are there long complex sentences followed by a very short one? Is there a change in the pattern of the sentences so far? If you feel the answer is yes, then analyse why this is so.
Minor or Non-sentence Such a sentence does not contain a verb and will be abrupt for a deliberate, often dramatic effect. E.g. “Water everywhere!”
Repetition Use your highlighter to mark any word or word pattern which is repeated. This may be a single adjective such as “slow” or it may be the opening phrase of several sentences. Repetition very often forms a pattern of three. E.g. “We feel… We feel… We feel…”
Inversion Consider if there is anything unusual about the writer’s order of words. Would you have written the information in the same sequence? If the answer is no, then consider what effect is created by the author’s choice of order. E.g. “Alone I was, completely.” E.g. “Sitting upright on an antique dining chair against a wall patterned with military paintings was the most stern man I had ever seen.”
Link Such a question will refer you to the opening lines of a paragraph and will ask how it connects with what has been said before and with what is to be said in the rest of the paragraph or even the rest of the passage. It is asking you to show that you understand how an argument or line of thought is being developed. Think of the link section as a bridge which has a foot on both sides of the river. To earn full marks for such a question you must quote and comment from the lines before the link sentence and quote and comment from the lines which follow it.
Link (2)E.g. “Property prices in Aberdeen continue to soar in the private sector. But the rental and leasing sector has been largely ignored. A sizeable percentage of the population still rents its accommodation.” Q. How does the sentence beginning “But the rental . . . “ act as a link in the passage? A. “But” is a turn word which signals a change in the topic from the private housing market which has been discussed in the previous paragraph. The “rental and leasing sector” is introduced and this will be developed in the rest of the passage.
Tone This question asks you to analyse the emotion or mood of the author in the lines selected. The answer should be an adjective which describes this emotion or mood. Think of the tone of voice you would use if you were to read the extract aloud. Common tones used are: humorous ironic angry superior sympathetic formal critical friendly
Context This question is always worth two marks. The first comes from the correct meaning or definition of the word in question. The other mark comes from your ability to prove this by quoting from the words either before or after the questioned word.
Context (2) E.g. Although newly arrived in New York, Robin’s obvious wealth soon made him very welcome with the other members of the “nouveau riche.” Q. What is the meaning of the expression “nouveau riche”? A. The expression means someone who has recently become rich or prosperous. “Newly” refers to something which was not the case before and “obvious wealth” is another way of saying that someone has lots of money.
Word Choice This question may expect you to be able to identify an image created by a Figure of Speech. E.g. “He entered the room like a raging bull.” Here the person in the simile is being directly compared to an angry bull which he resembles because of his bad temper. Your answer should show awareness of the transition from the literal meaning of the simile to the metaphorical. i.e. the man is not really a bull but resembles one in some respect.
Word Choice (2) Alternatively you may be asked to explain how Word Choice creates a specific tone. E.g. “The doorbell tinkled merrily as the tiny children tumbled into the toy shop.” Q. What is the tone in this sentence and how is it created? A. In your answer you should quote and comment on the humorous and innocent tone created by the use of “tinkled”, tinkled merrily”, “tiny” and “tumbled”. Alliteration is also used and this also creates a young and carefree tone.