Sample commentaries of A level English Language


In the text, the writer describes his experiences while on a trip to Waddy Point, an island off the coast of Australia. The tone leaves the reader with the impression that he found the trip dreadful. On initial inspection the reader gets the impression that the writer’s intention was to convey the message in a very serious manner. However, on further investigation the reader realises that the blunt expressions and his peculiar choice of vocabulary create a sort of humorous mood, and it sparks the thought that his intent might have been to humour the audience with his ‘sufferings’.

The use of the phrase ‘ferocious downpour’ is a hyperbole. The intention of the author is to convey to the reader the awful circumstances he found himself in. His vocabulary throughout the piece is very raw and direct, not beating around the bush. He makes it perfectly clear that the island experience was all but pleasant.

The writer states that he and Craig ‘hovered like solemn dishevelled ghosts’. This creates the impression that they were lost, not knowing what to do on the island. The use of the word ‘ghosts’ and the fact that they were not sure what to do on the island suggests that the character of the island is similar to that of a ghost town- abandoned and neglected.

When the reader encounters Craig’s (the author’s friend) reaction to the circumstances he found himself in, he starts to question whether it was really as bad as what the writer describes it to be. ‘Craig stirred and smiled up from his cocoon’. This sentence initiates the question in the reader’s mind. The word ‘cocoon’ suggests that he was actually comfortable, and he smiled when he woke so he was not as displeased with his surroundings. The perception that Craig isn’t completely dissatisfied is further advanced when he abruptly says ‘”Let’s go fishing.”’ This, as well as the fact that he giggled when the writer was frightened when he said that there were tiger sharks in the ocean, clearly shows that he felt that his friend’s fears were unsubstantiated.

This is contrasted by the fact that the writer was frightened by the thought that sharks lurked in the waters that surrounded them. He makes a very peculiar statement: ‘I finished my smoke and contemplated the significance of the word foodchain in a place like this’. This is a rather blunt statement, which the audience finds fairly surprising. One now starts to wonder if his displeasure really has substance. Is he frightened because they are truly in danger?

In the last paragraph, the writer mentions that he wondered about what was on television and what state his lawn was in. This statement expands on the question whether he really had reason to be afraid. It creates the impression that the writer would rather be at home, idly watching television or mowing his lawn (things that are not significant in everyday life) than be here on the island. The audience starts to wonder whether he is really frightened by his surroundings, as indicated in the second-last paragraph, or whether he just wants to be at home, where he is comfortable.

Once all the elements of the passage have been taken into consideration, the reader is left with the impression that the author didn’t really want to go on the trip, but that is friend (who was clearly more adventurous) had bullied him into it. The writer would much rather stay in a place where he is comfortable.

On final inspection, the reader is left wondering whether the writer’s main purpose could have been to force the audience to question why they react to certain circumstances the way they do. Is it because they are truly unhappy, or might it be that they merely don’t want to be put out of their comfort zone?


Upon arrival, we were greeted with the abundant blessings from the heavens as the skies poured out all they had to offer. The rain fell down all night, and in the morning we were free do explore all the unique wonders Waddy Point had to offer.

At night the moonlight lit up the dunes, and illuminated the remote landscape- untouched by human hands. The exhilarating uncertainty of what awaits you in the next moments, what hides around the bushes and which creatures circle in the oceans all add to the adrenaline pumping excitement that Waddy Point holds.

We experienced life as it was before technology gained control of our lives, slept in a hammock under the luscious banksias in the open air. We got lost in the constellations in the sky and drifted off in our dreams, far away from reality.

Words: 141


The text is a speech in which Thabo Mbeki asserts his own identity. He ridicules the inhuman acts of those who lived before him, and shows that he is proud to be of many different nationalities. The purpose of his speech was to inform people of South Africa that he doesn’t consider himself to be different than other South Africans, as they all came from different backgrounds and he claims that his identity lies in all the different settlers that have come to make up the country in which they live. He was also describing what, in his opinion, makes someone an African.

In the opening paragraphs of the speech the author makes references to nature. In the African cultures nature plays a significant role. They pay tribute to natural gods for the blessings and curses in their lives. By referring to nature from the beginning, he is substantiating his opening statement that he is an African.

His critical tone conveys to the reader that he strongly disapproves with the acts of genocide that the ancestors of South Africa experienced, but that the past occurrences should be taken as lessons and examples of what not to do.

His opening statement, ‘I am an African’ is very short and powerful. Throughout the text he explains his identity. The words ‘I am’ are repeated a number of times as the speech progresses. This creates a gripping poetic feel and adds flow to the speech. This has an amazing effect on the speaker’s ability to persuade the audience of his point of view. The poetic element is carried through by the sentence structure and punctuation throughout the entire piece, as it has a fair resemblance to that of a poem.

He states the following: ‘as a country we keep and audible silence about these ancestors of generations that live’. This suggests that the country is trying to forget about past mistakes instead of learning from them, as he believes is right. The oxymoron ‘audible silence’ adds to the air of bizarre indifference to the horrendous acts of the past. It suggests that the ‘silence’ can be ‘heard’. In other words, it is obvious that everyone is trying to hide something which happened openly in the past.

Although the writer clearly brings across the idea that this is wrong, he continues to say that he accepts all people of South Africa, no matter what their bloodline or race, as his own. In the last few paragraphs he is essentially conveying to the audience that he views himself as being a part of every nationality (figuratively).

The statement that the author is the ‘grandchild of the Boers’ is very significant, given the history of South Africa. The African races, all the ethnic groups other than white people, were discriminated against. Everyone was at war. By saying that he is their grandchild he is eliminating any suspicion that he could still be holding any grudges against them. It is conveying to the audience the message that the he has forgiven the past sins and he is adopting the idea of Ubuntu- unity and oneness.

In the second last paragraph the writer describes that he is of those Indian and Chinese slaves which were allowed to live simply because they could be used for labour. This creates a sense of sympathy between the audience and the speaker. He is gaining their favour and trust.

The punctuation in the final paragraph is rather significant. He concludes his speech by once again repeating the statement ‘I am an African’, but the exclamation mark at the end of the speech is a very strong statement. This portrays the feeling that he is serious. He isn’t playing games. He is an African and no-one dares challenge this. It leaves a lasting impression on the audience, which is what makes the text very effective.


I am an American.

The blood that flows through my veins- the very essence of my being- is that of the founders of our beloved country. The air in my lungs is the same air our forefathers breathed. Every part of my body thrives on that which our ancestors accomplished.

My love for this country is deeper than the Grand Canyon, wider that the oceans of the world. I am the heir of the blessings which our parents, grandparents and great grandparents fought for. My soul arrived on this land before Christopher Columbus first set foot on the coast of the American continent, my heart was here long before the ancient Indians walked across the wide landscapes.

This country is the essence of my being.

I am an American, and nobody can change that.

Words: 134

 Some useful Links…_July_2006.pdf


6 thoughts on “Sample commentaries of A level English Language

  1. I am in love with this website.
    It is a great source for AS and A level English.
    I’ve always been poor while writing commentaries but with the aid of this website i guess i could do better.
    Thank you

  2. Thank you so much for this wonderful piece of commentary…. It made me clear with the topic…I could wish to have a good forthcoming updates about commentary writings…. Thankyou

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s