Teaching-learning-a paradigm shift

Having spent almost fifteen years in the field of formal education, today I am intrinsically forced to rewrite my assumptions on the present education system.The system has degenerated into a factory of manufacturing workaholics and ‘politicians’ who are practical minded and ethically detached. Ironically, instead of forming confident and competent human beings for future, it produces fearful individuals who are always melancholic and phobic. In order to avoid these apparent inabilities they plunge themselves into partying, alcoholism and ‘workaholism’.

The fundamental question has to be answered- What is education?. Is it from womb to tomb? Is it that enables you to procure an employment? Is it that makes you literate? Is it that differentiates you from animals and birds on this planet? Is it that makes you more creative and innovative? Is it voluntary or involuntary? Whether so called educated ones are better than others? Is it just a social conditioning? By formal education, whether the learners are equipped with life skills or other skills? Are they capable of leading a happy life after their formal education?

Answering to all these questions would make one probe into the very essence of education. All educators, curriculum developers and mentors should contemplate on this gravely and have to come up with a sound education system which would encompass ethical, social, physical, psychological aspects of it.


Amelioration and Pejoration


ameli 2

ameli 3


pejo-1ameli 4.gif


  1. http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/3/15/1284995/-Origins-of-English-Amelioration-and-Perjoration
  2. https://aggslanguage.wordpress.com/semantic-change/
  3. http://lexicondaily.blogspot.in/2009/03/pejoration.html
  4. http://www.concursurilecomper.ro/rip/2015/martie2015/43-BamiopolLauraEmilia-Articol.pdf
  5. http://www.answers.com/Q/What_are_examples_of_pejoration
  6. http://habib.camden.rutgers.edu/2014/05/14/amelioration-and-pejoration-a-linguistic-dialectic-between-hegel-and-saussure-by-joseph-turkot/
  7. https://www.wordnik.com/words/pejoration

Sample commentary on Kwame Nkrumah Speech AS level-paper-1

Kwame Nkrumah skillfully manifests his rhetorical skills to persuade his country men manipulating varied possibilities and conventions of language. He opens his talk vividly pointing out the ‘means’ to achieve his objective, ‘African unity’ that is compared uni vocally  to ‘political kingdom’. this metaphor and frequent usage of ‘our people’, ‘our own’ and ‘we’ creates a sense of belonging and subsequent unity.

He makes an obvious assault on the ‘western colonial manipulation  of Africa’ when he makes an anaphoric statement, ‘ills of the past’ and the apt metaphor, “the milch cow’ of the western world’. He admonishes his listeners to channelize ‘their resentment’ for the betterment of the nation. By exposing some facts about western economy such as ‘basic economic might of the foreign powers-comes from our continent’ urges Africans to realize their own self worth.

Rhetorical questions with metaphors of the ‘opresser’ ( western colonials) such as ‘what need is there for us to remain hewers of wood and drawers of water for the industrialized world’ aimed at igniting the dormant spirit of Africans. Consecutive direct statements in the second paragraph also serve the purpose.

The speaker shows a clear-cut awareness of the need of the hour and relevant when he says ‘ at the tempo demanded by today’s events and mood of our people’. He also brings out the glaring contradictions in the views and perspectives of the other parts of the world about Africa. He unfolds the per-conceived notions  of non African races and the Western world in particular.Thus the facts and figures in the 3rd and 4th paragraphs would be an eye-opener for Africans to realize their own mammoth potentials.

The repetition ‘we have resources’ boosts listener’s morale. Another idiomatic usage ‘ tackle the by the horn’ persuades his people to rise and act in unison for a common purpose.

He comes up with a realistic and authentic action plan when he says, ‘with capital controlled by our own banks, harnessed to our own true industrial development’ and it advocates the need for self-reliance and self-governess. By using the metaphors of ‘parasite’ and a ‘disease’ which Africans need to ‘get rid of and ‘to cure’. He attacks colonial invasion and subsequent exploitation of western countries.

Moreover, by craft fully using same syntactical patterning at the concluding paragraph to convince, mobilize and unite Africans to a ‘pan African unity’ the speaker succeeded to evoke a sense of clarity in his mission and vision of his country and people at large.








10 essentials of successful writing

Hi friends, please do watch this video and believe me  that it will definitely  improve your writing skills.


The following links also would help you to read articles on successful writing techniques.

10 Writing Techniques: Anyone Can Write!

5 Powerful Writing Techniques That Bring Stories to Life


Writing techniques


commentary writing link to a video

Hi, AS level students, the following websites and blogs would definitely help you to come up with an effective commentary.










Commentary writing- adjectives to show tone

Tone is the manner in which an author expresses his or her attitude; it is the intonation of voice which expresses meaning. Tone may shift from paragraph to paragraph, or even from line to line; it is the result of allusion, diction, figurative language, imagery, irony, motif, symbolism, syntax and style.

A speaker’s tone is evident to all, but understanding written tone is an entirely different matter. The reader must appreciate word choice, details, imagery, and language to understand. To misinterpret tone is to misinterpret meaning; for this reason, we have compiled a guide of 30 categories of tone to elucidate the study of writing and its subtleties.

1.Threatening (menacing, intimidating) tone

“I shall throw you on a black ship and send you to the mainland, To King Echetos, destroyer of all mortal men, Who will cut off your nostrils and ears with a sharp bronze sword; He will tear off your private parts and give them to the dogs to eat raw.” -The Odyssey, Homer

In this excerpt, one of Homer’s characters makes dire threats against another. Admittedly, this isn’t a terrifically difficult piece to analyze, but “threatening” fit so well that we had to include it. The key to classifying a tone as “threatening” is the possibility or promise of negative action against the subject. Our particular subject has achieved quite a severe set of consequences for himself and thus more than merits the designation.

2. Provocative (Stimulating, exciting ) tone
Freedom calls you! Quick, be ready –
Rouse ye in the name of God, –Onward, onward, strong and steady, -¬Dash to earth the oppressor’s rod. Freedom calls, ye brave! Rise and spurn the name of slave. -“Polish War Song,” Percival

“Freedom calls you!” Yes, freedom is calling, “in the name of God,” and all shall rise. The exclamation marks and calls to action are forceful in this passage. The excitement is evident in the way the author wants all to “rise” and fight. It is extremely provocative in this sense, to “spurn the name of slave.”

3. Persuasive – Written to convince or win over
…there is no occupation concerned with the management of social affairs which belongs either to woman or to man, as such. Natural gifts are to be found here and there in both creatures alike; and every occupation is open to both, so far as their natures are concerned, though woman is for all purposes the weaker.
Certainly. Is that a reason for making over all occupations to men only? Of course not. No, because one woman may have a natural gift for medicine or for music, another may not. Surely. Is it not also true that a woman may, or may not, be warlike or athletic? I think so. …So for the purpose of keeping watch over the commonwealth, woman has the same nature as man, save in so far as she is weaker. -“Equality of Women” from The Republic of Plato

In this passage, Plato argues for the equality of the women in the process of selection for governmental posts. His persuasive tone is evident in the nature of his composition; he writes a dialogue between the master and the student, in which the student is won over to and subsequently supports the master’s point of view. Plato is making a point; he is arguing to an end; he is persuading his audience to share his personal opinion.

4. Sarcastic — Snide, mocking
You will send your child, will you, into a room where the table is loaded with sweet wine and fruit – some poisoned, some not? – you will say to him, “Choose freely, my little child! It is so good for you to have freedom of choice; it forms your character – your individuality! If you take the wrong cup or the wrong berry, you will die before the day is over, but you will have acquired the dignity of a Free child.”
-“Freedom,” Ruskin

Ruskin does not mean for us to go and send our children into rooms with poisoned fruits. He means exactly the opposite, and he is snidely mocking those who would encourage a child to make his own choices. Using the extreme example of a “table…loaded with sweet wine and fruit – some poisoned, some not,” he is showing how the reasoning of letting children acquire “the dignity of a Free child” can go horribly askew. Meaning the opposite of what his literal words say, Ruskin has an extremely sarcastic approach to his subject.

5. Sardonic — Derisively mocking
Once upon a time there was a lion that lived in Africa with all the other lions. The other lions were all bad lions and every day they ate zebras and wildebeests and every kind of antelope. Sometimes the bad lions ate people too. They ate Swahilis, Umbulus and Wandorobos and they especially liked to eat Hindu traders.
But this lion, that we love because he was so good, had wings on his back. Because he had wings on his back the other lions all made fun of him.
-“The Good Lion,” Hemingway

Although known for simplicity, in this passage Hemingway uses simple words such as “good” and “bad” very obviously. Taken literally, these words are like a children’s book, yet in reality they carry more meaning. The “bad lions” eat zebras and Hindu traders, but our lion would never stoop so low. No, he has “wings on his back” – quite literally – and he is a good lion. But he is so good that one simply has to believe he is not as good as he seems. Our “good lion” is being mocked, in a sardonic tone, for he is “so good.”

6.Satiric – Satirizing, ironic, mocking, farcial
At the house of sticks, the wolf again banged on the door and shouted, “Little pigs, little pigs, let me in!” The pigs shouted back, “Go to hell, you carnivorous, imperialistic oppressor!” At this, the wolf chuckled condescendingly. He thought to himself: “They are so childlike in their ways. It will be a shame to see them go, but progress cannot be stopped.” So the wolf huffed and puffed and blew down the house of sticks. The pigs ran to the house of bricks, with the wolf close at their heels. Where the house of sticks had stood, other wolves built a time-share condo resort complex for vacationing wolves, with a fiberglass reconstruction of the house of sticks, as well as native curio shops, snorkeling, and dolphin shows. At the house of bricks, the wolf again banged on the door and shouted, “Little pigs, little pigs, let me in!” This time in response, the pigs sang songs of solidarity and wrote letters of protest to the United Nations. By now the wolf was getting angry at the pigs refusal to see the situation from the carnivore’s point of view. So he huffed and he puffed, and huffed and puffed, then grabbed his chest and fell over dead from a massive heart attack brought on from eating too many fatty foods. -“The Three Little Pigs,” Politically Correct Bedtime Stories, James Finn Garner

In this passage, Garner satirizes both the political correctness of the era and the American development of third-world countries while parodying a classic children’s tale. This story helps us to realize how flawed some practices of our society are; when humor makes us consider such things, we call it satire.

7. Disdainful — Arrogant, lordly, superior, unsympathetic
You can dislocate your jaw and wrench your wrists out of joint and they still have not understood you, nor will they ever understand. They often grimace, then flash the whites of their eyes and foam at the mouth, but they don’t actually mean anything by it; it’s not even a threat, they just do it because that’s their nature. They take whatever it is they need. You can’t say that they employ force; when they grab at something, you simply stand aside and leave them to it.
-“An Old Leaf,” Kafka

“Nor will they ever understand.” The narrator has given up all hope at communication with these people. He is superior to them, he will not even fight them, “simply stand aside.” Simply put, it’s “their nature,” so it seems they can’t help their behavior, and the narrator is left to look down upon these people and give up on talking to them. The message the narrator conveys is that this not worthwhile anymore, and his tone amounts to great disdain.

8.Condescending – patronizing, arrogant
So all of a sudden, I sort of leaned over and said, “would any of you girls care to dance?” I didn’t ask them crudely or anything. Very suave, in fact. But G-d damn it, they thought that was a panic, too. They started giggling some more. I’m not kidding, they were three real morons.
-Catching in the Rye, Salinger

The key element of condescension is the feeling that one is above one’s surroundings or fellows. In this passage, Holden contrasts his “suavity” with the girls’ stupidity. He thinks he is better than they are, and maybe he is; but “would any of you girls care to dance?” is an affected mannerism, especially for Holden. He is trying to make himself more than he is, and failing in some measure.

9.Horrific – Appalling, shocking, gruesome
Out a way, rolling in the sea, was a Landing Craft Infantry, and as we came alongside of her I saw a ragged shellhole through the steel plates forward of her pilothouse where an 88-mm. German shell had punched through. Blood was dripping from the shiny edges of the hole into the sea with each roll of the LCI. Her rails and hull had been befouled by sea-sick men, and her dead were laid forward of her pilothouse.
-By-Line: Ernest Hemingway, Hemingway

Hemingway’s tone is often difficult to discern, as he habitually writes with a very detached, journalistic style. This excerpt is actually from a newspaper article that he wrote about the invasion of Normandy. However, he lends more detail to his subject than a journalist should; he emphasizes the harshness of the scene, the gut-wrenching power of the experience. Blood does not drip from shiny, ragged steel edges purely to convey fact. Hemingway expects to horrify you, to make you think, “Dear God,” and pause a moment over your morning coffee, to realize for a moment the brutality and the ugliness of war.

10. Bantering — Teasing, joking
You never found out why these men spend so much time shaking hands [in beer commercials]. Maybe shaking hands is just their simple straightforward burly masculine American patriotic way of saying to each other: “Floyd, I am truly sorry I drank all that beer last night and went to the bathroom in your glove compartment.”
-Dave Barry’s Greatest Hits, Barry

Dave Barry is famous for his humorous, bantering style. He speaks straight to the reader in a bold second-person style — “You never found out…” and talks to us as if we are good friends of his. A long string of adjectives describing the way these men talk as “simple straightforward burly…” adds to the casual style; this is not formal to use six adjectives in a row. Barry in a whole writes as if he’s telling a joke to a good friend.

11. Amused — Of a playful nature, entertained
Henri the painter was not French and his name was not Henri. Henri had so steeped himself in stories of the Left Bank in Paris that he lived there although he had never been there. Feverishly he followed in periodicals the Dadaist movements and schisms, the strangely feminine jealousies and religiousness, the obscurantisms of the forming and breaking schools. Regularly he revolted against outworn techniques and materials. One season he threw out perspective. Another year he abandoned red, even as the mother of purple. Finally he gave up paint entirely. It was not known whether Henri was a good painter or not for he threw himself so violently into movements that he had little time left for painting of any kind.
-Cannery Row, Steinbeck

Henri amuses the author of this passage. “He lived there although he had never been there.” Simply the way Henri hurls himself into these movements Steinbeck laughs at — he finds Henri’s eagerness highly entertaining. Throwing himself “violently” into movements, Henri follows each idea that comes his way, eventually giving up paint entirely. This is silly, and Steinbeck sees this, conveying the humor to us.

12.Mock-heroic – Ridiculing a “hero”
[Don Quixote has just liberated a group of dangerous criminals]

“That is all very well,” answered Don Quixote, “but I know what we should do now.” Then he called all the galley slaves, who were now running hither and thither in a riotous mood and had stripped the commissary to the skin, and when they had gathered around him in a circle, he addressed them as follows: “It is the duty of well-bred people to be grateful for benefits received, and ingratitude is one of the most hateful sins in the eyes of God. I say this sirs, because you know what favor you have received from me, and the only return I wish and demand is that you all go from here, laden with the chains from which I have just freed your necks, to the city of El Toboso. There you are to present yourselves before Lady Dulcinea of El Toboso and tell her that her Knight of the Rueful Figure sent you there to commend his service to her. You are to tell her, point by point, the details of this famous adventure, and when you have done this, you may then go whichever way you please and good luck be with you.”
-Don Quixote, Cervantes

Don Quixote’s actions are suitable preposterous in this passage to make very little analysis necessary. He suggests that the convicts should present themselves to Lady Dulcinea in the name of the “Knight of the Rueful Figure;” he expects others to share his misplaced idealism; in short, he is clearly demented. What he would label heroism Cervantes calls folly; the tone is therefore mock-heroic.

13.Elegiac – Lamenting, poignant, funereal
Six Delaware girls, with their long, dark, flowing tresses falling loosely across their bosoms, stood apart, and only gave proofs of their existence as they occasionally strewed sweet-scented herbs and forest flowers on a litter of fragrant plants, that, under a pall of Indian robes, supported all that now remained of the ardent, high-souled, and generous Cora. Her form was concealed in many wrappers of the same simple manufacture, and her face was shut forever from the gaze of men.
-Last of the Mohicans, James Fenimore Cooper
Cooper’s diction clearly indicates his elegiac tone. He calls Cora “ardent, high-souled, and generous;” such praise is typical of an elegy. In addition, his words convey a sense of regret, of loss – again, typical of elegiac writing. This passage is a remembrance and a farewell, a last praise and a poignant song of mourning.

14.Disappointed — Deceived, crestfallen, let down
But I felt after the novelty had worn off the Americans didn’t really understand our music or our culture. Coming from a country where having central heating was considered posh and a refrigerator a luxury, Americans seemed to me to be strangely spoiled and ‘old-fashioned.’ They seemed to be lost in the forties and fifties. I expected to find Americans more forward and progressive but I was surprised to find many very set in their ways, just like their English counterparts.
-Kink, Davies

Ray Davies was hoping for magic in America, yet he found “strangely spoiled” people who were “old-fashioned.” What he expected — “forward and progressive” — Davies did not find; the experience of America ended up extremely disillusioning. The depressingness of finding these people “just like their English counterparts” made him extremely let down, and the disappointed tone shows it.

15.Somber – Bleak, depressing, dismal
No crowd of serfs ran out on to the steps to meet the masters; a little girl of twelve years made her appearance alone. After her there came out of the house a young lad, very like Piotr, dressed in a coat of gray livery, with white armorial buttons, the servant of Pavel PetrovitchKirsanov. Without speaking, he opened the door of the carriage, and unbuttoned the apron of the coach. Nikolai Petrovitch, with his son and Bazarov, walked through a dark and empty hall…
-Fathers and Sons, Turgenev

Turgenev’s tone in this piece can be determined by examining the detail he provides. He emphasizes the absence of people; first noting that no “crowd of serfs” appeared, and later notes that Petrovitch, his son, and Bazarov walked through a “dark and empty hall.” Next, observe the silence; no one speaks, and no noise is mentioned. Finally, note the use of color and light – gray, white, and dark. Turgenev’s paints a bleak, silent picture for us to observe – specifically, a bleak, silent, “somber” picture.

16.Urgent – imperative, critical, intensely necessary
“I must see the Lieutenant-Colonel,” Gomez said.
“He is asleep,” the officer said. “I could see the lights of that bicycle of thine for a mile coming down the road. Dost wish to bring on a shelling?” “Call the Lieutenant-Colonel,” Gomez said. “this is a matter of the utmost gravity.” “He is asleep, I tell thee,” the officer said. “What sort of a bandit is that with thee?” he nodded toward Andrés. “He is a guerillero from the other side of the lines with a dispatch of the utmost importance for the General Golz who commands the attack that is to be made at dawn beyond Navacerrada,” Gomez said excitedly and earnestly. “Rouse the TenienteCoronel for the love of God.”
The officer looked at him with his droopy eyes shaded by the green celluloid. “All of you are crazy,” he said. “I know of no General Golznor of no attack. Take this sportsman and get back to your battalion.”
“Rouse the TenienteCoronel, I say,” Gomez said and Andrés saw his mouth tightening. “Go obscenity yourself,” the officer said to him lazily and turned away. Gomez took his heavy 9 mm. Star pistol out of its holster and shoved it against the officer’s shoulder. “Rouse him, you fascist bastard,” he said. “Rouse him or I’ll kill you.” -For Whom the Bell Tolls, Hemingway

In this excerpt, Hemingway uses terse, strained dialog to communicate urgency. Small details – the tightening of Gomez’ mouth, for example – show us the tension inherent in this confrontation. This is an incredibly intense passage, and the dialog ripples with the force of the conflict. Hemingway uses the urgency in this piece to draw the reader in, to produce a gut-level emotional reaction that exemplifies his work.

17.Ominous – Fateful, ill-boding, foreboding, dire
He still thought it had all been set up too fast. Clemenza had given him copies of the police mug shots of the two punks, the dope on where the punks went drinking every night to pick up bar girls. Paulie had recruited two of the strong-arms in the family and fingered the punks for them. He had also given them their instructions. No blows on the top or the back of the head, there was to be no accidental fatality. Other than that they could go as far as they liked.
-The Godfather, Mario Puzo

The first sentence of this paragraph is ominous in the extreme. It expresses misgivings about an illegal venture; consequences could be severe if done improperly. In addition, the mention of “accidental fatality” indicates that this is a serious matter. This paragraph is written to convey to the reader the idea that something may go wrong.

18.Apprehensive – anxious, uneasy, worried
Time passed.
Susan waited.
The more Susan waited, the more the doorbell didn’t ring. Or the phone. She looked at her watch. She felt that now was about the time that she could legitimately begin to feel cross. She was cross already, of course, but that had been in her own time, so to speak. They were well and truly into his time now, and even allowing for traffic, mishaps, and general vagueness and dilatoriness, it was now well over half an hour past the time that he had insisted was the latest time they could possibly afford to leave, so she’d better be ready.
-Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, Douglas Adams

Douglas’ tone in this piece is reflected by his syntax. He begins with short, choppy sentences, like the ticking of a clock. He continues to use medium/short sentences and then concludes the paragraph in a long, rushing sentence emphasizing the wrongness of the situation. One immediately gets the feeling that something has gone very wrong.

19.Audacious — Daring, bold, insolent
he tells them right back in a loud, brassy voice that he’s already plenty damn clean, thank you.
“They showered me this morning at the courthouse and last night at the jail. And I swear I believe they’d of washed my ears for me on the taxi over if they coulda found the vacilities. Hoo boy, seems like every time they ship me someplace I gotta get scrubbed down before, after, and during the operation…and get back away from me with that thermometer, Sam.”
-One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, Kesey

The speaker — McMurphy — is blatantly insolent in this quote. The people in charge are simple trying to take his temperature and give him a shower, yet he tells them to “get back away from me.” He is speaking in a “brassy” voice; this clues the reader into his boldness immediately. Emphasis (“I swear…”) in his speech patterns also forms this audacious tone.

20.Intimate — Affectionate, devoted, fond
“Afterwards we will be as one animal of the forest and be so close that neither one can tell that one of us is one and not the other. Can you not feel my heart be your heart?”
-For Whom the Bell Tolls, Hemingway

“My heart be your heart…” this excerpt is intimate, as these two people involved are extremely devoted to each other. Little is needed to explain the blatantly intimate tone in this short passage.

21.Whimsical — Capricious, fantastic
They stood so still that she quite forgot they were alive, and she was just going round to see if ‘TWEEDLE’ was written at the back of each collar, when she was startled by a voice coming from the one marked ‘DUM.’
“If you think we’re wax-works,” he said, “you ought to pay, you know. Wax-works weren’t made to be looked at for nothing.”
-Through the Looking-Glass, Carrol

“She quite forgot they were alive,” pertains to Alice as she looks at the wax-like characters of Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee. This is a fantastic world of humor. These characters carry their name on their stomachs, and spout out absurd lines in absolute seriousness. Whimsy is ever-present in the world through the looking-glass, and shines in Lewis Carroll’s tone.

22. Reflective — Contemplative, meditative, introspective
“There were always children there, and I spent all my time with the children, only with the children. They were the children of the village where I lived, a whole gang of them, who went to the local school…I was simply with them mostly, and I spent all my four years like that. I did not want anything else.”
-The Idiot, Dostoyevsky

The character speaking in this quote, Myshkin, is missing his European home. “I did not want anything else,” he says of the children’s company in this town. He was “simply with them mostly,” and longs for this simplicity, spending all his time with children. In retrospect, he sees how much he misses this past life, and this contemplation gives Myshkin a decidedly reflective tone.

23. Regretful — Contrite, apologetic, sorry

Just when I’d stopped opening doors,
Finally knowing the one that I wanted was yours,
Making my entrance again with my usual flair,
Sure of my lines, No one is there.
Don’t you love farce? My fault, I fear.
I thought that you’d want what I want.
Sorry, my dear. But where are the clowns?
Quick, send in the clowns.
Don’t bother, they’re here. –

“Send in the Clowns,” Sonheim

“Sorry, my dear,” is spoken in this song excerpt. They were “finally knowing” what they wanted, and could not achieve it. “No one is there.” It is a song about trying too late, and missed chances. “Where are the clowns?” the author asks; where is the frivolity lacking in this melancholy life. The speaker is very sorrowful, as they say “I thought you’d want what I want.” This conveys their tone of great regret.

24.Remorseful – penitent, contrite, rueful
“I am not made,” I cried energetically, “the sun and the heavens, who have viewed my operations, can bear witness of my truth. I am the assassin of those most innocent victims; they died by my machinations. A thousand times would I have shed my own blood, drop by drop, to have saved their lives; but I could not, my father, indeed I could not sacrifice the whole human race.”
-Frankenstein, Mary Shelley

In this passage, Dr. Frankenstein is remorseful to the point of self-loathing. Note the use of the words “assassin” and “machinations.” He paints a picture of himself as a wretched, vile creature, who would yet die “a thousand times” to save the innocents he destroyed. He bathes in remorse.

25.Factual – Certain, absolute, irrefutable, unbiased
The kind of nuclear reaction that happens inside a nuclear reactor is called nuclear fission. The fuel is uranium or plutonium, two very heavy elements which have many protons and neutrons in their nuclei. Fission starts when a fast-moving neutron strikes a nucleus. The nucleus cannot take in the extra neutron, and the whole nucleus breaks apart into two smaller nuclei.
-The Way Things Work, David Macaulay

A factual tone is often more apparent from lack of opinion than presence of any particular type of diction or syntax. If the purpose of the passage is solely to convey information, the tone is factual. In this case, Macaulay explains the facts very simply and in a straightforward manner, without the pontificating that would cause us to label this excerpt “scholarly” or “pedantic.”

26.Detached – Aloof, impartial
He had not a minute more to lose. He pulled the axe quite out, swung it with both arms, scarcely conscious of himself, and almost without effort, almost mechanically, brought the blunt side down on her head. He seemed not to use his own strength in this. But as soon as he had once brought the axe down, his strength returned to him.
-Crime And Punishment, Dostoyevsky

Dostoyevsky does not care that his character is axe-murdering anybody in this passage. The subject (Raskolnikov) himself is acting “without effort…mechanically.” Dostoyevsky expresses no concern or opinion over the “scarcely concious” killing of an old lady. The detachment, within the character himself and towards him by the author, is evident.

27. Simpering – Overly happy, gushy
The world is so full of a number of things,
I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings. –

(Happy Thought, Robert Louis Stevenson)

This poem is mindlessly, unreasoningly happy. There are many things in the world; for this we should be happy? When an author gushes happiness without cause or thought, we call him simpering.

28. Reverent – Venerating, worshipping
God is love; his mercy brightens All the path in which we rove;
Bliss he wakes and woe he lightens;
God is wisdom, God is love.

(“God is love,” Bowring)

Bowring’s great respect for God emmanates from this poetic verse. “His mercy brightens/All the path;” Bowring’s details are simplistic in their veneration of God. As he concludes the stanza with “God is love,” the reverent tone is sealed.

29. Pedantic – Scholarly, making a show of knowledge
“My attention was speedily drawn, as I have already remarked to you, to this ventilator, and to the bell-rope which hung down to the bed. The discovery that this was a dummy, and that the bed was clamped to the floor, instantly gave rise to the suspicion that the rope was there as a bridge for something passing through the hole, and coming to the bed. The idea of a snake instantly occurred to me, and when I coupled it with my knowledge that the doctor was furnished with a supply of creatures from India, I felt I was probably on the right track. The idea of using a form of poison which could not possibly be discovered by any chemical test was just such a one as would occur to a clever and ruthless man who had had an Eastern training.”
-The Adventure of the Speckled Band, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Sherlock Holmes exemplifies the pedantic personality. Smoking a pipe, striding about the room, expounding on his latest brilliant discovery – Sherlock should come to mind almost immediately when one considers the term “pedantic.” In this passage, he reveals to Dr. Watson his careful unraveling of a complicated mystery. Moreover, he strategically augments his topic to reveal his vast knowledge of diverse subjects and his incredible powers of reason.

30. Sympathetic — Compassionate, sensitive.
The hunger artist sometimes remarked to himself that perhaps things might look a little brighter if he were not located quite so near the stables…But he did not dare complain to the management; after all he had the animals to thank for the numerous visitors who did pass his cage, among whom there always might be the one who was there just to see him, and lord knew where they might tuck him away if he called attention to his existence and thereby to the fact that, strictly speaking, he was no more than an obstacle in the path to the animals.
-“A Hunger Artist,” Kafka

Kafka pities the hunger artist. “Numerous visitors…pass his cage.” The hunger artist is an “obstacle”, to be tucked away. This is sad, and Kafka shows us the hunger artist’s point of view through his sympathy for the man. Things “might look a little brighter,” always hopeful and optimistic even as the world looks bleaker. Although the people passing by neglect this old man, Kafka has great sympathy for him and his feeling of nonexistence.

Source: http://l6eas2008.blogspot.in/2008/10/blk-1-adjectives-to-describe-tone.html

Sample Commentary – Toads and Dancing Monkeys

Durrell’s autobiographical account of his travels in West Africa during the early 1950s is humorous His intention is to transport the reader from her English sitting room through the brilliantly colourful jungle which teems with life and is full of exotic sights and sounds. Everything here is alive, from the ancient lorry to the sounds of the birds. Everything has a mind of its own, from the sentinel trees and ferns to the willful components of the truck. By bringing the scene so vividly to life, Durrell’s writing serves as a metaphor for the exuberance of life in the jungle. We can see that he considers the jungle to be a single living entity in his image of the forest, a thick pelt of green undulating into the distance. This then is his purpose, to make the scene come bursting alive, and the language which he uses achieves this aim wonderfully well.

In the first paragraph we are cleverly introduced to the pitiful clapped out jalopy of a truck. The negatively expressed and understated ‘not in what one would call the first flush of youth’ leads us to expect a means of transport perhaps verging on cantankerous and unreliable middle age. However, the antique vehicle which arrives is personified as a geriatric human struggling for breath, and the alliterative ‘wheels wheezing’ and onomatopoeic ‘gasping’ bring to vivid life its asthmatic condition, especially when it cannot cope even with the gentlest of slopes. Its component parts are also alive and possess minds of their own and thus Durrell  has to take control of them like a strict schoolmaster watching over unruly pupils with his stern eye. One pupil, the handbrake, is surly, while the other, the clutch, is playful. Here we find the strange simile ‘seized every chance to leap out of its socket with a noise like a strangling leopard’. The noise of the clutch is surely a matter for the imagination of the reader, but one function of this simile is to remind the reader that she is in the distant jungle and that the decrepit lorry still has something of the wild animal in it and remains part of the jungle around.

Durrell obviously has a high opinion of the skills of West African lorry drivers, as he says that not even they can drive in impossible positions. Here, the adverb ‘even’ serves to compare West African lorry driver favourably with their counterparts elsewhere. Durrell introduces more humour when he describes the truck as ‘noble’, a royal quality it obviously acquires from its sedate and stately speed of 20 mph. This is made more humorous with the idiomatic ‘threw caution to the winds’ and careered along in a madcap fashion at twenty-five. This is a piece of hyperbole as 25 mph is anything but fast, but of course to the clapped out wagon it is very quick indeed.

Having brought the lorry to life, Durrell moves on in paragraph two to bring the jungle around him to life and endow the flora with surprising purpose. Here we have the trees standing in solid ranks as soldiers guarding something, but what? Later the metaphor is repeated as the ferns become guardians of a new landscape. Could these provide a clue as to Durrell’s purpose in Africa?

In the same paragraph we are introduced to the boys who sing a simple song in a simple dialect. All that interests them is going to ma home to ma mammy. They do not notice and have no interest in the wondrous sights around them. The driver too is deferential to Durrell, worried that he will object to the song. Durrell is obviously the boss, he knows everything about the forest, and compared to his rich and flamboyant language, the natives appear to be little more than simpletons who are merely there to help him on his dark purpose. This paragraph also contains beautiful, evocative descriptions of the love of Durrell’s life, the animals that inhabit the forest. The alliteration of the fricative f in flocks of hornbills flapped brings these exotic birds vividly to life. The onomatopoeia of honking conjures their call, and the simile like the ghosts of ancient taxis evokes a mystical, spiritual rather than physical presence and serves to remind the reader of the other worldliness of this domain. Then we meet the agama lizards who are alliteratively draped decoratively, an image of curtains in keeping with the nature of the forest and one which gains credence when their colour is described as sunset, a myriad of changes from orange through red to deepest violet. Once again the lizards are full of life as they nod their heads furiously. Furiously at what, one wonders – is it simply the speed of movement, or is it their anger and knowledge of Durrell’s purpose? The road too has life, looping its way in languid curves. The lengthy l sounds accentuating the long and lazy path it takes. All of this alliteration and onomatopoeia serve to bring the sounds of the forest to the readers’ ears.

In the third paragraph, we meet a new landscape, that of the uplands. This is much less luxuriant than the lowland forest, but nevertheless is described in vibrant terms. There are tree ferns which stand around plotting and planning with fronds like delicate green fountains, a simile which easily captures how they look and suggests the renewing life giving qualities of fountains. The hills become bare; they shrug themselves free of a cloak, because, of course, they too are alive. We find golden grass rippling, an echo of the undulating forest below. To close this section we return to the lorry, which has, against all the odds, made it to the summit exhibiting all the signs of illness and age previously mentioned. Though by now it truly seems to be on its last legs spouting steam like a dying whale. It is with a sense of relief and release that the passage ends with the closure of switched off the engine.

Whilst the use of language clearly plays the major role in how Durrell achieves his aim, there are some areas of structure which require comment. He uses colons, firstly to explain in detail why this particular lorry was worse than any he had met before. Secondly to list the operations he was required to supervise whilst in the lorry. The effect is to lead the reader to expect that in each case more information will be provided. Durrell also uses present participles rather than finite tenses to de-emphasise actions and thus focus more on the image presented. Thus we find that the agama lizards lay, blushing into sunset colouring: the focus clearly being on the picture of them blushing. Similarly we see massive tree-ferns standing in conspiratorial groups, and the effect helps us visualise them as humans.

Durrell easily conveys his enthusiasm for the forest and its inhabitants through his flamboyant use of language. The experience for the reader is to be transported with him onto the lorry and into the forests of West Africa; to an exotic location where everything is alive and conscious

Methods of language analysis- some key concepts/ A level English Language


Students will be required to use methods of language analysis to:

  • identify and describe features of language diversity
  • research diversity.

The following list is a guide to the areas of language students are expected to examine:

  • phonetics, phonology and prosodics: how speech sounds and effects are articulated and analysed
  • graphology: the visual aspects of textual design and appearance
  • lexis and semantics: the vocabulary of English, including social and historical variation
  • grammar, including morphology: the structural patterns and shapes of English at sentence, clause, phrase and word level
  • pragmatics: the contextual aspects of language use
  • discourse: extended stretches of communication occurring in different genres, modes and contexts.


 Language diversity-some key points/ A level English language

Students should study a range of examples of language in use and research data to inform their study of diversity:

  • texts using different sociolects (to include social and occupational groups, and gender)
  • texts using different dialects (to include regional and national varieties of English within the British Isles)
  • texts that use language to represent the different groups above
  • written, spoken and electronic texts about a range of subjects, for various audiences and purposes in a variety of genres
  • items from collections of language data (eg dictionaries, online resources, language corpora)
  • research findings (eg tables, graphs, statistics).

When analysing texts and data, students should explore:

  • how language varies because of personal, social and geographical contexts
  • why language varies, developing critical knowledge and understanding of different views and explanations
  • how identity is constructed
  • how language is used to enact relationships
  • attitudes to language diversity.


Commentary on the passage, “Traveller’s Check

Traveller’s check

The passage below describes the writer’s journey on the North Borneo Railway.

Task: Comment on the style and language of the passage.

Travel, as we know today, had its roots with the appearance of trains. The train opened up the countryside and people could head off for a day’s outing away from the city.

Thomas Cook was the first travel agent who organised groups of travelers to head off into England’s Lake District for some rest and creation. Since, then, we haven’t looked back and now there are few areas on the planet where people haven’t left their mark.

Some of us still seek out a ‘puffin billy’ experience as part of our travels. The North Borneo Railway in Sabah, East Malaysia, is the only rail trunk on the island of Borneo… these few hundred kilometers of track are a paradise for those who dream of trains. There are two choices – the daily train to the small settlement of Temon or the twice-weekly tourist train to Papar. ‘Trainheads’ won’t need any convincing to do both trips at least once.

The renovated North Borneo Railway operates a journey south from Tanjung Aru in Kota Kinabalu along a narrow rickety train line to Papar some 66 kilometres away. Looking around the train, it’s easy to see that some of the passengers fall into the ‘lunatic fringe, fanatical steam train devotees’  category while others appear to have only a passing interest in the nostalgia of a mode of transport that has slipped into near oblivion….the train accommodates 180 passengers in fully renovated colonial-style train carriages… The railway recreates the experience of a bygone era in the land once known as British North Borneo. It’s like a time capsule transporting passengers along what was once the lifeline for people living here.

Sample commentary plan

Writer’s purpose and audience

This is to persuade readers of the attraction of travel on this railway. The audience is the general public and those interested in travel.


Tone is persuasive


Think about ‘head off’, ‘puffin billy’, ‘trainheads’, ‘rickety’. ‘lunatic fringe’, ‘fanatical’, ‘nostalgia’ and ‘oblivion’.

Figures of speech

Think about ‘traveller’s check’, ‘opened up’, ‘paradise’, ‘devotees’, ‘time capsule’. Think also about pun, metaphor, simile, hyperbole, idiom and contrast.


Think about paragraphing.

Sample commentary

The writer’s purpose is to give information about the renovated North Borneo Railway and to persuade readers to try it. The tone is persuasive and relatively light-hearted. The pun in the title establishes light-heartedness: ‘traveller’s check’ is both the possible means of paying one’s way in travel and the link with the information to follow about the railway.

The attraction of train travel is outlined in the opening paragraph; the metaphor of ‘opened up the countryside’ makes train travel attractive by suggesting new discoveries or the revelation of something concealed until now. ‘Head off is light-hearted and gives the idea that travel is relaxing and freedom-giving. The mention of Thomas Cook in the second paragraph gives historical accuracy and therefore credibility to train travel as something tried  and tested.

The idiom ‘puffin billy’ in the third paragraph is informal; the informality gives the passage an easy feel to it, a user-friendly approach. Train travel is for everyone. The metaphor ‘paradise’ to describe the railway in North Borneo makes the countryside through which it passes seem idyllic., the most beautiful place on earth, or even a beauty which transcends earth. The structure of the rest of the paragraph makes it easy to follow the rest of the passage, because the writer outlines the two options for travel on the railway, which then makes it possible to devote a paragraph to one of them. The idiom ‘trainheads’ must mean those who love train travel; again, the informal tone makes train travel seem accessible to ordinary people, and the newness of the idiom makes train travel seem modern and possibly an attraction for the young, who are the kind of people to invent new language or slang.

In the fourth paragraph the vocabulary ‘narrow rickety’ is used to describe the train. Normally, these adjectives would not enhance an overall description, but in this case the train is made to seem attractively old-fashioned, as if the privilege of having such a historical experience makes the discomfort of ‘narrow’ and ‘rickety’ more of a pleasure than a pain. The ’lunatic fringe’, fanatical steam train devotees’ adds a note of humour to the passage; ‘devotees’ raises train travel to an almost religious level which is clearly exaggeration or hyperbole. ‘Lunatic fringe’ is humorous because it suggests that those who like train travel are in some way mentally deranged. Contrast is established when the writer goes on to describe the other, completely different type of travelers (those with only a passing interest):  therefore it can be seen that train travel is for all, and so every reader is included as a possible traveller, adding to the persuasive tone of the passage. The vocabulary captures the history and therefore the credibility of train travel in words such as ‘nostalgia’ and ‘oblivion’ with their connotations of long time scales. A simile describing the train as being ‘like a capsule’ makes the train seem old-fashioned, by suggesting that a trip on it is not only through this part of Malaysia but back through history to a time pre-dating our own modern trains. The metaphor ‘lifeline’ comes from the literal idea of throwing a drowning person a rope with which to be pulled ashore; thus, the vital importance of the railway to people’s way of life is underpinned.



Shanghai childhood

The passage below is written by an English adult, Christopher Banks, describing his memories of growing up in Shanghai with his Japanese friend, Akira


Comment on the style and language of the passage.

At the rear of our garden in Shanghai, there was a grass mound with a single maple tree rising out of its summit. From the time Akira and I were around six years old, we enjoyed playing on an around that mound, and whenever I now think of my boyhood companion, I tend to remember the two of us running up and down its slopes, jumping right off where the sides were at their steepest.

From time to time, when we had won ourselves out, we would sit panting at the top of the mound with our backs against the trunk of the maple tree. From this vantage point, we had a clear view over my garden and of the big white house standing at the end of it. If I close my eyes a moment, I am able to bring back that picture very vividly; the carefully tended ‘English’ lawn, the afternoon shadows cast by the rows of elms separating my garden and Akira’s; and the house itself, a huge edifice with numerous wings and trellised balconies. I suspect this memory of the house is very much a child’s vision, and that in reality, it was nothing so grand. Certainly, even at the time, I was conscious that it hardly matched the splendor of the residences round the corner in Bubbling Well Road.

Organising your response

Think of the key terms you have learned to describe language, and write them down. You should have something like this:


  • writer’s purpose and audience
  • tone
  • language features, for example vocabulary, figures of speech and structure.


Now take each of these key terms and try to match them to the passage. Don’t think yet about your final answer, just jot your ideas down in note form.


Sample commentary plan

Writers’s purpose

 This is to entertain and perhaps amuse by his explanation of the confusion in the boy’s mind about the size of his house.


This is nostalgic, looking back.


Think about and write comments on the following words and phrases: ‘mound’, ‘worn…..out’, ‘panting’, ‘close my eyes a moment’, ‘bring back that picture’, hardly matched’.


The central picture in paragraph 1 is the grass mound on which grew one maple tree. A wider picture is given in paragraph 2 because the writer’s vantage point is extended to include the garden and the house. It is as if a camera were panning out from a small focus to a larger one. Each paragraph starts with the writer’s view as a child and goes on to qualify that childish view with his adult opinion. In terms of punctuation the colon in the second paragraph introduces a list of memories. The inverted commas around ‘English’ show that the boy’s parents were consciously trying to have an English type of garden, but perhaps not succeeding.

Sample commentary

The writer’s purpose is to look back on childhood in a nostalgic, sometimes rather comical way. It is congruous to describe a ‘mound’ as having a ‘summit’. This shows that to small children a slight incline in a garden seems like a mountain. The writer concedes that his memory is exaggerated in the phrases ‘even at the time’ and ‘hardly matched’: he acknowledges the ‘splendour’ of the houses round the corner, which are described as ’residences’ rather than merely houses.

A comical picture of little boys is created. Their game is only running about in a garden and yet they are ‘worn….out’ and are ‘panting’, in need of a rest. The gap between childhood and adulthood for the writer is shown in the words ‘around six years old’; he does not have an exact memory because it was a long time ago. Nostalgia is created in his closing his eyes ‘to bring back that picture’, consciously trying to evoke the past. His parents’ nostalgia for the England they have left behind is shown in their weak attempt to re-create an ‘English’ lawn; the inverted commas show their attempt is not entirely successful in the climate of Shanghai.



Commentary on ‘Mandela Speech”

The author of this speech uses techniques such as repetitive sentence structure as well as emotive and figurative language in order to achieve his aim of positive cohesion among his listeners, to together built democracy and freedom.  The tone of the speech is very celebratory and confident. This is achieved by the use of words like “glory and hope” , “celebrations”,  “new-born liberty”.  The use of the words“ extraordinary human disaster” to describe the past, is meant to appeal to the emotions of the listeners and to remind them about the horrifying past.Emotive language can also be observed in the words “ skunk of the world”, “ continuing bondage of poverty, deprivation, suffering, gender and other discrimination”as well as, “ Let there be peace for all, let there be work, bread, water and salt for all” In the first expression, people are compared to inferior animals. This, as well as the pledge that this will be “never again” encapsulates the whole message and mood of the speech, reminding the audience about the horrid past they all experienced, and promising them this will never happen again to them, building trust. Similarly in the second expression, very negative words are used to remind the listeners of the horrifying past and to build up emotions. Figurative language is also used, metaphors like “ the time for healing wounds has come”, “The moment to bridge the chasms that divide us has come”, all say that it’s time to end what was in the past and build a bright future. In these two metaphors, we can also observe the technique of repetitive sentence structure. The repetition of the word “we” is a clever technique, which unifies the audience together, contributing to the effect of cohesion.  This can also be observed in the last line, “God bless Africa.” , which appealing to the whole continent, unifies the whole of Africa.  The metaphor used at the end of the speech, “ the sun shall never set on so glorious a human achievement”  builds up the celebratory and proud tone of this speech, saying that the magnitude, and the meaning of this achievement will never decrease.  In this speech, the language is very emotive and figurative, with a lot of strong words and metaphors. This, as well as the techniques used by the author, such as the repetitive sentence structure, builds up the celebratory and proud tone and mood of this speech, also unifying all the people listening to it by appealing to their emotions.

Commentaray on the passage “Birches

The writer of ‘Birches’ uses a simple theme of swinging trees to encapsulate a variety of weighty ideas skimming through his mind; the careless and happy life of children compared to the challenges of adult life; life and death and truth and imagination. The vast use of figures of speech and the personal voice of the poet make this piece of writing effective in bringing across the thoughts and feelings of the poet as well as the contrast between these varies ideas.

Thefirst section of the poem can be described as a ‘battle’ between truth and imagination, the writer knows that it is ice storms that are responsible for the bending of the trees, yet he likes to imagine it is caused by a boy who swings on them. This swinging movement can be seen in the structure of the poem, where the topic seems to shift from the ice storms to the boy, consequently back to the ice storms and so on.

The writer remembers his careless childhood where he used to climb birchesjust for fun. Now as an adult, he sees ‘climbing branches’ as asuperior escape from life’s problems. This idea is conserved in the simile ‘it’s when I’m weary of considerations and life is too much like a pathless wood’. Thanks to this figure of speech, it can be seen the writer is experiencing problems in life, he finds it ‘pathless’ and he is lost not knowing what to do next, yet nostalgia is present; as the writer says he ‘dreams of going back to be’ a child. This is a very personal account, which effectively reveals the feelings of the writer; he misses the past and is quite overwhelmed by the troubles of adulthood.

The metaphor of swinging, as a movement between two contradicting ideas present throughout the whole piece has its climax in the last part of the poem. It is said ‘I’d like…coming back’. He wants to leave Earth by ‘climbing a birch tree’, and be able to rest from his problems, yet he isnot ready to die and wants to be able to return back to Earth after. This is why the birch tree is the perfect ‘vehicle’, it will take him all the way up above Earth, yet then swing him back down when he is ready.  The black branches which he climbs up the snow white trunk may symbolise all the troubles he has to pass in his journey of life on Earth.

The upward movement is away from Earth, the problems, the ‘Truth’ and into the world of tree tops, heaven, imagination, where all Earth’s problems seem small, and the downward movement symbolises reality, coming back to the grey world. This movement between both is present in the whole poem; in the description of the trees bending under ice, the upwards movement – imagination, that the boy is swinging the trees, and the downwards -reality, the ice storms;it is also present in the memory of childhood, the good, carefree times, and the downwards movement when reality brings him back to Earth and reminds him of all his ‘weary considerations’ he faces now as an adult.

The last line of the poem, ‘one could do worse than be a swinger of branches’ justifies his feelings, capturing the message the whole poem is trying to bring across – that it is nothing bad to imagine, to wear off into the world of dreams and good memories, and that sometimes that is the only escape we have from our current problems and worries.

595 words

Prose Non-Fiction: Commentary on advertisements


Both these advertisements, though aimed at considerably diverse audiences, exploit effective, positive language and a personal, direct mode of address to encourage the reader to apply for the job. They both attempt to create a good image of themselves and present the job as animmense opportunity for the applicants.

Advertisement A is aimed at a relatively young ‘active’ audience, yet one that already has ‘experience’ in marketing and possesses ‘excellent all round marketing skills’. This may indicate the business aims at people of any sex, in their thirties; with a lot of vitality, who already hold significant skills in marketing.

Advertisement B is also aimed at young people, who have already worked in a ‘middle management experience’, but may not be as skilled as those candidates required in ad A, people who wish to develop their careers, to take a ‘jump to a higher level’ into a big ‘ progressive’ business.

Ad A begins with a short sentence which states that this is a ‘major financial group’ with offices all over the United Kingdom.  This already makes the reader think ‘This is something big’ and motivates him to continue reading and considering applying for the job.

TCP Holdings uses phrases like ‘keyrole’,‘dual responsibilities’, ‘control all marketing’ to excite the reader about the job, and to underline its significance for the business. The phrase ‘door opener’ suggests that the employee will become the ‘figurehead’ of the business, the first person a potential investor or client will see. This is effective in thrilling and persuading the reader to apply for the job.

The readers are addressed in a very personal manner. The ad lists the accountabilities of the new employee with the repetitive use of ‘you will’ before the sentence. This is a very confident, almost commanding statement made to the reader, it is almost asking for a response ‘yes, I will!’, allowing the reader to picture himself in that place, carrying out those tasks in the future and allows him to identify himself with the job.

Similarly, in Ad. B, the reader is addressed very personally, but in this case the qualifications required for the job are registered with the use of the phrase ‘you have’. This calls to the reader much stronger than a simple list of expectations, and similarly as the use of ‘you will’ in passage A, it makes the reader want to respond ‘Yes, I have!’ motivating him to apply for the job and to prove to himself he does truly possess all these described qualities.  It is almost complementing the reader by saying ‘ you have first rate…skills…excellent track records…’, you have experience in a ‘high standard’ firm. This mode of address is very motivating for the reader, as he feels valued.

Ad B uses phrases like ‘hands-on approach’ or ‘think on your feet’. This makes the piece of writing seem more dynamic, more appealing to the reader, also contributing to the personal way the reader is addressed in.

After emphasising the size of the enterprise and the importance of the offered vacancy, TCP Holdings says ‘this is a challenge that rarely comes along…’ once more underlining the distinctiveness of this offer, and almost screaming out to the reader ‘This is your chance! Don’t waste it!’The advertisement ends with the sentence ‘If you have….. We would very much like to hear from you’. This sentence uses a clever technique of insinuation, saying ‘If you are excellent at marketing, then you should apply for the job’. The reader feels the need to apply, to prove to himself that he can take on these responsibilities, and that he is truly excellent at this job. He asks himself ‘If I don’t apply, am I not good enough?’


A similar technique is used in Advertisement B where the candidate is described as ‘experienced’ , ‘ capable’, ‘ a leading light’ ; making him want to prove, that he does live up to these descriptions, and apply for the job.

Advertisement B starts off with creating a noble image of the company, by stating that it is a ‘success’, by using phases like ‘ committed people’ ,  ‘ great deal to look forward to and even more to offer’.  It makes the reader enthusiastic about the future of the business, by talking about its planned conversion to plc. The post is described as a ‘chance to grow with a truly progressive company’. All this makes the vacancy seem as a good choice for the future, a stable job which will finance a living. This is especially significant as the advertisement is aimed at young people, who will be thinking about getting a secure firm job which will allow them to start their families and live on their own.

The job is described as ‘challenging’, offering unrivalled scope for career development’ with ‘generous’ benefits, from a ‘leading financial services organisation. This perfectly matches the target audience of this ad, young people, who want to work in a ‘leading’ firm, who want to develop their careers, and who require benefits for themselves and their future families.

Finally, Ad B ends with a statement: ‘Savers is an equal opportunities employer. We welcome applications from people with disabilities, from all races, religions and from both sexes’. This is an attempt to create a friendly image of the company, who cares about all people. This may attract certain types of readers to the company.

Both these passages, though aimed at different audiences, try to attract applicants by creating a good image of the company, using positive adjectives to describe the vacancy, and addressing the reader in a personal way, with the use of words like ‘you will’ to motivate and excite him about the job. They both describe the jobs as a big opportunity which shouldn’t go to waste. Passage B makes use of colloquial phrases and a declaration of sympathy for all people in order to seem friendlier.



Comment on Style and Language of Passage A

The mood as well as the tone of this passage fluctuates from greatly paranoid and anxious to ‘normal’ and right back down to irrationally frightened.  This constant change corresponds with the feelings and thoughts passing through the authors mind as she; an agoraphobic and overly paranoid individual; decides to pass a milestone in her life and engage in an outing in France. Her grim and pessimistic attitude is reflected in the negative vocabulary and language devices used, such as rhetorical questions and metaphors. However, finally she comes to the realisation that her ‘philosophy of life is wrong’, which is also manifested in the optimistic language used as well as the nostalgic mood and tone at the end of the passage.

She uses words like ‘wrench’ and ‘palaver’ as well as ‘plunging into God knows what’ to describe a seemingly pleasant event – a holiday. She then calls it a ‘big mistake, saying ‘all her fears were justified’.  Throughout the passage she asks rhetorical questions, ‘Why have I done this?’, ‘What comfort? Why expect any?’, ‘What could be wrong now?’, ‘Why have I not stayed at home? […]’, ‘Why come and terrify myself?’The use of the metaphor of a cup being half empty or half full throughout the passage indicates the contradicting nature of her and Olivia’s view of life. To the writer the cup is always half or even ‘completely empty’ The negative vocabulary present throughout the passage, as well as these irrational questions, asked as a reaction to minor misfortunate events, convey the mood of paranoia and anxiety, and encapsulate her unreasonable feelings.  In some instances the mood becomes uplifting, however as she lists many unrelated events in the sentence, ‘I crawled…uproar,’it can be seen that even when she enjoys herself, she is overwhelmed by everything going on around her, and she cannot convey her thoughts.

Nevertheless, as she comes to the realisation that ‘perhaps Olivia was right and my philosophy of life was wrong’ her vocabulary and tone undergoes a significant change. She starts seeing things as ‘heavenly’, ‘fresh’, ‘golden’, and ‘pleasant’. These optimistic adjectives influence the tone and mood which also become cheerful and positive, corresponding to the feelings of the author. At the end of the passage the mood becomes nostalgic as she realises her irrational paranoia and pessimism she manifested her whole life and asks herself ‘Why didn’t I stay longer?’ looking back positively on the dreaded trip.