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We are Learning. How to answer questions about word choice. All writers choose words because of the particular effect of the word.

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We are learning

We are Learning...

  • How to answer questions about word choice.


We are learning

  • All writers choose words because of the particular effect of the word.

  • In word choice questions you will be asked to look at individual words or phrases and identify why they were used by the writer and what effect they had in the passage.


Writing about word choice

Writing about word choice

  • When writing about why an author has used particular words and phrases we have to consider:

  • What is the effect of the word? Why is the word effective? Why is the word appropriate?

  • What is the author trying to tell us?

  • Why is the word interesting? Surprising?

  • Does the word help to create a particular mood or atmosphere?

  • Does the word help to convey the author’s attitude or tone?

  • What are the connotations of the word?


The two step method

The two step method

  • 1. Identify the word or phrase.

  • 2. Explain the effect of the word. Think about the connotations. Explain what the writer is trying to tell us.


Important

Important

  • You must be aware of the difference between the denotation and the connotation of a word.

  • Denotation= the dictionary definition of a word.

  • Connotation= all the secondary meanings associated with a word.


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  • For example,

    Denotation of the word “home”= the place where someone lives and sleeps.

    Connotation of the word “home”= a place of warmth, safety and security.


Other things to be aware of

Other things to be aware of:


We are learning

  • When studying questions about word choice, we must also be aware of some of the style choices that authors make in their writing.

  • Informal v Formal language.

  • Emotive language.

  • Jargon.

  • Dialect.

  • Archaisms.


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We are Learning...

About informal and formal language.


Formal v informal

Formal V Informal

  • An important part of a writer’s style will depend upon their use of formal and informal language.

  • What is the main difference?


Formal language

Formal Language

  • Correct grammar, punctuation and sentence structure.

  • No shortened forms of words, like “shouldn’t” or “don’t”.

  • Is more likely to be written than spoken.

  • Tends to deal with factual, more serious, subject matter. Serious tone. More emphasis on information and ideas.

  • More precise and correct word choice.


Informal language

Informal Language

  • Also known as “colloquial” or “conversational” language.

  • Uses less precise sentence structure, grammar and punctuation.

  • Uses abbreviations like “can’t” and “isn’t”

  • Tends to be more personal in tone.

  • Use of slang words.

  • Use of personal pronouns like “I” and “you”.

  • Sounds more like spoken English.


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We are Learning...

About emotive language.


We are learning

  • Emotive language is language that is designed to evoke/arouse emotions and feelings in the reader.

  • The author will choose particular words and phrases to get an emotional reaction from the reader.

  • An author will also use emotive language to convey his own feelings about something.


Example

Example

1. “appalling weather”

v

2. “very bad weather”

They both mean the same thing, but why is 1 better than 2?


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  • “appalling” means something that is shocking and horrifying. The phrase means that the weather was so bad that it could shock and horrify you.

  • This is a more vivid and effective expression to use as it evokes strong emotions in the reader.


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We are Learning...

How to identify jargon in a piece of writing.


We are learning

  • Jargon is the technical language used in connection with a specialised field of study.

  • Subject areas like Law, Medicine, Engineering, Science etc will have jargon words which are familiar to those within those subject areas, but the terminology will not be familiar to everyone else.


Example1

Example

However, if changing the antecedents is not successful in improving behaviour, it will be necessary to try to modify the pupil’s behaviour by changing the consequences. Behaviour modification takes two forms: there are behaviour formation and behaviour elimination techniques. The former involves the use of positive reinforcement and the latter employs tactical ignoring.


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We are Learning...

About writer’s use of dialect in their work


What do we mean by dialect

What do we mean by dialect?


We are learning

  • Dialect is the name given to the style of English spoken in a particular part of the English speaking world.

  • For example, Scots is an example of a dialect, which is spoken alongside English in Scotland.

  • All forms of English, that are not Standard English, are defined as “dialects”.


Scots dialect

Scots Dialect

  • May be Standard English words pronounced and spelled differently.

    Or,

  • May be completely different words.


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We are Learning...

How to identify archaisms in writing.


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  • An archaism is a deliberately old fashioned word that a contemporary author uses for a particular effect.

  • E.g “good morrow” for “good morning”.

    “farewell” for “goodbye”.


Questions

Questions


1 comment on the effectiveness of the word geek in this paragraph 2

1. Comment on the effectiveness of the word “geek” in this paragraph (2)

Mr Johnson responded avidly to the interviewer’s questions. He outlined his government’s policies on housing with considerable clarity and dexterity, speaking intelligently, enunciating his words with precision and appearing to take a great deal of trouble to ensure that he was communicating as effectively as possible. Sets of statistics, percentages and other figures were reeled off effortlessly in his attempt to persuade his interlocutor that the department’s policies in this area were sound. Yet it was impossible to resist the conclusion that despite his suave, polished performance, he was little more than just another numbers geek.


We are learning

  • informal tone contrasts so strongly with the largely formal language in the rest of the paragraph.

  • By using the word geek, with its associations of eccentricity and social awkwardness, the writer does not merely criticise Mr Johnson, he insults him


2 why does the writer choose the word strolled 2

2. Why does the writer choose the word “strolled”? (2)

“The policeman strolled into the house.”


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  • Suggests that the policeman is relaxed, not in a hurry.

  • Suggests that the policeman is in a happy mood.


3 what does the word rocketed suggest about the way that oil prices have changed

3. What does the word “rocketed” suggest about the way that oil prices have changed?

“Oil prices have rocketed in recent years.”


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  • the writer wants to emphasise the sudden, dramatic , explosive rise in prices.


4 what does the word glued suggest about the way the girl was watching the t v

4. What does the word “glued” suggest about the way the girl was watching the t.v?

  • The girl’s eyes were glued to the television.


We are learning

  • Suggests that she could not take her eyes off the screen. She was unable to move.


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