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How To Structure An Essay Gcse

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    Use sophisticated vocabulary, grammar and punctuation throughout and make sure that you use them properly. Using a range of words is effective because it can help to express your understanding and if you use the same words over and over again it can sound like you're repeating yourself. You may find yourself using a comma or a full stop that could be replaced with a semi-colon (;).

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    Analyse the language in depth. Make comments and by doing this you can identify techniques (e.g. metaphors, similes, hyperbole, imagery) that the writer uses and discuss the effect that it has: '[..] the sound bite at the start that begins 'perhaps the most generally ....' breaks the smooth, flowing of the prose. This emphasizes the negativity of the comment and startles readers because it is unexpected. Despite this, it is a good technique to keep readers engaged.' This is good because it shows that the student understand how the language and techniques are effective.

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    P.E.E.L. is something that I personally used in my English essays. This means to makes a point; back up the point with evidence (a quote); explain what this means and then make some further comments on the language/techniques within that quote e.g. 'The use of the hyperbole '[example of hyperbole]' is actually quite interesting; it helps to emphasize the portrayal of the protagonist's experience as [...]'

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    G.A.P.L.I.S.T refers to genre, audience, purpose, language, information, style and tone. Although it may be good to remember it as a whole, you may only really need to hold on to the thought of the genre, audience, language, style and tone. When it comes to the audience you may want to focus on how certain techniques may appeal to the audience. When it comes to tone, you may want to look at the techniques and language used that helps to determine the way that the author feels towards a certain subject.

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    Refer to the question after you've finished a point and when you are ready to move on to the next paragraph. It is important to refer back to the original question throughout where ever it may be possible.

  • How to structure a comparison response

    A comparison response still follows the basic essay structure:

    • an introduction
    • four or five main points supported by details
    • a conclusion - this must link back to the question, and mention both texts

    When you compare texts, it’s important to talk about both texts all the way through. Don’t write all about one text, then all about the other.

    In each paragraph, make sure you mention both, even if a point is mostly about one of them.

    Sentence starters

    Some key phrases can help you to compare texts.

    Similarities Differences
    Similarly…In contrast…
    In the same wayOn the other hand…
    Just as... so does....Alternatively…
    Both... and...In a different way…

    When comparing texts, you are making a point about two different texts, backing up ideas with evidence and explaining the idea. Then using a linking statement, you can connect the two ideas together.


    Take a look at the structure of the following example, where the writer compares how their mother and father react to poor behaviour:

    Both my Mum and Dad lose their temper sometimes when we misbehave, but in completely different ways.

    My Mum usually reacts to everything by losing her temper really quickly and screaming in response to make sure everyone knows just how furious she is. The thing that causes her to react strictly is usually leaving lights on. The quotation, ‘If I have to tell you again to turn those lights off, I will take the bulb out of your bedroom!’ This shows that sometimes she can exaggerate in her reactions.

    On the other hand, Dad will hardly ever lose his temper, or raise his voice. Instead, he will just stare at you silently, so you know instantly that you are in trouble. The quotation, ‘Well’ is the single word that he says once he has stared at you for a minute, and this shows that whilst he doesn’t scream and shout like Mum, he gives you a warning of the lecture that he is about to give you.


    Notice how the writer makes a point about how each parent loses their temper, backs it up with evidence and then explains their idea. The linking sentence starting with ‘on the other hand’ shows how the two ideas are similar or different.

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