475 English questions

What is the difference between narrative and descriptive essays?

The objective of narrative questions is to describe a sequence of events in order to tell a story. A narrative would be for example telling a story about your first day in Year 11. A descriptive essay on the other hand does not necessarily recount a story line. Rather, a descriptive uses 'sensory detail' in order to describe a scene, a feeling or person. The writer in this paints a very colour picture. Descriptive essays are often quite detailed and focused on that particular thing. For more information you can visit this helpful site! https://classroom.synonym.com/narrative-vs-descriptive-writing-1043.html
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Sara A.

3 days ago

Answered by Sara, who has applied to tutor English with MyTutor


“It is primarily through imagery that poets make clear what cannot be easily expressed.” Examine John Donne’s poetry in the light of this statement. You must relate your discussion to relevant contextual factors.

The colossal success of the poetry of John Donne (1572-1631) revolves around his use of witty and strange imagery, and it is primarily through imagery that Donne makes clear difficult, abstract, and inexpressible concepts. Unusual and often shocking images are characteristic of the genre of Metaphysical poetry, which emphasised the spoken rather than the lyrical qualities of verse. However, literary techniques such as metrical patterns and conceits—a complex extended metaphor which runs throughout the entire poem—also give the reader a better understanding of complex ideas. Nevertheless, this essay argues that imagery triumphs in making the complex and inconceivable clear, a view which is in accordance to T.S. Eliot, notably stating in his celebrated essay “The Metaphysical Poets” that Donne’s success was founded on his ability to successfully fuse thought and feeling into images.Donne’s image of a death-bed scene in “A Valediction Forbidding Mourning” makes clear what cannot be easily articulated: the inexpressibility of grief. The poem centres on the speaker comforting his loved one before his departure, explaining that his loved one should not be apprehensive by his voyage (although during the 16th century travelling was considered perilous) as their love is spiritual “refined” and so powerful that they “know not what it is”. The purpose of the poem is to give comfort to the speaker’s lover, and it is primarily through the startling death-bed imagery that Donne makes clear the inexpressible grief of parting:“As virtuous men pass mildly away,And whisper to their souls to go,Whilst some of their sad friends do sayThe breath goes now, and some say, No:”
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Andie C.

1 week ago

Answered by Andie, English tutor with MyTutor


How do I plan and structure my answer to an exam question?

The most important thing to remember when approaching an exam question is to read the question/s carefully. Read and then reread, underlining key words. For example, “Starting with this extract, explore how far Shelley presents the monster as an evil character. […] Write about: How far Shelley presents the monster as evil in this extract AND How far Shelley presents the monster as evil in the novel as a whole.” In this example, you should underline “how”, “presents”, “monster” and “evil character”. You should also consider the second part to this question and underline “extract” and “novel as a whole”. Then, pull apart the extract; underline key words or phrases that you think will help support your argument. These steps are important in ensuring you have a well-planned and structured answer.Next, plan your Introduction, Points (2/3 depending on time) and Conclusion. Your introduction should address the question and introduce your argument without going into too much detail.When planning your points or the main body of your essay, follow the PEE paragraph structure. Begin with a POINT (e.g. The monster’s language is negative and has evil connotations.) Then support your point with EVIDENCE (e.g. “I will watch with the wiliness of a snake, that I may sting with its venom.”). Finally, your EXPLANATION should focus on your quote whilst drawing on your point. Here you should address language, structure, form and context. Go into further detail by selecting certain words or phrases from your quote and elaborate. Then, relate this to the rest of the extract, the novel overall and other literature from the text’s genre, in this case Gothic Literature and the 19th Century Novel. Finish your paragraph by setting up an argument for your next point and repeat the PEE process for your second and third points.Finally, your conclusion should summarise your points and with a final statement conclude your argument. However, you do not want to repeat your previous explanations or your introduction as you should instead be focusing on summarising and condensing what you have just written to highlight how you have addressed the question and structured an argument.SIDE NOTE: Your plan may change when writing your essay, to ensure you are still achieving your assessment objectives plan a strong argument with more flexible points that despite being altered, will always lead to a strong conclusion.
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Emily T.

2 weeks ago

Answered by Emily, English tutor with MyTutor


How do I write a good personal essay?

A good personal essay should be centred around a change or experience of the self rather than a specific event like getting lost or losing a loved one. The essays should include reflection and implicit emotion. Implicit meaning that the emotions are implied through other factors than emotion words. The essay should include a very mature understanding of the experience or evolution of the self and what it has done to shape you or reflect on what it may have stopped you from growing into. The personal reflection of the self and mature emotional understanding is key to a good reflective, personal essay
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Lucy J.

3 weeks ago

Answered by Lucy, English tutor with MyTutor


'The tragic hero's downfall is a product of their hubris' - To what extent do you agree with this view?

In an Aristotelian definition of tragedy, the tragic hero's downfall is an amalgamation of their hubris, hamartia, and the tragic villain. In Shakespearean tragedy, however, the hamartia is altered to becomes less of an act and more of an inherent character flaw, which is replicated in Miller's tragedy of 'the common man': Death of a Salesman. Willy Loman's downfall is a product of both his hubris and a mistaken belief in the Capitalist American Dream, as defined under the 1940s consumerist culture: the promise of material splendour. Willy believes in an outdated view that an individual must be 'well-liked' and stresses the importance of 'personality' in succeeding financially. However, this is in contention with the doctrine of hard-work promoted in the American Dream that boomed under the development in economic liberalism. Willy's hubris leads him into a state of self-delusion, in which he is unable to accept his failures, believing himself to be 'well liked' and 'vital in New England'. His hubris prevents him from abandoning his mistaken beliefs and leads him into further financial turmoil, for he refuses Charlie's job. This hubris concurrently prevents him from acknowledging the potential offered to him in the pastoral American Dream. The flute motif established at the start symbolises this pastoral American Dream, evident in the description of how it is 'telling of grass and tress and the horizon', which all display the natural imagery aligned with the pastoral. The flute occurs throughout the play, playing even after Willy's death. Miller describes how 'only the music of the flute is left on the darkening stage', which emphasises the sense of loss, in that it outlives Willy and offers the potential that he could have lived, had he adopted the pastoral American Dream. In contrast to the initial quotation, therefore, Willy's downfall is not only a product of his hubris, but a variety of factors. His hubris, tragic flaw, and the social environment that preys on him all work together in propelling his psychological turmoil and eventual suicide.
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Jack P.

3 weeks ago

Answered by Jack, English tutor with MyTutor


How do I write a good essay?

First read the question carefully and underline key words. Your argument should be along the lines of the main subject, so first identify which one it is.Once you have done that, decide on which aspect of the question you are going to focus. You need to go into detail with the topic. For that, make a structure before you start writing. Something like:
1) Introduction + aim of the essay. 2) 1st part of the story or the argument. If you are arguing in favour of something, this could be written here. 3) 2nd argument for the story or for an idea. If you are arguing in favour of something, here you might want to talk about the cons and counter-argue them. 4) Conclusion. In the conclusion you should always make sure you come back to what was said in the introduction, whilst wrapping up your arguments. Never add any new information. Make sure you never use contractions. You should say "cannot" instead of "can't", "should not" instead of "shouldn't", etc.Be clear and don't be afraid to use paragraphs to give your essay a clear structure.It also helps if you use connectors such as: moreover, however, nevertheless...
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Pilar P.

3 weeks ago

Answered by Pilar, English tutor with MyTutor


How do I create a thesis statement for a poem analysis for the IOC?

For the IOC, it is critical that you create a consistent and coherent argument based on a point you make about the poem - something that you identify is being commented on or criticized in the poem. This will be the subject of your thesis statement. For the IOC your thesis is important because the stronger your thesis is, the stronger your IOC analysis will be. In order to create a thesis statement, you must first analyze the poem. For the IOC, you will be given time to annotate and prepare for the oral commentary. During this time, you should identify common themes and ideas in the poem - patterns - and how language and literary devices are used to create these patterns. Once you identify a theme, or main idea that you see in the poem, you can build your thesis statement. For instance, if the theme of the poem is death, you can make it your main point that the poem is depicting the tragedy of death. However, in order to complete your thesis statement, you will need to identify how the poet uses language and literary devices to establish this idea of tragedy in death, such as by the creation of tone and mood, or the employment of personification or metaphor, etc... Once you have the instruments that prove your main point, you can build a strong thesis. For instance - The poem depicts the tragedy of death via the tone, the extended metaphor and the employment of personification. This way of creating a thesis statement makes it easier for you to structure your oral commentary and ensure that it is focused and not just an analysis of everything that is being said in the poem. Examiners value theme based structures, and it is a way to avoid getting lost and losing the flow while orally delivering your analysis.
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Matilde A.

3 weeks ago

Answered by Matilde, English tutor with MyTutor


Write a story about two people from very different backgrounds.

In planning my answer to this question, I would first decide on the different backgrounds of the two people; did they grow up in different cities, or different countries? Is one of them male and one female? Does one of them have a poor relationship with their parents, and the other came from a loving family? Having made this decision I would plan my story; what will the conflict between the characters be, how will that conflict be resolved, what is the beginning, middle, and end of the story? As 24 marks are given for content and organisation, I would try to choose the most interesting of the backgrounds I had come up with, and carefully plan my story so that it is well structured. As 16 marks are given for technical accuracy, not only would I focus on correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation, but I would also ensure that my use of vocabulary was not only interesting, to make the story more so, but correct.
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Catriona S.

3 weeks ago

Answered by Catriona, English tutor with MyTutor


Show how Mrs. Birling’s character is shown to be responsible not only for the death of Eva Smith but also the condemnation of the privileged classes in ‘An Inspector Calls’.

I would begin my answer by briefly explaining the context in which the play was written, which would help to bring together the two halves of the question. Priestly wrote the play a year after the end of the Second World War, where he had the seen the issues of class divisions firsthand, and used the play to bring these ideas to light for the wider public. With the Birlings representing the worst shortcomings of the middle classes, exemplified in the year in which Priestly set the play (1912), and Eva Smith representing the working classes they exploited, the stage is set for a drama which encapsulates both the personal and more universal consequences of their actions.  When continuing to answer the question, I would show how Mrs. Birling is not only responsible for Eva's death in her actions and attitudes, but how these condemn the class she represents. To do this I would not only examine her use of language but also the stage directions, how she speaks with dignity and is agitated by the revelations about her family in relation to Eva, terrified of her perfect world coming crashing down. I would examine her role throughout the acts in chronological order, and it is important to note that the end of the play sees Mrs. Birling as proud and uncaring as before. She refuses to accept her responsibility despite the Inspector’s prophetic warning and instead feels ‘ashamed’ of the others’ actions. Her dismissal of the night’s events cements her representation of a selfish middle class, with her final line, 'In the morning they’ll be as amused as we are', showing that she hasn’t learned her lesson and doesn’t care for the terrible consequences her actions have wrought. Not only did Mrs. Birling help destroy Eva’s life but her actions and attitudes do her, and her class, more harm than good. 
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Catriona S.

3 weeks ago

Answered by Catriona, English tutor with MyTutor


What is the best way to structure my response to an essay question

You should use a 5 part structure:1st: Intro - Where you clearly set out your argument (It is imperative that your argument is clear and well thought out, the main reason for not doing well in essays or exams is if you barrel into your argument without thinking about it properly) 2nd: 1st part of your argument3rd: 2nd part of your argument4th: 3rd part of your argument (if applicable sometimes it can be helpful to provide a contradictory reading to your argument to show your grasp of the text)5th: Conclusion - Where you bring each paragraph together and concisely sum up everything you have talked aboutIt is very important that each paragraph develops your argument clearly, if you simply just use a paragraph to reaffirm what you have said in the previous paragraph then your argument is not moving in a forward motion and therefore is not being developed. It is also very important that you utilise every sentence to actually say something important, simply waffling on without thinking about what you are writing is an example of you not being totally comfortable with you argument and what you are trying to explore in the text.
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George J.

3 weeks ago

Answered by George, English tutor with MyTutor


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