Higher English Tutor

Written by Higher English Tutor

This profile is a platform for a range of Higher-experienced English teachers to post information that will help students, and their parents, with preparing for students' Higher English exams. By following the below advice, we are confident that a student can improve their English grade, but individual motivation, perseverance and other factors must also be taken into account. This platform presents an approach to Higher English; we do not claim it is the only approach. It has worked successfully for other students.

Higher English – Using shorter quotations

Shorter might not be better; it’s not worse, but for some people, it can be easier. For some, learning large chunks of quotation isn’t going to happen, so learning more quotations but smaller ones might.

To use short quotations in your essay effectively there’s a very simple formula you can follow for each paragraph in the main body of your Higher English critical essay. But it is still useful, to start each paragraph with a topic sentence and a little bit of contextualisation.

Once you have done the topic sentence that relates to the task and provided a context then you can follow this formula:

P – make the point that’s relevant to the task

Q – provide a quotation that backs-up the point

A – analyse (explain) that quotation and show how it supports the point and relates to the task

You can use several of these in the same paragraph, for example:

Gatsby is someone whose strengths and weaknesses show us the truth of the American Dream. This is demonstrated by Nick’s description of his neighbour’s house. (P) Gatsby’s large house which was (Q) ‘colossal affair by any standard’.  (A) It shows that Gatsby has the weakness of wanting to impress people – this need endangers the American Dream of equality and freedom. The fact that the house was a copy of ‘some Hotel de Ville’ helps us understand that Gatsby has a lack of imagination about impressing people. This can be applied to the theme of the American Dream as it shows that America is just imitating Europe. Having a ‘marble swimming pool’ illustrates the massive wealth that Gatsby desires to show off, another weakness. The dream of America was that people would go there to escape a rich aristocracy that tried to impress each other on the backs of the poor. Each person could live freely by their own hard work.

This means you can still be rewarded for quoting without having to remember large quotations.

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