A Christmas Carol - Illustrating and Supporting Points

This GCSE English Literature quiz is about illustrating and supporting points and looks at A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Whenever you wish to argue a point about a text, you need to rely on evidence. You can strengthen your case by referring specifically and accurately to evidence from a text. Quoting accurately from a text is not the easiest of skills to learn, however. This quiz gives you the chance to test these vital literary skills. See how well you can identify the answers which have incorporated the evidence in support of a point accurately and grammatically. And when writing your own essays or exam answers, don’t forget to follow up your quotation with an explanation, too!

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How to use evidence to support a point:

There are three primary methods of using evidence when writing about a text: the first is to paraphrase, the second is to quote single words or short phrases, and the third is to quote longer sections of text. Although sometimes neglected, paraphrasing is one of the easiest methods and is an essential skill in writing. The use of paraphrasing clearly demonstrates your knowledge of a text, even though you do not quote directly. This is the most useful method of using evidence when you do not have the text to hand (especially during an exam).

Selectively quoting single words or phrases is effective and is particularly useful when you wish to draw attention to a specific choice of language. By mixing paraphrase and a short quotation in the same sentence, you can be flexible in your writing and use of evidence. This is much more elegant and clear than writing long sentences full of multiple quotations. Sentences full of multiple quotations can be clumsy and very difficult to read.

The third, and final, method is to quote a full sentence or more. This method is appropriate if quoting a short phrase that would not make sense on its own, or if you would like to discuss a longer quotation in detail.

Remember: only use quotation marks around a single word if that word is significant in itself. Do not quote an ordinary word just because it happens to appear in the text. This is unnecessary and distracting to your reader. If you are using an exact phrase or sentence from the text, remember to put quotation marks around it.

See how you do with this quiz on the best way to illustrate and support points made about A Christmas Carol. Remember, the purpose of this quiz is to test your ability to quote and to paraphrase, rather than your knowledge of the text. One helpful tip is that it might be easier to eliminate the incorrect answers first!

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Read the text from A Christmas Carol and then choose the answer which best uses evidence in support of a point. Remember that the answer will also need to be grammatically correct.
  1. "I wouldn't show weak eyes to your father when he comes home, for the world."
    It is always useful to practise different ways of using evidence from the text, including by paraphrasing
  2. "It is a fair, even-handed, noble adjustment of things, that while there is infection in disease and sorrow, there is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good-humour."
    Developing a variety of ways of using quotations will make your essays and answers to exam questions more interesting
  3. "It isn't that, Spirit. He has the power to render us happy or unhappy; to make our service light or burdensome; a pleasure or a toil."
    When you use the exact words that appear in the text, these must be enclosed in quotation marks. Similar words, here such as "toilsome", are not exact quotes
  4. "Really, for a man who had been out of practice for so many years, it was a splendid laugh, a most illustrious laugh. The father of a long, long line of brilliant laughs!"
    Remember that it is not enough just to point out alliteration or any other literary device. You need to explain what effect it has and how it relates to your point
  5. "It was a great surprise to Scrooge, while listening to the moaning of the wind, and thinking what a solemn thing it was to move on through the lonely darkness over an unknown abyss, whose depths were secrets as profound as Death: it was a great surprise to Scrooge, while thus engaged, to hear a hearty laugh. It was a much greater surprise to Scrooge, to recognise it as his own nephew's."
    Remember not just to quote the text, but also to use the quotation to support your own point. This sentence could follow another point about the juxtaposition of the lonely abyss with the hearty, unexpected laugh
  6. "'Spirit!' said Scrooge, shuddering from head to foot. 'I see, I see. The case of this unhappy man might be my own. My life tends that way now.'"
    It is very important to use quotations grammatically. If your sentence talks about Scrooge in the third-person, a quotation using the first-person pronouns "I" or "me" for Scrooge will be jarring
  7. "Make up the fires, and buy another coal-scuttle before you dot another i, Bob Cratchit!"
    Remember that it is not sufficient to merely quote text; the quotation must support a point that you have made. Here the second answer uses quotations correctly, but does not make any point about the text
  8. "'I wear the chain I forged in life,' replied the Ghost. 'I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it.'"
    Quoting "my own free will" makes the sentence ungrammatical when the rest of the sentence refers to Jacob Marley in the third person
  9. "The Grocers'! oh the Grocers'! nearly closed, with perhaps two shutters down, or one; but through those gaps such glimpses! It was not alone that the scales descending on the counter made a merry sound, or that the twine and roller parted company so briskly, or that the canisters were rattled up and down like juggling tricks, or even that the blended scents of tea and coffee were so grateful to the nose."
    Sometimes it is necessary to change a word to make your sentence grammatical (here "canisters" has been changed to "containers" in the correct answer). Be sure to use quotation marks only for the words which are identical to the text
  10. "The scaling him with chairs for ladders to dive into his pockets, despoil him of brown-paper parcels, hold on tight by his cravat, hug him round the neck, pommel his back and kick his legs in irrepressible affection."
    Sometimes it is necessary to quote several separate words when making a point about the use of language. Try to keep these words together in a list, rather than scattering them throughout the sentence

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