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Anita and Me - Illustrating and Supporting Points

This GCSE English Literature quiz looks at illustrating and supporting points in Meera Syal's Anita and Me. One of the most important skills to learn for writing English literature essays is how to provide evidence in support of your argument and the points you make. You can provide this evidence either by making specific reference to moments in the text, or by using direct quotations. Offering evidence to back up your argument is how you make your writing persuasive. By quoting or paraphrasing, you also demonstrate how well you understand the text. These essential skills are certainly not easy to master, however! As ever, you can improve with practice. In addition to selecting the most effective evidence, you will also need to pay attention to detail, grammar and punctuation. By taking this challenging quiz, you will be able to practise these important literary skills. See whether you can identify the answers which have managed to use evidence correctly. When using these skills in essay writing, don’t forget to follow up with explanation and analysis, too!

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How to use evidence to support a point:

There are three methods of using evidence from a text: paraphrasing, quoting single words or short phrases, and quoting longer sections of text. Mastering each of these methods will take some practice. One of the easiest ways to use evidence from a text is to paraphrase, which allows you to use your own words to describe or rephrase a part of the text and is thus especially useful for closed-book exams. Paraphrasing is an essential skill for all kinds of writing; it is easy to forget that it also demonstrates your knowledge of the text.

Quoting individual words or short phrases from the text is another method of providing evidence in support of a point. You can really impress by memorising some short, relevant quotations. "Relevant" is the key word here, however: when you use these short quotations, be sure they relate to your point. This method is particularly effective for times when you wish to discuss the details of language choice. It will take some practice to incorporate quotations well, which includes making sentences grammatically correct. As you improve this skill, you can consider combining methods. Your writing will become more flexible when you can mix paraphrase with short quotations in the same sentence. By using a combination of methods, you can avoid writing awkward sentences cluttered with multiple quotations.

The final method is to quote a full sentence or more. Sometimes quoting a short phrase does not make sense in the way that you wish. At other times it can be difficult to include a quotation grammatically and, in these cases, this might be the best method to use. It is a good choice to quote longer passages when you would like to write about a quotation in close detail.

One useful tip for writing well is to avoid quoting single, ordinary words in the hopes of proving that you have read the text. This tactic really only demonstrates that a word has been copied from one place to another. Occasionally, a perfectly ordinary word might be used in a significant way, in which case it is good to quote the word. With the exception of a single, ordinary word being used in an ordinary way, all exact phrases or sentences from the text should be enclosed in quotation marks.

Try this quiz on the best way to use evidence from Anita and Me. The aim of this quiz is to test your ability to quote and to paraphrase; your knowledge of the text is not being tested here. One helpful tip is that it might be easier to eliminate the incorrect answers first!

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  1. "It was hot and I could feel beads of sweat and fear threading themselves into a necklace of guilt, just where my itchy flesh met the collar of my starched cotton dress"
    Take a moment to identify the most effective evidence for the point you wish to make
  2. "I held out my crumpled bag of stolen sweets. She peered inside disdainfully, then snatched the bag off me and began walking away as she ate. I watched her go, confused. I could still hear my parents talking inside, their voices now calmer, conciliatory. Anita stopped momentarily, shouting over her shoulder, 'Yow coming then?'"
    Remember to use single quotation marks for dialogue within your chosen quotation
  3. "Mama tried to be a careful motorist, but drove so slowly that the amount of blood pressure she provoked in anyone unlucky enough to be stuck behind her, cancelled out all her good intentions. I had seen her having lessons from papa around the village, caught glimpses of her crawling around a gentle corner or tackling a minor slope as if it were the north face of the Eiger, whilst papa sat impassively next to her, his fingers gripping the dashboard in a parody of a fighter pilot bracing himself for a blast of G-force"
    Be sure to practise the essential skill of paraphrasing!
  4. "'I'm getting a pony for Christmas,' Anita said airily. She was wearing one of her old summer dresses and a cardigan I guessed must have been her mum's as it hung off her in woolly folds. I felt babyish and cosseted; wrapped up in my hooded anorak and thick socks and realised Anita must have been a lot older than I had previously thought"
    Ordinary words such as "summer" and "cardigan" do not require quotation marks unless their use is interesting or unusual in some way
  5. "I opened my mouth to allow the story sitting on my lips to fly out and dazzle my papa, but stopped myself when I saw how furious he was. Both his eyebrows had joined together so he had one angry black line slashing his forehead like a scar and his usually light brown eyes were now black and impenetrable, glowing dark like embers. Then the enormity of what I had done hit me"
    Make sure the quoted words are accurate
  6. "I did not realise quite how starved we were of seeing ourselves somewhere other than in each other's lounges until Reita Faria, the reigning Miss India, won the Miss World contest"
    Sometimes quoting a single key word is enough to make a point
  7. "Anita was still lying on the ground. Trixie had ambled over and was snuffling at clumps of her hair that lay about her head like a broken halo"
    Remember that ordinary words such as "hair" do not usually need to be enclosed in quotation marks
  8. "I had expected Anita to undergo some sort of emotional crisis since Deirdre's departure but she remained as brassy and belligerent as ever, somehow managing to delegate her trauma workload to her little sister, Tracey"
    Did you know that you can slightly alter quotations to make them grammatical? In the first response "managing" has been replaced by "manag[ed]". The brackets show which letters have been altered from the original quotation
  9. "But the rest of my body went into emotional shock upon realising that I had been prone in this bed for over six weeks, that summer had handed over to autumn and that winter was standing in the wings sucking a throat lozenge and waiting for his cue"
    It's not enough to state that an author has used a specific literary device; you should also explain what effect the literary device creates
  10. "I saw that Tollington had lost all its edges and boundaries, that the motorway bled into another road and another and the Bartlett estate had swallowed up the last cornfield and that my village was indistinguishable from the suburban mass that had once surrounded it and had finally swallowed it whole. It was time to let go and I floated back down into my body which, for the first time ever, fitted me to perfection and was all mine"
    Be sure to enclose the entire quotation in quotation marks

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