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My Mother Said I Never Should - Illustrating and Supporting Points

This GCSE English Literature quiz will challenge you on illustrating and supporting points in Charlotte Keatley's My Mother Said I Never Should. Being able to write a good essay about literature depends very much on how well you use evidence from the text. If you make a point but forget to back it up with a quotation or example from the text, your point will not be very persuasive. Using evidence will also show how well you know and understand the text. This essential skill does not come easily and will improve with practice over time. In addition to the ability to choose the most effective evidence, this skill also depends upon the ability to punctuate accurately and pay attention to detail.

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This quiz is designed to test these important literary skills. Challenge yourself to identify the answers which have managed to use evidence correctly. Don’t forget, when you write your own essays, to follow up your quotation with an explanation, too!

How to use evidence to support a point:

There are three key methods of using evidence from a text: paraphrasing, quoting single words or short phrases, and quoting longer sections of text. Make sure that you are able to do each of these correctly. The easiest method is paraphrasing, which is to rephrase something in your own words. You should master the art of paraphrasing because it is an essential skill for good writing. By using your own words to paraphrase a section of text, you clearly demonstrate your knowledge. This skill also proves itself helpful in exam situations where you do not have the text available.

The second option is to use individual words or short phrases from the text to support the point you’ve made. Memorised short, relevant quotes from the text can be used this way to answer an exam question. If you wish to discuss language choice or minor details, this is the best method to use. Including quotations in essays takes some practice, and, as you improve, you can consider combining methods. For example, mixing paraphrase with short quotations in the same sentence is a flexible and effective technique to use. Practising such a combination of methods will help you to avoid writing awkwardly long sentences which are cluttered with multiple short quotations.

Finally, quoting a full sentence or more is the practical choice when a short phrase does not make sense or you are finding it difficult to incorporate a short quote grammatically. This is also the perfect method to use if you want to discuss the quotation in great detail.

Here is a useful tip to write stylishly: avoid quoting single, ordinary words just because they are used in the text. Sometimes people do this just to prove that they have read the text, but it really only shows that a word has been copied from one place to another. If the word is significant, then it should have quotation marks. For example, in My Mother Said I Never Should, the word “Mother” is significant when pointing out how formally Doris expects to be addressed. Usually such an ordinary word would not need quotation marks. With these exceptions in mind, remember that you must otherwise always use quotation marks whenever you use an exact phrase or sentence from the text.

Try this quiz on the best way to use evidence from My Mother Said I Never Should. 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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Read the text from My Mother Said I Never Should and then choose the answer which best uses evidence in support of a point. The right answer will also be grammatically correct.
  1. DORIS: Margaret? I brought you some cocoa. (Sound of planes, distant.) Margaret? Are you asleep? . . . Dear? (Silence.) Well then. You'll just have to drink it cold in the morning.
    Remember that ordinary words such as "cocoa" and "asleep" do not need to be placed in quotation marks unless they are being used in an unusual or especially interesting manner in the text
  2. JACKIE (angry): I'll go back! Yes I will, finish the degree, I won't fail both things!
    It's important to make a point, rather than just quoting from the text. Here the point concerns Jackie's feelings of failure and determination to make a success of part of her life. You should follow up your point with some explanation or analysis
  3. ROSIE: It's so lovely here, Doris. (Pause.) Ken phoned to say happy birthday. I asked him to put some flowers on Margaret's grave today.
    Remember that there are many correct ways to use evidence from texts. Here, the names can be placed in quotation marks because it is significant that Rosie no longer knows what she should call her family members, but, being ordinary first names, the quotation marks aren't essential either. Your choice!
  4. MARGARET: You can come with me. To my secret, secret hide.
    Margaret holds out her hand. Jackie takes it.
    JACKIE: No. Not yet. Do you mind?
    Try, when quoting from the text, to pick up on the most interesting phrases which demonstrate your point. In this case the following sentence could discuss what might be meant by "hide" and its relationship to the secret dens and hideouts of childhood
  5. MARGARET: And I'm going to learn to type! Ken says it will be helpful if we need a second income. (As they shake the sheet.) Typing's far more useful than all those stupid school certificates. I'll get a proper job.
    Be sure to place quotation marks around the exact words or phrases you are quoting
  6. DORIS: Mother! Come and look. Do I look different? I must look different, I feel as though I've swallowed a firework.
    These can be tricky! Sometimes pronouns interfere with using quotations in a grammatical sentence. Be careful to quote accurately, but also try to make sure your own sentence is correct, too
  7. MARGARET: It's funny, hearing "Mummy" in this place. You do a job, people treat you differently.
    Often you can make a point about a single word
  8. ROSIE: Why don't you go and get drunk, or whatever it is you lot do to show you're feeling something.
    Remember that whenever you use an exact phrase from the text, it will need quotation marks
  9. JACKIE: There. I even washed your red sock. Washed everything, don't want Mummy to think — (Holding back tears.) I've got to clear up, Rosie. — All these ashtrays, Sandra and Hugh last night, they never think about you, do they?
    Sometimes the most practical way of using evidence is by paraphrasing rather than quoting directly. Be careful of using quotation marks just to draw attention to phrases (such as the scare quotes around the phrase "little girl")
  10. MARGARET: If you left a bit of butter on your plate, it was either Mother on at you about rationing, or Father would tell us again, how he started his business with a tin of boot polish, cleaning gentlemen's shoes on the steps of the Royal Exchange. What that had to do with butter, I really don't know.
    Here a longer quotation is combined with some paraphrasing to make the point

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