Of Mice and Men - Illustrating and Supporting Points

This GCSE English Literature quiz about John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men gives you the opportunity to test your skills in using evidence in support of a point. By highlighting evidence you strengthen your point, making your argument more persuasive. When writing an essay about a text, don’t forget to follow up your quotation with an explanation, too!

How to use evidence to support a point:

There are three primary methods of using evidence in support of a point when writing about a text: by paraphrasing, by quoting single words or short phrases, or by quoting longer sections of text. Paraphrasing is very often neglected, but is an essential skill and very useful in this context.

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Even if you don’t use direct quotation, paraphrasing clearly demonstrates your knowledge of the text.

Quoting single words or short phrases is very effective in drawing attention to a specific choice of language. Remember that it is also possible to mix paraphrase and quotation in the same sentence. This is almost always better than writing long unwieldy sentences full of multiple quotations.

The final possibility is to quote a full sentence or more. This is often the best choice when the phrase on its own makes no sense or because you would like to discuss the longer quotation in close detail.

Remember: if you are using a single word which is not especially significant in itself, you do not normally need to use quotation marks. 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 use evidence from Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck.

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Read the text from Of Mice and Men and then choose the answer which best uses evidence in support of a point. The right answer will also be grammatically correct.
  1. "George's hand remained outstretched imperiously. Slowly, like a terrier who doesn't want to bring a ball to its master, Lennie approached, drew back, approached again. George snapped his fingers sharply, and at the sound Lennie laid the mouse in his hand."
    It can be tricky deciding which words to quote. Remember that single words can be very significant, such as here, where Lennie is depicted as a dog reluctant to return its ball to its master. Several individual words combine to create this image
  2. "The light climbed on out of the valley, and as it went, the tops of the mountains seemed to blaze with increasing brightness."
    Remember that you must quote accurately. The second answer, for example, is incorrect because its quote is not accurate. The fourth fails to use quotation marks around an exact phrase
  3. "The swamper stood up from his box. 'Know what I think?' George did not answer. 'Well, I think Curley's married...a tart.'"
    Sometimes you can make a good point by commenting on punctuation
  4. "The group burst into the clearing, and Curley was ahead. He saw Lennie lying on the sand. 'Got him, by God.' He went over and looked down at Lennie, and then he looked back at George. 'Right in the back of the head,' he said softly."
    Remember never to use a specific phrase from a text without using quotation marks
  5. "Lennie, who had been watching, imitated George exactly. He pushed himself back, drew up his knees, embraced them, looked over to George to see whether he had it just right. He pulled his hat down a little more over his eyes, the way George's hat was."
    Remember, quote with a purpose! The first and third answers, for example, do not give any new information
  6. "Old Candy was watching her, fascinated. 'If you was to do that, we'd tell,' he said quietly. 'We'd tell about you framin' Crooks.'
    'Tell and be damned,' she cried. 'Nobody'd listen to you, an' you know it. Nobody'd listen to you.'
    Candy subsided. 'No...' he agreed. 'Nobody'd listen to us.'"
    Paraphrasing can offer a simpler way of making a point sometimes
  7. "George sat entranced with his own picture. When Candy spoke they both jumped as though they had been caught doing something reprehensible. Candy said, 'You know where's a place like that?'"
    It's important not just to repeat what the text says, but to use the text in support of a specific point
  8. "Lennie sat in the hay and looked at a little dead puppy that lay in front of him. Lennie looked at it for a long time, and then he put out his huge hand and stroked it, stroked it clear from one end to the other."
    There are many correct ways to use evidence. Enjoy being creative!
  9. "The old man squirmed uncomfortably. 'Well — hell! I had him so long. Had him since he was a pup. I herded sheep with him.' He said proudly, 'You wouldn't think it to look at him now, but he was the best damn sheep dog I ever seen.'"
    Remember, referring to the text in detail does not always mean using direct quotations. Sometimes paraphrasing is more appropriate in supporting a point. Do not quote merely for the sake of quoting; instead use quotes to back up your point with evidence
  10. "'You're nuts.' Crooks was scornful. 'I seen hunderds of men come by on the road an' on the ranches, with their bindles on their back an' that same damn thing in their heads. Hunderds of them. They come, an' they quit an' go on; an' every damn one of 'em's got a little piece of land in their heads. An' never a God damn one of 'em ever gets it. Just like heaven.'"
    To quote a single word successfully, your point must be about the use of that specific word. The third answer is not a good example of using quotations because it is Crooks's disbelief in the dream which is the point, rather than the use of the word "scornful"

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