The Woman in Black - Illustrating and Supporting Points

This GCSE English Literature quiz asks questions on illustrating and supporting points in Susan Hill's The Woman in Black. When you write essays for English literature, you are expected to support your points with convincing evidence. This evidence can be provided either by making specific reference to moments in the text, or it can appear in the form of direct quotations. Using the text to back up your argument is what makes your writing persuasive. Quoting and paraphrasing are techniques which also show how well you understand the text. While these skills are essential, they are by no means easy! You can, however, improve with practice. As well as choosing the most effective evidence, you will also need to pay attention to detail and punctuate accurately. Taking this challenging quiz will help you practise these important literary skills.

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See whether you can identify the answers which have managed to use evidence correctly. In your own writing, don’t forget to follow up your quotation with explanation and analysis, too!

How to use evidence to support a point:

You should know these three key methods of using evidence from a text: paraphrasing, quoting single words or short phrases, and quoting longer sections of text. It takes some practice to master each of these methods. Paraphrasing is one of the easiest ways to use evidence from a text, since it involves rephrasing short sections in your own words. This is an essential skill for all kinds of writing, and, rather handily, also demonstrates your knowledge of the text. This skill is especially useful for closed-book exams.

The second method is to quote individual words or short phrases from the text. Memorising short, relevant quotations can be impressive. When you use these memorised quotations in an essay, be sure to show how they are related to your point. This is an especially effective method to use when you wish to discuss the details of language choice. It does take some practice to incorporate quotations well. As you improve this skill, you should consider combining methods. For example, your writing becomes more flexible when you can mix paraphrase with short quotations in the same sentence. Practising combinations of methods will ensure that you avoid writing awkward sentences cluttered with multiple quotations.

The third method is to quote a full sentence or more. If quoting a short phrase does not make sense in the way that you wish, or is difficult to include in the sentence grammatically, this might be the best method to use. Longer quotations can be a good choice when you would like to write about the quotation in close detail.

Here is a useful tip for writing well: try not to quote single, ordinary words in the hopes of showing that you have actually read the text. This habit really only demonstrates that a word has been copied from one place to another. On certain occasions an ordinary word might be used in a significant way, in which case it should have quotation marks. In all other instances, exact phrases or sentences from the text should be enclosed in quotation marks.

Try this quiz on the best way to use evidence from The Woman in Black. 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 The Woman in Black and then choose the answer which best uses evidence in support of a point. The right answer will also be grammatically correct.
  1. "It was nine-thirty on Christmas Eve. As I crossed the long entrance hall of Monk's Piece on my way from the dining room, where we had just enjoyed the first of the happy, festive meals, towards the drawing room and the fire around which my family were now assembled, I paused and then, as I often do in the course of an evening, went to the front door, opened it and stepped outside"
    An ordinary word such as "family" should only be enclosed in quotation marks if the author's use of the word is especially significant
  2. "It would be easy to look back and to believe that all that day I had had a sense of foreboding about my journey to come, that some sixth sense, some telepathic intuition that may lie dormant and submerged in most men, had stirred and become alert within me. But I was, in those days of my youth, a sturdy, commonsensical fellow, and I felt no uneasiness or apprehension whatsoever"
    Remember to use quotation marks accurately, including the full quoted phrase, rather than just key words
  3. "And then, not particularly wishing to discuss the nature of my business with him, I picked up my newspaper again and unfolded it with a certain ostentation, and so, for some little while, we rumbled on in the nasty train, in silence - save for the huffing of the engine, and the clanking of iron wheels upon iron rails, and the occasional whistle, and the bursts of rain, like sprays of light artillery fire, upon the windows"
    The comparison here between the rain and a hail of bullets is an example of a simile, which could also be mentioned
  4. "While I waited, I wrote a brief fond note to Stella, which I would post the next morning, and while I ate heartily, I mused about the type of small house we might afford to live in after our marriage, if Mr Bentley were to continue to give me so much responsibility in the firm, so that I might feel justified in asking for an increase in salary. All in all, and with the half-bottle of claret that accompanied my supper, I prepared to go up to bed in a warm glow of well-being and contentment"
    Try wherever possible to quote whole phrases or, if quoting single words, to use a list. Writing can become very unclear when cluttered with several quotations
  5. "The ground sloped a little down to the estuary shore and, as I passed under one of the old arches, I startled a bird, which rose up and away over my head with loudly beating wings and a harsh croaking cry that echoed all around the old walls and was taken up by another, some distance away. It was an ugly, satanic-looking thing, like some species of sea-vulture - if such a thing existed - and I could not suppress a shudder as its shadow passed over me, and I watched its ungainly flight away towards the sea with relief"
    Remember that paraphrasing is a useful way to support points and to demonstrate your knowledge of the text
  6. "The noise of the pony trap grew fainter and then stopped abruptly and away on the marsh was a curious draining, sucking, churning sound, which went on, together with the shrill neighing and whinnying of a horse in panic, and then I heard another cry, a shout, a terrified sobbing - it was hard to decipher - but with horror I realised that it came from a child, a young child"
    There are multiple ways to quote correctly. Here, it is acceptable to use "scare quotes" to emphasise that what Arthur "hears" might be present in the physical world or only in his haunted imagination
  7. "'I must face it out, Mr Jerome. Such things one must face.' and even as I spoke I felt a new determination arise within me.
    "'So I said.' Mr Jerome was looking at me pityingly. 'So I said ... once.'
    "But his fear was only serving to strengthen my resolve. He had been weakened and broken, by what? A woman? A few noises?"
    In this case, "woman" should be enclosed in quotation marks because the narrator is emphasising just how non-scary and insignificant a woman is. A woman, just like a little noise, is diminished as a source of fear and therefore power, in these lines
  8. "And my manner that day must have indicated clearly that I would brook no opposition, heed no warning, even from within myself. I was by now almost pigheadedly bent upon following my course"
    The last example is incorrect not because the quotation is inaccurate, but because the sentence is ungrammatical: He remembers himself as "almost pigheadedly bent upon following my course." Instead, replacing "my" with "[his]" would make this version correct: He remembers himself as "almost pigheadedly bent upon following [his] course"
  9. "And then, from somewhere within the depths of the house - but somewhere not very far from the room in which I was - I heard a noise. It was a faint noise, and, strain my ears as I might, I could not make out exactly what it was. It was a sound like a regular yet intermittent bump or rumble. Nothing else happened"
    Remember to make a point as well as to support it with evidence from the text. Here the point concerns the way in which particular techniques help to build suspense
  10. "My story is almost done. There is only the last thing left to tell. And that I can scarcely bring myself to write about. I have sat here at my desk, day after day, night after night, a blank sheet of paper before me, unable to lift my pen, trembling and weeping too"
    It's important to choose the most relevant evidence which will best support the point you wish to make

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