Answering Q4 in Paper 2 (Eng Lang GCSE) - Perspectives

May 08, 2020 Nick M

How to answer Question 4 of Paper 2 on the English Language GCSE (AQA 8700)

The key to answering this question is breaking down the writers' perspectives into chunks. For example, if you are writing about their different perspectives on surfing, you might want to break that down into four chunks:

    1. Safety - does one writer think it is safe, but the other think it is dangerous - how can you tell?

    2. Enjoyment - does one writer think it looks more enjoyable than the other?

    3. Fitness - do both writers see it as a way of keeping fit?

    4. Participation - do both writers feel as though they could surf - if not why not?

If you try to write about their perspective as if it were only one thing you will tie yourself in knots and run out of things to say. In the PowerPoint / PDF example that is attached, you will see that I have used a slightly silly example to show how to break down a topic as clearly as possible and also to demonstrate how simple this question is once you understand what you need to do.

What can be challenging is when the writers' perspectives are only subtly different. You may need to look closely for only small differences - it will not always be as simple as one writer loves something, and another hates it. For example, one writer may see cold weather as life threatening, whilst the other may see it as just dangerous, not actually life threatening.

The question also advises you to 'compare the methods the writers use to convey their different perspectives'. The best way to approach this is to analyse the language that the writer is using to express their opinion. For example, if a writer says that 'surfing for the first time was like falling in love', we can say that their use of the simile, 'like falling in love', shows how intensely they felt about their first time surfing and how much they seem to enjoy it. We can then compare this with the other writer who might have a totally different perspective. For example, the other writer may say, 'I will never never never never surf' - their use of the repetition of 'never' shows very clearly that this writer will not even try surfing - their perspective is clearly very different.

    Key Points

- Break down the topic you are being asked about into 4 chunks and then compare the writers' opinions about them specifically

- Use your knowledge of language features and techniques to help you show clearly how a writer is expressing their opinion

- Use each of the 4 chunks as the topic of a paragraph to give your answer structure.


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