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Writing Explanations
She was angry because someone had stolen her purse.

Writing Explanations

An 'explanation' explains something: it tells us the 'how', 'why' and 'what' of something we want to know about, for example:

  • How does a steam engine work?
  • What makes us feel sleepy?

If you are curious about life and/or a budding scientist, you will love explanations! Reading about how something works, what makes the world turn or even why some people have brown eyes and some blue, is so interesting. It's one thing to read an explanation, but this quiz will see how good you are at spotting written explanations.

This 11-plus English quiz will test you to see if you can recognize explanatory statements. This is a really easy test, but you might learn a few interesting things.

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1.
Which one of the statements is an explanatory statement?
Why doesn't bronze rust?
I've got a bronze statue in my garden
Bronze doesn't rust because it is a copper alloy
Is it made of bronze?
The Bronze Age was between 3500 - 1500 BC
Bronze is an alloy of copper (Cu) and tin (Sn): it doesn't rust, but it may tarnish. An 'alloy' is a mixture of metals
2.
Which one of the statements is an explanatory statement?
Why do dogs eat grass?
I love dogs
My favourite dog is the Labrador
Dogs eat grass because of a medical disorder
Have you got a dog?
This disorder is called pica: the desire to eat non-foods things. In this case, grass is a non-food. In general, there is no agreement as to why dogs eat grass
3.
Which one of the statements is an explanatory statement?
Why do cats eat grass?
I've got a calico cat
Cats eat grass because it contains folic acid
The cat that walked by himself
Do you like cats?
Folic acid is a vitamin that is essential to a cat's well-being
4.
Which one of the statements is an explanatory statement?
Why do leaves change colour in autumn?
The coast redwood is the tallest tree in the world
I like oak trees
Leaves have beautiful colours in autumn
They change colour in autumn because there is not enough light or water for photosynthesis
Food producing procedures shut down and the green chlorophyll vanishes from the leaves. This green colour is in turn replaced by the rusty colours that we see in autumn
5.
Which one of the statements is an explanatory statement?
How did the Titanic sink?
The Titanic was a British passenger liner
I'm glad that I wasn't on the Titanic
The Titanic sunk as a result of colliding with an iceberg
She sank in the North Atlantic Ocean on 15 April 1912 - on her maiden voyage
The iceberg tore a 90 m gash along her starboard side (right side as you face the front of the ship: the left side is called the port side): 1,503 people perished
6.
Which one of the statements is an explanatory statement?
How did the mirror get broken?
It's a lovely mirror
The mirror fell onto the floor and broke because the wall attachment wasn't strong enough to hold it on the wall
Have you got a mirror?
We have mirrors in our bathroom
Mirror mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?
7.
Which one of the statements is an explanatory statement?
Why was she angry?
She was angry because someone had stolen her purse
She is a very nice person
Don't ask her about her purse
Do you think she'll get her purse back?
Let's hope she gets her purse back
8.
Which one of the statements is an explanatory statement?
Why do people have red eyes in flash photographs?
They look like vampires
Flash photography is useful in the dark
I've got a camera
People have red eyes in flash photographs because of the red colour from the blood vessels that supply the eyes
Some cameras adjust for this nuisance
9.
Which one of the statements is an explanatory statement?
Why do we have seasons?
We have seasons because the Earth is tilted on its axis
We have spring, summer, autumn and winter
The Earth goes round the sun
The Earth is called the 'Blue Planet'
The Earth's axis is tilted at an angle of 23.5 degrees. The tilt of the Earth means the Earth leans towards the sun in the summer (more heat) and it leans away from the sun in the winter (less heat). In between these seasons, we get spring and autumn
10.
Which one of the statements is an explanatory statement?
Why are you late?
I like travelling by bus
Where is the nearest bus stop?
I always travel upstairs on a double-decker bus
I was late because I missed the bus
Get up earlier next time
Author:  Frank Evans

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