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An Inspector Calls - Illustrating and Supporting Points
Your daughter isn't living on the moon!

An Inspector Calls - Illustrating and Supporting Points

This GCSE English Literature quiz about An Inspector Calls by JB Priestley gives you the chance to test your skills in using evidence from a text. When you make a point, you will want to strengthen it by pointing to some evidence.

How to use evidence to support a point:

There are three main ways to use evidence in support of a point when writing about a text: paraphrase, quoting single words or short phrases, and quoting longer sections of text. The first of these, paraphrasing, is often neglected. By writing in detail about a text, you demonstrate your knowledge even if you don’t use any quotes.

If you wish to draw attention to a specific choice of language, however, you would be better choosing the second option, which is to quote single words or short phrases. Sometimes, a mix of paraphrase and quotation can be used in the same sentence. This is often better than dropping multiple quotes into a long, unwieldy sentence.

The final option is to quote a full sentence or two. This is the best choice when the full sentence is needed either because a phrase on its own won’t make sense or because you wish to discuss the longer quotation in close detail.


For example, you might wish to argue that Inspector Goole represents the conscience. To do so, you might:

  • Paraphrase: When Sheila suggests that the Inspector already knew the family’s guilty secrets, she hints that he understands their thoughts in a manner impossible to an ordinary person.
  • Short quote: Sheila begins to question Inspector Goole’s identity as an “ordinary police Inspector”.
  • Longer quotation: Sheila is shocked to realise that the Inspector seemed to arrive after her father’s selfish assertion that everyone is responsible only for themselves, asking Eric, “Is that when the Inspector came, just after Father said that?”

Test your skills on An Inspector Calls with these questions.

Read the text from An Inspector Calls and then choose the answer which best uses evidence in support of a point. The right answer will also be grammatically correct.
"She was giving herself ridiculous airs. She was claiming elaborate fine feelings and scruples that were simply absurd in a girl in her position." - Mrs Birling
"Fine" and "feelings" show that Mrs Birling wishes she could feel sorry for Eva Smith.
"Fine feelings" are not appropriate in a young woman.
Mrs Birling ridicules Eva Smith for having "feelings".
Mrs Birling finds the idea of a poor woman such as Eva Smith having moral values "ridiculous" and "absurd".
It is important to be clear about whose viewpoint is being expressed. In this case the point is being made about Mrs Birling's attitudes
"You began to learn something. And now you've stopped. You're ready to go on in the same old way." - Sheila
"You're ready to go on in the same old way" Mr and Mrs Birling have not changed.
Sheila's disappointment in her parents is clear when she tells them they are "ready to go on in the same old way".
Mr and Mrs Birling want to return to the "old" ways.
By using the word "old" Sheila displays her anger.
The evidence should clearly relate to the point being made
"You seem to have made a great impression on this child, Inspector." - Mrs Birling
Mrs Birling uses the word "impression" to impress the Inspector with her vocabulary.
Mrs Birling speaks fiercely to the Inspector, for example when she uses the word "seem".
Mrs Birling is shocked that the Inspector does not realise how "impressionable" Sheila is.
Mrs Birling continues to think of Sheila as an impressionable "child".
Important and relevant quotations do not have to be long
"No, he's giving us rope — so that we'll hang ourselves." - Sheila
Sheila understands that the family condemns itself, comparing the Inspector's interrogation to being given a hangman's noose.
"We'll hang ourselves." Sheila recognises the Inspector's tactics.
Sheila recognises the Inspector's tactics, comparing them to "rope".
We'll "hang ourselves" shows Sheila's deeper understanding of the family's guilt.
Using evidence does not always mean including a quotation. Sometimes a specific reference or paraphrase might be better
"Nothing to do with you, Sheila. Run along." - Mr Birling
Mr Birling dismisses Sheila. "Nothing to do with you, Sheila."
Mr Birling dismisses Sheila as if she were a child, telling her to "Run along".
"Run along," says Mr Birling.
Mr Birling dismisses Sheila. "Nothing to do with you, Sheila." He talks to her as if she were a small child.
The correct answer makes the point and follows it with the evidence in the same sentence
"Your daughter isn't living on the moon. She's here in Brumley too." - The Inspector
"Your daughter isn't living on the moon." shows the Inspector's determination to make the Birlings face reality.
The Birlings think Sheila lives on the "moon" instead of in "Brumley".
The "moon" and "Brumley" are important places in the Inspector's view.
The Inspector reminds the Birlings that they cannot protect Sheila from reality, contrasting the real world of Brumley with the fantasy of "living on the moon".
The correct answer makes a point and selects the most relevant quotation to use in support of the point
"When you marry, you'll be marrying at a very good time. Yes, a very good time — and soon it'll be an even better time. Last month, just because the miners came out on strike, there's a lot of wild talk about possible labour trouble in the near future. Don't worry. We've passed the worst of it." - Mr Birling
Mr Birling tells Sheila and Gerald about "labour" trouble and "strikes".
Mr Birling gives Sheila and Gerald advice for when they "marry".
Mr Birling's optimism is misplaced when he states confidently that times are improving and that the country has "passed the worst of it".
Wild "talk", "miners'" strikes and "possible" labour trouble make Mr Birling "worry".
Ensure that quotations are relevant and worth quoting in addition to supporting the point
"You'll hear some people say that war's inevitable. And to that I say — fiddlesticks!" - Mr Birling
"Fiddlesticks!" is a strange outburst from Mr Birling.
Mr Birling expresses his contempt for those who warn of war with his colloquial exclamation, "fiddlesticks".
Mr Birling does not believe that "war" is inevitable.
"Inevitability" and "war" are juxtaposed in Mr Birling's view of the future.
It can be tricky to use evidence. Make the point clearly, add the evidence in support and remember to check that the sentence is grammatical
"She was young and pretty and warm-hearted — and intensely grateful." - Gerald
Gerald shows his fondness for Daisy Renton by remembering her as "pretty", "warm-hearted" and "intensely grateful".
Gerald's pause before describing Daisy Renton as "intensely grateful" implies that he could go into greater detail if he wished to do so.
Gerald explains that Daisy Renton's feelings for him arose from her intense gratitude for his kindness.
All of the above.
There are several ways to use evidence correctly! Variety keeps your writing interesting
"All the best! She's got a nasty temper sometimes — but she's not bad really. Good old Sheila!" - Eric
Eric thinks his sister is both "good" and "bad".
Eric thinks Sheila has a "nasty temper", but only "sometimes", and that she's overall "not bad", or at least not "really" and so he wishes the newly-engaged couple "All the best".
Eric's insults towards Sheila, describing her as having a "nasty temper", for example, demonstrate a deeper affection between the siblings.
Insulting his sister is one way for Eric to wish the new couple "All the best" but he also wants to warn Gerald that Sheila is not as lovely as she might appear, especially because she has a "nasty temper", demonstrating that women are not always as sweet as society expects them to be.
Be careful not to attempt too many ideas and too many quotes in the same sentence!
You can find more about this topic by visiting BBC Bitesize - An Inspector Calls

Author:  Sheri Smith

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