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Improve your English literature skills in this enjoyable quiz.

DNA - Illustrating and Supporting Points

This GCSE quiz takes a look at illustrating and supporting points in Dennis Kelly's DNA. English literature essays require you to support your argument with convincing evidence. Supplying evidence in this instance means making specific references to the text, such as drawing your reader’s attention to plot points, summarising sections, or by direct quotation. Using the text to support your argument is what makes your writing persuasive. These techniques also demonstrate how well you understand the text. These essential skills are far from easy, however! You will certainly improve with practice. In addition to choosing the most effective evidence, you also need to pay attention to accuracy, grammar, and punctuation.

Taking this challenging quiz will help you practise these important literary skills. 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

These are the three key methods of using evidence from a text: paraphrasing, quoting single words or short phrases, and quoting longer sections of text. Mastery of these methods will take some practice. 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. When you are taking a closed-book exam, this skill becomes invaluable!

The second method is to quote individual words or short phrases from the text. If you have a great memory, this is a perfect way to impress your reader in an exam. It’s not so impressive, however, if the quotation has little to do with your argument or with the essay topic. Always show how the quotation is relevant to your point. Quoting individual words and phrases is an especially effective method to use when you wish to discuss the details of language choice. Be sure to practise incorporating quotations grammatically. As you improve, you might consider combining methods. Your writing will become more flexible when you are able to mix paraphrase with short quotations in the same sentence. Developing this skill will help you to avoid writing awkward sentences cluttered with multiple quotations.

The third method is to quote a full sentence or more. Sometime it is very difficult to include a quotation in the sentence grammatically. In these cases, it can be best to quote the full sentence and then discuss it in greater detail.

If you want to write well, here is one place to start: think carefully about the quotations you use. Sometimes students try to prove they’ve read the text by quoting bland words and phrases which do nothing to contribute to the point they are making. This practice really only demonstrates that a word has been copied from one place to another. While all exact phrases or sentences from the text should be enclosed in quotation marks, single ordinary words such as “hat”, “car”, or “friend” rarely need to be quoted (the exception being when they are used in the text in an unusual way).

Try this quiz on the best way to use evidence from DNA. 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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1.
LEAH: What, like I talk too much? Is that it? That I talk too much, you, sitting there in absolute silence thinking "Leah talks too much, I wish she'd shut up once in a while" is that it, is that what you're because don't, you know, judge, you know, because alright, I do. There, I'm admitting, I am admitting, I talk too much, so shoot me.
Leah "accuses", "confesses" and "condemns" herself for talking "too much"
Leah accuses, confesses and condemns herself for talking "too much"
Leah accuses, confesses and condemns herself for talking "too" much
Leah accuses, confesses and condemns herself for talking "too" "much"
Although "too" and "much" are ordinary words, they should be quoted because it is this combination of words that Leah repeats three times in this short passage
2.
LEAH: So. Adam. How's ... how's ... how's things?
ADAM: I know my name.
LEAH: Yes, you do.
ADAM: Adam, it's Adam, my name's Adam.
By stating "I know my name" as if it is a remarkable piece of information, Adam demonstrates how badly injured he is
Adam's repetition of his name demonstrates how badly injured he is
Adam's repetitions hint that he might have just been reminded of his name by Leah using it to address him: "Adam, it's Adam, my name is Adam"
All of the above
Remember to try out a variety of methods of presenting evidence from the text
3.
LOU: Because he's dead, John, he's dead, dead is what he is so we have to use that word to -
JOHN TATE: Alright. New rule; that word is banned.
John Tate tries to exert control over the group by banning the use of the word dead
John Tate tries to exert control over the group by banning the use of the word "dead"
John Tate tries to exert control over the group by "banning" the use of the word dead
John Tate tries to exert "control" over the group by "banning" the use of the word "dead"
Overuse of "scare" quotes is a substitute for careful and accurate writing. Rather than drawing attention to the idea of banning language by using a scare quote, why not write a sentence about the idea that a character might try to prohibit others from saying a particular word?
4.
PHIL: I'm in charge. Everyone is happier. What's more important: one person or everyone?
Phil sets out the moral question of the play, asking whether the "happiness" of one person or everyone is more important
Phil sets out the moral question of the play, asking whether the "happiness" of "one person" or "everyone" is more important
Phil sets out the moral question of the play, asking whether the "happiness" of one person or everyone is more important
Phil sets out the moral question of the play, asking whether the happiness of "one person or everyone" is more important
It would also be acceptable not to use quotation marks in this example because the comparison of one person and everyone is not especially striking for its unique phrasing and is a common comparison (it can be reassuring to use quotation marks for accuracy, however)
5.
RICHARD: And in that second, Phil I knew that there was life on other planets. I knew we weren't alone in the universe, I didn't just think it or feel it, I knew it, I know it, it was as if the universe was suddenly shifting and giving me a glimpse, this vision that could see everything, just for a fraction of a heartbeat of a second. But I couldn't see who they were or what they were doing or how they were living
Richard describes having a "vision" of extraterrestrial life, reassuring him that human beings are not alone in the universe
Richard describes having a vision of extraterrestrial life, reassuring him that human beings are not alone in the "universe"
Richard describes having a "vision" of extraterrestrial "life", reassuring him that "human beings" are not "alone in the universe"
Richard describes having a "vision" of extraterrestrial life, reassuring him that human beings are not "alone in the universe"
"Vision" does not necessarily need to be placed in quotation marks. It is a word taken from Richard's dialogue; this, and its importance as a description of his moment of insight, makes it a good idea to quote the word, however
6.
RICHARD: Phil, Phil, watch this! Phil, watch me, watch me, Phil!
He walks on his hands.
See? See what I'm doing? Can you see, Phil?
Richard behaves like a jester, trying to win Phil's approval with his "handstands" and his repeated request "watch this! Phil, watch me, watch me, Phil!"
Richard behaves like a jester, trying to win Phil's approval with his handstands and his repeated request: "watch this! Phil, watch me, watch me, Phil!"
Richard behaves like a jester, trying to win Phil's approval with his handstands and his repeated request watch this! Phil, watch me, watch me, Phil!
Richard behaves like a "jester", trying to win Phil's "approval" with his handstands and his repeated request: "watch this!" Phil, "watch me, watch me", Phil!
One efficient method of supporting a point with a quotation is to place the quotation after the point. This usually requires a colon
7.
BRIAN: That was great!
PHIL: You just do what Cathy says.
BRIAN: I am brilliant at doing what people say.
Broken by being forced to lie to the police, Brian accepts his new role with the group by agreeing that he is brilliant at "doing what people say"
Broken by being forced to lie to the police, Brian accepts his new role with the group by agreeing that he is brilliant at doing what people say
Broken by being forced to lie to the police, Brian accepts his new role with the group by agreeing that he is "brilliant at doing what people say"
Broken by being forced to lie to the police, Brian accepts his new role with the group by agreeing that "he is brilliant at doing what people say"
Remember to quote accurately
8.
RICHARD: Danny's doing work experience at a dentist's. He hates it. Can't stand the cavities, he says when they open their mouths sometimes it feels like you're going to fall in.
According to Richard, Danny "hates" his "work experience at the dentist's"
According to Richard, Danny "hates" his work "experience" at the "dentist's"
According to Richard, Danny "hates" his work experience at the dentist's
According to Richard, Danny hates his "work experience" at the dentist's
"Scare quotes" are when quotation marks are used to draw attention to the word or phrase quoted, often implying that there is something odd about the phrase or even that its use is incorrect. Quotation marks in literature essays are not often used in this way. An example above would be the use of scare quotes around the words "work experience", thus implying that the description is wrong or odd in itself. Placing quotation marks around the word "hates" is different, because doing so draws particular attention to Danny's surprisingly negative reaction to his dream occupation
9.
CATHY: It took me half an hour to get him to come out.
BRIAN: D'you feel how wonderful this day is?
CATHY: I used violence.
BRIAN: She did.
CATHY: I threatened to gouge one of his eyes out.
When Cathy reports that she got Adam out of his hiding place by threatening "to gouge one of his eyes out", she speaks boastfully of her violence
When Cathy reports that she got Adam out of his hiding place by "threatening to gouge one of his eyes out", she speaks boastfully of her violence
When Cathy reports that she got Adam out of his hiding place by threatening to gouge "one of his eyes out", she speaks boastfully of her violence
When Cathy reports that she got Adam out of his hiding place by threatening to gouge one of his eyes out, she speaks boastfully of her violence
Sometimes it is necessary to change a word in order to write a sentence which makes sense. Here "threatened" must be altered to "threatening" for the sentence to be correct. The quotation therefore begins with "to gouge...."
10.
MARK: So we're all peggin them. Laughing. And his face, it's making you laugh harder and harder, and they're getting nearer and nearer. And one hits his head. And the shock on his face is so ... funny. And we're all just...
just...
really chucking those stones into him, really hard and laughing and he slips.
And he drops.
Mark's account of what "happened" to Adam begins with laughter and ends with the shock of his fall
Mark's account of what happened to Adam begins with "laughter" and ends with the shock of his fall
Mark's account of what happened to "Adam" begins with laughter and ends with the "shock" of his "fall"
Mark's account of what happened to Adam begins with laughter and ends with the shock of his fall
Remember that paraphrase is a useful way to use the text in support of a point
Author:  Sheri Smith

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