Punctuation: “Inverted commas ” and ellipsis…[Analysis of 2002-2010 GCE ‘A’ Level questions]

24 10 2011

Over the past nine years (2002-2010), Cambridge has asked a question on punctuation five times. And so far, they’ve only asked two types of punctuation questions: Inverted commas and ellipsis.

“Quotation marks”/”inverted commas”


4(a)    Why does the author put quotation marks round ‘suffer’, ‘enjoy’ and ‘desire’ (line 34)? [1m]

These words do not really apply to animals; they are emotional states which only humans experience.

(b)       Why is ‘exploit’ in quotation marks in line 40? [1m]

The author was being sarcastic at the supporters’ expense.
OR This is a word animal rights’ supporters use, which the author is showing to be inappropriate because it applies to people not animals, or it is too extreme a word.


Q8) ‘…those ‘favoured’ few…’ (Line 66). Why does the author place inverted commas around ‘favoured’?         [1]

The author is being sarcastic/ironic.

OR The inverted commas around the word indicate that he thinks they are the opposite of being fortunate and that they are not that blessed after all.


6. Why is the word ‘her’ (ln66) in inverted commas? [1]

The recipe does not actually belong to Babette because Babette is a fictitious character
OR  The recipe does not actually belong to Babette; the recipe actually belongs to the author of “Babette’s Feast”.

Thus, answers to questions on inverted commas should consider the following:

  • Is the author being sarcastic? If so, include “The author is being sarcastic” in your answer. 
  • What is the actual/literal/typical definition/meaning/implication of the word in inverted commas, and what is the author’s intended meaning? In your answer, include both elements in your answer: The author does not actually mean that (state actual/literal/typical definition/meaning/implication); instead, the author means that (state the author’s intended definition/meaning/implication) [Note: The second part of the answer may not be relevant if it wasn’t mentioned or implied in the passage]
  • If both points above are applicable, state both in your answer. 

Ellipsis/three dots (…)


2. What does the author intend for you to understand by the three dots (…) at the end of the first paragraph?

The author is pointing out the idea that the cycle will be repeated / suggests repetition.


2. ‘pandemics spread by superbugs…’ (line 5)

Which phrase earlier in this first sentence explains the three dots at its conclusion?  [1]

The phrase is, “seemingly endless catalogue” (line 1). (Explanation:The three dots indicated that the list of examples of apocalyptic scenarios could be indefinitely extended. )




2 responses

24 10 2011
Skills Digest 24/10/11 « Gee Pee Land

[…] skills covering irony and paradox,  inverted commas and […]

28 10 2011
Compre questions at the A-Levels « 4A/B, F, I, T

[…] Punctuation: “Inverted commas ” and ellipsis… Advertisement Eco World Content From Across The Internet. Featured on EcoPressed GMOs + CAFOs attemp a makeover […]

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