Архитектура Аудит Военная наука Иностранные языки Медицина Металлургия Метрология
Образование Политология Производство Психология Стандартизация Технологии 

Авторы-составители: О.В. Ковальчук, И.М. Довнар












Минск, 2008

Авторы-составители: О.В. Ковальчук, И.М. Довнар


Рецензент: Н.А. Макей, преподаватель дисциплины «Литература стран изучаемого языка»


Рецензируемая работа была подготовлена преподавателями иностранного языка Лингвогуманитарного колледжа Учреждения образования «Минский государственный лингвистический университет» О.В. Ковальчук и И.М. Довнар.

Авторы методического пособия систематизируют основные литературоведческие понятия и термины (сюжет, конфликт, тема, идея, метафора, метонимия, эпитет, каламбур и др.), предлагают ряд существенных рекомендаций (план анализа, ключевые вопросы, фразы для выражения собственного мнения и т.д.), необходимых для детального анализа произведений художественной литературы. реализация авторских идей находит отражение в 8 разделах, материал которых существенно дополняет ряд современных работ по проблемам изучения и толкования художественных текстов, являясь систематизированным образцом их комплексного анализа.

Логика структурной организации методического пособия обуславливает доступность усвоения предлагаемой информации: теоретическую часть работы существенно дополняет практический материал (примеры средств художественной выразительности, образцы художественных текстов), на основе которого проиллюстрированы ведущие литературоведческие положения.

весьма профессионально изложенный теоретический и практический материал будет полезен учащимся и преподавателям педагогических колледжей, гимназий, лицеев, студентам факультетов гуманитарного профиля.


Рассмотрено и одобрено на заседании предметно-цикловой комиссии иностранных языков.

Протокол №4 от 12.12.2007 г.




I. Talking About Stories. Theoretical Preliminaries.


II. The Plan for Rendering the Story


III. Some Helpful Questions for Further Text Analysis


IV. Useful Vocabulary for Detailed Text Analysis


V. Connectors and Modifiers for Expressing the Opinion


VI. Elements of Style


VII. Patterns for Practice


VIII. List of Works Used




II. The Plan for Rendering the Story

Helpful Language Reference


To make you talk on stories more colourful you may benefit from the following words and phrases:

1. The story under discussion deals with …

2. The settingof the story dates back to (the time) …

3. The events described in the story throw light upon …

4. The author resorts to ...

5. The author attaches special significance to detai1s (epithets, monologue, description and so on)

6. The author has а sharp eye for detai1s.

7. The choice of words is very elaborate.

8. It helps us to get а vivid notion of....

9. The author makes ample use of the dialogue....

10. to depict, to portray.

11. to reveal, to display through....

12. surprise ending

13. happy end



1. The story under discussion...   а) is taken from the novel «Маrtin Eden» by Jack London. b) is an ancient legend retold by an unknown writer.
2. The author of the text; where & when the text was published The author of the text is … The text is written by … It is (was) published in … It is (was) printed in …
3. The title or the text (story) is the first element to catch our eye. – reveals to the whole story and acquires its precise meaning – it acquirs an ironical shade… The text is head - lined … The head - line of the text I have read …
4. The plot of the legend is based on...   а) relations between sons and fathers b) the life of а talented actress in Paris с) some mysterious events which took place in the town of Кyoto.
5. The contents of the text. Some facts, names, figures. (The plot structure) 1) a) The author starts by telling the readers (about, that) b) The author writes (states, stresses, thinks, points out) that … The text describes … c) According to the text …
Further the author reports (says) that …

The text goes on to say that …

The author comes to the conclusion that …

2. a) The text begins

with the descriptions of …

with a summary of …

by mentioning …

b) The text opens with:

after that (then, next) the author passes on to the …, goes on to say … gives a

detailed analysis (description) of …

The author concludes with …

The author ends with …

To finish with the author describes …

The author:

describes emphasizes

depicts stresses

dwells on underlines

touches upon criticizes

explains exposes

introduces us occuses

mentions blames


characterizes writes

analyses thinks

enumerates says

comments states …

6. There are two forces in the story that come into collision: (conflict) а) the peasants and the landowners b) the soul of the mirror and the owner of the strange house. с) people and nature
7. The theme of the legend can be formulated as…   a) an eternal longing of people for freedom b) the writers warning against the pollution of Nature с) а reminder to people that neglecting ancient traditions and prejudices leads, sometimes, to tragic events and disharmony in people lives.
9. The main idea (message) of the text The main idea of the text is … The text is about … The text is devoted to … The text deals with … The text touches upon … The purpose of the text is to give the reader some information on … The aim of the text is to provide the reader some material (data) on …

10. The author’s attitude to the events in the story is…       а) humorous and it is revealed through the dialogues which are full of humour and laughter b) ironical, for he doesn't believe in any prejudices с) is quite serious, he evidently sympathizes with the sufferings of the mirror and the final words ofthe story prove it.
11. The atmosphere (mood) of the story is...   а) light and lively b) sad and pessimistic с) mysterious and sometimes tragic­
12. The atmosphere of mystery is created through the choice of words, such as:   a) kind, joyful, happily, gladness b) strange belief, commit suicide; fall а victim, witch, death, vanish
13. The legend is written in...   а) The language of illiterate people b) а colloquial style с) a bookish style d) а scientific style:
14. You opinion of the text. I found the text interesting (important, dull, of no value, too hard to understand …)


III. Some Helpful Questions for Further Text Analysis



Where and when does most of the action take place?

To what extent are the buildings, dress, habits, and language markedly different from what you are familiar with?

How much does the background influence the actions or personality of any of the main characters?

Does the author seem to be thoroughly familiar with his setting? If it required research, do you think he did enough?

Do the scenes ring true?

How well does the background create moods?




If both are present, how well are the main story line and the subplots interwoven?

Is it possible that the events could take place in real life?

What is the turning point of the action?

Do the incidents follow one another naturally, or do they seem to have been mechanically inserted by the author?

How well does the author create suspense, if any?

How many loose ends are left at the end of the story?

How logical or reasonable or probable or unusual is the ending?

What devices used by the author seem to indicate that he depended too much on chance to carry his story forward?



Who are the main characters? Are they like real people? Of whom do they remind you? Friends? Family? Prominent people? Movie or television stars?

Which are the most interesting? Why? Which remind you of yourself? How?

Do some of the characters seem to develop and change as the story progresses, or do they all remain about the same from beginning to end?

What are the strengths and weaknesses of the central characters? What incidents can you cite to support your conclusions?

To what extent does the personality of any character determine his or her success or failure?

What character did you like most and which did you dislike? With which ones did it make a difference to you whether they were happy or sad? Why?

Which ones helped you to understand people you know a little better, than before?

What minor characters are interesting? How would you describe one or two in a single sentence?

If you were the author, would you develop one or more of the characters differently? How?

How well does the author seem to know people and what “makes them tick”?



What do you suppose was the main reason for the author's telling this story? To amuse? Entertain? Preach? Convert? Criticize? Present a social problem?

What is he trying to prove, or what life experience is he trying to explain?

What is the main point of the story expressed in a single sentence?

Is there a problem in the story, how well does the author solve it? Does he suggest a solution?

How has the book influenced your own thinking? What new ideas have you come across?

To what extent has this story stimulated you to read others on the same theme?

If you were designing a book jacket, what illustration or symbol would you draw to point to the main idea?




How well does the author present his scenes? Does he make you feel as if you were an eyewitness?

How do the sentences run — long, involved, sharp, varied?

What difficulties did you have with the vocabulary?

How well are the emotions portrayed? What devices are used to do this? Were you moved to tears or laughter anywhere? Why?

Did you get angry with any of the characters? When?

How do the characters talk — the same as people like them would in real life, or do they seem to be talking out of the mouth of the author?

Does the author seem to invent phrases or have you heard many before? Give examples.

What is the tone of the language? Warm and friendly? Wise and fatherly? Cold and formal? Dry as dust? Rough and tough? Genteel?

If some of the language is strong, is it offensive or necessary to maintain the atmosphere and the nature of the characters? Give proof. Do you suspect that some bits were put in by the author mainly to be sensational and help the book to sell? Cite examples that are really unnecessary.

Would you want to read more by this author because of the way he writes? Why?

What do you think of the choice of title? How does it suit the story?




In what way have you changed your mind about certain beliefs you had before?

How different do you now feel about a type or group of people? How significant is the theme in relation to world or life problems? What is there interesting about the author's life that is reflected perhaps in the story?

How would you compare this story to another somewhat like it that you read previously?

What do you think the central characters would be like twenty or so years after the end of the story?

What chance does this story have of becoming a classic, if it hasn't already become one? Why?



a hint/ a clue

a parody

a reference to something

a symbolic interpretation

full of historical/ musical etc., allusions

the author alludes/ makes allusion/ refers indirectly/ makes reference to...

the author draws inspiration from a folk tale/ a traditional fairy tale/ a different writer, etc.

the author gives new meaning and depth to a well-known story/ tale, etc.

the author interprets somebody’s ideas in a new and unique way

the author mocks/ sneers/ jeers at...

the author uses somebody’s work as the basis for his own plot, bringing new meanings and angles to the surface

the story/ text/ character echoes something

to be inspired by

to borrow from somebody

to cite/ to quote

to draw parallels between

to recognize/ recognizable

to satirize





a trait/ aspect/ facet of character

analysing the character's speech characteristics, we come across...

another powerful means of characterization is...

dialogue serves as the main means of characterization

his/ her character is revealed through/ rendered by...

his/ her inner world/ state of mind/ emotional state is seen in...

penetration into the protagonist's thoughts/ psychology

the author depicts/ portrays/ describes/ discloses a character through...

the author describes the protagonist directly as...

the author directly states/ points out...

the author gives insights into the character's system of values...

the author presents the character through action

the author provides the evidence of...

the author puts emphasis on/ emphasises the idea that/ stresses that/ underlines that

the author uses/ resorts to/ makes ample use of various means of characterization

the author’s mouthpiece

the author’s portrayal is convincing/ picturesque/ true-to-life/ powerful, etc.

the character is described/ portrayed/ depicted throughout the story as...

the character is structured round one major quality

the character seems self-confident/ ridiculous/ inventive/ naive/ imaginative/ caring/ thoughtful/ indecisive/ romantic/ cruel, etc.

the characters are presented as caricatures/ character-types

the character’s motto/ world-outlook/ life-philosophy

the description of the character’s environment/ belongings/ domestic interior/ mental process adds to the portrait/ is another indirect means of characterization

the descriptions of ... are colourful/ impressive/ vivid

the emotional state is implicitly rendered through...

the feature can be also traced in...

the moral/ mental/ physical/ spiritual characteristics of the hero/ heroine

the narrator pronounces characterizing/ evaluating judgements

the only/ main/ basic means of characterization is ...

the personages’ speech is differentiated/ is in keeping with their station in life/ is literary/ colloquial/ low colloquial/ abounds in stock-phrases from a doctor’s/ teacher’s/ pilot’s vocabulary, etc.

the protagonist/ the antagonist/ the villain of the story is...

the protagonist has distinct characteristic features

the protagonist is implicitly characterized by the clothing/ physical appearance/ environment

the quality suggested/ indicated by the author is revealed in the episode...

the reader evaluates/ rates/ judges/ assesses a character's actions, words, appearance, etc.

the reader’s attitude to the character undergoes a change as the story progresses

the repetition of ... implies that .../ these constantly repeated words signify ...

the speech of the character enables the reader .../ reflects his ...

the speech of the character is full of/ can be described as/ shows that ...

the use of foil as a means of characterization emphasizes ...

the verbal behaviour is indicative of ...

this detail/ this feature is suggestive of the character’s nature/ contributes to the character creation

this detail is implicative of/ implies that ...

this feature is made absolutely clear with the help of ...

this feature of the protagonist's personality is made explicit with the help of

this is illustrated by/ another illustration of this is ...

this scene/ episode brings out the following qualities ...

to arouse affection/ delight/ admiration/ resentment/ warmth/ affection/ compassion/ dislike/ disgust, etc.

to categorize the characters as ...

to contribute to characterization/ individualization with ...

to create/ produce an impression of ...

to depict/ portray/ describe/ picture a character

to evoke antipathy/ disgust/ dislike/ aversion/ animosity

to excite hate/ fascination/ sympathy/ compassion

to infer ... from the description of the protagonist's behaviour/ manner of speaking/ outward appearance

to infer the character’s social status/ background/ educational level/ emotional state through ...

to portray an attractive/ charming/ appealing/ likeable/ fascinating character

to reinforce characterization by ...

to reveal/ expose/ lay bare somebody’s personality traits through ...

to serve/ act as a foil to somebody

to share a character’s emotions


going back to the text, the evidence of what I was saying is...

in my/ his/ her/ their view

the leading characteristics of the author’s style are simplicity/ great precision/ elaborate vocabulary/ dynamic dialogues, etc.

the author comes up with/ creates/ builds up a realistic/ unrealistic portrayal of ...

the author conveys/ communicates/ gets across the idea ...

the author draws our attention to ...

the author handles the relationship/ the problem/ addresses topical and relevant issues

the author has a keen eye for exact and concrete detail, etc.

the author is concerned with country life, etc.

the author plausibly/ skilfully creates the picture of ...

the author puts ... in the focus of the reader's attention

the author reinforces the idea ...

the events described in the story have a truthful ring

the following evidence from the text can support this assertion …

the impact of the outside world

the indications/ clues in the text are ...

the overall idea is ...

the problems/ issues the author discusses are burning/ crucial/ urgent because ...

the story is about the power of love/ friendship/ the future/ parent’s love for their children/ the father and son relationship/ people’s foibles and faults/ people’s ideas of happiness/ income-prehension of adults/ the institution of marriage/ a mysterious murder case/ the problem of choice in people’s life, etc.

the story made a favourable/ unfavourable impression on me because ...

the story’s major/ minor themes are ...

this can be exemplified by/ this idea may be supported by the following ...

to bear on/ to relate to ...

to disclose the main idea of the story completely

to draw inferences from something

to manifest itself

to understand the undercurrent of thought


the absence of exposition stimulates the reader to...

the author confines himself to obligatory plot components only

the author deliberately deviates from the traditional model of plot structure...

the author depicts this type of conflict by focusing on .../ the conflict is rendered through/ by means of...

the author gains by leaving out the denouement

the author gives a hint as to the further development of the action through ...

the author keeps the reader guessing/ exploits the reader's expectations

the author leaves out the denouement/ exposition ... to achieve

the author makes skilful use of retardation as an effective sequencing technique to ...

the author makes the plot more complex by ...

the author resorts to foreshadowing with a view to/ with the intention of/ to achieve ... effect ...

the author uses ... sequencing techniques to ...

the character seeks a solution/ resolves a problem

the character struggles internally

the climax is the resolution of the conflict/ the conflict is resolved in the climax

the complications/ events are arranged in a (non)chronological order

the complications are exhilarating/ stirring/ electrifying/ moving/ breathtaking/ exciting

the complications consist of/ are formed by feelings/ thoughts/ actions

the conflict at the core of the story is ...

the conflict in the story may be interpreted as the opposition of ...

the conflict is localized in the inner world of the character/ occurs within the character’s own mind

the conflict is physical/ ethical/ emotional/ internal/ external/ social

the crucial events in the story

the ending comes out as a complete surprise

the ending is predictable/ troubling/ thought-provoking/ optimistic/ pessimistic, etc.

the ending takes the form of ...

the events are logically related to the theme of the story

the events of the complications contribute thematically/ artistically ...

the exposition contains/ gives/ offers a detailed description of ...

the main function of the exposition is to .../ the exposition introduces ...

the moment of “no return” is when ...

the narrative is interrupted by digressions/ with numerous flashbacks to the past

the “open ending” allows of a variety of explanations

the opening/ closing sentence (paragraph) of the story ...

the peak of intensity/ the culmination point is when ...

the plot/ story is based on ... conflict

the plot comprises a variety of events

the plot moves toward the moment of decision

the plot of the story is complex/ complicated/ simple/ intricate/ intriguing/ credible/ impressive/ stimulating/ rousing, etc.

the plot unfolds as the characters deal with conflict/ the conflict develops from episode to episode

the reader is made/ stimulated/ prompted/ encouraged/ inspired/ invited to ...

the rearrangement of the plot structure influences the total response of the reader

the scenes of ... are inserted as flashbacks/ the flashbacks are scattered throughout the narrative

the sequencing of events in the narrative is chronological

the ... starts the events of the story moving

the story (plot) is mainly focused on physical events/ psychological movement/ development of ...

the story contains all the components of plot structure/ the plot is structured conventionally

the story describes a conflict between an individual and society

the story is characterised by very artful plotting

the story may be called a revelation/ solution/ decision/ explanation story according to/ judging from the climax, etc.

the story opens with a dialogue/ description/ scene...

the structure of the story is simple and clear

the turning point is ...

the use of ... contributes to ...

this event at the point of highest tension and drama/ the climactic event is...

this event serves as the climax of the story/ the climax comes at the end of the story when ...

this makes the climax of the story a surprise ending

this serves the purpose of .../ makes the narrative/ has the effect of/ results in/ is the cause of ...

to arouse the reader’s excitement/ curiosity/ concern/ emotions, etc.

to excite one’s mind/ to touch one's heart/ to stir one’s imagination

to interest/ captivate/ charm/ attract/ enthral/ mesmerize/ absorb/ intrigue/ move/ fascinate/ involve/ affect, etc, the reader


one of the advantages of this kind of narration/ point of view is...

the lst person narration increases the immediacy and freshness of impression

the author deviates from the subject of the narrative

the author gives a detailed analysis of the character’s actions/ motives

the author gives us different versions of the events changing the point of view/ the narrator

the author lets the character speak for himself/ demonstrate his features

the author uses a/ an ... narrator/ point of view/ narrative method to tell the story

the author uses this figure of speech to emphasise ...

the author’s standpoint is ...

the characters are described from the outside only

the dialogues/ descriptions play an important role in the story

the dominant point of view is ...

the events are narrated in the 1st person

the events are shown/ related/ filtered through somebody’s perception

the information is presented through the eyes of a minor/ the main character

the inner world of the character is in the focus of interest

the main form of presentation is narration with some elements of dialogue/ description

the narrator addresses the reader directly/ confides his personal thoughts to the reader

the narrator enters the mind of/ shares the viewpoint of ...

the narrator has a distinct identity of his own

the narrator is nonparticipant/ in the thick of the action

the narrator misinterprets the events in the story

the narrator provides the reader with direct assessment of the events

the narrator reveals the characters’ thoughts/ the personality of ...

the “point of view” character is ...

the reader adopts the author's point of view

the reader is made to pronounce his own judgements

the reader is stimulated to reflect about the events of the story

the story is a deep psychological analysis/ a study of actions and events/ an outside observation of the events, etc.

the story is narrated/ told by a character who ...

the story is presented in the form of a dialogue/ of narration/ description

the story is told from the 3rd person point of view/ the story is 3rd person narration

the story is told from the point of view of an omniscient narrator/ objective narrator (onlooker/ observer)

the story is told in the first person, which creates a sense of intimacy because ...

the story is told in the third person, which allows the reader to ...

the story told from this point of view is more confiding/ more objective/ extremely convincing, etc.

this point of view brings a personal touch to the story

this point of view exposes the reader to the thoughts of ...

this type of narration allows the reader access to the inner world of ...

this type of narration creates the effect of verisimilitude

to create a strong sense of the character’s inner reality

to deepen the reader’s understanding of the story

to enter a character’s mind, train/ course of thought

to feel an emotional connection with a character

to give an insight into the inner world of the character

to give the reader a sense of identification with the character

to make objective observations

to make the story sound true to life/ to increase the credibility of the story

we get a deep understanding of how an individual experiences the world

we perceive the world of the story/ receive the story through the eyes of the main character


a character’s background becomes central to the story a realistic/ historical/ fantastic/ exotic/ rural setting

the atmosphere/ the character’s background becomes central to the story because ...

the author establishes the time and the place of the action as ...

the author is more concerned with social/ cultural environment of the characters than specific physical objects

the domestic interior is the main element of setting/ serves as a means of characterization

the idea is inconceivable without the specific setting ... the scene is laid ...

the setting acquires a symbolic meaning the setting contributes to the single effect of the story the setting functions/ serves as a contrasting background to ... the setting has a symbolic meaning which can be interpreted as ... the setting helps to determine the characters’ hopes/ aspirations/ habits/ desires/ conflicts/ fate, etc.

the setting helps to identify the genre of the story as ... the setting is crucial to the creation of a complete work

the setting is established in the exposition/ scattered throughout the whole story

the setting is vital for understanding the message of the story the setting plays a great role in the operation of the story/ in conveying the message because ...

the social background/ cultural environment/ landscape/ historical period/ geographical location, etc. is the most important element of the setting in the story/ is as important as the characters themselves

the span of time the story covers

the story is set in ...

to construct the world of the story

to create a tragic/ dramatic/ peaceful/ serene/ still/ undisturbed/ tranquil/ gloomy/ weary/ grim/ depressing/ cheerful/ lively/ blissful/ idyllic, etc. atmosphere

to encourage the reader to ...

to enhance characterization by ...

to express/ frame/ reflect/ parallel the emotional state of the character

to increase the credibility of the characters and events in the story

to individualize a character

to reveal certain features of a character’s personality


skilful sustention of suspense

the action in the story is highly suspenseful

the author gives a hint/ hints at some future events

the author plays with the reader’s expectations

the author raises certain expectations in the reader

the author relies heavily on suspense

the author shows his ability to keep the reader in suspense

the author skilfully uses the techniques of suspense and surprise in the story

the climax comes as a complete surprise/ as a revelation/ as a relief, etc.

the complications are arranged along an ascending scale

the plot thickens

the reader is really taken aback/ startled/ confused/ puzzled/ bemused/ bewildered, etc. by the unexpected turn of events

the suspense in the following lines is created with the help of/ by means of ...

the suspense is intensified by ...

the tension builds toward the main conflict

the tension increases/ rises as the plot moves on

to anticipate significant events

to awaken/ arouse/ hold the reader's interest

to create/ build up/ heighten/ increase suspense in the story

to create a sense of anticipation/ a feeling of tense excitement

to maintain suspense by withholding information/ using coincidence/ providing the reader with information that the characters do not have, etc.

to retain/ withhold/ hold back information from the reader

to retain interest


a symbol allowing of a variety of interpretations/ defying single interpretation a symbol conveys/ represents/ indicates the idea/ concept/ notion of ... a symbolic/ suggestive character/ action/ object/ detail, etc. an allegory

an effective/ striking/ unexpected/ powerful/ significant/ easily conceivable/ universal/ traditional symbol

the author relies on symbols to intensify the idea

the author uses symbols in unexpected ways

the author’s use of symbols requires (no) elaborate interpretation

the images/ objects represent abstract ideas/ feelings

the meaning of the symbol changes at this/ that point

the story/ novel, etc., is heavily marked with symbols

the story has two layers of meaning

the story uses symbols extensively

the symbol has a straightforward meaning

the symbol has different meanings/ levels of meaning

to acquire a symbolic meaning in the context of a story/ novel, etc.

to be an image of something

to be related to/ based on/ associated with something

to be rich in implications

to carry positive/ negative connotation

to discover/ perceive/ examine symbols

to provide analogy for something to serve as a sign/ reflection of ...

to symbolize/ to signify/ to suggest/ to denote/ to embody/ to represent/ to stand for something


the title accentuates/ emphasizes/ strengthens/ reinforces the author’s idea that ...

the title allows of different interpretations/ can be interpreted in different ways

the title can be interpreted as an (in)direct expression of the author’s idea/ message

the title can be linked to the story’s message in the following way ...

the title captures the essence of the story which is ...

the title contributes to the overall effect of the story

the title creates a sense of anticipation/curiosity about what will happen in the story

the title echoes certain events in the story

the title evokes immediate response from the reader

the title has several meanings/ layers of meaning

the title immediately arouses interest in the reader

the title implies that/ hints at/ indirectly expresses/ is suggestive of ...

the title is a means of creating suspense

the title is indispensable/ crucial/ essential for understanding the meaning of the story

the title of the story is eye-catching/ thought-provoking/ challenging

the title orientates the reader toward the story in that it helps to disclose the hero’s personality/ to concentrate on the most relevant detail of the setting/ turn of the events, etc.

the title points out/ reveals the underlying meaning of the events

the title serves/ functions as a foreshadowing

the title stimulates/ encourages/ urges the reader to think about...

the title the author chose is appropriate/ imaginative/ apt/ original/ intriguing/ foreshadowing/ symbolic/ ironic, etc.

the title unites all the aspects/ elements of the story together


ironic/ bitter/ mild humour

the actions/ words/ descriptions of the characters are intended to provoke/ cause laughter

the author creates/ assumes/ establishes/ maintains a sympathetic/ mocking/ romantic/ lyrical/ dramatic/ sentimental tone

the author criticizes/ laughs at/ attacks/ makes fun of/ exposes ruthlessly/ portrays satirically ...

the author displays ornate/ somewhat florid/ highly figured/ flamboyant/ exuberant style

the author makes ample use of/ relies heavily on epithets/ similes/ metaphors, etc., to achieve a ... effect

the author ridicules/ satirizes different moral and social types/ social conventions, etc.

the author uses irony to expose human wickedness, etc. - the description is vigorous/ dynamic/ subdued/ vivid, etc.

the device permits an unprecedented revelation of feelings and motives

the expressive vocabulary contributes to the creation of this mood/ is rich in connotations/ suggests connotations of ...

the general/ predominant/ prevailing mood of the text is highly emotional/ bitter/ sad/ gloomy/ good-humoured/ lyrical, etc.

the language of the story abounds in emotively charged words, such as ...

the language of the story is vivid/ precise/ metaphorical/ elaborate/ ornate/ imaginative/ simple/ colloquial/ bookish/ pompous/ high-flown/ picturesque, etc.

the narrative bursts with emotion when ...

the narrative is permeated with mock seriousness/ rationalistic scepticism/ deep feeling/ drama/ conflicting emotions/ sentimentality/ distrust of ...

the satire is aimed/ directed at ...

the shift in tone/ change in mood occurs when ...

the story is carefully worded to reveal the depth the characters’ feelings/ the author’s sympathy and delight with..., etc.

the story is full of humour/ irony/ satire

the tone alters as the story unfolds

the tone is sarcastic/ light-hearted/ cheerful/ melancholy/ personal/ impassive/ earnest/ matter-of-fact/ casual/ unemotional/ detached/ excited/ agitated/ moralizing, etc.

the writer uses lyrical passages/ imagery/ unexpected comparisons/ certain figures of speech/ symbolism/ deliberate exaggeration/ a round-about way of referring to things to create the desired mood of joy/ sadness/ confusion, etc., in the reader

with inimitable verve/ sparkling humour/ extraordinary vitality/ remarkable imagination/ exceptional lucidity/ cool indifference/ unrivalled wit/ bleak pessimism/ melancholy sensibility/ assertive optimism/ striking cynicism


A. Developing an Argument

1. Sequence


Most people develop an argument by making a series of points. This can be done numerically – first, second, third – but the following phrases are more commonly used:

Point 1: In the first place, To begin with, To start with, First of all.

For one thing is more conversational, and usually suggests that the speaker has not yet thought of all his reasons and listed them in his mind, so it is best to avoid it in writing.

Point 2: Secondly, In the second place.

These lead the reader or listener to expect further reasons, and should not be used unless more than two points are being made.

In addition to that tends to be used for the second and final reason.

Apart from that, Moreover (formal) and What is more (conversational) indicate second reasons of a rather different kind, but tending towards the same conclusion:

e.g. Fewer people are going on holiday in the Mediterranean this year. In the first place, the economic situation is serious, and many are staying at home. Apart from that, an increasing number of people are being attracted to more distant places.

Besides is used for a second and normally conclusive, reason that is so strong that it almost makes the first reason irrelevant:

e.g. I don’t really think we can afford to go there again for our holiday this year. Besides, I am tired of the place – I don’t want to go there.

Final Point: Finally, Lastly.

Above all indicates that the last point is the most important. Conclusion (not necessarily the last point in a list, but as the beginning of the last paragraph, to show that the argument is coming to an end, or you are summarizing it).

In conclusion, To sum up

These are markers indicating that you have reached this stage of the argument.



When you wish to give an example of what you mean in making a point, use:

For example, For instance.



In some cases, you may want to conduct your argument not by making a list of points that all point in the same direction but by contrasting the opinions of one group with another. This can be done very simply by writing but instead ofand or by using concession clauses with although, in spite of etc.

In written argument, the most common connecters to indicate a point that to some extent contradicts or limits a previous statement are:



The connecters used for contrast tend to favour the second point raised at the expense of the first. When presenting both sides of an argument as equal, it is best to use On the one hand, … and On the other hand.


Cause and effect


Because of … and Owing to … indicate why something has taken place or is being proposed Due to … is also used in this context, but, strictly speaking, should only be used as a compliment to the verb be. Compare:

e.g. The flight was cancelled because of the fog.

The cancellation of the flight was due to the fog.

When a reason or reasons have been given, the argument can continue with For this reason, For these reasons, As a result, In consequence, Consequently.

That is whyis more conversational, Therefore and Thusare more formal.

For one reason or another is used when the speaker does not know the reason.


B. Establishing Facts


This usually appears in contrast to appearance, what seems to be true or is believed to be true. Here are two ways of contrasting appearance and fact:


e.g. At first sight (on the face of it), the village seems unspoiled, but in fact it has been completely altered. The village is apparentlyunspoiled, but actually it has been completely altered.

More emphatic forms of In fact are The fact is that … and The fact of the mater is that

As a matter of fact means ‘In fact, although it may surprise you …’.

e.g. It’s not the first time I’ve visited this island. As a matter of fact, I was born here.

In practice is used in contrast to In theory or In principle to show the reality compared to the idea or the original intention. In effect is close to In fact in meaning and usage. It suggests ‘for practical purposes’. An alternative is To all intents and purposes.

D. Modifying what is said


There are many ways in which we modify statements by limiting their meaning or pointing to specific circumstances where what is said is correct.


General statements


These express what is true in general terms, though not in all circumstances:

Partly correct


These limit the truth of the statement in general terms:

To some extent, To a certain extent, Up to a point.

In a way and In a senselimit the truth in terms of interpretation:

e.g. In a sense one could say that the local people are responsible for what has happened because they welcomed the tourists, but on the whole they are not really to blame.


Limit of knowledge


The fact that the speaker’s knowledge is limited can be expressed by:

Assigning responsibility


According to … By all accountsindicate that responsibility for a statement lies with someone else.

At leastis used to avoid personal responsibility:

e.g. I know he intended to come on holiday with us. At least, that is what he told me.


Limited validity


Under the circumstances, As it is, Things being as they are suggest that what is suggested is only valid in the present situation but not in ideal circumstances.




One way of intensifying what is said is to suggest that it is obvious to everyone by using of these:



Another way is to draw attention to a particular aspect:

In particular, especially.

Note that especially will appear within the sentence as an adverb and not as a connector at the beginning.

e.g. They had very bad weather on holiday, especially during the first week.


3More noticeably


Let alone and Not to mention are used to indicate a more noticeable example of the same thing:

e.g. The taxi fare to the airport was very expensive, let alone the cost of the flight itself.


F. Rephrasing what is said


The most common phrases indication that the speaker is going to rephrase what has been said are:

VI. Elements of Style

When assessing written work we usually consider two aspects of it: what is said, and how is said. It often happens that the content is interesting enough, but the mode of expressing it is poor, and not because there are mistakes in spelling or grammar. The form may be poor even if grammar is correct – in this case we say that the style is bad. The style is bad when the sentences are monotonous, the vocabulary is poor, and the writing is unimaginative. The style is bad, too, when the form does not suit the subject of the composition. The same basic content can be expressed in different ways or styles. Just as a builder can use bricks and mortar to construct almost anything from a shack to a palace, we use the same raw material – English words and grammar – to describe different subjects and to express a wide variety of ideas in appropriate style.

Expressive Means of the English Language.

The English language has its own system of expressive means – words and phrases which help to add vividness to the description and with the help of it to touch the reader’s imagination. These words and phrases are used figuratively (metaphorically) and the basis of such uses is certain relations between things or notions, very frequently on the similarity or resemblance of objects.

Metaphor. A metaphor is a way of speaking or writing in which a word or phrase is used to mean or describe something quite different from what it usually expresses. Such transference of meaning is based on similarity of objects or notions. Personification is a special kind of metaphor in which abstract ideas or inanimated objects are identified with persons, that is, are ascribed human characteristics or actions.

In the sentence ‘The news you’ve brought is dagger to my heart’, the word dagger is used metaphorically, it denotes the striking, painful effect produced by the news, comparable to the cruel pain produced by dagger.

Here are some more examples:

Though he was in the sunset of his days, he was yet strong and coarsely made, with harsh and severe features, indicative of much natural sagacity and depth of thought.

In November a cold, unseen stranger, whom the doctors called Pneumonia, stalked about the colony, touching one here and one there with icy fingers. (O. Henry)

Metonymy. Metonymy is a case of one word used for another on account of some actual logical relations between things denoted or notions expressed by the two words. Here are some characteristic examples:

I was ready for my knife and fork. (Ch. Dickens) (dinner is meant here)

She liked to read Dreiser and other American authors. (The writer is named instead of his works.)

His mind was alert and people asked him to dinner not for old times’ sake but because he was worth his salt. (S. Maugham)

Simile.Simile is an imaginative comparison of objects belcoing to different classes. It differs from a metaphor in having two elements and thus no transference of meaning. A simile can easily be recognized by the conjunctions as, like, as it, just as joining its two elements.

The old-fashioned brass knocker on the low arched door ... twinkled like a sta. (Ch. Dickens)

Quaint little windows, though as old as the hills, were as pure as any snow that ever fell upon the hills. (Ch. Dickens)

A simile should not be confused with a comparison which is a grammatical phenomenon, whereas a simile is a stylistic device.

He is as tall as his brother. (comparison)

He is as tall as a lamp-post (a simile)

Epithets are words or phrases used attributively, which reveal the author’s attitude to a thing or notion; they are usually emotionally coloured, while many attributes are not.

Compare: grey hair (attribute) and golden hair (epithet)

She was a faded white rabbit of a woman. (A. Cronin)

During the past few weeks she had become most sharply conscious of the smiling interest of Hauptwanger. His straight lithe body – his quick, aggressive manner – his assertive, seeking eyes. (Th. Dreiser)

Hyperboleis a stylistic device in which emphasis is achieved through deliberate exaggeration. It is one of the most common expressive means used by all writers. They resort to it when they want to intensify the quantitative aspect of the described objects. Hyperbole can be expressed by all notional parts of speech.

I was scared to death when he entered the room. (J.D. Salinger)

Her family is one aunt about a thousand years old. (F.S. Fitzgerald)

Four loudspeakers attached to the flagpole emitted a shattering roar of what Benjamin could hardly call music, as if it were played by a collection of brass bands, a few hundred fire engines, a thousand blacksmiths’ hammers and the amplified reproduction of a force-twelve wind. (A. Saxton)

But when the size, shape, dimensions, characteristic features of the object are not overrated, but intentionally underrated, we deal with understatement.

She wore a pink hat, the size of a button. (J. Reed)

The little woman, for she was of pocket size, crossed her hands solemnly on her middle. (J. Galsworthy)

She was a sparrow of a woman. (Ph. Larkin)

Oxymoronis a phrase that combines 2 words that seem to be the opposite of each other.

A neon sign reads “Welcome to Reno – the biggest little town in the world.” (A. Miller)

Their bitter-sweet union did not last long. (A. Cronin)

She was a damned nice woman, too. (E. Hemingway)

He behaved pretty lousily to Jan. (D. Cusack)

Ironyis a stylistic device by which the words and phrases are used to express a meaning opposite to their direct meaning. The context is arranged so that the qualifying word or phrase reverses the direction of evaluation, and the word positively charged is understood by the reader as a negative qualification.

She turned with the sweet smite of an alligator. (J. Steinbeck)

“I have nothing to add except my thanks for your politeness,” said Miss Murdstone. “Bah! Stuff and nonsense!” said my aunt. “Don’t talk to me!”

“How exquisitely polite,” exclaimed Miss Nurdstone. “Overpowering, really!” (Ch. Dickens)

Several months ago a magazine named ‘Playboy’ which concentrates editorially on girls, books, girls, art, girls, music, fashion, girls and girls, published an article about old-time science-fiction. (“Morning Star”)

Pun is based on the interaction of 2 well-known meanings of a words or phrase.

– Did you hit a woman with a child?

– No, Sir, I hit her with a brick.

Zeugma is the use of a word in the same grammatical but different semantic relations to 2 adjacent words in one context, the semantic relations being on the one hand literal, on the other, transferred.

She let him carry umbrella and her impossible character.





1. The clock had struck, time was bleeding away.

2. There had been rain in the night and now all the trees were curtseying to a fresh wind.

3. Another night, the heat of my room sent me out into the streets.

4. The laugh in her eyes died out and was replaced by something else.

5. The slash of sun on the wall above him slowly knifes down, cuts across his chest, becomes a coin on the floor and vanishes.

6. The music came to him across the now bright, now dull, slowly burning cigarette of each man’s life, telling him its ancient secret of all men intangible, unfathomable defying long-winded description.


1. All the time the big Pacific Ocean suffered sharp pains down below and tossed about to prove it.

2. The moon held a finger to her lips.


1. It was a representative gathering – science, politics, business

2. He drank one more glass (of whisky)

3. She bought some china.

4. We have two Renoirs.

5. He is the sharpest pen in our redaction.

6. They hate skinheads.


1. It is delightful to find oneself in a foreign country without a penny in one’s pocket!

2. Stoney smiled the sweet smile of an alligator.


1. There comes a period in every man’s life, but she’s just a semicolon in his.

2. “Have you been seeing any spirits?” inquired the old gentleman. “Or taking any?” added Bob Allen.


1. – What is the difference between a schoolmaster and an engine – driver?

– One trains the mind and the other minds the train.


1. The room was old and tired.

2. I-am-not-that-kind-of-girl look.

3. The giant of a man.

4. He gave us a marvelously radiant smile.


1. He was certain the whites could easily detect his adoring hatred of them

2. Welcome to Reno, the biggest little town

3. Parting is a sweet sorrow (Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet)




Text № 1.

Aim: present a short summary of the story

Most important hour in a family’s day.

By Harriet Webster. (from reader’s Digest. June. 1995)


1. Reading Exercise.

VIII. List of Works Used



1. Академическое письмо: Учеб.-метод. Пособие по письм. практике для студентов III курса./ Сост. Э.А.Усилова и др. – Мн.:Лексис, 2003. – 156 с.

2. Борисова Л.В. Интерпретация текста (проза): Учеб. пособие. – 2-е издание., перераб. и доп. – Мн.: Высш. шк., 1999. – 174 с.

3. Справочное пособие по письменной речи английского языка/ М.Е.Дубовик, Ю.В.Стулов, Е.И.Дубовик. – Мн.: Выш.шк., 1990. -229 с.


Tatyana Ryzhova, Lydia Kostina. Humane English. Pskov. 1994






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