This page breaks down the process for answering AQA Language Paper 2 Question 2 – the language analysis question. You are advised to write PEE paragraphs for this question, if you aim for three detailed paragraphs that will be better than writing four or five smaller paragraphs. This was the student’s first time planning and writing the question – so she did very well! Her answer received a borderline L6 grade – the equivalent of a B grade with a score of 7/12.

The mark scheme and feedback on each paragraph have been provided below, by myself – an AQA examiner. Bear in mind that the answer is a little ungrammatical – the grammar errors have been left in to show the students’ capability. For all Language exam questions, you should aim to use accurate grammar and complex, sophisticated vocabulary wherever possible. 

I hope it’s useful for you! If you’re looking for more help and guidance on AQA English Language Paper 2, check out our full course.

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The question is taken from the November 2017 exam: “How does the writer use language to describe Sister Brendan?”[12 marks] 

Note: This extract is still available online.


You may want to read through it before looking at the answer below. You could even try writing your own answer to the question, then comparing and contrasting what you wrote with the example given. 

The example below is from a student who tried this question for the first time. She did really well, but there’s also lots of room for improvement! She’s great at understanding the specific effects of language, but could do with being a bit more precise on grammar, structuring and language techniques.


The writer uses verbs to describes sister Brendan as someone who is a happy individual. She is “fluttering along the corridors” which suggests how quickly and lightly she travels along the corridors. As a reader, we can imagine the hopping flapping movements of a bird or butterfly. This reinforces the imagery of her as a bird. The links to her as a “bird” presents her being bee-like. This makes the reader feel happy that Miss Brendan is feeling that way. 
  • Good detail of analysis on the quotation 
  • Only semi accurate techniques – you said ‘verbs’ but then you quoted a whole phrase and didn’t zoom in to say which was the verb, and also you only used one quotation – if you say ‘verbs’ then you need to use more than one 
  • Extended metaphor – she’s described as a bird 
  • Minimum 2 quotations per paragraph, maybe 3-4 
  • Zooming in – if you have a long quotation, zooming in on a particular word is important and identify  the effects of that specific word 
  • Avoid generalisations – ‘this makes the reader feel happy’ is quite general 
  • Aim for 3 lines of analysis per quotation 
  • Can’t start a sentence with a quotation – need to introduce the quotation 
Secondly, the writer uses a rhetorical question to show the way sister Brendan describes her schools which implies she has a sense of humour. The writer “Does that make me Queen bee?
  • Far too short! 
  • Seems unfinished? The final quotation isn’t analysed 
The writer has used alliteration to describe sister Brendan as looking everywhere around the school. ”dark darting eyes”, This suggests a continuous mysterious movement of her eyes when examining the school. This also shows she is aware of her surroundings, and she’s quite attentive. This also links to the simile “ out for early worm”, which shows she is keeping an eye on everything around the school. Also the “mysterious glint in her shining eyes”, has positive connotations of her being friendly and bright. “Mysterious” makes her seem quite cheeky. This makes the reader feel surprised.
  • Be accurate with quotations 
  • Zooming in is good 
  • Really good analysis of ‘dark darting eyes’ 
  • Need accuracy with techniques – similes always use ‘AS’ or ‘LIKE’ – Sister Brendan looked like a small hungry blackbird out for the early worm. – the whole sentence is a simile 
The writer has used the list of three to convey the impression she has made “pointing and chattering and cluttering” which gives us the idea that this shows she is “chattering” continuously to the inspector she does this because she is trying to make a good impression to the inspector. The use of verbs in this piece of writing suggests that sister Brendan is incredibly lively and bubbly. The language also shows that her task and job is endless because of the repetition used when the writer says “and”.The writer has also used an adverb to describe the moment how miss Brendan is greeting the inspector. “Enthusiastically”, this shows she is keen to engage with him as she is extremely proud of her school which then shows a positive welcoming this has connations of her body language., and how positive she feels about his visit. 
  • Good zooming in 
  • Slight repetition of analysis – always have different ideas 
  • Starts off a bit vague, mainly because you have a technique rather a topic for the first sentence 

I hope it’s useful for you! If you’re looking for more help and guidance on AQA English Language Paper 2, check out our full.

The course includes video lessons and downloadable documents. It provides a breakdown of each question – both in Section A and Section B, advice on exam timings, how to understand mark scheme, plus tons of example answers and feedback to help you understand how to achieve the very best grades!