Archive for the ‘Literary English’ Category

English Language Reference- The Language of Literary Critisism Part 2

In part 1 we looked at such things  as Figurative Speech such as Imagery, Figures of Speech, Metaphor, and Simile. We also encountered Metonymy, Allegory, Personification and Pathetic Fallacy. There was much more so please refer to part 1 in my blog archives.

Now we will take a walk down the enchanting path of  Poetry, Drama and Narrative. Through the linguistic lakes of Lyric, Epic, Narrative, Dramatic, Ballads, and Patterns of Rhyme.

We will celebrate the language of Odes and share in the sadness of Elegy.

This post will take a brief and rythmic look at Metre, Prosody and Lambic Pentameter. After this we will pair up with couplets. Sonnets and Blank Verse. Then move with the times to the  more modern Free Verse.

Drama will deliver to us Genres, Catharsis, Deux ex Machina, Dramatic Irony, Hubris, Nemesis and will speak aloud and alone the thoughts of Soliloquy.

Finally we shall let our ears and attention rest upon the realm of the Narrative.


Lyric poetry is usually fairly short and expresses thoughts and feelings. Examples are Wordsworth’s Daffodils and Dylan Thomas’s Fern Hill.

Epic poetry can be much longer and deals with the actions of great men and women or the history of nations. Examples are Homer’s Iliad and Virgil’s Aeneid.

Narrative poetry tells a story , like Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, or Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner,

Dramatic poetry takes the form of a play, and includes the plays of Shakespeare  (which also contain scenes in prose).

A Ballad is a traditional type of narrative poem with short verses or stanzas and a simple ryhme scheme(=pattern of rhymes).

An Elegy is a type of lyric poem that expresses sadness for someone who died. Thomas Gray’s Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard mourns all who lived and died quietly and never had the chance to be great.

An Ode is a lyric poem that addresses a person or thing or celebrates an event. John Keats wrote five great odes, including Ode to a Nightingale, Ode on a Grecian Urn and To Autumn.

Metre is the rythm of poetry determined by the arrangement of stressed and unstressed , or long and short , syllables in each line of the poem.

And lastly for this post : Prosody is the theory and study of metre.

Ok so more to follow in part 3.

Good luck with your English Language Learning and Literary Critisism.


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English Language Reference- The Language of Literary Criticism:Part 1

This post is a glimpse into the world of literary English.

In this area of the English language we encounter a very flowery and poetic style. We see imagery, figures of speech, metephor, simile, metonymy, allegory, personification and pathetic fallacy.

We are confronted by patterns of sound such as assonance, alliteration and onomatopoeia.

We also see irony, hyperbole, oxymoron and paradox.

Let us take a journey into the world of English language that is both complex yet sublime.

Figurative language:

Imagery is the language that produces pictures in the mind. The term can be used to discuss the various stylisitic devices listed below, especially figures of speech ( = ways of using language to convey or suggest a meaning beyond the literal or actual meaning of the words)

Metaphor is the imaginative use of a word or phrase to describe something else, to show that the two have the same qualities:

>All the world’s a stage

  And all the men and women merely players.

_ William Shakespeare, As You Like It

In simile the comparison between the two things is made explicit by the use of the words ‘as’ or ‘like’:

> I wandered lonely as a cloud

_ William Wordsworth, Daffodils

>Like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore,

So do our minutes hasten to their end.

_ Shakespeare, Sonnet 60

Metonymy is the fact of referring to something by the name of something else closely connected with it, used especially as a form of shorthand for something familiar or obvious, as in ‘I’ve been reading Shakespeare’ instead of  ‘ I’ve been reading the plays of Shakespeare’.

Allegory is a style of writing in which each character or event is a symbol representing a particular quality. In John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress Christian escapes from the city of Destruction, travels through the Slough of Despond, visits Vanity Fair and finally arrives at the Celestial City. He meets characters such as the Giant Despair and Mr Worldly Wiseman and is accompanied by Faithful and Hopeful.

Personification is the act of representing objects or qualities as human beings:

> Love bade me welcome:yet my soul drew back, Guilty of dust and sin.

_George Herbert, Love

Pathetic fallacy is the effect produced when animals and things are shown as having human feelings. For example, in John Milton’s poem, Lycidas, the flowers are shown weeping for the dead shepherd, Lycidas. And in more recent times animation movies such as Toy Story show toys as having feelings and personality just as though they were humans.

Patterns of sound

Alliteration is the use of tthe same letter or sound as the beginning of words that are close together. It was used systematically in Old English poetry but in modern poetry is generally only used for a paticular effect:

> on the bald street breaks the blank day.

_Alfred, Lord Tennyson, In Memmoriam

Assonance is the effect created when two syllables in words that are close together have the same vowel sound but different consonants, or the same consonants but different vowels:

> It seemed that out of battle I escaped

  Down some profound dull tunnel long since scooped….

_ Wilfred Owen, Strange Meeting

Onomatopoeia is the effect produced when the words used contain similar sounds to the noises they describe:

> murmering of innumerable bees

_ Tennyson, The Princess

Other Stylistic Effects:

Irony is the use of words that say the opposite of what you really mean, often in order to make a critical comment.

Hyperbole is the use of exaggeration:

> An hundred years should go to praise

  Thine eyes and on thy forehead gaze

_ Andrew Marvell, To His Coy Mistress

An Oxymoron is a phrase that combines two words that seem to be or are the opposite of each other:

> Parting is such sweet sorrow

_ Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

Or in more recent times the phrase scientific theory

A paradox is a statement that contains two opposite ideas or seems to be impossible:

> The Child is father of the Man.

_ Wordsworth, ‘My heart leaps up….’

Ok so that was a look behind the words that fill the pages of so much literature especially classical literature. It is a glance into the realm of writers, poets and philosophers, whose great or inspiring works have at their core a literary writing method, technique and style that is not an accident but a science….the science of writing, the knowledge of which is what makes a great writer, great.

Good luck with your English language learning and your literary writing skills.


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English Language Reference-Tips on Essay Writing: Part 1

Planning and writing an essay or composition

Read the question or essay title carefully to make sure you fully understand exactly what is required.

Brainstorming: Quickly note down some ideas on the topic as you think of them. Then write down some vocabulary that you know you will need to write about this subject.

Planning: If you are asked to discuss a topic or give your opinion it is important to organize your thoughts and present your arguments clearly in paragraphs, and to work out the structure of your essay before you start to write.


paragraph 1

introduce the topic   

paragraph 2

give some points of view and information, in support of the argument, with reasons

paragraph 3

give contrasting views

paragraph 4

conclude (give your own opinion or interpretation of the facts)

Using Links and Markers

Below are some useful words and phrases to help guide your reader through your essay. The examples given are extracts to show how the words and phrases can be used. You should not start every sentence with one of these words or phrases.

Introducing a point:

> Nowadays many children spend too much of their time watching TV rather than being active.

> There are two main reasons for this, firstly…..

Describing consequences:

>As a result, levels of health and fitness are declining.

>Consequently, childhood obesity is becoming increasingly widespread.

Giving more information:

>In addition, increasing amounts of fast food are being consumed.

>Furthermore/Moreover, many children spend a great deal of time on the internet.

>Finally/Lastly/To conclude, parents are less likely to join their children in sporting activities.

Introducing a contrasting point:

However, some schools are trying to encourage healthy eating.

>In contrast, other countries have introduced compulsory sports lessons.

>On the other hand, certain sports are experiencing increased popularity.

>There was some resistance to the schemes.

  Nevertheless the organizers persevered and have had some success.

>While/Whereas the government wants to tackle the issue, advertisers continue to target young children.


>In conclusion/ To sum up, it is the responsibilty, not of the government, but of individuals to change their lifestyle.

Ok that was a quick look at some tips for essay writing using ‘linkers’ or linking words and phrases. The use of linkers gives a very uniform structure to your essay. Making it both easy and attractive to read.

Good luck with your English language learning


Ok English



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