PRACTICAL APPROACH TO ENGLISH PAST QUESTIONS (1)
by Hassan Abdulbaqi
Write a story in your school magazine beginning or ending with the sentence: I wish I had never met the man. (JUNE 1988 ENGLISH LANGUAGE 1 THEORY).
Like I wrote under Four Tips for Scoring High in Your SSCE English…you need to understand more than the basic requirement of every question before you answer them. The basic requirement of this essay for example is to write a story that begins or ends with the sentence: I wish I had never met the man. The other requirements are: it must be a story, not an article. It must be in a form that is known with a school magazine, not a personal book you want to publish.
Know that you must have a title. Like I wrote under CHOOSING YOUR SUITABLE TITLE, your title must be in line with the narrator point of view. The sentence you have been asked to start or end your story with or in already suggests that it must be narrated in the first person point of view. That is, the writer of the story must be a character in the story.
I once sat for an examination and heard a boy asking for forgiveness from God because what he had written in his essay is untrue! You don’t need that, dear candidate, your story can be either real or imagined. You can even decide to mix both together, jollof and fried, what do you think? You may be a guy and decide to write as if you are a lady, no problem!
Don’t forget, your story need to have a beginning, middle and ending. Don’t just rush things off to the end so that you don’t score low under Content. Don’t forget it is a story, don’t write a letter so that you don’t lose marks under Organisation. In order to boost your marks, the paragraph must follow each other. They must be well-linked and share a close relationship.
You must use words that are suitable for the theme you are writing on. Since this is a story that happened in the past, you must use past tenses. You must use your dialogue appropriately and create real and active conversations. You should try and mix all the available types of sentences and not stick to one in the bid to make your narrative interesting and get more marks under Expression.
Avoid obvious grammatical, spelling and punctuation mistakes. This means that you have to create time to read through your essay after writing in the bid to spot the errors. You also need to learn grammatical rules, appropriate spellings and put punctuation marks to good use.
Read more (CHOOSING YOUR SUITABLE TITLE)
Since it is in a school magazine, a secondary school because it is meant to be your school and you are writing a Senior Secondary Certificate Examination. You may write your name and class/ position held as a prefect at the end of the story. If it had been in the case of an article like what you are reading now, it is mandatory that you write your name under the topic or at the end of the story. Your language use must suitable for students in secondary school and should not be adulterated. Obscene words should be avoided. And as a reminder, it must have a beginning, middle and ending. I trust you, use these practical approaches now and submit your answer to your tutor.
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