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Eduqas GCSE English language Glossary

The key vocabulary you need to learn for your Eduqas GCSE English Language paper. Find all the terms and definitions you need to understand, from ‘adjective’ to ‘voice’.

A (Adjective to audience)

Adjectives are words that describe nouns.


Adverbs are words, often ending in -ly, that qualify verbs or adjectives; for example, saying how something is done, as in ‘gently’.


To analyse means to think carefully about what the writer has written, the effect it has on the reader and how this was achieved.


An anecdote is a short, entertaining story about an apparently real event or person.


The atmosphere of a text is the overall impression created through the feelings, emotions, and mood the writer conveys to the reader.


An attitude is the way someone thinks or feels about something.


The audience of a text means the people who will read it, or at whom it is aimed; for example, teenagers.

C (Characterisation to crisis)

Characterisation refers to how an author creates and portrays a fictional character, through what they do and say, and in direct description.


A story told in ‘chronological order’ is one simply told in the order in which events take place, rather than using time shifts.


A cliffhanger is an ending to a chapter or section of narrative which leaves the reader anxious to know what will happen next.


The climax of a narrative is the point of greatest excitement.

colloquial language

Colloquial language is language used casually in informal situations, or to create a sense of informality in a text.


To compare is to analyse how two things are similar and / or different.


Connotations are the ideas or feelings that a word might produce in a reader.


To contrast is to compare the differences between two things.


To convey a meaning or idea is to express it so it can be understood by a reader.

coordinating conjunction

A coordinating conjunction is a word that connects two parts of a sentence, indicating how they relate to each other; for example, for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so.


A counter-argument is an idea or set of structured ideas put forward to contradict or disprove an argument.


To write in a critical way means you objectively review and evaluate something, such as an opinion statement about a source text.


The crisis point in a narrative is when a main character faces an important dilemma or must make a vital decision, and has most to gain or lose.

D (Dialect to discourse marker)


A dialect is a form of language spoken in a particular region or by a particular group of people, which include non-standard grammar and / or unique vocabulary choices.


Dialogue refers to the words spoken by characters in a story. It can also include other phrases around these words, such as ‘she said’.

direct address

Direct address is a technique in which a writer addresses the reader using ‘you’ or ‘your’.

direct quotation

Direct quotation is using the exact words from a source text as evidence in a point you are making.

discourse marker

A discourse marker is a word or phrase that guides a reader through a text, showing how one part leads on to the next. For example, however, on the other hand, despite this.

E (Emotive language to extended metaphor)

emotive language

Emotive language is words and phrases chosen to create a particular emotional response in the reader.


To evaluate is to form an opinion after thinking about something carefully.


Exaggeration is making a point by saying something is better, worse, or in some other way more extreme than it really is; for example, ‘It was so cold my hands were turning to ice’.


An exclamation is a sudden cry or remark expressing surprise or strong feeling. It is followed by an exclamation mark; for example, ‘That’s incredible!’


An explicit statement is one that plainly states a fact or viewpoint.

extended metaphor

An extended metaphor is when a writer describes something as if it were something else, and does so making several different points of comparison, often over more than one sentence.

F - G (Fact to genre)

Facts are things that are generally agreed to be indisputably true.

Fiction is writing in which a writer tells an imagined story.

figurative language

Figurative language is the use of words and phrases to convey meaning in a non-literal way; for example, in metaphors and similes.

first-person viewpoint

First-person viewpoint (or ‘first-person perspective’) is when a writer uses ‘I’, ‘me’, and ‘my’ to share their perspective, or to tell a story from one character’s point of view.


A narrative flashback is when a writer takes the reader back in time from the starting point of the story.


A flashforward is when a writer takes the reader to a point later in time than the main story.


The focus of a text is what a writer makes the reader concentrate on at any one point.


Foreshadowing is the fiction technique where suggestions or warnings of future events are given within the text. This can be done explicitly; for example, ‘Who could imagine a day could go so wrong when it began so perfectly …’, or implicitly; for example, a character who is afraid of water may have to face a water-related challenge later in the story.


The form of a text is its type; for example, letter, speech, diary entry.


The genre of a text is its broad category; for example, horror, romance, or travel writing.

I - J (Imagery to juxtaposition)


Imagery is created when figurative or descriptive language is used to convey ideas.


An imperative is a word or sentence ordering or instructing the reader to do something; for example, ‘Sign our petition now!’


An impression is an idea, feeling, or opinion that is created by a writer through the things they say and the actions they describe, and the ways in which they say or describe these things.


Implicit meaning is meaning which is hinted at, not stated explicitly, so that the reader has to infer it.

inciting incident

In a novel or play, the inciting incident is an event early in the narrative that triggers the main action.


To infer is to deduce or work out meaning that is implied.


An inference is a meaning deduced from what is implied.

in media res

To begin a story ‘in media res’ is to start it in the middle of the action.


A judgement is a decision reached after considering a balance of opinions and using evidence to support it.


Juxtaposition is placing two ideas or phrases next to each other in a text for comparison or contrast.

M (Metaphor to multi-clause sentence)


A metaphor is a comparison that creates a new image for the reader by showing the resemblance between two different things, where one is described as being the other, without using ‘like’ or ‘as’.


A method is a way of doing something; it can also mean a writer’s figurative or rhetorical technique.

minor sentence

Minor sentences are grammatically incomplete sentences (lacking either a noun or a verb) used for dramatic effect.


The mood of a piece of writing is the overall feeling that it creates in the reader.


A motif is a recurring idea or image that appears throughout a text to create a particular effect or to reinforce a theme.

multi-clause sentence

A multi-clause sentence is a sentence with two or more clauses. A compound multi-clause sentence includes two or more clauses joined using a coordinating conjunction. A complex sentence includes a main clause and one or more subordinate clauses joined using a subordinating conjunction.

N - O (Narrative to oxymoron)


A narrative usually means a fictional story but it can also mean the story / content that is communicated in any piece of fiction or non-fiction writing.


A narrator in fiction tells the story; they may be a character or observe the events without being part of the story.


Non-fiction refers to any text based on reality rather than imagination.

non-Standard English

Non-Standard English is any form of English that is colloquial, that uses slang or dialect, or that differs in grammar and / or vocabulary from the English normally used in formal public contexts.


The opening of a text is its beginning.


An opinion is a viewpoint held by one or more people that is not necessarily based in fact or knowledge, and that others may disagree with.


An oxymoron is a figure of speech that combines words which hold directly opposite meanings; for example, old news.

P (Pace to purpose)

Pace is the speed at which a story or text moves; this can vary throughout the narrative.

pathetic fallacy

Pathetic fallacy is the literary technique of giving human feelings to inanimate things, such as the weather; for example, ‘the day mourned the death of the sun’.


Personification is a technique in which a writer describes non-human things as if they were human; for example, ‘time marches on’.


Perspective means a writer’s attitude towards a subject; it can also refer to narrative viewpoint, as in ‘a third-person perspective’.


The problem of a story (also called the ‘conflict’) is the challenge the main character faces and must overcome or resolve.


The purpose of a text is what its author intends it to achieve; for example, to persuade or criticise.

R (Recount to rhetorical question)

A recount is a form of writing that retells an event (real or imagined) that has taken place, and uses the first-person viewpoint.


Repetition in a text is using a word, phrase, or sentence more than once for effect or emphasis.


Register refers to the style of English used in a text or in speech, especially its degree of formality.

rhetorical devices

Rhetorical devices are forms of language and techniques that aim to make a text more persuasive.

rhetorical question

A rhetorical question is a question asked for dramatic effect, without expecting an answer.

S (Second-person viewpoint to synthesise)
second-person viewpoint

Second-person viewpoint (or ‘second-person perspective’) is when a writer addresses the reader using ‘you’ and ‘your’.

sentence forms

Sentence forms means the different ways sentences can be constructed, such as single-clause, minor, and multi-clause sentence types.


A simile is a figure of speech that describes a thing more vividly by comparing it to another thing using ‘like’ or ‘as’.

single-clause sentence

A single-clause sentence is a simple sentence that has a subject and a verb.

Standard English

Standard English is the variety of English used in formal contexts, not using dialect, colloquialisms, or slang.


A statement is a clear expression of something; for example, ‘the sky is blue’.


Statistics are exact numerical figures, giving quantities or percentages, sometimes used to support an argument.


The structure of a text is how its parts are organised and relate to each other to make a whole.

subordinating conjunction

A subordinating conjunction is a word that links a subordinate (dependent) clause to a main one; for example, when, where.


Suspense is created by writers when they make the reader anxious about what will happen to a character in a difficult and urgent situation.


Symbolism is the use of symbols: things in a text that represent an abstract idea or feeling; for example, a rainbow to represent hope.


To synthesise ideas or details is to combine and summarise information on a common theme from two texts .

T (Tension to tricolon)

Tension in a text can refer to the sense of conflict between characters or the feelings of anticipation, curiosity, and interest generated in readers about the text’s outcome. In most fictional texts the tension is ultimately resolved, though not necessarily by a happy ending.

text form

The text form refers to the style or type of text, such as a short story or a speech.

third-person viewpoint

Third-person viewpoint (or ‘third-person perspective’) is the narrative viewpoint in which an author writes about characters using the pronouns ‘he’, ‘she’, or ‘they’. There are three types of third-person narrator: restricted – knowing and telling the story only from one character’s viewpoint; omniscient – knowing the thoughts and feelings of all characters and including these in the story; objective – recounting the events as a neutral observer and not knowing the thoughts and feelings of any characters.


Tone refers to how an author expresses their attitude to their subject, and to the relationship they seek to establish with their readers.

topic sentence

Topic sentences tell the reader what the next section of text will be about. They are often used to begin a paragraph.


Transactional writing is non-fiction writing that shares ideas and information with the reader.


A tricolon (also called a ‘list of three’) is a rhetorical device listing three things, or using three phrases, often with the most powerful at the end.

V (Verb to voice)


A verb is a word expressing an action, thought, or feeling.


Voice in writing is the expression of the author’s personality or attitude, or that of a first-person character, through their choice of language.