This blog attempts to share the assential of English Language to meet the needs of pupil in the Secondary School and to whom English is a foreign tongue. While I agree that learning the knowledge of English here is not the highroad to good speaking and writing, it must be acknowledged that English Proficiency is an important element in speaking and writing correctly. Pupils as well teachers should find this blog of some assistence, and those who wish to conduct a more extensive study of English Proficiency, will find it useful as a starting-point.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

#1: Maudlin


showing or expressing too much emotion especially in a foolish or annoying way.

Words It Might Replace:

sappy; schmaltzy; overly emotional


"His daughter's account of his final days manages to capture the emotion without becoming maudlin." – Glenn C. Altschuler,, April 28, 2011

Friday, May 6, 2011

How to Get the Most Out of Reading

Students often think they need to read fast so they can get through all the material they're asked to deal with. But there's no point reading and not understanding or remembering what you've seen. A more important skill is to read with comprehension and memory. Here are some tips on reading different material in appropriate ways. They will help you read more effectively.


Textbooks sometimes repay intensive reading, though usually in some parts more than others. Note the signals from your professor or TA on just what sections are relevant to the course. Be aware of the structure of the text as you read: the chapter titles, headings and subheadings will name the main concepts to be covered.

Mark only key passages in the text. Use symbols to show different kinds of points. It's worthwhile to make brief summarizing notes in your own words. That forces you to process the material in your own mind, and it provides a guide for later review.

Primary Sources

Read through each literary work or historical document, paying attention to your own responses and questions. "Stickies" will let you express these on the spot without spoiling the pages. Many people find it useful, immediately after a first reading, to write out a brief journal account of their experience.

A quick review of the work will then let you note how themes or techniques have developed through the work as a whole or how your questions were answered: use light annotations to show these patterns.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Argumentative Essays

In an argumentative essay you give your own opinion and then try to convince other people you are right with your reasons and examples. You can see examples of the argumentative style of writing when you read editorial columns and letters in the NST.

Before beginning to write an argumentative essay think about your own opinion and ask yourself:

  • Do you have a strong opinion?
  • What have other people said on the subject and do you think they are right?
  • Is there any other evidence you can think of to support your views?

To write an argumentative essay, use the following steps to help you:

1. Begin by introducing the debate topic in your own words.

2. Then write if you agree or disagree with the argument

3. Tell people why you hold that opinion and come up with ideas and examples to back up your arguments. Try to put these ideas in an order with the most important ideas first and links between each idea so that the essay flows well.

4. Think about why people might have a different opinion (objections) and try to show why they are not important or they are not true.

5. Conclude with a brief summary and try to make a strong last sentence that people will remember. For example Oprah Winfrey famously wrote," I believe the choice to be excellent begins with aligning your thoughts and words with the intention to require more from yourself." The rest of the article maybe forgotten, but that strong sentence is remembered.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Understanding Essay Topics: A Checklist

Adapted from : Margaret Procter, Writing Support

Before you plunge into research or writing, think through the specific topic you are dealing with. Remember, you are not being asked just to collect facts, but to develop and display your powers of reasoning. You can save yourself time and frustration by beginning this reasoning early in the process. Here are some steps:

1. Note the key terms, including those naming parts of the topic and those giving directions for dealing with it. Look especially for words that define the kind of reasoning you should be using: why, how, analyse, compare, evaluate, argue,etc. Be sure you understand the specific meanings of these terms.

· Analyse means look behind the surface structure of your source material. See the relationship of parts to whole. Be able to recognize relationships such as cause and effect, even if it's unstated in what you read. Look for underlying assumptions and question their validity. How and why imply an answer reached by analysis.

· Compare means find differences as well as similarities. You will need to formulate the aspects which you are looking at in each item; consider organizing your paper by using these aspects as headings.

· Evaluate stresses applying your judgement to the results of your analysis. It asks for an opinion based on well-defined criteria and clearly stated evidence. Wording such as to what extent also asks for an evaluation of an idea.

· Argue (or agree or disagree) likewise asks you to take a stand based on analysis of solid evidence and explained by clear reasoning. You will need to consider other possible viewpoints and defend your own in comparison.

2. Note which concepts or methods the topic asks you to use. Are you to argue a point with others, or to explore your own responses? Does the topic ask you to go into depth about some material already covered? Or does it suggest that you evaluate a theory or model by applying it to an example from outside the course material? Whatever the design, an essay assignment expects you to use course concepts and ways of thinking; it encourages you to break new ground for yourself in applying course methodology.

3. To generate ideas from which you can choose the direction of your research or preliminary analysis, ask yourself questions about the specific topic in terms of the concepts or methods that seem applicable. Looking for controversies in the material will also help you find things worth discussing. You may want to look at some general articles in reference works such as encyclopedia to see how others have framed questions or seen problems to discuss. (For further advice on methods of generating ideas.

For an essay of argument, formulate a tentative thesis statement at a fairly early stage—that is, a statement of your own likely position in the controversy that most interests you, or your preliminary answer to an important interpretive question. You do not have to stick to this answer or statement, but it will help focus your investigation. Using Thesis Statements, now you will have some sense of direction—even if you eventually choose another path than the one you have mapped. You are ready to begin gathering and analysing your specific material.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Essay Writing Competition

In conjunction of Malaysia Day September 16 2011, a writing competition will be held throughout school, district and state level.

For those who are interested to participate in the competition please refer to Pn Hjh Norizan for further information.

Essay Title :

1. The aspects of Human Values determine the destination of One’s Life.

2. Good Thinking is inspired by Good Values that one practices on a Daily Basis.

3. By practicing Human Values, we become better in every aspects of life.

Winner will represent the school to district level with great prizes. Good Luck!!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Kem Bestari, Kuala Rompin, Pahang

SMK Dato' Sulaman English Camp, 7-9th April 2011
at Kem Bestari, Kuala Rompin, Pahang.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

English Camp 2011

The English Language Society is conducting a camp far away in Rompin, Pahang on April 7th till April 9th 2011. More than 80 students and 10 teachers will participate in the event. Contents will be more on motivation, self-awaken and group study activities, team work and physical activities as well. More news will be submitted here then. Good Luck guys!!

Friday, March 4, 2011

How to speak excellent English like native speakers do?

Actually, broadening/improving one's language skills is a very broad concept, it should be done in more than one ways at the same time which is highly recommended. One can NOT become better ONLY in one area e.g. chatting or speaking, one MUST improve skills in ALL dimensions of the language!

Learning language well requires being as active as possible and making the learning as FUN for oneself as possible. Taking lessons is always important, but equally important are these:

1) Listen/watch: Keep listening to internet radio stations like BBC, watch TV shows in English (use only subtitles, NOT voice dubbing in case you are not a native English speaker!), etc.

2) Write/communicate: Try to find discussion forums from the web about things that you find interesting and FUN (music/various artists, hobbies, etc.) and start communicating there with other people using only English. Start using instant messaging systems in case you find some new friends or start emailing them.

3) Buy yourself a proper dictionary, and each time when you see a strange word that you do not understand, look it up. Putting words into their CONTEXT is one of the best ways to broaden one's vocabulary and grammar knowledge, the more you read and write the better. Memorising is NOT the best way to go with learning vocabulary, grammar or any other language areas!

The main point in ANY language learning is to make it as fun as possible for yourself. Try to find topics that INTEREST you, read online newspapers (Times, Guardian, Independent...), listen to BBC/NBC and other radio stations online, if you find a discussion forum for e.g. your favourite hobby or your idols in music do participate there, etc. The key word here is CONTEXT, which means that it is easier to learn new words and their usage as well as grammar when you use/see them in their real CONTEXT. The more you see and hear the new words in their context and the more you use them in your speech & writing, the easier it becomes to remember their meanings and correct spelling.

I'm sorry there is no easy way out with this, one really must develop language skills in ALL these language "levels" or dimensions in order to reach better language skills!!

Last but not least: NEVER EVER use ANY online translators, they are nothing but utter rubbish!! English is practically EVERYWHERE in the online world these days, you just have to use your imagination to find it! Learning pace is always personal, it takes the time it takes so there is no reason to hurry it up too much. If you do, you will not learn so well. Also, please learn the basics of the standard English first before advancing to finer details like dialects/accents.

Good luck!

Monday, February 28, 2011


"How to Prepare for Exam?" A big question that you always ask yourself. Here are some tips that may help you. Dear student friends you people may be of different types. I know, many of you, no all of you are so brilliant students.Yet there may be some problems regarding your studies Let's discuss it here.Many of you may be working hard and getting good marks and some of you may not be working hard but still manages to get high marks in exams,Others may be wondering how it happens?.And also there will be a few of you study well but still not able to score well in exams.Don't worry there are some very simple tips by following which you can become master. These tips will tell you 'How to prepare for Exams in Short time', 'How to prepare for a high school exam' as well as a competitive exam and even you can prepare for exams in a week just by following these tips. It will be even better if you follow this for a long period of time.

for students please click HERE. ......................................... for parents please click HERE.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Learn English Vowels

Learning English vowels can be a great headache for students. English teachers, especially often struggle to find the best way to teach them the correct pronunciation of the vowels.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

10 Common Expressions


You must look into other people as well as at them.

Lord Chesterfield

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Clearer Sentences 2

Using words as alternative parts of speech:

An important characteristic of English to understand is that most words can be used as different parts of speech and have more than one meaning.

Learners need to develop knowledge of the alternative, grammatical uses of words. Knowing the various meanings of words is a pre-requisite to using them as superior alternatives to other words.

It is worth noting that some words are single lexical units or lexemes such as pneumonia and penicillin. These words have only one meaning each that never changes, regardless of the context in which they are used.

However, hundreds of thousands of words represent at least two or more lexemes. Many can be used as different parts of speech – with different meanings – depending on their function in a sentence.

Take for example the word “case”. As a verb, “case” can mean to “carefully survey” or “look over” some particular thing, as in this sentence: Professional thieves always case a place before they attempt to rob it.

“Case” can also be used as an adjective to mean “a record”, for example: My doctor keeps a case history on every patient.

And metallically, its meaning changes again, as in: That steel lid wascase-hardened.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Clearer Sentences

Using alternative forms of punctuation:

When writing, it is usual for most people to limit their use of full stops by writing very long sentences, and also to rarely use commas to indicate pauses. Compare these two texts:

Hiking in the national park Joseph Greta Guy and Joanna became separated in the thick forest and it took the park rangers Mike and his partner Trevor more than five hours to locate them because each hiker had decided to try to find their own way back to their camp by going in four different directions and soon became completely lost as the longer they walked the farther they ventured away from safety.

Hiking in the national park, Joseph, Greta, Guy and Joanna became separated in the thick forest. It took the park rangers, Mike and his partner, Trevor, more than five hours to locate them. This was because each hiker had decided to try to find their own way back to their camp by going in four different directions. They soon became completely lost as the longer they walked, the farther they ventured away from safety.

The second paragraph is far easier to follow because it is broken down into several shorter sentences.

Text can be made easier to understand and a passage can be even more interesting when shorter sentences are intermittently used. Commas can greatly add to the clarity of a sentence.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Just A Joke

A man was pulled over for driving too fast, even though he thought he was driving just fine.

Officer: You were speeding.
Man: No, I wasn't.
Officer: Yes, you were. I'm giving you a ticket.
Man: But I wasn't speeding.
Officer: Tell that to the judge! (The officer gives man the ticket.)
Man: Would I get another ticket if I called you a jerk?
Officer: Yes, you would.
Man: What if I just thought that you were?
Officer: I can't give you a ticket for what you think.
Man: Fine, I think you're a jerk!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Wishing all Tionghua students and teachers a Happy New Year

Friday, January 28, 2011


Many users install anti-virus software that can detect and eliminate known viruses after the computer downloads or runs the executable. There are two common methods that an anti-virus software application uses to detect viruses. The first, and by far the most common method of virus detection is using a list of virus signature definitions. This works by examining the content of the computer's memory (its RAM, and boot sectors) and the files stored on fixed or removable drives (hard drives, floppy drives), and comparing those files against a database of known virus "signatures". The disadvantage of this detection method is that users are only protected from viruses that pre-date their last virus definition update. The second method is to use a heuristic algorithm to find viruses based on common behaviors. This method has the ability to detect novel viruses that anti-virus security firms have yet to create a signature for.

Some anti-virus programs are able to scan opened files in addition to sent and received e-mails "on the fly" in a similar manner. This practice is known as "on-access scanning". Anti-virus software does not change the underlying capability of host software to transmit viruses. Users must update their software regularly to patch security holes. Anti-virus software also needs to be regularly updated in order to recognize the latest threats.

One may also minimize the damage done by viruses by making regular backups of data (and the operating systems) on different media, that are either kept unconnected to the system (most of the time), read-only or not accessible for other reasons, such as using different file systems. This way, if data is lost through a virus, one can start again using the backup (which should preferably be recent).

If a backup session on optical media like CD and DVD is closed, it becomes read-only and can no longer be affected by a virus (so long as a virus or infected file was not copied onto the CD/DVD). Likewise, an operating system on a bootable CD can be used to start the computer if the installed operating systems become unusable. Backups on removable media must be carefully inspected before restoration. The Gammima virus, for example, propagates via removable flash drives.

Computer Virus

A computer virus is a computer program that can copy itself and infect a computer. The term "virus" is also commonly but erroneously used to refer to other types of malware, including but not limited to adware and spyware programs that do not have the reproductive ability. A true virus can spread from one computer to another (in some form of executable code) when its host is taken to the target computer; for instance because a user sent it over a network or the Internet, or carried it on a removable medium such as a floppy disk, CD, DVD, or USB drive.

Viruses can increase their chances of spreading to other computers by infecting files on a network file system or a file system that is accessed by another computer. As stated above, the term "computer virus" is sometimes used as a catch-all phrase to include all types of malware, even those that do not have the reproductive ability. Malware includes computer viruses, computer worms, Trojan horses, most rootkits, spyware, dishonest adware and other malicious and unwanted software, including true viruses. Viruses are sometimes confused with worms and Trojan horses, which are technically different.

A worm can exploit security vulnerabilities to spread itself automatically to other computers through networks, while a Trojan horse is a program that appears harmless but hides malicious functions. Worms and Trojan horses, like viruses, may harm a computer system's data or performance. Some viruses and other malware have symptoms noticeable to the computer user, but many are surreptitious or simply do nothing to call attention to themselves. Some viruses do nothing beyond reproducing themselves.

Friday, January 21, 2011


Writing Guide :

1. In type of composition, you have to describe something clearly. It may be an event, incident, a person or a place.

2. Read the question and information given carefully. Make sure you understand what the topic is about.

3. If you are describing a person who is still standing alive, you should use the Present Tense. If you are describing an event that has already over, you should use the Past Tense.

4. Plan your draf so that your ideas flow smoothly and are correctly organized into paragraphs.

5. Your draf should have an introduction, a body and a conclusion.

6. Read your draf and amend it if necessary. Remember to avoid any mistakes and correct all errors.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

PMR English paper: Just too many errors

2010/10/15C.B. LIM, Kuala Lumpur

I WISH to highlight the glaring grammatical and logical errors in the recent Penilaian Menengah Rendah (PMR) 2010 English Paper 1.

Students had to read through a passage and answer question 29 to 34 in the English Paper 1.I was deeply disappointed to find that the passage was peppered with errors.

In the first paragraph, the author wrote: "Being a Penangite, it was indeed fun to go somewhere far as it would be a change from my normal routine."

This is a classic dangling modifier in which the author refers it (the trip) as a Penangite. There were two not-so-serious flaws in the second paragraph: "Drop me off at a small town" should be corrected as " in a small town" whereas "I went to enquire at the bus station" should be "I went to enquire about the bus schedule at the bus station".

The writer wrote in the third paragraph: "I alighted where most buses stopped for passengers to get refreshments and stretch their legs."Did he really mean he got off the bus where most buses stopped for passengers to get refreshments and stretch their legs?Then, in the fourth paragraph, the passage read: "I enquired from someone and was told to wait at a bus stop across the road. Hence, I waited eagerly."

"Hence" means "for that reason"; is it logical for a person to wait eagerly for the reason he was to wait at a bus stop across the road? And "hence" is a formal word and should not be included in that context. This is like a square peg in a round hole. Hence, the writer or teacher has poor diction.
Furthermore, "I enquired from" is not a standard form of English, it should be "I enquired of".I was fuming when I read the last sentence of the passage: "This will definitely be one experience that I will never forget!" Did the author imply that the experience has yet to happen yet?
It should be: "That was definitely an experience that I will never forget!"In question 32: "The word alighted means... A) got down...". We use "get off the bus".In question 22: "The bus stopped at Yong Peng to allow the passengers to ... A) take a nap; B) relax themselves; C) check into a hotel..." "Check into a hotel" should be "check in at a hotel" or "check in to a hotel".
Whereas the word "relax" is not used with reflexive pronouns like myself, yourself, themselves, etc. In Unit 76 of Advanced Grammar in Use by Martin Hewings, it states: "Some verbs are rarely or never used with a reflexive pronoun in English.
These include complain, concentrate, lie down, meet, relax, remember."Finally, "Questions 29-34..." on page 12 should be "Question 29-34".There were at least four grave grammatical mistakes in this English Paper 1 passage and PMR is a "national exam".
Those who set the papers are leading hundreds of thousands of young students astray. Even the reviewers (I suppose they hold an English degree) were not able to point out the flaws.
As the Russian proverb says: "A fish rots from the head down."
If we want to improve our standard of English, we have to retrain our English teachers, comprehensively and thoroughly.

Friday, January 14, 2011

I Wonder by Jeannie Kirby


The poem use of questions instills the feeling of reflective. the persona question the world order, who, what and why does "things" happens. the things that happened in the poem were majestic and miracles, that cannot be done or comprehended by human.

The last two lines have a connotation to religious, in particular, Christianity, as God in Christianity was symbolised as the father. and thus, the meaning of the poem was that humans are young, powerless and cannot understand the whole world. the poem also suggested that human will eventually learn, but God do not give the whole knowledge, unless human seek it. the knowledge seek was the true knowledge, the understanding of the all powerful God and the capacity of human understanding. the point to be discuss here was that whether the human have the capacity to understand the whole concept of "true knowledge"? But, if the poem were read through the eye of an innocent child, the line may means the father of the child, as child usually will ask anything from the parents. all the questions will then referred as the child's observations of the world. the inquisitive feelings that child have plus the naivety of understanding how the world move.

Both interpretation above suggested knowledge gained through asking, human@child will not gain the whole knowledge, but will eventually learn bit by bit. it also stressed on the need of a guider@teacher@father to guide the human@child

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Flipping Fantastic


1. Peter Hill Primary: Tristan and James are finishing their final year in this primary school. They perform in a play entitled “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” which is the last activity in the school.

2. Chesterlea Grange: This is a residential school for students of special needs situated far away from Tristan’s home. Tristan looks forward to be enrolled in this special school which has all the facilities that he has dreamt of such as a drama studio, games room, swimming pool and a paddock. The school also has sports activities such as basketball tournament, archery contest, wheelchair games and so on.

3. Highfields: This is the school that James is going to be enrolled in when the new school term begins. At the end of the story, James feels excited about his new school as most of his schoolmates are there including Kiara Jones.


Tristan and James : They are the main characters in the story. They are twin brothers who are dependent on each other. Tristan is more confident and outstanding than James. James is shy, nervous and has a low self-esteem. Mum: She is the mother of Tristan and James. She is determined to send her sons to different schools so that they would be independent and confident about their own abilities.


Fear of the unknown: James dreads being alone in Highfields without the help of Tristan. Although Tristan feels excited about his new school, at times he feels confused at being alone and far away from home and his brother in the new school. Motherly pride: Mum takes pride in her boys’ ability. She admires James’s courage to perform on stage despite being an introvert and appreciates Tristan’s great performance. as ‘Tom Sawyer’ in the school play. Other themes/ sub-themes: a caring society, being independent, brotherly love.


Independence, concern, gratefulness, appreciation, consideration, helpfulness.

Flipping Fantastic - Literary Devices


1.Point of View
This story is written from the first person point of view. The pronoun “I” is used. We see the events from three perspectives; namely that of Tristan, James and Mum. We can experience their thoughts and feelings.

The tone is generally sincere, serious and reflective. At times it is emotional.
Diction (the choice of words used in the story)

• serious - …James, on the other hand, has always been so nervous. I’ve been really worried about him…
• reflective – Just because we’re twins doesn’t mean we have to be good at the same things. I accept that.
• emotional - Talk about pride! Tonight I thought I was going to burst with it! • simple vocabulary; short sentences; lots of exclamation marks (!) to express emotions
• use of contractions (e.g. he’s; it’s, etc) to show a conversational style

3. Simile
The story has several similes e.g. I feel like a tyre that has burst; as freely as a freshly oiled cog, etc.

4. Journal entries/reflections

• 3 different styles to express the thoughts and feelings of the 3 characters.

5. Contrast

• Contrast of writing styles. E.g. Tristan’s thoughts are in a box; James’s thoughts appear to be on lined paper while mum’s thoughts are in italics.
• Contrast of opinions and characters Tristan loves drama while James loathes it.

6. Slang /colloquial expressions

e.g. .. the new school is really cool; collywobbles; mate; flipping; I’ve really blown it! (to give it a fresh modern feel)



Flipping Fantastic’ by Jane Langford is a story about twin brothers and their mother. Tristan is an outstanding, brilliant and a capable boy but James is shy, nervous and lacks confidence. Both of them are about to finish their primary education at Peter Hill Primary soon and plan to begin their new school term in two different school.
Their mother decides to enrol James in Highfields and Tristan who is physically challenged and wheelchair bound, in a special school (Chesterlea Grange). Both brothers are confused over the thought of being separated as they have never been apart from each other. Since they rely on each other, the twins are concerned about how they are going to cope in their new school environment.
The mother wants the twins to be independent. She is confident that Tristan would be able to cope well at Chesterlea Grange. However, she worries about James and wonders how he is going to manage all alone at Highfields. Tristan changes his mind about Chesterlea Grange, in order to be with James. Besides that, the school is far away from home and he would only be able to see James once a week. On the other hand, James manages to persuade him by reminding him of all the facilities and activities in his new school that Tristan dreamt of.
Knowing James cannot cope himself alone, Tristan calls on their friend Kiara Jones to help James in Highfields. The twins at last realise that they have made the right decision and their new school environment is flipping fantastic.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Literary Devices in Literature

Literary devices refers to specific aspects of literature, in the sense of its universal function as an art form which expresses ideas through language, which we can recognize, identify, interpret and/or analyze. Literary devices collectively comprise the art form’s components; the means by which authors create meaning through language, and by which readers gain understanding of and appreciation for their works. They also provide a conceptual framework for comparing individual literary works to others, both within and across genres. Both literary elements and literary techniques can rightly be called literary devices.

Literary elements refers to particular identifiable characteristics of a whole text. They are not “used,” per se, by authors; they represent the elements of storytelling which are common to all literary and narrative forms. For example, every story has a theme, every story has a setting, every story has a conflict, every story is written from a particular point-of-view, etc. In order to be discussed legitimately as part of a textual analysis, literary elements must be specifically identified for that particular text.

Literary techniques refers to any specific, deliberate constructions or choices of language which an author uses to convey meaning in a particular way. An author’s use of a literary technique usually occurs with a single word or phrase, or a particular group of words or phrases, at one single point in a text. Unlike literary elements, literary techniques are not necessarily present in every text; they represent deliberate, conscious choices by individual authors.

Literary Devices frequently used in secondary school literature :

The repetition of consonant sounds within close proximity, usually in consecutive words within the same sentence or line.

The people who inhabit and take part in a story. When discussing character, as distinct from characterization, look to the essential function of the character, or of all the characters as a group, in the story as a whole.

The turning point in a story, at which the end result becomes inevitable, usually where something suddenly goes terribly wrong; the “dramatic high point” of a story. (Although it is technically a literary element, the term is only useful for identification, as part of a discussion or analysis of structure; it cannot generally be analyzed by itself.)

The story reaches its climax in Act III, when Mercutio and Tybalt are killed and Romeo is banished from Verona.

A struggle between opposing forces which is the driving force of a story. The outcome of any story provides a resolution of the conflict(s); this is what keeps the reader reading. Conflicts can exist between individual characters, between groups of characters, between a character and society, etc., and can also be purely abstract (i.e., conflicting ideas).

Irony (a.k.a. Situational irony):
Where an event occurs which is unexpected, in the sense that it is somehow in absurd or mocking opposition to what would be expected or appropriate. Mere coincidence is generally not ironic; neither is mere surprise, nor are any random or arbitrary occurrences. (Note: Most of the situations in the Alanis Morissette song are not ironic at all, which may actually make the song ironic in itself.)

A direct relationship where one thing or idea substitutes for another.

Shakespeare often uses light as a metaphor for Juliet; Romeo refers to her as the sun, as “a rich jewel in an Ethiop’s ear,” and as a solitary dove among crows.

The atmosphere or emotional condition created by the piece, within the setting. Mood refers to the general sense or feeling which the reader is supposed to get from the text; it does not, as a literary element, refer to the author’s or characters’ state of mind. (Note that mood is a literary element, not a technique; the mood must therefore be described or identified. It would be incorrect to simply state, “The author uses mood.”)

Sequence of events in a story. Most literary essay tasks will instruct the writer to “avoid plot summary;” the term is therefore rarely useful for response or critical analysis. When discussing plot, it is generally more useful to consider and analyze its structure, rather than simply recapitulate “what happens.”

The identity of the narrative voice; the person or entity through whom the reader experiences the story. May be third-person (no narrator; abstract narrative voice, omniscient or limited) or first-person (narrated by a character in the story or a direct observer). Point-of-view is a commonly misused term; it does not refer to the author’s or characters’ feelings, opinions, perspectives, biases, etc.

Where a specific word, phrase, or structure is repeated several times, usually in close proximity, to emphasize a particular idea.

The time and place where a story occurs. The setting can be specific (e.g., New York City in 1930) or ambiguous (e.g., a large urban city during economic hard times). Also refers directly to a description thereof. When discussing or analyzing setting, it is generally insufficient to merely identify the time and place; an analysis of setting should include a discussion of its overall impact on the story and characters.

An indirect relationship where one thing or idea is described as being similar to another. Similes usually contain the words “like” or “as,” but not always.

The use of specific objects or images to represent abstract ideas. This term is commonly misused, describing any and all representational relationships, which in fact are more often metaphorical than symbolic. A symbol must be something tangible or visible, while the idea it symbolizes must be something abstract or universal. (In other words, a symbol must be something you can hold in your hand or draw a picture of, while the idea it symbolizes must be something you can’t hold in your hand or draw a picture of.)

The main idea or message conveyed by the piece. A theme should generally be expressed as a complete sentence; an idea expressed by a single word or fragmentary phrase is usually a motif.

The apparent emotional state, or “attitude,” of the speaker/narrator/narrative voice, as conveyed through the language of the piece. Tone refers only to the narrative voice; not to the author or characters. It must be described or identified in order to be analyzed properly; it would be incorrect to simply state, “The author uses tone.”

Heir Conditioning - Literary Devices

Adapted from :

Literary Devices

1. Heir or Air
The most striking literary device in this poem is the use of a pun. A pun refers to a word or phrase that has been used in an amusing way to convey meaning. They usually have the same sound but convey different meanings. In this poem, the word heir which also sounds like airshows the poet’s ingenuity in playing with words. By using this word, the poet reminds us that by using modern inventions such as air conditioners, we are leaving our heirs, the future generation, a world that will be plagued with environmental problems.

2. Life’s Irony
The poem shows us an example of life’s irony. We wish that the modern inventions mentioned in the poem such as fans, air conditioners, faxes, and telephones would make life easy. However, modern inventions have also brought with it new problems such as stress, traffic jams and pollution.

3. Contrast
Contrast in this poem refers to showing the differences between ideas, situations and people of different generations. The poet makes a comparison between the past and present. The first contrast is in Man’s beliefs. The poet points out that our forefathers feared God and nature. In contrast, the younger generation has turned things around so much that now µnature fears you and money is your new god.
The second contrast is with regards to basic necessities. In the past, our elders used simple things such as paper fans. Today, modern inventions, through considered basic necessities, have brought about many changes. More significant is the negative effects of these inventions on the environments such as µpollutions, stress, traffic jams, destruction of forests, stream and hills.

4. Alliteration
In this poem, there is at least one example of alliteration. Stanza 1 (Lines 5 / 6)
shows the consonant ‘f’ being mentioned three times. Example: Grandma weren’t you flustered as you fluttered with paper fans?

Heir Conditioning

Adapted from :

Tone and Mood
This poem interestingly conveys two tones and moods. In the first stanza, the tone is curiosity where the grandchild inquisitively seeks answers to his questions. In the second stanza, the tone and mood is more serious. Here the poet uses this tone and mood because he wants to show the impact of Man’s actions on the environment as a result of using modern inventions.

Structure and Style
The poet uses a free verse style of writing. The poem is written in two stanzas. There are 9 lines in Stanza 1 and Stanza 2 has 10 lines. The poet does not use any rhyming words or couplets. Generally, the poet has employed a light and easy conventional style in writing Heir Conditioning.
In Stanza 1, the poet uses many questions to portray a child’s inquisitiveness about his surroundings. In stanza 2, the responses given by his grandfather cast gravity and imply the seriousness of modern inventions to the environment.

Heir Conditioning - Moral Values

Adapted from :

Moral Values

1. Appreciate Nature
Stanza 2 in the poem conveys a strong message regarding appreciating nature. The poet reminds us that during our grandparents time, they believed what goes around comes around they took care of nature. They believed that everything in nature was created by God. Therefore, if one appreciated and respected God’s gifts to mankind, the returns would be bountiful. However, since the dawn of modern inventions, lifestyles and priorities have changed. As the poet points out, µnow nature fears you and money is your God. This shows that the present generation does not care and appreciate nature. In fact, they have become more materialistic and believe that money and riches are more important. In turn, nature has suffered due to their lackadaisical (unconcerned/ laid back) attitude. Today, the destruction of forest, streams and hills have shaken the balance in living cycles. As a result, we are faced with problems such as pollution, stress, and traffic jams.

2. Respect and Love
Through the question and answer session, we know that there is mutual respect and love in this family. The grandparents show patience to their grandchild by answering his questions. At the same time they also make attempts to educate and warn him of the dangers of modern inventions to the environment and about having good values and lifestyle.

3. Believe in God
The poet reminds us that today’s younger generation is too preoccupied with making money and maintaining a certain standard of lifestyle and status. They tend to be extravagant. Such emphasis on material things has made them forget God. Thus, they do not fear God. Their need to believe in God is slowly waning (fading/weakening) as other objects and material things become more important.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Heir Conditioning – by M. Shanmughalingam


The poem talks about the differences on the ways of living of two different generations. The poet uses an interesting way of a question and answer session between a grandchild and his/her grandparents. The child questions his/her grandparents on how they could live without all the necessities they today’s generation could not live without such as air cons, fans, faxes and telephones. The grandparents replay one after another that even though the necessities were not yet invented to comfort them, they could live in comfort as their life were free from pollution, stress, traffic jams, destruction of forests, streams and hills. They warn their child that there is a price to pay when they do not fear God and appreciate nature. They have made money as their God and nature fears them because of the rapid pace of development and the destruction of the beautiful environment.

1. Technology Brings More Harm
It may seem that we are living in comfort with all the technology that keeps on improving, but we do not realize the harms that the technology has brought us. The grandchild thinks that it is impossible for their grandparents to live in comfort with the help of technology. The child does not realize that because of the technology itself, the world becomes hotter and that is the reason why some technologies are created to blind humans with the fake comfort that the technologies bring them. For example, electric fans and air cons. Technological advancements have other setbacks such us pollution, stress, traffic jams, and destruction of forests, rivers and hills.

2. Fear
The older generations were God-fearing people and respected His creation nature. However, today’s generation does not fear God. On the contrary the poet says that “now nature fears you and money is your new God”. This indicates that the younger generation has become more materialistic. They do not care for nature but gives priority to riches and money rather than practicing good values such as preserving God’s creation.

3. Importance of Preserving Nature
God created nature to preserve life. In stanza 2, the poet gives the consequences of not preserving nature -pollution, stress, traffic jams, destruction of forest, streams and hills. Humans seem not to aware that the more pollution they make, the more they need to preserve the nature. In paving the way for development, forest and hills have been destroyed and streams have been polluted. This has destroyed the natural habitat of many species of animals and plants which help to retain balance in our ecosystem.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


A Noun is a name: as, pencil, London, Aminah, Lim Cheng Swee, Raju, beauty.
A Pronoun is a word used for instead of a Noun; it shows the person or thing without actually giving the name of the person or things; as, he, she, it, this.
An Adjective is a word which adds to the meaning of a Noun, that is, it tells something more about the Noun; as, black cat, good boy, beautiful house.
A Verb is a word which tells us something about a person or thing. It is a "telling-word" or a "saying word". It tells us what a person or thing does. It also tells us what a person or thing is or suffers (i.e. has done to it) ; as, Milon writes. Dogs bark. Rahim is good. The cat is loved by the girl. The Verb is the most important word in a Sentence.
An Adverb is a word which adds something to the meaning of a Verb, an Adjective or another Adverb; as,
He speaks loudly (speaks=Verb. Speaks how?)
She is very good (good=Adjective. How good?)
He talks too loudly (loudly=Adverb. How loudly?)
A Preposition is a word which joins Nouns and Pronouns to other words; as, The book is on the table. He is in the room. The cat is under the table.
A Conjunction is a word used to join words or groups of words together; as, Two and two make four. He is bad but you are good.
An Interjection is only a cry. It is a sound or a noise a person makes when he is excited, to express some strong feeling. It is not an important Part of Speech: Oh! Hallo! Hurrah!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Summary Writing

What is a summary?
A summary restates the main ideas of an author (without most of the details) in your own words. It is generally about 25% the length of the original.

Why are summaries important?
In the upper class high school courses and certainly in university courses, you often have to write research papers. In these papers you gather information from many sources and include this information in your paper. A few direct quotations are allowed, but generally you are expected to summarize or paraphrase this information in your own words. (You also have to indicate the source of the information.) Summary writing gives you practice in this rather difficult task. Most students also tell me that when they write summaries, their understanding of what they are reading improves. In addition, by the end of the course many of my students say that they feel their writing has improved as well, and I would agree. Finally, as students use new words they have learned in their summary writing, their vocabulary improves as well.

How do I write a summary? (check off each step as you do it)

__1. Preview the article (read the title, subtitle, headings, first paragraph, first sentence of the following paragraphs, and the last paragraph. Get an overall idea of what this article is about. This is when to use your dictionary. Look up unknown words that seem to be important from your preview.

__2. Read the article. Underline (about 20%) as you read.

__3. Go back over the article and make boxes over just the key words/phrases that you underlined. The boxes should remind you of the author’s main idea. (Boxes should equal about 5% of the article). If I give you study questions to help you find the main ideas, answer those in your own words.)

__4. Find the author’s thesis statement and summarize it in your own words. You can use headings or the main text of the article.

__5. Make an informal outline of the article from your “boxes”. Usually, but not always, you should include in your outline one main idea from every paragraph of the article. Emphasize the points the author emphasizes.

__6. Summarize the author’s conclusion (last paragraph) in one sentence.

__7. Begin to write your summary from your outline, without looking at the original article.

__8. Your first sentence should approximately follow this model: “In his article ‘March on Washington’ (Newsweek, April 8, 1991) Osborn Elliot (discusses, states, argues, describes)...” MAKE SURE THAT YOUR FIRST SENTENCE GIVES THE THESIS (i.e., main thrust) OF THE ARTICLE.

__9. At a later point in your summary remind us one more time that you are summarizing another person’s work: e.g. “Mr. Elliot (or ‘the author’) also (states, believes, argues, etc.)...”

__10. If you want to, you may directly quote the author once briefly. Use quotation marks.

__11. Include a response at the end. Mark it “ MY RESPONSE” Here and only here should you include your opinions.

__12. Go back over your summary and check that you have used your own words and not copied! (By all means, use new vocabulary from this article in your summary. Underline these new vocabulary words.)

__13 Now read your summary out loud and make sure that your meaning will be clear to someone who has not read the article.

__14 Now read your summary out loud a second time, and look for mistakes. Especially look for mistakes in: (1) fragments and run-ons, (2) verb tenses, (3) articles, (4) spelling of easy words

__15. Type your summary and use spell-check. For most of the articles we read in this class your summaries should be not less than 200 words nor more than 250 words.

I Wonder by Jennie Kirby - Synopsis

The persona, a child, is wondering about the natural happenings, asking why the grass is green (instead of being other colours) and why the wind is invisible. He or she continues to ponder on how the birds know how to build nests without any instruction and why the trees shed their leaves in autumn. He also wonders where the other part of the moon is (when the moon shows up in the sky in a crescent shape).
He wonders about who makes the stars shine and what makes the lightning flash about. He asks who colours the rainbow and put the clouds high in the sky. His father, however, would not answer the child's arguments. He wonders why the father was unwilling to give him all the answers.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Distribution Of English Literature Elements

This is the distribution of literature elements for Form 1/2 this year...notes will be coming soon!!

Form 1 :
Poem : The River, Mr. Nobody
Short Story : Flipping Fantastic
Novel : Journey To The Center Of The Earth

Form 2 :
Poem : I Wonder, Heir Conditioning
Short Story : One Is One and All Alone
Novel : Rumplestiltskin