The last time I taught was a few weeks ago. I started a job not knowing I had broken my foot when I dropped my motorbike on the thing, the day before I started, so in time, I had to stop the job, but in the last lesson, something happened. I asked the A Level students I was teaching to write something for me and to write it properly. They all looked at me slightly quizzically. I hinted at the two rules for writing in such a way that I knew they would be confused. I then had to tell them the difference between typing and hand writing, for exam purposes. You are, after all, chasing points in an exam.
The exam you are taking has something called a “mark scheme,” which the marker has to use to mark your exam scripts. It will say that to get so many marks, which is an A*, you have to do this and that, but it will specify one thing entirely and if the marker does not see it in your writing, then he or she has to mark you DOWN. It is called SPAG in GCSE English and also A Level GCE. Spelling, Punctuation And Grammar. But the thing it then specifies is that in GCSE, to get a C, your hand written work has to be paragraphed properly, in most of the cases. Most allows the marker to allow the odd error.
In other words, the first word has to start on the red line, or black line at the left. Then, when you start the next paragraph, when hand writing, there should be no line missed. You are not typing the answer after all and pressing ENTER once or twice, depending on the word processor you are normally using. For those who are typing an answer because of Special Needs provision, then go ahead and use ENTER as normal.
Otherwise, it should, when hand written, look like any good novel, so here is an example. It is written by Jane Austen. It is the opening to her book called Emma.
Note the beginning of the second paragraph. Yes, this is typed because it is in a book, but her manuscript went to the publisher as a hand written text and would have been exactly the same. Keep that in mind. Note how and where the second paragraph actually starts. No missed lines. Just the next line down and a small indent, the width of your pinky [little] finger.
Now notice the next paragraph break…
Yet again, no missing line and just an indent.
That is how you do it. If you, like so many students I have taught, say to your tutor, “I don’t give a damn about doing it like that,” as has been said to me in my last job, then my response is the one I gave to this young lady. My reply was forthcoming, short and swift.
“Don’t expect anything higher than a D then!”
Ask yourself what grade you want. Then write clearly and properly – a new paragraph is started when there is a new subject or a movement in time. It also has to be started in the right place.
You have been warned!
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