AQA English Language Paper 2 Question 2


AQA English Language Paper 2 Question 2



This is a question on the new paper that is deceptive for a number of reasons:

  • It involves a lot of work for relatively few marks. Students have to read two texts and become confident in their understanding of their main points.  They have to extract quotations that best illustrate these points.  And then think about areas of commonality between the two texts.  And then think about the differences within these areas of commonality.  And then write about these differences.  All in 8 minutes plus reading time (according to the AQA’s recommended timing grid).  And it’s only 8 marks.


  • For a cohesive answer, students might want to present their thinking in a different order to the way they’ve processed their ideas in the first place. In a written answer it might be beneficial to make an initial connection showing a basic commonality between the texts before then going on to make a Statement about information from the text, with a Quotation and then an Inference about the quotation which shows understanding of their differences.  Students’ natural cognitive process for this question begins with them inferring ideas about the quotation – something they might present later in their response.  That’s not to say that students can’t juggle around their thinking in an answer; but it just takes time and some students do find it hard.


  • Some students might find the SQI method (detailed by the Board in training materials) challenging. STATEMENT is a word which describes the function and form of a sentence.  INFERENCE describes the type of thinking in a sentence.  Therefore this acronym might not present like with like.  For example, you can create an inferential statement.  A lot of students tend to get confused with the different type of thinking they are required to do with an inference if they’ve already been inferential in their statement.  We need to think of a way of making these two stages more discrete from one another.








Students need to adopt a quick and efficient method of reading and annotating key points in the text.

1) Identify a quotation (relevant to the question)

2) Sum up a key point and annotate in the margin.


02        Use details from both sources.  Write a summary of the differences between the types of people who the writers see in London.



Example paragraphs


Text 1:

Happy socialisers

Choosing my moment of arrival carefully, I coincide with the midnight fallout from the eating and drinking places of Covent Garden.  I get charged off the road by a sweating rickshaw driver. Tourists are swimming in the pools of light thrown by the welcoming doors and outside tables.   I hear the swell of different languages: the explosion of guttural plosives; the liquid honey of sibilant oozing.  I’m in London but I’m not in London; I’m in any corner of the earth I care to name.  I ask one reveller what they like about London.  Nico, aged 20 from Naples, says:  I just love the vibe.  I know that whenever I come to London I’ll be in the middle of one big party.  What a place!”


Text 2:

Violent drunks

The restlessness of a great city, and the way in which it tumbles and tosses before it can get to sleep, formed one of the first entertainments offered to the contemplation of us houseless people. It lasted about two hours. We lost a great deal of companionship when the late public-houses turned their lamps out, and when the potmen thrust the last brawling drunkards into the street; but stray vehicles and stray people were left us, after that.



Students should now have two texts with a number of ideas annotated in the margin.  Now:

3)  Look for ideas that can be connected across the texts and pair them up according to these common links.


Happy socialisers  –  Violent drunks  =  people on the streets for social reasons




Students might want to adopt the following strategy to satisfy the Skill Descriptors for this question:

Topic Sentence                 – Declaration of connection between texts

S                                              – Statement – Explicit idea/point from the text

Q                                             – Quotation

I                                               – Inference + Interpretation of idea

Discourse Marker




Evaluation                           – Evaluation of differences between the texts’ ideas




Therefore an extract from a response might look like this:


Both texts deal with people who are on London streets for social reasons.  In Source A the writer sees people who are becoming violent through drink, “brawling drunkards”, which shows that these are the type of people who are made miserable and unhappy through excessive drinking.  However in Source B the writer describes people who are enjoying themselves through socialising, “swimming in the pools of light”, which suggests that going out can be a liberating and happy experience.  Therefore the sources reveal the opposite consequencess that people who are either humiliated or uplifted by going out in London.




































































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