Tag Archives: Language

Speech Writing

If you are asked to write a speech you must be aware of the purpose of this piece of writing. For example:
School assembly
Military preparation
A radio magazine programme
To motivate people to do something

Effective speeches generally have some of the following characteristics or elements:
Rhetorical questions
Emotive language
The rule of three
Anticipation of counter arguments
Convincing statements
Direct address to the audience
Using a negative to in fact make a positive
Figurative language
Simile, metaphor and personification
Alliteration, assonance and onomatopoeia
Speaker credibility
Startling statements
Logic / statistics to back up an argument

Speeches may appear on Paper I in Question B of the Comprehending Section or in the Composing Section.

Here are some examples of Question B from the Past Papers:

2011 Text 2 QB
Write a talk, to be delivered to your School Book Club, on the enduring appeal of the mysterious in books, films, etc. You might refer to some of the following aspects of the mystery genre in your answer: setting, tension, suspense, dialogue, characterisation, atmosphere, music, special effects etc.

2010 Text 3 QB
‘books are forbidden . . .’
Write out the text for a short radio talk where you explain the importance of books in your life and in today’s world.

2009 Text 2 QB
‘You’re old enough, I reckon, to make your own decisions.’
Write a short speech in which you attempt to persuade a group of parents that older teenagers should be trusted to make their own decisions.

2007 Text 2 QB
Imagine your local radio station is producing a series of programmes entitled ‘Changing Times’, in which teenagers are asked to give their views on the changes they welcome in the world around them. You have been invited to contribute. Write out the text of the presentation you would make.

2004 Text 1 QB
‘Then along comes school.’
You have been asked to give a short talk to a group of students who are about to start first year in your school. Write out the text of the talk you would give.

2003 Text 2 QB
You have been asked to give a short talk on radio about an interesting journey you have made. Write out the text of the talk you would give.

2002 Text 3 QB
‘Rights must be observed.’
You have been asked to give a short talk on radio or television about a fundamental human right that you would like to see supported more strongly. Write out the text of the talk you would give.

2001 Text 1 QB
Imagine your job is to welcome a group of foreign students to Ireland. Write out the text of a short talk (150-200 words) in which you advise them how best to get along with the Irish people they will meet.


Syn = alike; Nym = name

Synonyms are words that are almost the same in meaning. For example: little / small; big / large.

Turn each of the words in the pairs below into synonyms by takings a single letter from one of the two words and placing it somewhere in the other one. You may not rearrange the order of the other letters.

pier / tat

crates / pries

singe / lone

shovel / hack

sash / cult

spiny / grate

sore / stave

Example: pier / tat  – take ‘r’ from ‘pier’ and add to ‘tat’ as third letter. Now we have synonyms ‘pie’ and ‘tart’.

Can I tempt any of my 1st, 5th or 6th years with prizes?


The Power of Verbs

Summarising, rather than analysing, is one of the chief pitfalls of Leaving Certificate students. Overused signal verbs such as says and relates, fail to inject the kind of interpretive power that other, purposefully selected verbs can. Let verbs carry the tone of your message; leave out the amateurish adjectives and adverbs.

Here are some alternative signal verbs to consider:

  • suggests
  • hints
  • intimates
  • implies
  • questions
  • sheds light
  • clarifies
  • masks
  • notes
  • observes
  • asserts
  • concedes
  • qualifies
  • affirms
  • criticises
  • admonishes
  • challenges
  • debates
  • berates
  • trivialises
  • denigrates
  • vilifies
  • demonises
  • disparages
  • ridicules
  • mocks
  • points out
  • acknowledges
  • minimises
  • dismisses
  • demonstrates
  • underscores
  • flatters
  • praises
  • exaggerates
  • exposes
  • articulates
  • explores
  • establishes
  • evokes
  • induces

Here are some verbs to describe the structure of a text:

  • opens
  • begins
  • adds
  • connects
  • juxtaposes
  • draws a parallel between
  • foreshadows
  • uses an analogy
  • turns to
  • shifts to
  • transitions to
  • concludes
  • finishes
  • closes
  • ends

And now some verbs to describe various rhetorical modes:

  • compares
  • contrasts
  • classifies
  • defines
  • narrates
  • describes
  • argues
  • persuades
  • explains
  • defines
  • exemplifies
  • illustrates
  • summarises

6A1 Competition Time!

Post a comment below using any of the above verbs (correctly!) and relating to any aspect of our LC course and there will be a prize for you on Monday 9th January 2012.