Marks allocation for the literature component:

Poem 5 marks
Novel 15 marks
Total 20 marks

Note that candidates will only be tested on NOVEL and POEMS.

Complete Guide: QWERTYUIOP

Complete Guide: QWERTYUIOP

Here's an extract:

Write about one of the characters that you like in the short story,


Miss Broome

Miss Broome was old Mr Bannister’s secretary for forty-three years. She typed letter by letter and she hated the young girls who touch-type without having to look at the keyboard. According to Harry Darke, the young girls gave Miss Broome “the push”. When her boss retired her after forty three years, she had no place to go, for the office was her home and the job was “all she lived for” (p25). Thus whenever a new girl came to work, her ghost which haunted the typewriter would scare the girl until she was too frightened to continue. Sure, Miss Broome was angry and vicious at first...

Complete Guide : The Curse

Complete Guide : The Curse

A Comprehensive Guide to The Curse

Here is an example from the Guide:


In this chapter we are introduced to Puan Kamsiah and her daughter, Siti. We are also introduced to Datuk Zulkifli and Datin Sharifah, who are Azreen’s foster parents; they are sponsoring Azreen’s studies in London. We also introduced to Puan Normala and Noor, her daughter. Noor and Siti are classmates.

Siti conveys to her mother what Noor has been telling her classmates that Madhuri has been murdered. Puan Kamsiah feels that the ‘wicked woman’(p12) Puan Normala is spreading ‘malicious lies’ (p12) about Madhuri and ‘the poor girl isn’t even properly laid to ground yet!’ (p12) When Siti quotes her mother’s description of Normala as ‘a slimy cobra with a three-forked tongue’ (p12), it gives us a hint of the character of Normala: She is, in fact, a busybody and the village gossip.

Guide to GULP and GASP

Guide to GULP and GASP


Yes, the most comprehensive guide on Ann Fine's Step by Wicked Step to help you prepare for your SPM English 1119 Exam is out. Chapter by chapter analysis with lots of explanatory notes to explain the plot, theme, and characters of this loving & touching story. Page references are given to save you the trouble of having to locate important texts and quotes.

Complete Guide to Poems

Complete Guide to Poems

Sample Question and Answer

What does it mean when the poet says but on their brows there was not a sign of despair?

It means that despite the difficult situation they were in, they did not show any sign of hopelessness.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Sun, Earth, Moon...When Do We Capitalise?

A reader wrote in to Mind Our English (Star2, Thursday 21st July) about when to capitalise sun, moon and earth. Fadzillah Amin, MOE's language adviser answered: There are no hard and fast rules about when to capitalise the first letters of these words and when not to.

There is indeed a grammar rule which states that proper nouns are capitalised. Examples of proper nouns are Karim, Malaysia, Mumbai, Sungai Pahang, etc. So, the names of the planets, stars and constellations are spelt with capital letters: Earth,Sun, Venus, Mercury, Leo, the Milky Way, etc. However, we say the earth, the moon, and the sun unless of course when they are personified. Remember, personification? When you personify an idea or an inanimate object, it means you are investing it with human qualities. Thus, in HD Carberry's poem, Nature, the four seasons are personified: Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn.

Therefore, when we apply the rule of capitalizing proper nouns, we'll have to disagree with the example that Fadzillah Amin quoted from a NASA website: The strategic placement  permits constant observation of spacecraft as the Earth rotates on its own axis. Here, the Earth should be spelled in lower case as the earth. She's right when she said: The case of the moon is different. Earth has only one moon, and in ordinary writing, we call it the moon... So it's more common to use the moon, and we don't ever call it Moon without the before it, as we call earth without the.

Again, when she quoted NASA to justify her explanation, we should disagree with her: NASA, however, uses initial capitals for all three space objects, i.e. the Sun, the Moon and the Earth...Is it OK in scientific writing to break grammar rules? I don't think so.

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