Ms. Larissa Green » Essential Learnings Exams - Study Guides (old)

Essential Learnings Exams - Study Guides (old)


Study Guide for the 10th Grade English ELs

Preparation - these vocabulary words must be mastered for CA success and CAHSEE prepartion.

Persuasion Vocabulary Review

English 10A


argument - a series of statements designed to convince the reader of something


claim - aka position, author's opinion - the main idea that the writer is trying to prove; usually expressed in the thesis sentence


connotation - the associations and emotions that have come to be attached to a word

denotation - the literal dictionary definition of a word


counter argument - an opinion that challenges the reasoning behind a claim and attempts to prove it wrong


credibility - the ability to inspire belief or trust; every good persuasive text has this quality


Rhetorical Devices: strategies used to persuade readers

 - logical appeal - a rhetorical device that attempts to convince based on reason and factual evidence; this is the most important type of strategy to use

 - emotional appeal - a rhetorical device that attempts to convince based on emotions such as fear, anger, or sympathy; this may be an effective strategy but can't always be trusted

 - ethical appeal - a rhetorical device that attempts to convince based on the readers' sense of right and wrong; depends strongly on shared systems of values



Types of evidence:

 - allusion - reference to a person, place, or event from literature or history which the reader is meant to be familiar with; may be used to compare two situations and appeal to the readers’ emotions

 - analogies - comparisons that show similarities between facts, ideas, or situations

 - anecdotes - short story, personal example, or observation that helps to prove a point; maybe used to appeal to readers’ emotions

 - case studies - examples or facts from scientific research

 - commonly accepted beliefs - ideas that many people believe to be true; may also refer to values that people share, usually used to support an ethical appeal

 - examples - specific illustrations or instances of a general idea

 - expert opinion - statements made by a recognized authority on a subject

 - facts - statements that can be proven true

 - statistics - facts in the form of numbers


Writing Conventions:

 - thesis sentence - describes a subject and gives an opinion

 - topic sentence - the first sentence of a paragraph; makes a general statement in support of the thesis statement

 - concrete detail - evidence that supports the writer's claim

 - commentary - further explanation of a writer's opinion in a paragraph; explains how the concrete details are connected to the topic sentence and thesis


CA #1 – Persuasion Prep Notes – Fall



You need to be able to identify the claim / position statement.

            - Where does the author’s claim need to appear?  Which paragraph specifically does the claim need to be in? 


Remember! The claim is part of the essay’s thesis statement.  It has to be a sentence that clearly makes a statement that makes sense on its own.  That means if you pull the sentence with the claim out of the paragraph, you can still understand the topic and position clearly.



            - The evidence in a persuasive essay must support AND prove the claim.

            - Don’t be fooled! Just because there is evidence in an essay does not make the argument credible. 


For example, if I am writing an essay on drunk drivers and my claim is that it’s important to stop drunk drivers but my evidence is about pet injuries in car crashes, which may not directly involve drunk drivers, am I proving and supporting my claim?

            - Is my argument credible based on my evidence about pet injuries?


Remember: Your job is to evaluate the evidence to see if it is truly believable (based on clear, supportive and relevant evidence) AND proving the claim.


Words you MUST KNOW for the CA:

Statistics         Commonly Accepted Beliefs             Facts                   Analogies       Allusion           Expert Opinions         Counterargument       Case Studies  Anecdotes


Rhetorical Devices:   Emotional Appeal       Ethical Appeal            Logical Appeal


If you did not do well on your vocabulary quiz, you MUST study those words thoroughly!

Main Entry: credible

Etymology: Middle English, from Latin credibilis, from credere

Date: 14th century

1 : offering reasonable grounds for being believed (a credible account of an accident) (credible witnesses)

Simply put:

Credible - the ability to inspire belief or trust.  

CA - Writing Skills Prep Notes - Fall

Vocabulary - previously studied words are red - new words are purple:

Claim - aka position, author's opinion - the main idea that the writer is trying to prove; usually expressed in the thesis sentence

Commonly accepted beliefs - ideas that many people believe to be true; may also refer to values that people share, usually used to support an ethical appeal

Scenario - a sequence of events especially when imagined -- a possible situation that is described to make a point, support an idea, or explain a possible outcome.

Facts - statements that can be proven true

Statistics - facts in the form of numbers

Definition - the meaning of a word or the explanation of an idea.


Tone – the author’s attitude towards the subject.  The tone could be serious, angry, bitter, informative, playful, detached, humorous, wistful, or many other possibilities.

Relevant Research Questions – Research questions must be on topic (relevant) and be something you have to research to fully answer.  This means you need to look up the idea in the question to find out more information because it is not answered for you in the information you already have.



Everything separated by commas must be expressed the same way.

            Ex. In the newspaper people were complaining about the economy, gave examples of higher prices, and expressing disapproval of the unemployment rate.

                        - complaining, gave, and expressing are not parallel

                        - it must be: complaining, giving, and expressing


Verb Tense

All verbs in a sentence must be written in the same tense, such as, present tense, past tense, progressive tense, or future tense. 

            Ex. I went to the store and am taking my time as I bought presents.

                        - two past tense verbs and one progressive tense verb do not match

                        - it must be: I went to the store and took my time as I bought presents.


Subject-verb agreement

If the subject is singular (or plural), the verb must be singular (or plural) as well.  (This also applies to pronouns! Singular nouns need singular pronouns and plural nouns need plural pronouns.)

            Ex. People in our state needs to save water.   (needs must be changed to need)         plural                   singular

            People in our state need to save water. <-- Correct

             plural                    plural


Subordinate clause

A sentence that begins with: if, when, which, or that (for example) often starts with a subordinate (dependant) clause.  The sentence requires a comma after the clause before the independent clause (complete sentence) begins.  A subordinate clause within a sentence is often contained by commas.

            Ex. If I go outside today, I should dress warmly. <-- Correct 

Additional Notes for Fall:



Denotation – The strict literal dictionary definition of a word, devoid of emotion, attitude, or color.


Connotation – the non-literal associative meaning of a word; the implied, suggested meaning.




Most Positive

1. Pretty, Beautiful, Cute, Nice Looking 

(Answer: Beautiful – it is usually associated with the highest thoughts of what something attractive is like.  Beautiful is better than pretty, cute, or nice looking.)


Most Negative

2. Slender, Thin, Petite, Skinny 

(Answer: Skinny – when you imagine a person or animal that is described as skinny, it often brings to mind an image of skin and bones, so it is more negative.  The other words usually describe someone or something that is simply small or not over weight.)



3. mad, angry, annoyed, furious 

(Answer: Furious – Furious is the strongest description of the emotion of anger.  It’s worse than being just mad, angry, or annoyed.  It’s out of control anger—being full of fury and rage.)


Same connotation as “nice”

4. Pleasant, kind, terse, polite 

(Answer: Pleasant, kind, and polite are almost the same thing as being nice.  Terse, on the other hand, means that you’ve spoken to someone in a short, unhelpful, or possibly rude or dismissive way.)





Directions: Identify the tone of each sentence and explain how you know.  What figurative language (alliteration, simile, metaphor or imagery) and/or diction (word choice) is an example of the tone.



1. Sarah could not believe what Mary was wearing. It looked like a clown’s outfit.

            - tone – shock, disbelief, or disgust

Evidence: ‘could not believe’ – word choice/diction, simile – ‘It looked like a clown’s outfit.’ This shows the comparison of the outfit to something comical or not appropriate.


2. The dank, dreary drizzle sputtered to the pavement like spittle.

            - tone – negative, dark, or depressing

Evidence: Alliteration of the ‘d’ sound which brings your attention to the descriptions of dank and dreary drizzle and the ‘sp’ repeating sounds on sputtered and spittle is like a spitting sound, which lends itself to the negative tone.


3. Dawn broke over the hills in a shimmering array of gold, pink, and lavender colors. 

            - tone -- positive, happy, admiring

Evidence: The visual imagery of a shimmering array and the colors described of gold, pink, and lavender are examples of visual imagery that are beautiful to imagine and lend themselves to the positive and admiring tone. Lighter colors are usually associated with being more positive than darker colors, as well.

Spring Study Guide


CA – Exposition Prep Notes
Loses focus – means off topic               Know how to choose the best evidence

Consistent tone – the tone has to stay the same

Perspective – point of view on the topic

Know how to connect two complete sentences with a semicolon and conjunction like therefore or however

            Example: I like the color green; however, purple is my favorite color.


Subordinate clauses are not complete ideas and need an independent clause to complete the sentence.

            Example: When I ate the chili, it felt like my mouth was on fire.

                        It felt like my mouth was on fire when I ate the chili.


Infinitive verbs are the ‘to’ form.  Example: to be, to swim, to walk, to drink, to dance, etc.

            An infinitive phrase starts with an infinitive verb – Example: to go to the store


When using a quote in a sentence, such as, writing dialogue or writing evidence in an essay, always put a comma before the opening quotation mark.

                        Example: Sally said, I love seashells!


Literary Analysis:

Literary Analysis – Essential Learning                Spring


Literary Terms:

Literal language – The language means exactly what it says based on the dictionary definition (denotation) of the words.


Figurative language – Figurative language is language that communicates ideas beyond the literal meanings of the words.  Although what is said is not really true, it can create vivid pictures or concepts in the mind of the reader.


Onomatopoeia – The word onomatopoeia literally means “name-making.” It is the process of creating or using words that imitate sounds, such as: buzz, honk, peep, bang, purr, boom, and splash. 


Alliteration – Alliteration is the repetition of initial consonant sounds, such as: Lilly likes lollipops repeats the L consonant.


Symbol – A symbol is a person, place, or object that represents something beyond itself.  For example, a flag can symbolize a country, patriotism and a national heritage.


Simile – A comparison between two things using like or as.


Vocabulary on the test:

Optimistic – A person with a favorable outlook on events, looks on the bright side, and/or has a positive attitude.


Remorseful – When someone feels bad about something that has happened or feels guilty for past wrongful actions.

CA Prep – Literary Analysis


As well as knowing literary terms, literary analysis requires reading comprehension skills to figure out the clues that author gives you to understand the story and the characters.  You must read and re-read carefully.


1. In a story, a girl named Carla is described as organizing her shoes by style and then by color. Does this show that Carla is:

A. Messy and lazy

B. Buying too many shoes

C. Neat and orderly


2. Seven silver fish swam in a stream is an example of:

A. Metaphor

B. Symbol

C. Onomatopoeia

D. Alliteration


3. The Corvette engine purrs is an example of:

A. Simile

B. Onomatopoeia

C. Metaphor

D. Symbolism


4. Ms. Green overheard a student tell a naughty joke.  She was caught off guard and her face was like a tomato.

Is this Literal Language? Did Ms. Green’s face turn into a real tomato?  Yes or No

Is this Figurative Language? If so, it is an example of:

A. Simile

B. Alliteration

C. Onomatopoeia


5. Think about someone described as having a red face because something happened.  What can having a “red face” symbolize?


Notice: 10th grade ELA Common Assessments (CAs) are being revised to align to the new Periodic Assessments and the writing needs of our students to align to new CCSS (Common Core State Standards) text and writing based exams in the 11th grade.   As the new exams are developed, this page will be updated.