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Analysing an assignment question activity

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Understand the question terms

Do you know what the words mean in your question? Here are some common instruction words used and their meanings.


Words   What do they mean?

Account for

Explain, clarify, give reasons for. (This is different from 'Give an account of' which is more like 'tell the story' or 'describe').


Break an issue down into its component parts, discuss them and show how they are related to each other.


Make a case for or against a point of view. Give evidence to support your arguments.

Compare and contrast

Identify the characteristics or qualities between one or more things that are the same or different.


Give your ideas about the merit or truth of something. Write about both the limitations and the good points.



Provide the precise meaning of the word or phrase. Give the limits or the boundaries of the definition.


Give a detailed account of the different aspects of the topic.


Consider the different sides and aspects of a question or problem and come to a conclusion.


Consider the advantages and disadvantages of something.


Present the main ideas in depth and investigate the implications.


Make the meaning clear looking at reasons, causes and effects.


Point out and describe.


Prove or give reasons for conclusions or decisions.


Give the essential features, showing main points and important subordinate points. Leave out minor details.


Show or make a connection between two or more things.


Examine the main points concisely.

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