GCSE English Literature & Language Key Terms

Revising for your GCSE English Literature and English Language exams can be hard, especially when you have lots of different things to remember but with the right resources, it can become much easier.

GCSE English Literature & Language Key Terms

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Nouns are the first thing you need to know about when studying for your English GCSEs. Here are the three main types of noun.

Common nouns are words that are used to identity a group of people, places or things. Words such as 'man', 'cat' and 'flower' are all common nouns.

Proper nouns are the name used for an individual name, person or place. Examples are 'Barack Obama' or 'England'. Your own name is a proper noun.

Pronouns are words which replace a common or proper noun. Pronouns are words such as 'me', 'she', 'we', and 'they'. For example, in the sentence 'Becky is at home', the pronoun 'she' could replace the proper noun 'Becky' making the sentence 'she is at home'.


Often sentences will include nouns, adjectives, verbs and adverbs. Adjectives and verbs are describing words which help give more information about a noun or action.

Adjectives are words which describe a noun. 'Pretty' or 'yellow' are both adjectives and help describe the person or object in the sentence. The sentence 'she was a pretty cat' sees the adjective 'pretty' describe the appearance of the common noun 'cat'.

Verbs are different as they describe an action, not a noun. 'Cook', 'run', 'dream' are all verbs, describing an action ourselves and the natural world perform.

Adverbs are a step up from adjectives and verbs as they describe both! In the sentence 'the girl runs quickly', the adverb is 'quickly' as it is describing the verb 'runs'. You will also see the noun here is 'girl'.


In language we often make comparisons to help explain the appearance, attitude or emotion of a person or object.

Similes are the comparison of two things using the words like or as. 'She shone bright like the sun' is a simile using the word like to compare the girl to the sun.

Metaphors are similar; however, they compare two things by saying one thing is another. 'You are my sunshine' is a metaphor because it is telling someone that they are the sun, not like the sun.


If you're trying to make a statement with your speech, you may use hyperbole or onomatopoeia to make an impact.

By definition a hyperbole is an exaggerated statement, for example 'this is the most amazing thing I have ever seen in my whole life'.

Onomatopoeia is a word which is named after an associated sound. 'Bang', ˜Pow' and 'Crash' are all examples.

We have created a printout with all these key terms so that you can learn each term off by heart. Stick this print out on your walls, fridge, books and even print spare copies to give to your friends and family so they can test you.