How To Answer a Literary Question?

How to Answer a Literary Question?

Are you worried to answer a literary question? Here are the few tips in the article that can build confidence in students to write a well-structured answer for a question.ย ย 

How to answer a literary question

How to Answer a Literary question?

Theme is the key part of the question. When students are writing an answer, first they have to ponder on the main theme of the question. This is very important. Usually, students do not read the whole statement of the question and they just start writing whatever comes to their mind. It is all due to the lack of time. Students have so many questions to attempt so they cannot afford so much time. At that time, students need to draw the complete structure of the question. They must make an outline of the question before going to write down the answer directly. Students may have a lot of ideas about the asked question but it is necessary for them to figure out the most important content that they are supposed to write. Always divide your answer into three main parts.

  • Introduction
  • Main Body
  • Conclusion

Introduction and conclusion in any question are of vital importance. Because if students do not introduce any question at opening of answer or do not conclude it at closing end then it will create a bad impression for the examiner. They must follow the alpha and omega of asked question.

(Read also: How to write opening and closing paragraphs in an essay?)

We know that all words have different meanings and they are used in various contexts in questions. Let us discuss those various words that would be asked in an exam and what their meanings could be.

Different Types of Question Asked in Exams


This is very common term. The word define means students are to provide a definition of asked term e.g., Renaissance in mentioned below question. When student are writing about definition they need to state a proper and a precise definition. It should be authentic one and clear in wording. This question is asked in three ways. Examiner can ask definition generally or in students own wording so student is free to put forward his ideas and can choose wording freely according to his choice. He may put other authorsโ€™ definitions for reference to strengthen his point of view. When an examiner asks a specific definition by any author, then students are bound to define it according to the authorโ€™s ideas. Students may use their own wording but they cannot put their own ideas into the definition.

Q: Define Renaissance in few lines.

Q: Define Renaissance in your own wording.

Q: How John defines Renaissance in his book; โ€œThe Medieval Literatureโ€?


Some time an examiner asks students to describe something. It means students have to give complete information about something e.g., how it looks or how it happened. Students have to give a complete description in descriptive format. This question may be asked in this way.

Q: Describe the theme of above picture according to the plot.


The term โ€˜explainโ€™ means students have to clarify topic detail as how and why. Students have to write the complete detail of the thing or term asked in a question. Things should be mentioned in proper layout and for this chronological order is the suitable form. This question needs thorough details and students should be careful for the proper order. They must make an outline for long answer; distribute it into short sections to avoid mixing of ideas. They should take start from introduction and then main boy and fininally they are to conclude their answer in proper way.


Another way of asking a question is to elaborate something or idea. It means a statement that students have to expand it to make it clearer. They have to explore all areas of it. They have to draw a complete picture and elaborating every segment of that picture. For example, if students are talking the Renaissance Period in England so they are to elaborate every aspect that is involved in the renaissance. Students have to take start from very beginning of the renaissance in Italy and then flourishing in England by university wits and how it got significance in that era.

๐—–๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—ฎ๐—น๐—น๐˜† ๐—”๐—ป๐—ฎ๐—น๐˜†๐˜‡๐—ฒ

Such questions are frequently asked in literature to critically analyze the idea, situation, or thing. Sometime students get confused and they start criticizing something asked in question but it never means to criticize anything. It generally means they have to talk about the positive and negative aspect of that thing according to their own thought. For good critical analysis, they should include references by authentic writers to strengthen their point of view. One thing should be kept in mind that do not criticize any author for his negative comments but students are to consider it as it could be true. If one author is praising poetry and second is against it so students should refer both but do not criticize any of them individually but they are to analyze it by comparing both.


Compare means students are to compare one thing with another. Students are to focus on the similarities and dissimilarities between two things. For example, in question, they are asked to compare fiction and drama.


This question is typically answered by the students to share his own point of view regarding anything asked in the question. It means that what is the opinion of the student regarding asked question. What are the views of the candidate? Students, in answer, can use the word โ€˜Iโ€™ or โ€˜according to meโ€™ while giving their opinion.


Demonstrate is a practical term which show how with an example to illustrate. Students are to give a complete demonstration of anything explained by examples.

2 thoughts on “How To Answer a Literary Question?”

  1. Hi, Thank you for your comment. Dear Sana, the length of the answer matters, but less than the quality of your answer. Be concise and write a well structured answer rather than a lengthy answer that is irrelevant or structure is jumbled. The best way to answer a question in exam is to divide time for each question and complete your answer in allocated time, do not focus on length, but focus on content quality, structure, relevancy, and references.

  2. Hi, How much should be the length of an answer? It is very confusing as we have less time to answer the question.

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