Analysing fiction

Annotating a fiction text

Annotating a fiction text

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Annotating a fiction text

In a nutshell

Annotating is adding notes or small explanations to a given text. Highlighting language features and writing what effects they have on a reader is a good way to annotate a text. However, it depends on the question that is being asked. In this summary, you will learn tips how to annotate a text as you read.

Annotating language

Before starting to annotate, take some time reading the question and understanding what it is asking. Highlight useful evidence so it is ready to use in your answers.

There are many ways to annotate – try and find what best works for you. Here are some helpful tips to help you:

  • Don't highlight everything – this will become confusing as you might end up highlighting the entire text. Look for key language devices.
  • Do jot down some ideas – making notes around your annotation is a good way to organise your thoughts. That way, when you look back at the language device highlighted you can trace back your thoughts or the point that you had.
  • Do look at the structure of the text as a whole – annotating specific words is good but making links to the bigger picture is better. Try to understand the choices of the language device and what the meaning is behind the text.


'She walks in beauty, like the night

Of cloudless climes and starry skies;

And all that's best of dark and bright 

Meet in her aspect and her eyes;

Thus mellowed to that tender light

Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

Lord Byron – She Walks in Beauty

  • Simile – 'like' compares her beauty to the starry night skies. The tone that is set at the beginning is also something to take note of.​
  • Contrast – 'dark and bright'. The poet compares his beloved's beauty to the night rather than the daylight. The day is considered 'gaudy'.
  • Alliteration – 'cloudless climes and starry skies'. The poet uses alliteration to create an effect when the poem is spoken aloud.

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FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions

Can you annotate the entire text?

How do you annotate?


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