Metalanguage and Sentence Structure (help!!)

I got my assessment back on Friday, and my teacher said I need to work on metalanguage and sentence structure. I don’t understand what she means. I have looked on the internet for past 20 minutes about metalanguage but cannot seem to get my head around it. Can someone please elaborate? Thanks!

Here is one of my short answer responses, whereby she said I need to work on my metalanguage:

The extract from the novel Whispering Death by Gary Disher uses the construction of the character Grace to communicate the idea of criminality, which is usually expected in crime fiction stories. Disher portrays this through the characterisation of Grace, hence her actions and motives in the narrative. By using the actions of Grace to describe the extract, the reader becomes known to the idea of offence against the law. We are told, “She took a pair of shoes … slipped them over her runner … Something to occupy the detective who would be called to investigate. Then she went to work.” In this example, it not only explains how she is going to commit a felony, but also shows how she is use to and now an ‘expert’ in the field of crime and robbing rich houses. In Whispering Death, the actions of Grace have helped to construct and communicate the expected idea of criminality in crime fiction stories. Further to this, the construction of Grace and moreover her motive for money depicts the idea of criminality as Grace is so addicted to money that it is all she thinks about, especially when she “mentally selected for target …” After her raid in the second house all she was worried about was how “the software alone was $6000 new, the computer $3000.” This quote demonstrates what any typical crime fiction antagonist would care about, they all know what “… the smell of money” is. Throughout the course of the text, the author has wanted the reader to know that Grace loves money. Thus the construction of her character has conveyed the expected crime fiction idea of illegality and breaking the law, from Disher working together with Grace and the main idea in the text. Therefore, the extract from the novel Whispering Death by Gary Fisher has used the construction the main character Grace to communicate the idea of criminality, through her actions and motives.

Thanks you so much!!!!!!! I’m in year 10 by the way too in English Extension, so please be hard on me because I need to know how to do this!


I don’t know what metalanguage is but having read the extract you provide I think I can see what your teacher was getting at. It includes @NigelJ’s plea for paragraph breaks but goes rather further.

Before writing anything, you need to consider what ideas you wish your reader to understand you be conveying. You can write them down to help your own thinking but do not attempt to write polished prose at this stage. Think then how those ideas fit into a logical structure that will help the reader see the whole while also seeing the individual ideas. One way of doing that is to present the ideas as answers to questions in the reader’s mind, questions that you have put there. So, in your extract, you might want to lead the reader to ask “What is the main idea conveyed by the extract from Whispering Death”. Having put that question in the reader’s mind, answer it eg the author uses the character of Grace to exemplify what criminality is.

Then give your reasons. For each reason give your supporting evidence, such as quotations from the text. It is probably easier for the reader to state the reason first and then give the quotation that supports it.

Only when you have thought through the logic of what you want to say should you begin to write polished prose.

The general idea is to write with your reader in mind throughout, be clear what you wish the reader to get from what you write, and structure your writing in a way that is consistent with the reader’s naturally occurring questions, questions that you can guide the reader to be asking.

Source : Link , Question Author : Maddy S , Answer Author : JeremyC

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