English Notes, Functional Skills, Oral Literature Poetry Guides



The syllabus covers the following areas as examined in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE).


These are the areas examined under paper one

  1. Functional writing—this entails items or compositions written for a specific purpose; For example, applying for a job, writing minutes for meetings, writing reports, recipes, memos etc.
  2. Cloze test—this is a test on how to best choose vocabularies or words that fill blanks in the given context of the passage. It is also a test on knowledge of categories of words and functions of those categories in a sentence.
  3. Functional skills—these are language mannerisms skills. They are practical skills on how to behave in a polite, creative and effective way when using the English language. They are skills on etiquette, spellings, pronunciation, speaking, dramatisation and listening.


Paper two has the following areas

  1. Comprehension—this covers reading and comprehension skills.
  2. Extracts or excerpts from set text—this is to test the learner’s critical and analytical skills.
  3. Oral Literature—these are skills on oral stories, songs, riddles, proverbs etc that form an important part of the African culture. This area focuses on analytical and critical skills as well as morality.
  4. Poetry—The appreciation and study of poetry and poetic language.
  5. Grammar—language use, construction of sentences, linking paragraphs, paraphrasing, creating and modifying situations etc.


Paper three is about creative and critical writing.

  1. The first question is always about writing an imaginative composition or a critical essay.
  2. The second question is always based on a compulsory set book in which the candidate writes a critical essay basing illustrations on it and his or her society.
  3. The third question is always about other three set books that are usually optional so that candidate has to choose one question to answer a critical essay based on society and the book.

Writing legibly

The main aim of writing is to communicate. There is no point in writing anything illegible as information is therefore inaccessible and the purpose of wring no achieved.

So, to write legibly and coherently observe the following:

  1. a) Be neat, avoid unnecessary erasure, writing in the margin etc. And space your words.
  2. b) Give titles and subtitles or headlines to your texts.
  3. c) Divide your work into paragraphs.
  4. d) Use punctuation marks correctly.
  5. e) Write words in their proper form, for example, the small ‘i’ must always have a dot as the head.
  6. f) Use capital letters, small letters and articles well.

Debating Skills

A debate is a formal discussion on a contentious or controversial issue between two groups of people. To debate effectively, members of each group plus the hosts must understand the debating rules, schedule and skills.

The debating schedule is fixed by the hosts and indicates the time the debate is supposed to begin and the two opposing teams. The schedule also indicates the format of debate like how many members per team, how many proposers and opposers and how many minutes allocated per speaker. It is also important for the participants to know if they can use the entire stage, be fixed at the microphone or dress in a defined way.

When preparing for debate

  1. Identify the topic and prepare to support and oppose it. It is important to try both sides so that you can best present your arguments objectively and knowledgeably.
  2. Carry out a mock debate from the opposing side and proposing side and work on the use of non verbal cues.
  3. Research thoroughly on the topic from the magazines, newspapers, internet, teachers and books.
  4. Note down whatever you research that is relevant by indicating the date of events, the scholars of original information etc so that when you use the information during debates you quote books and people from whom you sourced.

During debate

  1. Share responsibilities i.e. first speaker, second speaker, conclusion, rebuttal etc.
  2. Speak in a confident and audible manner.
  3. Use intonation and other non-verbal cues to make your argument convincing.
  4. Observe time allocated
  5. Listen carefully to the other speakers so that you can find weakness in their arguments and dismiss them when your turn comes up.
  6. Maintain eye contact with the audience and judges.
  7. In situations where you forget points or you are not sure of what you are saying, maintain a straight and confident face so that the audience can believe your lie.
  8. Always observe turn taking. In case of a need to interrupt, do it through the chair’s indulgence.

Using a dictionary

All words in a dictionary are alphabetically arranged in order of all letters of the words respectively. This is for convenience of usage.

A dictionary will help he user

–Find out the correct spellings of a word.

–Identify how the word functions in a sentence e.g. a verb, conjunction, adjective etc.

–Get the meaning of the word.

–Get the correct pronunciation.

–Find the synonyms the homophones of a word.

–Identify compound nouns that can be derived from the word. E.g. Over—overcrowd, over react, overachieve, overwork etc.

Some words in a dictionary are polysemy i.e. they have several meanings depending on the context. It is therefore important when checking up the meaning of a word in the dictionary to know the context where you want to apply the meaning.  E.g. Minute can refer to time or something tiny.

Composition writing

When writing a composition consider the following:

  1. The composition should be one a quarter page long A4 size.
  2. The story must be written clearly and legibly. Avoid dirty work and erasure.
  3. A good composition would have a good and creating introduction full of description to set the mood of the story and create suspense or curiosity in the examiner.
  4. A creative composition should include a few episodes of dialogue followed by vivid description. The reader must see and experience what is happening. The story should involve at least the sense of sight, sense of touch, and sense of hearing plus thinking in the description. Let us see what the characters were wearing, how the weather was like, your environment etc. Let us feel how you felt: joy, sadness, ecstasy etc. Let us hear what you heard: the sounds, the screaming, the hollow laughers etc. Let us know what was going through your mind—your interior monologue at the time.
  5. When writing the story make sure you have a short plot that runs only for a few minutes. For example you can write a story about meeting a friend in town to close a business deal but during the negotiations, something happens, so you concentrate first on describing the meeting place, the weather, how he is dressed what are your expectations etc; so that, you set the mood and the curiosity in the reader.
  6. Be ambitious in your story. Let the examiner know that you are modern and trendy. In your story be successful, rich and even still ambitious. Show awareness of trending topics, modern technology like phones, vehicles, houses, streets in the city, TV sets, laptops etc.Research on the recent titles of phones, clothes and current affairs so that you can weave them together in your story.
  7. The setting of the story should be urbanized. Avoid going to the forest, and avoid exhausted plots like being hijacked by gigantic men, accidents and weddings. Come up with something short, unique and original if you want to score an A in composition.
  8. Make sure your punctuation is correct. Learn how to punctuate dialogue and how to paragraph dialogue in a story. Be watchful of capital and small letters when writing. Always start proper nouns with capital letters and always end your sentences with the final punctuation marks.
  9. Arrange your work in clear paragraphs and be sure to flower your work using modern terminologies, a proverb or an idiom and quotes where possible but avoid over used phrases or clichés.


Articles are very short words placed in front of nouns. They tell us whether we are referring to a noun in a specific or general way.

Definite article is the. It is definite because it is used when the speaker and the listener know what is being talked about.  E.g. The desk that you asked for is this. The man has come. The Indian Ocean. The guitar.

–It is also used when talking about nationalities because they are familiar. E.g. The Kenyan, the Briton, the American etc.

–It is also used when referring to inventions because they are known and studied. E.g. Who invented the computer, the telegram, the electricity etc.

–Use with superlative forms because they refer to unique things or people within a group who are known.  E.g. She is the tallest in our class. Mount Everest is the tallest in the world. USA is the richest country in the world.

Indefinite articles  ‘a’ and ‘an’ are used with singular nouns. ‘a’ is used with nouns that begin with consonant  sounds like a cow, a goat, a stick etc.  whereas ‘an’ is used with nouns that begin with vowel sounds like an elephant, an umbrella, an hour etc.

–The indefinite article ‘a’ and ‘an’ is mainly used when mentioning something or someone for the first time and in cases where not all parties are aware of who or what is being talked about.  E.g. I saw a man run away.  A lady came was asking for you.  I need an umbrella.


Fill in each blank space with an appropriate article.

__man came into the room with__ woman carrying __umbrella. They took their seats and ordered tea. __ man whispered something in __ woman’s ear. She remained transfixed for a while before lurching forward and hugging him . __ umbrella which was  on the table fell.


A capital letter is used to

  1. a) begin a sentence. g. He is coming.
  2. b) To begin direct speech. g. “Go home my friend!” he commanded.
  3. c) To write the personal pronoun ‘I’. E.g. John and I are brave.
  4. d) To begin proper nouns. g. Ghana   Romeo and Juliet   Kenya  etc.
  5. e) Days of the week and months. g. Sunday   Monday   January   February  etc.
  6. f) Names of organisations and religious bodies g. The Catholic Church,    Undugu Society of Kenya etc.
  7. g) In abbreviations e.g. KBC , KTN,   N. Mbithi etc.

Turn taking

Turn taking involves skills in making a good conversation.

When having a conversation observe the following

a)Listen carefully when others talk.

  1. b) Show interest in what they are saying.
  2. c) Encourage them to continue by nodding your head, using interjections like wow! Eheh! Etc.
  3. d) Speak only when it your turn to do so.

You can tell when it is your turn by

1) Listening for pauses in the other party’s speech.

  1. Predict when he will come to an end.
  2. Watch the body language of the other speaker that might indicate that he is done speaking e.g. leaning backwards.
  3. Noting when a question requires your response.
  4. Noting when the other speaker begins to repeat himself needlessly using interjections like ‘you know’ ‘I mean’.
  5. Noting the other speaker’s intonation patterns e.g. the falling tone indicates finality.

Group Discussions

To effectively participate in a group discussion

  1. Select a topic—choose from those provided especially one that you can manage as a group.
  2. Choose a chairperson and a secretary.

A chairperson to

–guide the group

–to call upon individual members to contribute.

–Keep the discussion moving and guide from digression or going out of topic.

–keep emotions in check.

A secretary to

–record important points of discussion

–identify and record areas of agreement

–make a presentation of what was discussed to the rest of the class.

  1. Participants preparation for the discussion

–Research and list the points you want to make

–Arrange them in some order—preferably from the least to the most important plus their respective examples.

–Do not memorize the points as your speech might not flow naturally.

  1. When having a discussion

–listen critically to others

–show interest in their contribution

–and when it is your turn to speak do so in plain English for clarity

–do not show off for others can turn against you.

–be brief and stick to the time allocated

–be polite thoughtful and considerate

–don’t interrupt others if you disagree.

Disagreeing politely

If you are in disagreement with another person try to

–listen attentively in order to understand the other person’s point of view. Sometimes we disagree because we have not understood each other.

–put yourself in the shoes of the other person and deliberately take the other person’s point of view; try to understand that person’s position.

–Focus on the current issue. Even if you have disagreed before, do not revisit past issues. Doing so raises unnecessary tensions.

–Explain clearly what you disagree with. Do not attack the person by humiliating him or her tackle the problem.

–Exercise self-control. Use polite language that is sound and sincere.

–Remember that we can agree to disagree. Other people have a right to hold differing opinions.

When disagreeing use these expressions

I am sorry to say this…    I am afraid you are wrong on that….    please consider also….

Pardon me on this…  excuse me… I regret to admit that… I understand what you mean but…

That is probably true but…  You have a point but suppose…

This is not easy for me to say but….

Interrupting Courteously

In the course of listening, we may find it necessary to interrupt the speaker. This could happen when we feel that we have something important to add to what is being said and it cannot wait till the speaker finishes talking. We may also interrupt when we feel inclined to urgently express doubt or disbelief about a falsehood on something important being passed as a fact. Interrupting should be done only when it is absolutely necessary.

When you want to interrupt

begin with polite expressions such as excuse me, pardon me, sorry etc.

–only interject when the speaker pauses between one sentence and another, not in the middle of a sentence or a word.

–interrupt in a polite respectful manner without portraying intolerance

–do not laugh at the mistakes of others as you interrupt with your contribution

–do not wait impatiently to seize the opportunity to interrupt since this will disrupt your listening.

Using you voice effectively

To use your voice effectively on the stage, it is important to manage stage fright by

–doing thorough preparation on what you are going to present

–Learning to acquaint yourself with the audience so that you see them as a bunch of ordinary people who shouldn’t scare you.

–Standing upright when speaking

–Looking straight at the audience by establishing eye contact

–using appropriate gestures and facial expressions that tally with what you are saying.

To be able to use your voice effectively

–open your mouth wide enough to let out the voice

–avoid shrill and high-pitched tones

–avoid horse and harsh tones

–breathe in regularly and smoothly—take a break when you pause

–finish on one word before starting on another

–pronounce words correctly

Barriers to effective listening

Distractions such as noise and movement of other people

–Failure to pay attention or having a short concentration spun, which occurs when someone is speaking to us and our minds begin to wander.

–Impatience—we get so impatient with a speaker that we begin to guess what he or she wants to say. We end up not understanding what one says because we make wrong guesses.

–Criticising delivery and physical appearance—as listeners, we may focus more on the manner and language of the speaker, for instance, mispronunciation or the manner of dressing at the expense of the message.

–Jumping to conclusions—we may not let the speaker finish to speak; instead ,we react to what we think he is going to say.

–Overreacting to emotional words—when a speaker uses words that provoke us emotionally, we make judgement that block out things that we do not want  to hear.

–Our desire to speak—when someone else is speaking to us, we may be busy thinking about what to say next.

–Physiological and emotional states—sometimes hunger, anxiety, tiredness or sickness can prevent us from listening effectively.

–Day dreaming.

Personal space

Personal space is simply the space around someone whenever they are. A distance of one metre radius could be seen as an ideal personal space.  On the queue, in a bus, at a party, in public or private, everyone has their own personal space no matter who they are. Personal space represents comfort zones for people and not necessarily status.

Examples of tips and thing avoid in respect to other people’s personal space

  1. a) Touching people—avoid touching people with whom you do not have close ties. Touching should be consensual.
  2. b) Standing too close to people—avoid getting too close when talking, greeting etc. and do not hold on to people’s hands unnecessarily. Also avoid sitting too close to someone you barely know.
  3. c) Brushing your body against other people—in situations where you pass each other in a narrow space, it is better to pause and let the other person pass first than to squeeze in. In some situations, this can be seen as sexual harassment.
  4. d) Avoid talking over people—the best thing is to move near and talk; not shouting at a person in the crowd.

–Avoid rifling through someone’s desk without his or her permission—some work should not be accessed without permission.

–Avoid being loud as you speak over the phone, shouting, dragging your feet or chair in an environment where other people are concentrating on something, eating food with a very strong smell, playing music loud etc.

Entering someone’s space usually means that you are defining a new relationship with them, which is mutually agreed.


Identify situations in which it would be courteous for you to maintain a respectable distance as you interact with people.

–When queuing for services, in a bank, while voting,  while waiting for an elevator, food etc.

–While sharing public facilities like transport, urinals and lifts

–When interacting with a stranger

–When interacting with elders, VIPs, leaders etc.

–When other people are being served in an office, when in consultation with a doctor etc.

–While interacting with people whose culture demands it. E.g. No shaking of hands.

–While talking on phone.

Stress on words

Stress is a force placed on a specific syllable in a word or on a specific word in a sentence to change its meaning.  A syllable is a distinct sound in a word. A word can have one to several syllables. For example

Go—one syllable

Trans/fer—two syllables

Edu/ca/tion—three syllables

Change in stress within a word can lead to conversion. Conversion is a process of pronunciation which involve shift in stress to change a word from one category to another like from a noun to a verb or adjective to a verb and vice visor.  For example

‘TRANSport (noun)—trans’PORT (verb)

‘REject (noun)—re’JECT (VERB)


Using a dictionary show how stress changes in these words from noun to verb and adjective to verb where applicable.

Reject    project    conduct    contest    record     invalid

Stress in Sentences

Stress can be used in a sentence for certain effects. Usually, when stress is placed on a word within a sentence, that word will be pronounced with a higher pitch than the rest. This automatically adds weight on it which in effect manipulates the meaning of that sentence.  Consider the sentence below.


Carol stole my book and sold it to the hawkers.

We can use stress to manipulate the meaning of this sentence to achieve the following implications. The underlined word in each construction carries the stress.

  1. a) That it was Carol and no one else that stole my book.

Carol stole my book and sold it to the hawkers.

  1. b) Than I am the owner of the book that was stolen and no one else.

Carol stole my book and sold it to the hawkers.

  1. c) That the book was sold and not hidden.

Carol stole my book and sold it to the hawkers.

  1. d) That the hawkers have the book and not any other person.

Carol stole my book and sold it to the hawkers.

  1. e) What Carol did.

Carol stole my book and sold it to the hawkers.


Use stress in the following sentences to achieve the following implications in meaning. Rewrite the sentence with the stressed word(s) underlined in each case.

When Eunice died of malaria, all hopes that John had of marital bliss died with her.

  1. a) That John was Eunice’s fiancé and not any other.
  2. b) What happened to Eunice.
  3. c) What John lost apart from Eunice.
  4. d) The time that John lost hope in marital bliss.
  5. e) What killed Eunice.

Natural Stress

Natural stress would usually fall on the last word in a sentence.  For example:

He talked of going abroad.

But if a sentence ends with a pronoun or a preposition we do not stress either, instead, we stress the word preceding either. E.g

Something came up.       She told him.   It is something to fight for.   They killed her.

If a sentence ends with a preposition preceded by a pronoun or a pronoun preceded by a preposition, then we stress the word that comes before the two. E.g.

The stranger shouted at me.    She led me on.

Intonation in Sentences

Intonation refers to the changing of pitch levels from low to high and high to low in a sentence.

Pitch is the intensity of the voice or sound when you utter a word.

Higher pitch implies louder sound and low pitch implies low sound.

We can use intonation to encourage someone to go on speaking or discourage him.

Rising intonation can be used to encourage someone to go on speaking or show that we are interested.  E.g.

Speaker: One day

Listener:  yes (rising)

Speaker: I met….

We can use falling intonation to discourage someone from speaking or show that we are not interested. E.g.

Speaker:  Yesterday I saw a man…

Listener: Okay (falling)

Rising intonation is also used when you call for the attention of someone. E.g.

Sheila? (rising)  Hey (rising)

–All statements and exclamations have a falling intonation.

I am coming home today. (falling)

What a match that was! (falling)

–Falling intonation also indicates finality.  For example when denying accusations, you can say

I did not do it. (falling)

–All questions that require a Yes/No answer have a rising intonation. E.g.

Did you go home? (rising)  Yes/No

Is your mom around? (rising) Yes/No

–All questions that do not require a yes/no answer have a falling intonation. Such questions would normally begin with h or wh element.  E.g.

What is your name? (falling) My name is John Kimi.

How was your flight?  When will she arrive? Etc

–Intonation can be used to manipulate statements; changing them into questions, expressing certainty, politeness, doubts etc.

Her name is Mary. (falling) certain

Her name is Mary. (rising) doubting.

Have you had your lunch? (falling) polite

Have you had your lunch? (rising) indifferent

–Falling intonation is also used in a list to show that you have reached your final item. E.g.

One (r) two(r) three(r) four(r) five(falling)


Identify the intonation that is used in each of the following sentences and state whether it is a rising or falling intonation. Use a rising or falling arrow respectively.

  1. a) I told her to go home.
  2. b) Did you see your mother?
  3. c) Where is your teacher of English?
  4. d) John studies very hard.
  5. e) How old is your friend?
  6. f) Have you learnt good study skills?
  7. g) Fatimah is a beautiful girl.
  8. h) Oh my God!
  9. i) When were you born?
  10. j) Shut up!

Coordinating Conjunction

A coordinating conjunction such as and, or, and but joins clauses that are equal in importance together to form compound sentences.

We use and to show addition e.g. James and John are missing.

We use but to express contrast e.g. He is clever but arrogant.

We use or to show a choice or option e.g. Tell James or Carol to come.

Correlative Conjunctions

These conjunctions join clauses of equal importance. They usually occur in pairs and both receive the same attention.  Examples.

  1. Both…and… e.g. Both Muli and Musemi sell cloths.
  2. Not only…but also… She was not only stupid but also a stammer.
  3. Either…or… e.g. We were to either kill ourselves or be killed by them.
  4. Whether…or…Sabina doesn’t know whether she will be admitted in the University of Nairobi or Maseno.
  5. Neither…nor… e.g. She is neither beautiful nor hardworking.
  6. Hardly/seldom/rarely/barely/scarcely…when… e.g. It was hardly one o’clock when she arrived.

She seldom eats when angry.     He rarely goes to church when stressed.

  1. Too..to e.g. It was too good a deal for him to be true.
  2. So…that… He ran so hard that he fainted on completion.


Combine the following sentences using an appropriate correlative conjunction.

  1. Sarah was devoted to her family

Sarah was kind to her neighbours

  1. The boys lost their match

The girls lost their match

  1. We can go on holiday

We can do community work

  1. We don’t know if tomorrow will be sunny

We don’t know if tomorrow will be wet

  1. Kerendi refused to sing

Karendi refused to say a word

  1. She was young

She wanted to be president

  1. It was noon

She died

  1. It was good

It was not true

Subordinating Conjunctions

A subordinating conjunction joins a main clause within a sentence to a subordinate clause or dependent clause.

A dependent clause is a clause within a sentence that cannot make sense on its own. It therefore depends on the independent or main clause for meaning.  E.g.

She came after four O’clock.

Main                    subordinate

She made it although she almost lost

Main                                  dependent

The most common subordinating conjunctions are  as, because, for, since, whereas, after, before, until, while, as if, as though, except, if, otherwise, unless, although etc.

–Sometimes dependent clauses appear at the end of sentences and other times at the beginning. E.g.

Since it is getting late, we have to walk faster.

Dependent                            main

When the dependent clause appears first, a comma must be used to separate it from the main clause.

–When a sentence has a subordinating conjunction, it immediately becomes a complex sentence. A complex sentence can have one or more than one subordinating conjunctions e.g.

While we were waiting for the bus, an old man came and joined us although we did not know him.

Compound sentences are made up of two or more main clauses joined together by a coordinating conjunction.  E.g. He came home but did not see him.

–Sometimes a compound sentence can occur without the conjunction e.g. Her life was pure, her marriage calm.

A simple sentence has no conjunctions e.g. Joan is sick.

Sentence Structure

A sentence is a group of words usually composed of a subject, verb and object. A sentence can stand on its own as an independent thought.

Joseph wanted to buy the book.

Subj       verb                    obj

–A sentence must name a person or thing that forms its topic (the subject) and make a comment about it (predicate). Thus the subject is the thing or person mentioned and the predicate is the comment made about it.

Ken     is sick

Subj    predi

A predicate contain a verb, object and sometime preposition in a sentence.

She               came for you

–Sometimes the predicate comes at the beginning of a sentence e.g.

Here come the bus

–In some sentences , the subject can be assumed or left out e.g.

(You) sit down.      Sit down.


Identify the subject and the predicate in the following sentences.

  1. The boy stood on the burning deck.
  2. The singing of the birds delights us.
  3. Bad habits grow unconsciously.
  4. Nature is the best physician.
  5. Edison invented the photograph.
  6. Borrowed garments never fit well.
  7. I shot an arrow into the air.
  8. On the top of the hill lives a hermit.
  9. All roads lead to Rome.
  10. The early bird catches the worm.

Other types of sentences are

Statement—Most sentences start with a capital letter and end with a full stop. Statements can be

Declaratives if they declare something like I have won.

Affirmatives/Assertives  if they emphasis something e.g. I will take you home for sure.

Commands/Imperatives if they order e.g. Be quiet.

Interrogatives/Questions if they ask e.g. What is your name?

Exclamatory if they end with an exclamation mark. E.g What a shame!

Negative statements if they have the word not or no/never e.g. You do not look tired.


Forms help us to collect and give information.  When filling in forms consider the following:

  1. Read the entire form carefully and make sure you understand what is required of you.
  2. Pay attention to instructions
  3. Fill by writing legibly per instructions.
  4. Use capital letters and avoid crossing out by thinking carefully before writing.
  5. If a question doesn’t apply to you write N/A or not applicable: do not leave blank spaces.
  6. When in doubt about any question ask or refer to notes on the margin.
  7. Avoid filling in spaces reserved for others or official use.
  8. When you have filled in the form, proof-read it and make all the necessary corrections.
  9. Distinguish clearly between Sir names (family name), first name (Christian) last name (oft Sir name). On most forms, the Sir name is required first. If the form asks for your full name, start with your first or Christian name and end with your Sir name. Do not use initials.
  10. Home address should be the street name and the block number plus house number in the town or village of your residency.


An interjection is a word or group of words that express strong feelings. It has no grammatical connection to any other words in the sentence. Interjections are often followed by exclamation marks.

The following are common interjections

Word Alternate/ Similar Translation Example Meaning
aah! aaah, aaaahh “Help!” “Aaaah! It’s eating my leg!” Fright, shock. Sometimes it means “ahh” instead.
aha a-ha “I understand” “Aha! So you took the money!” Understanding, triumph (can also be used as “ahh”)
ahem “Attention, please!” “Ahem! Swearing is against office policy.” The sound of clearing one’s throat. Used to get someone’s attention, especially if they don’t know (or apparently forgot) that you’re there.
ahh ahhh, ohh “Ok, I see” “Ahh, yes, I understand now” Realisation, understanding. Sometimes it means “aaah” or “eh” instead.
ahh ahhh.. “So relaxing” “Ahh… This hot tub is amazing” Relief or relaxation
argh augh “Damn!” “Argh, the car won’t work!” Annoyance, anger, frustration
aww aw, awww “How sweet!” “Aww, what an adorable puppy” Shows sentimental approval (also see next entry)
aww aw, ohh, ahh “That’s too bad” “Aww, it hit him right in the nuts!” Feeling sorry or pity for someone
aw oh “Come on!” “Aw, don’t be like that!” Mild disappointment or protest
bah “Whatever” “Bah, I never liked him anyways.” Dismissive, annoyed
boo booh “That’s bad” “Boo, get off the stage!” Disapproval, contempt
boo! booh! “Scared you!” I jumped out from the closet and yelled “boo!” A noise used to scare people by surprise
boo-hoo boohoo “I’m crying!” Your internet is slow? Boo-hoo, how sad for you. Used, often sarcastically, to imitate crying.
brr brrrr “It’s cold” “Brrr, it’s -20C outside” Being cold, shivering
d’oh doh “That was stupid/bad!” “I just deleted all my files. D’oh!” Homer Simpson’s catchphrase when something bad happens.
duh “That’s dumb” “Duh, you didn’t plug it in.” Expresses annoyance over something stupid or obvious
eek eeeek “Help!” “Eeek, a mouse!” Girly scream. Surprised, scared.
eep “Oh no!” “Eep! I didn’t mean to say that!” Surprise (female)
eh? huh? “What?” “Eh? I didn’t hear what you said.” Misunderstanding. Also see “eh?” below
eh? huh?, eyh? “Is that right?” “So she dumped you, eh?” Stereotypically overused by Canadians
eww ugh, ewww “Disgusting” “Ewww, this apple is rotten” Disgust, dislike
gah “This is hopeless” “Gah, I give up” Exasperation and despair
gee “Really?” “Gee, that’s super!” Surprise, enthusiasm, or just general emphasis.
grr grrrr “I’m angry” “Grrr, I’ll kick his ass” Anger, snarling, growling. Often used for dogs and other animals.
hmm hm, hmmmm “I wonder” “Hmm, I’m not sure about that” Thinking, hesitation.
humph harumph “I don’t like this” “There are kids on my lawn again, humph!” A snort, to express dislike, disbelief or annoyance.
hah heh “Funny.” “Heh, that’s clever” The first syllable of “hahaha”, when something is just a little funny
haha hehe, hahaha, bahaha “Funny!” “Haha, that’s hilarious!” Regular laughter.
huh “Really?” “Huh, you were right” Mild, indifferent surprise
hurrah hooray, huzzah “Let’s celebrate!” “Hurrah, we won!” Generic exclaimation of joy
ick yuck, ich, yak “Disgusting” “Ick, this milk has gone bad” Disgust, dislike
meh eh “I don’t know” “Meh, whatever you think is best” Indifference
mhm mmhm, uh-hu “Yes” “Do you think so too?” “Mhm” Agreement, acknowledgement.
mm mmm, mmh “Lovely” “Mmm, this ice cream is delicious” Pleasure. Sometimes it means “hmm” instead.
muahaha mwahaha, bwahaha “I’m so evil!” “I switched the sugar and the salt! Muahaha!” Evil villain’s triumphant laugh
mwah m-wah “Kiss!” “Thanks, you’re so sweet! Mwah!” The sound of blowing a kiss
nah “No” “Want another beer?” “Nah, I’m good” Informal no
nuh-uh nuh-hu, nu-huh “No, it isn’t!”/”Did not!” “I hit you!” “Nuh-uh!” “Yuh-uh!” “Nuh-uh!” Childish negation or refusal
oh “I see” “Oh, you wanted sugar, not milk.” Realisation
ooh-la-la oh-lala “Fancy!” “A seven layer wedding cake? Ooh-la-la!” An often ironic (or just funny) way indicating that something is fancy or high class
ooh oooh “Wonderful!” “Oooh, it’s shiny!” Wonder, amazement (ohhh can also mean ahhh)
oomph umph “I’m exerting myself” “Push on 3.. 1, 2, 3.. oomph!” A grunt made on sudden exertion. Also used as a noun to mean “power” or “energy” (“This song needs more oomph!”)
oops “I didn’t mean to do that” “Oops, I knocked your cup over” Being surprised at or acknowledging your own mistakes
ow oww, ouch, yeow “That hurts” “Oww, I hit my thumb” Pain
oy oi, oyh “Hey, you!” “Oy! You forgot your wallet!” Mainly British: Used to get someone’s attention, similar to “hey!”. Also used disapprovingly (“Oy, you spilled your drink all over me!”).
oy oy vay “Oh no…” “The bills are biling up. Oy…” Mainly Jewish: Used to express self-pity, similar to “woe is me!”
pew pee-yew “It stinks!” “Pew, that smells so gross!” Used for foul odors
pff pffh, pssh, pfft “That’s nothing” “Pff, I once caught a fish twice that size” Unimpressed
phew “That was close!” “I didn’t do my homework, but the teacher didn’t check. Phew!” Expressing relief
psst Whispering “Hey, you!” “Psst. Let’s skip the next class!” Used to quietly get someone’s attention, often to tell them a secret.
sheesh jeez “I can’t believe this!” “Sheesh, now he’s drunk again” Exasperation, annoyance (corruption of “Jesus”)
shh hush, shush “Be quiet” “Shh, I’m trying to hear what they’re saying!” Used to make someone be quiet
shoo “Go away” “Get out of here! Shoo!” Used to drive away animals or small children
tsk-tsk tut-tut “Disappointing” “Tsk-tsk, he is late for work again” disappointment, contempt (this is a clicking sound. Clip from Futurama)
uh-huh mhm, uh-hu “Yes” “Do you think so too?” “Uh-hu” Agreement, acknowledgement (easily confused with uh-uh)
uh-oh oh-oh “Oh no!” “Uh-oh, I think the bear is inside the house” Concerned for indications that something will happen
uh-uh unh-unh “No” “Eat your spinach!” “Uh-uh!” Refusal, especially if your mouth is full or if you refuse to open it (easily confused with uh-huh)
uhh uhm, err “Wait, I’m thinking” “Seven times eight is… uhh… 56” Indicates a pause in, rather than the end of, a sentence
waah waaaaah “I’m crying!” “I don’t want you to go! Waaah!” Used, often sarcastically, for imitating crying or whining.
wee whee, weee “This is fun!” “Weee! Faster!” Used by children when doing something fun, and often ironically by adults when something is fun but childish
whoa “Hold on.” “Whoa, take it easy!” Can be used to suggest caution as in here, and also stereotypically used by marijuana smokers to express dumbfounded amazement (“whoa, look at the colors!”). Originally a sound used to make horses stop.
wow “Amazing!” “Wow, that’s incredible!” Impressed, astonished
yahoo yippie “Let’s celebrate!” “Yippie! We won!” Generic exclaimation of joy
yay “Yes!” “Yay! We won!” All-purpose cheer. Approval, congratulations and triumph
yeah yeeeeaah! “Yes!” “Yeeeaah! Kick his butt!” Common slang for “yes”, sometimes also used as an interjection.
yee-haw yeehaw “I’m excited!” “Let’s gather some cattle! Yee-haw!” Much like “yahoo”, but almost always associated with cowboys.
yikes “That’s a bad surprise.” “I found out I owed $5000 in back taxes. Yikes!” Fear and alarm.
yoo-hoo yoohoo “Hey you!” “Yoo-hoo, sugercup! Come give me a hug!” The often ironic/comical, seductive call of a woman to get someone’s attention
yuh-uh yuh-hu, yu-huh “Yes, it is!”/”Did so!” “I hit you!” “Nuh-uh!” “Yuh-uh!” “Nuh-uh!” … Childish affirmation, often used to counter “nuh-uh!” (not to be confused with yoo-hoo).
yuck ick, ich, blech, bleh “Disgusting!” “Yuck, I wouldn’t want to touch that” Disgust, dislike


Fill the blanks in the sentences below with an appropriate interjection in each case.

  1. __! I forgot my rain coat.
  2. __! We won the match.
  3. __! How are you?
  4. __! Did you see how Komen leapt?
  5. __! That was painful.
  6. __! It really works.
  7. __! We achieved our goal.
  8. __! That will show them.
  9. __! What an exciting experience.
  10. __! Let us try out my new bicycle.


A reminder is usually a list of things you want to do and appointments you want to remember. It is a personal document.  E.g.

                                            Saturday 2 October 2016

–Complete English assignment

–wash clothes

–help dad trim the hedge

–visit D. J. In hospital

–Read chapter 4 of Caucasian Chalk Circle—must do.


–Sometimes within an organisation, reminders are used to refresh specific people’s memory about impending responsibilities.

The secretary can be instructed to remind a certain worker or even the boss of an upcoming meeting e.g. in form of a memo.






FROM: The principal

TO      : the H.O.D languages

DATE : 20th May 2016

SUBJECT: Submission of records


You are reminded that on 3rd of June 2016, the county supervision of schools will be underway. Make sure you submit your departmental records in time.

Sign: -h__ysh

Reminders can also be in form of a formal letter e.g.



P.O. BOX 411



23RD MAY 2016

Joash Malo

P.O. BOX 468



RE: A Reminder

You are reminded to report to work next month on 2nd of June 2016, at 9.00 AM.

Your personnel manager will be waiting with instructions. Be prompt.


The Secretary

Jane Wakoli


Writing a Dialogue

A dialogue is a conversation between two people or more. A dialogue can be written directly in two forms—play and prose.

Dialogue in composition or prose

When writing a dialogue in a composition observes the following:

–Use speech marks to enclose spoken words and separate them from commentary and description.

–Always start quotations with a capital letter; the opening quotation marks should be before the first letter and the closing quotations after the punctuation mark as shown below.

“Can I talk to him?” asked Moses.     “Tom should go home,” Anne said.

–the commentary words coming after a quotation should always start with a small letter unless it is a name of a person.

“I love you,” he whispered.  “Who are you?”  she asked.  “Go to hell!” he thundered.

–If a quotation starts with commentary words, then a comma must be used to separate them from the direct speech and the speech must end in a question mark, exclamation mark or full stop.  E.g.

He asked, “Where are we going to meet?”   She said, “I can’t cope any longer.”

Jane shouted, “I hate you!”

Writing dialogue in a composition can only be creative if you mix the dialogue with vivid description or dramatic situations. Always provide a context for the dialogue in terms of what was going through the mind of the speaker, body language, the weather, if he or she was nervous, how they said the words etc. e.g.

“Hi?” she whispered to him. She was trying hard to hide her embarrassment. The heat of the day was rising making the streets hostile and inhospitable. She regretted wearing the heavy cotton outfit that was absorbing the rising heat.

“Hey,” he answered drawing her close for a hug. They hugged for long moments before disengaging.

“You look different.”

“I do?” she hadn’t noticed the change he was talking about.

–When writing dialogue, always start the dialogue in a new paragraph. Make sure you space your dialogue by decongesting it from the general narration.

Writing dialogue in play form

When writing dialogue in play form, observe the following:

  1. A play must always start with stage directions. The stage directions are always cantered on the page and enclosed in brackets. They introduce the first characters; detail the setting of the dialogue, the manner of talking, the time and background. E.g.

{Action takes place in a single room that looks like a living room commonplace in rich suburbs. A very comfortable couch is visible and on it a middle aged woman is sitting reading a novel. She is dressed in pyjamas and on the other side of the couch a man who looks visibly annoyed is sitting pensive and uncomfortable.}

  1. Names of characters should be written in capital letters and placed on the left side of the page followed by a colon before their speech. E.g.

KEN: How are you doing mom?

  1. Pronouns should not be used in place of names. Only names should be used or other titles. E.g.


  1. The speech of characters should be separated from their names clearly without any overlap. E.g.

SIMON:  Tell me more about the problems you discussed yesterday with His Excellency the president at                               the function you wrote about.

  1. Use stage directions to show emotions and non verbal cues used within the dialogue and to make your dialogue creative. E.g.

KEN: (smiling) Hullo dear.

JANET: (blushing) I am fine Ken. Thanks.  (While ransacking in her bag) I wanted to show you something. Can you spare me a few minutes?

KEN: (Visibly excited)  Yes…er..huh. What is it my dear?

  1. Speech marks are not used in play format and the speakers take turns to speak.






Poetry is the study of poems and the poetic language. A poem is a creative composition usually written in verse and that uses diction, imagery and economy of words to communicate.

A poet is someone who writes poems. The voice speaking in a poem is called the persona. What the persona refers to or talks to in a poem would be the subject and the issue that is being talked about or being raised is the subject matter or theme.

In many cases the voice speaking in the poem or the persona is different from the poet. The persona can be a female voice denouncing men but the writer of the poem is male.


The girl next door by   G.R. Lazarus


She was the girl next door

Beautiful booming and shy

Our interaction was measured

Our chemistry guarded

But she was curious and hideous

Then she was of age and I married

But more lustful and hideous


In the poem above the poet is Lazarus. The subject of the poem is the girl next door because the persona is referring to her. The subject matter or theme of the poem is love/lust because the persona is attracted to the girl next door and although he later gets married to someone else he still sees her. The persona in the poem is a man who neighbours the girl (she was the girl next door). Remember the persona is different from Lazarus, the poet.

Lapobo by Cliff Lumbwa


Tall but not too tall

Short but not too short

She is of medium height


Her teeth are not as ash

Nor the colour of maize flour

Her teeth are as white as fresh milk

The whiteness of her teeth

When I think of her Lo!

Makes food drop from my hand


Black but not too black

Brown but not too brown

Her skin colour is just between black and brown


Her feet have no cracks

Her palms are smooth and tender to touch

Her eyes—Ho! They can destroy anybody

The structure of the poem refers to how the lines in a poem are arranged. For example, a poem can have four stanzas and each stanza can carry five lines. In some cases like in this poem by Lumbwa, the structure of the poem is made to resemble a picture of a beautiful woman whose features are well arranged.

In this poem the poet is Cliff Lumbwa, the persona is a lover who admires Lapobo (Lapobo, black but not too black), the subject is Lapobo (Lapobo, her teeth are white as fresh milk), subject matter is love—the persona loves Lapobo (Her eyes—ho! They can destroy anybody)

Clementine by Okot P’Bitek


Ocol is no longer in love with the old type

He is in love with a modern girl

The name of the beautiful one is Clementine


Brother when you see Clementine

The beautiful one aspires

To look like a white woman


Her lips are red-hot like glowing charcoal

She resembles the wild cat

That has dipped its mouth in blood


Her mouth is like raw meat

It looks like open ulcers

Like the mouth of an ogre


Tina dusts powder on her face

And it looks so pale

She resembles the wizard

Getting ready for the midnight dance



Identify the structure, the persona, the poet, the subject and the subject matter of the poem.

Rhythm in Poetry

Rhythm in poetry is achieved through repetition of words or sounds.

Rhyme is the repletion of sounds at the end of lines in a poem. This repetition can be in form of a scheme where it forms a pattern that runs across the poem or just in a few lines. E.g.


They said we should be honest

And taught us to be the best

In staying pure and chaste

But I feel and look like a guest

Because here, to be best

Is to be corrupt with zest


In this poem the end sounds /est/ has been repeated several times and therefore the poem has rhyme. When identifying rhyme only sounds shoud be considered not words. The last two sounds whether they constitute a syllable or not. E.g. –est in best, /eid / in made, /et/ in set. A long sound is considered as a single sound and must therefore be attached to another before deciding if it rhymes or not. E.g.

The words bee, see and tea do no rhyme although they all end with /i:/ but the words dear, seer, fear and tear rhyme because they end with two distinct sounds /ia/.

Sometimes words rhyme although they have different spellings, so it important to only consider how words are pronounced and not written. For example, the words day, weigh, grey and bouquet  rhyme for they all end with the /ai/ sounds as in /dei/ /wei/ /grei/ and /bukei/ but they have different spellings at the end.

When a poem has a few words that rhyme then the style in the poem will be use of rhyming words e.g.


We suffer from normalcy

And ignorance in our diplomacy

We ought to find normal boring

Life should not get comfortable

Too much comfort kills

In this poem there is use of rhyming words i.e. diplomacy and normalcy but the poem has not rhyme scheme.

Internal rhyme refers to use of rhyming words within a line of a poem if the line is dived into two clauses and they all end with the same sound e.g.

Although they set a target, it was not met

So she devised a different structure, amidst the troubled future

Rhyme scheme is a pattern that is created by repetition of sounds at the end of lines to create rhythm. The scheme can be regular or irregular depending on whether the next set of sounds can be predicated or not. Letters of the alphabet are used to represent sounds in a rhyme scheme. A rhyme scheme is written in a flowing manner without uses of commas or any other punctuation.


This the debt I pay (a)

Just for one riotous day (a)

Year of regret and grief (b)

Sorrow without relief (b)

Pay it, I will to the end  (c)

Until the grave, my friend  (c)

Gives me a true release (d)

Gives me the clasp of peace  (d)


Slight was the thing I bought  (e)

Small was the debt I thought  (e)

Poor was the loan at best (f)

God! But the interest (f)

The rhyme scheme in the poem above will be aabbccddeeff this rhyme scheme is a regular one because we can easily predict the next sound to be gg. This rhyme scheme creates musicality in the poem and also reinforces the meanings of the words that rhyme.

Alliteration involves the repetition of initial consonant sounds in close proximity in order to create rhythm, for example,

She sang a sad song or   They lasted longer than they had last time

Consonance on the other hand involves repetition of consonant sounds present at the middle or at the end of words e.g.

He fought and thought about it or   She had talked about it a lot


Describe the use of alliteration and consonance in the poem below.


The gloomy gallant faces

Stare sadly at their fate

The silent voices so eloquent

Begging for justice as Jesus justified

‘No love between neighbours

Is the biggest sin on earth.’

Assonance in poetry

Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in words that follow each other closely in a poem usually to create musicality.


Describe assonance in the poem below.



All his life James had thanked her

Pleading heaving and leaning on false fortified force

Filth sickly and sinful to her hateful eyes


Booing him she looked good—sly fly and likely to puke

She had slept with him and borne him a boy

The boy was buoyant and young

I am their only son  and they are rival politicians


Imagery in poetry is the use of Figurative language or language that create mental pictures of situations. Such mental pictures are created by the following styles:

Metaphor which is the direct reference to something using the quality of something else in order to show that they share such a trait. E.g. Joseph is a lion. To show that  Joseph is as strong/dangerous/brave etc  as a lion.

Simile is making a comparison of two things using words like as…as, like, akin to etc e.g. she sung like an angel.

Symbolism refers to the use of objects or things in a poem that have meaning outside the poem. For example a snake is generally considered to be an embodiment of evil and trickery; whiteness a symbol of purity, blood a symbol of violence and death etc. when such things are used in a poem they create symbolism.

Personification refers to giving human qualities to animals and things like plants or stones. A tree whispering, a stone crying, an elephant talking etc.


Describe imagery in the poem below.


He toiled from dawn to dusk for a piece of silver

He was a lioness in the hunt for meat

Many days the needs grew as the muscles moaned

Six pack albs, triceps and biceps winked

His lean body mysterious like an aphrodisiac

Was a source of lustful admiration to the master’s wife

who wished her husband had such a body

Yet the husband was full of silver

She did not wish her husband to lose the silver

She wanted the lean body and the silver

But it seemed it was difficult to have both


The silver in the poem is used symbolically to represent wealth or money. The man is said to be a lioness which means he was very brave and determined as a lioness usually is when it wants o kill a big game.  The six pack albs, biceps and triceps are said to wink which would be personification to show that they were tempting and charming. Also the muscles moaning is personification. His lean body mysterious like an aphrodisiac—this is a simile which shows how sexually attractive the man was.

Irony in Poetry

Irony in poetry occurs when there is a contradiction between what the reader expects and what happens in the poem.

Describe irony in the poem below.


They Ran Out of Mud by Miriam Were


There is a little hut

Built across from here

They’ve mudded two walls

And the rest stands unmade

For they ran out of mud


There is a deep gully

Running along the road

They have filled it halfway

And the rest is still gaping

For they ran out of mud


There is a pot y the alter

That they began to mould

They finished the base

But the neck remains undone

For they ran out of mud


Mud! Mud!

Who can find mud

Maybe if it were gold

Someone would



Mud is commonplace—it is ubiquitous and hence a lame excuse for not finishing to mud the walls, or fill the gully or complete moulding the alter. The persona suggests that if it was gold which is very expensive they could have found it but not mud. This shows that the workers are very lazy and give inexplicable excuses to hide their laziness. It is thus ironical that they have run out of mud but if it were gold they could have found it.


The Beard


In the pulpit he swayed and turned

Leant forward, backward,

To the right: to the left

His solemn voice echoed;

Lowly the congregation followed

“Do you love your neighbour?”

Meekly they bow at his keen eye.

Now examining a grey head

Heaving under her sobs

His heart leapt assured—

“Her sins weigh on her”

So with her he chat outside;

“Weep not child, you are pardoned.”

“But, Sir, your beard conjured up

The spirit of my dead goat!”



Describe irony in the poem above.

The lady cries and the preacher thinks that it is because her sins weigh on her so he talks to her and thinks that by her repentance she has been pardoned. But in reality the woman was weeping because she saw the preacher’s beard which conjured up memories of her dead goat.

Satire in Poetry

Satire is a stylistic device where a persona uses a mocking language to criticise people, things or situations. The poet might create characters at whom we can laugh, especially by depicting them in a ridiculous way.

Satire is mainly used to expose the wrong or foolish deeds or beliefs of a person or society.


Spoiling Our Celebrations


When last Jamuhuri day

The ceremonial flag stuffs were laid in our streets

It was soon discovered

Twenty of the new flags had been stolen

“We fear,” said the council

that if the theft continue

the whole of the Jamuhuri celebrations

may be ruined


We only recently acquired this new set

Of one thousand from the government

Each cost sh1000, we spent sh 1,000,000 on all

Police are searching for the thieves


The flags which are six feet by four

Are not being stolen for display

They are probably used as rags

Or bedcovers by beggars


This is misusing a national emblem

In an undignified manner

What a shame that beggars in their beds

Are not dignified with their bedcovers


Describe satire in the poem above.

The persona is mocking the government for putting so much emphasis on the dignity of the flag as a national emblem but ignoring the wants of the poor and beggars who have no beddings and have now resorted to stealing the flags for this purpose. It is funny that the government officials talk about indignity of the beggars when they actually have been abandoned with no self dignity by the government.


I Went to Church


I went to church today

Yes I went and prayed for all

Friends and foes alike

Dead and those alive


I also prayed hard

For the soul of that soldier

Who got shot

Fighting for our motherland

While I shot hot life into his wife


And I prayed to God too

That I live long

To go and pray again



Describe satire in the poem above

The poet uses the poem to ridicule church goers. That some of them go there to cover up their sins and do not really go with an aim to repent and worship. The persona thinks of carrying on with his adulterer   behaviour which will keep him coming to church.  He says he prays for the soldier who got shot while the persona was shooting hot life into his wife.


Western Civilization


Sheets of tin nailed to post

Driven in the ground

Make up the house


Some rags complete

The intimate landscape


The sun slanting through the cracks

Welcome the owner


After twelve hours of slave



Breaking rock

Shifting rock

Breaking rock

Shifting rock

Fair weather

Wet weather

Breaking rock

Shifting rock


Old age comes early


A mat on the dark nights

Is enough when he dies


Of hunger



Describe Satire in the above poem.

The poet mocks western civilisation. The received wisdom is that western civilisation is always associated with exotic modern things and ways of living but the persona in his quest for western civilisation experiences hardships working on hot and rainy days until he ages quickly living in a shanty house. This is the darker side of the civilisation that many people go through and that the persona knows well.

Mood Attitude and Tone in Poetry

Mood refers to the feelings you get when you read a poem or the atmosphere that surround events in a poem and that could influence how the reader or the audience feels after reading or listening to the poem.

A poem that centres on a funeral/death will certainly have a sorrowful or sad mood, whereas, one that centres on a wedding or any celebration of an achievement should have a happy, contented or jovial mood.

Attitude refers to the feelings that the persona has towards the subject the persona is talking about. For instance, in the poem the persona may describe someone who is corrupting children and oppressing people using words like disgusting, blemish, rogue etc. The attitude therefore would be resentful or hateful or even malicious. If the persona uses polite and loving terms to describe an event or a person like charming, amiable, kind etc. Then the attitude of the persona towards the subject is approving, welcoming, sympathetic etc.  It is important to use the persona’s words in determining his or her attitude towards the subject.

Tone refers to the nature of the voice used in a poem. It is important to know what the poem is talking about in order to identify the tone of the persona. The tone of the persona is closely influenced by the attitude towards the subject and the general mood of the poem.  For instance, if the persona loved the subject and his attitude towards it was loving; if the subject is dead, then the tone would be sad, if the subject  is around it might be loving tone etc. If the persona is a father talking to a son in a polite way then the tone can be patronizing.

Adjectives for tone in poetry

Sarcastic  remorseful  obnoxious  dull  guilty  alarmed  fresh   dreary   light   startled  sadistic  happy  heavy  horrified  secular  sad  quizzical /inquisitive  disgruntled  political  narcissistic  sardonic/ mocking hurtful  social devoted   foolish loving  liberal/democratic   bitter/ sour  sympathetic  mysterious   conservative  angry intelligent/enlightened /clever  religious   resentful/hateful irritated  despiteful   prayerful    annoyed  suspicious/ doubtful  melancholic


Joyous angry   sad cold   Warm agreeable   contemptuous calm delightful kind   trustful sadistic cheerful playful   appreciative   fearful   resentful




Serene/calm   respectful happy   fearful sorrowful   sombre   melancholic   jovial   reflective/meditative   angry nostalgic   thoughtful



Read the poem below and establish its mood, tone and attitude.


A Pregnant School Girl


He paid her seat in the matatu

And walked away:

As he disappeared in the city crowd

All her dreams vanished


One more passenger squeezed in

And lit a cigarette

She opened the window

And spat cold saliva out

As the cigarette smoke intensified

She wanted to vomit

She remembered the warm nights

When she was her man’s pet

She remembered the promises

The gifts, the parties, the dances


She remembered her classmates at school

Who envied her expensive shoes

Lipstick, wrist watch, handbag

Which she brought to school

After a weekend with him


The future stood against her

Dark like a night without the moon

And silent like the end of the world


As the matatu sped away from the city

She began to tremble with fear

Wondering what her parents would say


With all hope gone

She felt like a corpse

Going home to be buried


The mood of this poem is sad because when you read you feel sad and a bit sympathetic for the pregnant school girl who has been used by her lover and dumped and who now feels like a corpse with no future.

The attitude of the persona towards the school girl is sympathetic. The persona feels sympathy for the girl and that is why he dwells on the consequences of her condition by saying the future stood against her;  she began to tremble with fear etc.

The tone of the persona is calm/indifferent  because the persona remains calm throughout the poem only showing a bit of sympathy for the girl’s condition but not getting emotionally involved in the life of the girl.

Dramatisation in Poetry

Introduction by Richard Ntiru


Perhaps it was his ugly shirt

The missing button

The unassertive collar;

Perhaps it was his knotty hair

That boasted little acquaintance with the comb

Or maybe it was his usualness

–one more impersonal handshake

Along the constant street—

That induced the functional smile

And operated the mechanical handshake.

His name didn’t help either;

Mugambo Mugenge—you’d hear the name

In the out-patient’s attendance queue;

Not in the current telephone directory


You certainly needed prompting

I said he was an old-time friend

But you continued to wave to passing cars;

I added that he was a high placed man

And you promptly too you cue

–“A university teacher, author of several works”—

“RE-E-E-ally? Er-um-oh!…”

And you became word and emotional perfect

Like a dog that mistakes a thief for a visitor

And remembers to bark at his mater’s coughing,

You renewed and pumped the handshake

–reshaped your mouth to a proper smile

–recalled his famous public talk

That you had regretfully missed…

And observed, thoughtfully,

How unlike his photograph he looked


You were tuned—

Delved deep into his latest novel

And wondered why his main characters

Do not walk on the solid earth

And fail to effect living communication

You’d have rambled on, no longer looking at him

But he quipped: “They are in good company!”

And was about to add when you knowledgeably interrupted

“Society is a market stall

And men goods on display

Where the label is more important than the labelled

And price more fascinating than the value.”


We parted hoping to meet again

You went away rehearsing his name

But probably unremembering his face



  1. How would you say the following lines?
  2. a) Perhaps it was his ugly shirt.
  3. b) Perhaps it was his knotty hair.
  4. c) That induced a functional smile.
  5. d) But you continued to wave to passing cars.
  6. e) But probably unremembering his face








A pronoun is a word that can replace a noun in a sentence. E.g. Tom loves Mary but she doesn’t love him. She replaces Mary and him replaces Tom. Nouns that are replaced by pronoun in the same sentence are known as antecedents. To and Mary are antecedents in the sentence above because they are replaced by him and she respectively.

–A pronoun can occur as a subject (come before a verb in a sentence) or an object (come after a verb or preposition in a sentence). If a pronoun occurs as subject it will be in subjective form and if it occurs as an object, it will be in objective form.

Personal pronouns are pronouns that refer to people.

Subjective and objective forms

Singular subjective Singular objective   Plural subjective Plural objective
I Me   WE us
YOU You   YOU You
HE Him   THEY Them
SHE Her   THEY Them
IT It   THEY Them



First person pronoun refers to a pronoun that is used as subjects or a speaker in a sentence both singular and plural. E.g.

(Subjective)  I went home.  We ate the mangoes etc.

(Objective) She gave me the book.  Bring us the bottles.

Second person pronoun refers to the pronoun that is used as the listener or the person or thing being talked to in a sentence. E.g.

(Subjective) What do you want?  You should go home.

(Objective) She came for you.  The money was for all of you.

You is used in subjective and objective forms and again, both singular and plural forms in the second person pronouns.

The third person pronoun refers to the pronoun that is used as the person or thing being talked about but is not present. E.g.  

(Subjective forms) He went home.  She is not feeling well.  It rained heavily last tight. In plural, they  is used in all cases. They went home. They are not feeling well.

(Objective forms) They gave him the job. John came for her. Ken saw it run. In plural objective form , them is used in all cases. Anne gave them the money.

Possessive pronouns show possession. E.g. This is my book . This is mine.  A possessive pronoun replaces not just a noun but an adjective plus a noun as seen in the above example where mine replaces ‘my book’.

–We use possessive pronouns when it is not necessary to use the possessive adjective and a noun.

Is this his book? No, it is yours.

The possessive adjective, its, doesn’t take an apostrophe.  E.g. The cat drunk its milk.











Possessive adjective means the word occurs before a noun and at the same time shows possession. E.g. My book, your cow, his desk, its bone and in Plural our books, your cows, their desks, their bones etc.

Possessive pronoun means the one word that can replace the possessive adjective above plus the noun in a sentence. E.g. This is my book becomes       This is mine,   This is our books becomes    These are ours.

Yours, his, hers respectively; in plural it would be, yours, theirs, theirs respectively

Reflective pronouns are pronouns that refer back to the subject or doer of the action. They always end with the suffix   -self in singular and  -selves in plural. They are used to show that action of the verb is performed on the doer or on the subject itself by the subject.

–Reflexive pronouns are used for emphasis and are sometimes called emphasis pronouns

Reflexive pronouns can still be left out of the sentence and will make sense.

E.g. She, herself, escorted the boy.

Reflexive pronouns

Singular plural
Myself Ourselves
Yourself Yourselves
Himself Themselves
Herself Themselves
Itself Themselves
One self Themselves


–Reflexive pronouns only occur in objective forms.

Subjective and Objective case of pronouns in a sentence

When a pronoun occurs after a preposition, it should be in objective form. E.g.

She came for her/me/them/him/it.  It is between him and me,  between us and them.

When a pronoun comes after a verb, in a sentence, it should be in objective form. E.g.

Sarah helped him/her/them/it/me

When a pronoun occurs before a verb or as a subject in a sentence, it should be in subjective form e.g.

I/We/He/She/They/It  will get it soon.

–A pronoun that comes after the phrase ‘It is’  will be is subjective form e.g.

It is I/they/ she/ he/ it/  that did it and not I/they/ she/ he/ it/  (that did it) although this last part is omitted and only implied.

It was he who came.   It is she that is sick and not I.

–Pronouns after the request word ‘let’ always appear in objective case e.g.

Let us  go home.  Let  me see what I can do.

Unlike pronouns after the word ’shall’ that take subjective case. E.g.

Shall I go home?  Shall we see him?

–Pronouns after the word  ‘than’ take subjective case e.g.

She is better than I am/ She is better than I

Other than he, who else showed up?     You are better than I.

A demonstrative adjective refers to the words like this, that, those and these   that indicate the position of a noun in a given context or demonstrates the manner of action. They occur before nouns they demonstrate in a sentence. E.g.  This book,  that house, those trees etc. These houses are mine.

A demonstrative pronoun on the other hand refers to words such as this, that, those and these that replace a noun in a sentence and that would only be valid in absence of the noun it refers to.  E.g.

That is terrible    This is mine   I saw them.

Indefinite Pronouns

Indefinite pronouns refer to people, places or things in a unspecified way. They therefore do not have specific reference or antecedents.

–There are mainly two types of indefinite pronouns

  1. a) ‘of—Indefinite Pronoun e.g. each of, either of, enough of, one of, many of, all of, any of, several of, none of, much of, another of, neither of, one of, few of, some of, many of,

Each of the boys has been fed.

We had had enough of her complaints.

All of my brothers are married.

Sometimes the ‘of’ phrase may be omitted if what it refers to is clear from the situation given e.g.

After paying for mangoes, we discovered that some were rotten.

Many (of the) problems we face can be solved through dialogue.


Although the boys were hungry, many continued walking.

  1. b) Compound indefinite pronouns are called so because they are formed by combining two words such as every +body= everybody.
Everyone Anyone
Everybody Anybody
Someone No one
Somebody No body
Something Anything
Everything Nothing


Any is used negatively and some is used positively e.g.

Anyone can be defeated in a match. (Negative)

Someone is always watching. (Positive)

Everything will be fine. (Positive)

Nothing will ever work. (Negative)


Fill in each blank space below with the correct indefinite pronoun.

  1. __people died during the war.
  2. We have had __ of his outbursts.
  3. __of the above mentioned turned up.
  4. It is __ of his funny books.
  5. __calm down.
  6. __ was said at the meeting.
  7. I will give __ to be you.
  8. __ of his brothers are dead.

The simple past

Simple past tense is used to describe events that took place in the past. Most verbs form their past tense by adding  -d or  -ed at the end. These are known as regular verbs.  E.g.

Play—played.   Pose—posed.  Kiss—kissed.  Cry—cried. Spit—spitted.

–Some regular verbs ending with ‘y’ take ‘ied’ in their simple past tense forms e.g.

Bury—buried.  Study—studied.  Hurry—hurried.

–Some regular verbs ending with a consonant preceded by a short vowel sound double their final consonants before adding  ‘-ed’ to form simple past tense.  E.g.

Nod—nodded.  Stop—stopped.   Step—stepped.

Irregular Verbs

These are verbs which do not follow a regular pattern when changing into simple past tense.

  1. a) There are those that can take ‘-ed’ in past tense or simply add ‘t’ e.g.

Spell—spelled or spelt.  Spill—spilled or spilt.   Dream—dreamed or dreamt.  Dwell—dwelled or dwelt. Bless—blessed or blest.

  1. b) There are those that change the vowel ‘i’ into ‘a’. E.g.

Spit—spat,  shrink—shrank etc.

  1. c) Those that change the vowel ‘i’ to ‘o’ e.g.

Drive—drove,      win—won

  1. d) Those that change the vowel ‘i’ to ‘ou’ e.g.

Find—found.    Grind—ground.

  1. e) Those that change ‘i’ into ‘u’ in simple past e.g.

Strike—struck.  Sting—stung.  Dig—dug.

Simple present tense

Simple present tense is an aspect of the verb in its present state and it is therefore used to express the following situations:

  1. a) Habits e.g. I walk to school every day. She plays football. She swims.
  2. b) To discuss hobbies. E.g. I play football, I write, He preaches
  3. c) To show the condition in which somebody is in. E.g. I am unwell, Eunice is Ok.
  4. d) To state a person’s occupation. E.g. Ken is poet, My father is a doctor etc.
  5. e) To express feelings and emotions. E.g. She hates him.

Perfect tense

A verb is said to be in a perfect tense if it shows that the action in the sentence was completed just before the speech or has been completed just before the speech or will be. To show this form, the word ‘have’ and its variants (had, has) is used.  E.g.

He had finished the test when the teacher arrived.

She has arrived.    They have given her the money.

The main verb in a perfect tense is usually a past participle e.g. given, taken, eaten, said etc or an –ing participle preceded by the word ‘been’. E.g. She has been eating ugali.

A participle is a form of a verb ending  –ed for regular verbs but followed by has, had or have, e.g. kill—has killed, cry—had cried, box—had boxed etc but varies for irregular verbs e.g. has borne, had sought,  has come, had seen etc.

Both regular and irregular verbs use –ing participles in perfect progressive tenses e.g.

She has been cooking rice.    He had been giving her money.  She is cleaning utensils.  We are seeing them off.

Any helping verb apart from has, had and have can be used with an –ing participle.

Remember an –ing participle on its own can act as a noun in a sentence e.g.

Swimming is my hobby.    I love singing.

If an –ing participle acts as a noun as shown above then we call the noun a gerund.

Weeping is a sign of weakness.  Weeping is a gerund because it an –ing participle being used a s a noun.

An –ing participle again can be used as an adjective in a sentence e.g.

You shouldn’t say such annoying remarks or such remarks are annoying.


A full stop, also known as a period, is used at the end of a sentence e.g.

Mary is sick.

–It is also used in abbreviations e.g.  K.N.H.I.F     N.S.S.F

A comma is used to indicate a short pause in a sentence especially in a list e.g.

She went to the market to buy bread, soap and sugar.

–It is used in writing dialogue to separate the speech from commentary e.g.

“I will see you tomorrow,” she said.

–In parenthesis (extra information in a sentence) e.g.

Daniel Arap Moi, the second president of Kenyan republic, is visiting Nakuru National library tomorrow.

A few of the student, by the way, will not attend the ceremony.

–After yes , no and please.  Yes, I know the man.   Please, let us discuss the matters.  No, it is not possible.

–In question tags e.g.  Adhiambo visited you, didn’t she?

–In separating introductory words of a sentence from the rest e.g. therefore, he was forced by the public pressure to resign.

–Before the name of the person being spoken to e.g. Come and help me push this car, John.

Colon and semi-colon are commonly used to connect parts of a sentence that are closely related.

A colon is used to introduce a list e.g. You should bring the following items tomorrow: bananas, spoons, cups, knives and plates.

–To introduce a long quotation or speech e.g. The employment acts states: Wages shall not be paid in a bar or at a place where intoxicating drinks are available for supply.

–To separate two clauses, if the second clarifies the first.  E.g. Oginga Odinga played an important role in Kenyan politics: he agitated for the release of Jomo Kenyatta, participated in the writing of the first independent Kenya’s constitution and became the first vice president.

–To separate two parts of a sentence that compare and contrast. This creates a balanced and elegant effect. E.g. The boy who came in was short and light-skinned: the one who went out was tall and dark.

–To separate the hour from the minutes for example. 10:30 P.M.

Semi-colon is used to

–join two independent clauses that are related and that are not connected by a coordinating conjuction. E.g. This school is the oldest in Kenya; it was built in 1906.

–to join independent clauses connected by conjunctive adverb such as ‘otherwise’  and ‘however’ or transitional phrases such as ‘on the other hand’ or ‘as a consequence.  E.g.

Don’t come late; otherwise, you will miss the party.

In some schools, classes are small; as a result, teachers can give students individual attention.

–to separate items in a series when one or more of these items are tagged to other definitions or subdivisions separated by commas.  E.g. The Kenyan foreign minister visited several African capitals: Lusaka, Zambia; Harare, Zimbabwe; Abuja, Nigeria; Accra, Ghana and Cairo, Egypt.

A dash (—) is used as follows

–in a dialogue to introduce a clarification or further details. E.g.

I don’t know why she hasn’t arrived—I mean, she should have been here two hours ago!

–to indicate hesitation in a dialogue

Jo—John has gone—gone ho—home.

–to set of information that need emphasis e.g.

Boys can be sweet—when they want to be.

–Can replace a colon in a sentence for emphasis e.g.

You have two options—to shut up or raise your hand.

–can be used in parenthesis to show that the information in between dashes is extra and not part of the original structure of the sentence. E.g.

The four boxers—Ali, Joe,Oti and Tyson—won the gold medals.

An apostrophe (‘) is mainly used to show that some words have been left out, for example.  Don’t—do not.

–It can also show possession e.g. Maina’s bag or Moses’ book..

–It can also show elision (where sounds are intentionally left out but the word still makes sense) e.g.

How are you doing—how’re you doin’

–Remember that in plural forms an apostrophe is removed from the possessive e.g.

Lugulu Girls’ High School—LUGULU GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL

–‘Of can be used with the possessive ‘s to show double possession e.g. He is a cousin of Ciru’s brother.

Hyphen is used to link words that form compound nouns but look confusing together e.g. Fatherinlaw—father-in-law.

–They are also used to show the difference in meaning of words that sound or seem similar e.g. re-cover/recover etc.

–Some prefix occur with a hyphen e.g. ant in anti-Christ etc.

Words that occur with a hyphen are said to be hyphenated.



There are rules about how to write titles of publication such as book, short stories, oral narratives, essays, poems, magazines and newspapers. A crucial distinction is made between full length publication and parts of a publication.A novel, for example, exist on its own as a full length publication. These should therefore be underlined as follows    1. Coming to Birth        2. Adavanced Grammar

Short stories, oral narratives, essays and poems are usually part of a larger book. To show this difference, titles of these works are enclosed in quotation marks e.g.

“Tekayo” in Encounters from Africa—short story

“Beijing Beijing” in Echoes across the Valley—poem

“The Hare and the Leopard” in East African Oral Literature—oral narrative

–Magazines and newspapers are treated a full length publications and their titles are therefore underlined as follows:

She was reading the Daily Nation yesterday.

Buy me The Standard on the market.

In all cases, we capitalize the first letter of all important words in the title. Important words are content words or nouns, adjectives and adverbs.  Articles and prepositions are not usually seen as content words and therefore they are not capitalized unless they appear at the beginning or end of the title.  This rule also applies when writing all headings and sub-headings.

The River and the Source is a novel by Margaret Ogolla.

It is normal when writing to quote from various publications. This is meant to lend authority to our writings and reinforce our arguments. Of course, we should not overquote, and other people’s opinion should not overshadow ours. In quoting, however, we should observe the following rules:

–short quotations of no more than three lines are incorporated in the text of our writings and enclosed in quotation marks, for example:

In Things Fall Apart, Obirieka says: “The white man has put a knife in the things that held us together and we have fallen apart.”

–Longer quotations, that is, of more than three lines are set off from the rest of the text, for example:

In the book, How to Write and Speak Better, we are told:

Most writing is a private activity but a public service.  You may dash off a protest letter in the solitude of your study, or compile a report in the office after everyone has gone home for the night, or scribbles a few secret paragraphs of your romantic novel at the kitchen table while the baby is sleeping but in each case your intention is the same—that eventually your writing will become the reading matter of someone else, that your private words will go public.


Minimal Pairs

Minimal pairs are words that are almost pronounced the same way but only differ by one sound as shown below:

Pin, kill, pit, cap, bag, load,

Bin, gill, bit, cup, bug, road


An adverb is a word that modifies the meaning of a verb, an adjective or another adverb.

An adverb can be replaced by an adverb phrase in a sentence e.g.  He paid his debts fully.

He paid his debt down to the last penny.

–Adverbs that appear at the beginning of a sentence usually modify the whole sentence rather than any particular words e.g.

Probably, he is mistaken.   Obviously, they don’t love each other.

Types of adverbs

Adverbs of time show when the action happened. E.g. Jane went home today.

Adverbs of frequency show how often something or the action happened. E.g. I have seen him twice.

Adverbs of place show where the action happened or is happening. E.g. stand here.

Adverbs of manner show how something happened or behaved. E.g. She was sitting awkwardly.

Adverbs of degree or quantity show how much, or to what degree or extent something occurred. E.g.

50 Cent was shot 9 times but he didn’t die or  The marriage lasted for a long time.

Adverbs of reason show the cause, consequence or reason why something happened e.g.

He could not afford to pay so he left school.

When adverbs are used in asking questions, they are called interrogatives. E.g.

Where is that boy?

Some words are used as adjectives or adverbs, depending on where they appear in a sentence e.g.

He spoke in a loud voice. (adjective)

Don’t talk so loud. (adverb)

Others are enough, fast, next, well etc.

Some adverbs occur in two: with –ly and without e.g.

Roma works hard   and  Roma hardly works.

Some adverbs are used as nouns after a preposition e.g.

He stays far from here.

He comes from there.

Order of Adjectives

When a noun takes more than one adjective, it is important to note that the adjectives would have to take a specific order usually from more general opinions to specific factual description.  The order is to begin from quantitative or number adjectives like twenty, hundreds, a pair etc. to controversial or subjective opinions like beauty, then general opinions like proud, then size and shape before facts as shown below.

Number—e.g. six, many, some

Less agreeable opinion—e.g. beautiful, ugly, charming, exciting

More agreeable opinions—e.g. proud, clever, mad, promiscuous

Size—e.g. Huge, small, tall

Shape—e.g. round, rectangular, square

Age—e.g. young, old, twelve-year old,

Colour—e.g. red, golden, greenish, brown

Nationality/Origin—e.g. Kenyan, Japanese, Chinese

Material—e.g. Metallic, plastic, china, sliver, steel

e.g.  20,beautiful, small, round, old, red, Kenyan balls.

5 ,ugly, huge, rectangular, Japanese tractors.

Predicative adjectives occur after the noun they modify, for example:

John is sick        Joshua is supportive etc

Attributive adjectives occur before the noun they modify e.g.

He is a tall man.     Beautiful women are tempting etc.

Public Notice

A notice is a small advertisement or announcement in a newspaper or magazine, or notice board; it can also be information or a warning given in advance of something that is going to happen e.g. one may want to announce an upcoming meeting, entertainment event, sports day etc. in such cases you issue a public notice.

Features of Public Notice

  1. The name and title of the group that is to meet e.g. DRAMA CLUB MEETING
  2. The What? The event to take place e.g. INTERCLASS DRAMA COMPETITION
  3. The When? This is the time of the event. E.g. Saturday October 15th 2016 at 10.00 AM

–Depending on the nature of the event, it may be necessary to give two items of time i.e. the arrival and departure time or starting and ending time. E.g.

Arrival—10.00 AM

Match Kick off—10.30 AM

  1. The Where? This is the venue or location of the event e.g. Venue—Assembly Hall

–The notice should be captivating i.e. catch the attention of the intended reader.

–It should be written on white paper so that it can be sen clearly. You can use more than one colour to make it catchy but do not overdo it.

–A formal public notice should have a few decorations.

–It should be written in capital letters especially information on what, whom and where.

–Spellings and punctuations must be accurate.

–Once the notice is ready, place it in a strategic place where crowds tend to gather.
















A poster is a large printed picture or notice which you stick on the wall or board to advertise or communicate specific information.

When preparing a poster make note of the following:

  1. The poster should have a theme or subject matter that is very brief and clear in capital letters.
  2. Decide on the graphics or pictures to use. They should be colourful and attractive. Bright colours should be prioritized.
  3. The poster should be simple and decongested.
  4. The poster should be displayed at an appropriate place.


Advertisements are like posters but are usually smaller and put on newspapers.  They are usually designed to persuade people to buy or use certain products. Warnings for side effects in adverts should be in small letters.


Imagine the school administration would wish to enrol more students into your school in form one. As secretary to the language Club in your school, the principal asks you to write a notice to be posited in the local newspaper.

Write the notice and with it include the following:

–State the school’s geographical location

–In about 120 words describe the school

–In about 50 words describe the school’s environment

–Inform the public about the academic qualifications required for admission.

The deadline for application.



An inventory is a detailed document of all the items in a place such as an office, a classroom, a church, a shop, a clinic and so on.

This document gives details of the quantity and condition of whatever is available in a place. An inventory contains columns that show

–Date when the record was entered

–Date of delivery of items

–Quantity of the item

–Description of a particular item

–Date of issue

–Signature of the person being issued with the item.

–Items remaining after issue.

It is an important document in an organisation because it contains information on all items that an institution has and therefore helps to keep records of the stock or stock-taking.


               Glory Secondary School                                                                                       Inventory

Date of record Delivery date Quantity Description Date of issue Sign Balance
5/2/1017 4/2/2017 60 Macmillan Bk4 English texts 10/2/2017 _gr 33
13/2/2017 13/2/2017 20 Reams of foolscaps 15/2/2017 Te_js 15

Importance of an inventory

–Keep check on what is there in terms of stock

–To keep check on what needs to be replaced or repaired.

–To ease the job management

–To give information on items that need constant replacement


You are the School Library assistant and you have received books from a supplier. Record the items in your inventory.

Facts and Opinions

Facts are statements that can be proved, verified and are considered to be true. Facts are indisputable e.g. The first president of Kenya was Jomo Kenyatta.

All humans die.

Opinions are feelings towards an idea. They are not reliable source of information and cannot be verified adequately.  Opinions are therefore debatable and disputable.

Opinions can be identified from a speaker’s choice of phrases such as: it is believed, in my opinion, apparently, seemingly, I think, I feel, possibly, presumably, it should, quite etc.

–Some speakers mix facts and opinions without making a clear distinction e.g. You know that I was the best speaker in last year’s AGM.

Isn’t it a fact that I am the best placed person to represent the people of Bungoma?


Pick out and explain five facts and five opinions in the passage below.

We teach students to be obedient, kind, religious and hardworking in order to succeed in life but the reality is that these virtues are not really required in the modern, cruel and materialistic world, especially, if someone is to succeed in getting wealth and power. Majority of rich Kenyans, for example, got their wealth from corrupt deals, grabbing public land or colluding with powerful politicians to get favours. There is evidence that until recently, when the new constitution was adopted, many rich Kenyans were barely paying taxes especially on imports. Another obvious example is those Kenyans who were accused of masterminding crimes against humanity were elected into office and are celebrated. Realistically, vices pay more handsomely than virtues and as Machiavelli once said, ‘the end will justify the means’. Maybe it is time to review what we teach in schools and sanctify any effort to get wealth.



Homophones are words that have similar pronunciation but different meanings and different spellings.

  1. accessory, accessory
  2. ad, add
  3. ail, ale
  4. air, heir
  5. aisle, I’ll, isle
  6. all, awl
  7. allowed, aloud
  8. alms, arms
  9. altar, alter
  10. arc, ark
  11. aren’t, aunt
  12. ate, eight
  13. auger, augur
  14. auk, orc
  15. aural, oral
  16. away, aweigh
  17. awe, oar, or, ore
  18. axel, axle
  19. aye, eye, I
  20. bail, bale
  21. bait, bate
  22. baize, bays
  23. bald, bawled
  24. ball, bawl
  25. band, banned
  26. bard, barred
  27. bare, bear
  28. bark, barque
  29. baron, barren
  30. base, bass
  31. bay, bey
  32. bazaar, bizarre
  33. be, bee
  34. beach, beech
  35. bean, been
  36. beat, beet
  37. beau, bow
  38. beer, bier
  39. bel, bell, belle
  40. berry, bury
  41. berth, birth
  42. bight, bite, byte
  43. billed, build
  44. bitten, bittern
  45. blew, blue
  46. bloc, block
  47. boar, bore
  48. board, bored
  49. boarder, border
  50. bold, bowled
  51. boos, booze
  52. born, borne
  53. bough, bow
  54. boy, buoy
  55. brae, bray
  56. braid, brayed
  57. braise, brays, braze
  58. brake, break
  59. bread, bred
  60. brews, bruise
  61. bridal, bridle
  62. broach, brooch
  63. bur, burr
  64. but, butt
  65. buy, by, bye
  66. buyer, byre
  67. calendar, calender
  68. call, caul
  69. canvas, canvass
  70. cast, caste
  71. caster, castor
  72. caught, court
  73. caw, core, corps
  74. cede, seed
  75. ceiling, sealing
  76. cell, sell
  77. censer, censor, sensor
  78. cent, scent, sent
  79. cereal, serial
  80. cheap, cheep
  81. check, cheque
  82. choir, quire
  83. chord, cord
  84. cite, sight, site
  85. clack, claque
  86. clew, clue
  87. climb, clime
  88. close, cloze
  89. coal, kohl
  90. coarse, course
  91. coign, coin
  92. colonel, kernel
  93. complacent, complaisant
  94. complement, compliment
  95. coo, coup
  96. cops, copse
  97. council, counsel
  98. cousin, cozen
  99. creak, creek
  100. crews, cruise
  101. cue, kyu, queue
  102. curb, kerb
  103. currant, current
  104. cymbol, symbol
  105. dam, damn
  106. days, daze
  107. dear, deer
  108. descent, dissent
  109. desert, dessert

331.  rouse, rows

332.  rung, wrung

333.  rye, wry

334.  saver, savour

335.  spade, spayed

336.  sale, sail

337.  sane, seine

338.  satire, satyr

339.  sauce, source

340.  saw, soar, sore

341.  scene, seen

342.  scull, skull

343.  sea, see

344.  seam, seem

345.  sear, seer, sere

346.  seas, sees, seize

  1. deviser, divisor
  2. slay, sleigh

sloe, slow

sole, soul

some, sum

son, sun

sort, sought

spa, spar

staid, stayed

stair, stare

stake, steak

stalk, stork

whirl, whorl

whirled, world

whit, wit

white, wight

who’s, whose

woe, whoa

wood, would

yaw, yore, your, you’re

yoke, yolk

you’ll, yule swat, swot

tacks, tax

tale, tail

talk, torque

tare, tear

taught, taut, tort

te, tea, tee

team, teem

tear, tier

teas, tease

terce, terse

tern, turn

there, their, they’re

threw, through

throes, throws

throne, thrown

thyme, time

tic, tick

tide, tied

347.  tire, tyre

to, too, two

toad, toed, towed

told, tolled

tole, toll

ton, tun

tor, tore

tough, tuff

troop, troupe

tuba, tuber

vain, vane, vein

vale, veil

vial, vile

wail, wale, whale

wain, wane

waist, waste

wait, weight

waive, wave

wall, waul

war, wore

ware, wear, where

warn, worn   wart, wort

  1. dew, due
  2. die, dye
  3. discreet, discrete
  4. doe, dough
  5. done, dun
  6. douse, dowse
  7. draft, draught
  8. dual, duel
  9. earn, urn
  10. eerie, eyrie
  11. ewe, yew, you
  12. faint, feint
  13. fair, fare
  14. farther, father
  15. fate, fête
  16. faun, fawn
  17. Fay, fey
  18. faze, phase
  19. feat, feet
  20. ferrule, ferule
  21. few, phew
  22. fie, phi
  23. file, phial
  24. find, fined
  25. fir, fur
  26. flair, flare
  27. flaw, floor
  28. flea, flee
  29. flex, flecks
  30. flew, flu, flue
  31. floe, flow
  32. flour, flower
  33. foaled, fold
  34. for, fore, four
  35. foreword, forward
  36. fort, fought
  37. forth, fourth
  38. foul, fowl
  39. franc, frank
  40. freeze, frieze
  41. friar, fryer
  42. furs, furze
  43. gait, gate
  44. galipot, gallipot
  45. gallop, galop
  46. gamble, gambol
  47. gays, gaze
  48. genes, jeans
  49. gild, guild
  50. gilt, guilt
  51. giro, gyro
  52. gnaw, nor
  53. gneiss, nice
  54. gorilla, guerilla
  55. grate, great
  56. greave, grieve
  57. greys, graze
  58. grisly, grizzly
  59. groan, grown
  60. guessed, guest
  61. hail, hale
  62. hair, hare
  63. hall, haul
  64. hangar, hanger
  65. hart, heart
  66. haw, hoar, whore
  67. hay, hey
  68. heal, heel, he’ll
  69. hear, here
  70. heard, herd
  71. he’d, heed
  72. heroin, heroine
  73. hew, hue
  74. hi, high
  75. higher, hire
  76. him, hymn
  77. ho, hoe
  78. hoard, horde
  79. hoarse, horse
  80. holey, holy, wholly
  81. hour, our
  82. idle, idol
  83. in, inn
  84. indict, indite
  85. it’s, its
  86. jewel, joule
  87. key, quay
  88. knave, nave
  89. knead, need
  90. knew, new
  91. knight, night
  92. knit, nit
  93. knob, nob
  94. knock, nock
  95. knot, not
  96. know, no
  97. knows, nose
  98. laager, lager
  99. lac, lack
  100. lade, laid
  101. lain, lane
  102. lam, lamb
    1. laps, lapse
  103. larva, lava
  104. lase, laze
  105. law, lore
  106. lay, ley
  107. lea, lee
  1. leach, leech
  2. lead, led
  3. leak, leek
  4. lean, lien
  5. lessen, lesson
  6. levee, levy
  7. liar, lyre
  8. licence, license
  9. licker, liquor
  10. lie, lye
  11. lieu, loo
  12. links, lynx
  13. lo, low
  14. load, lode
  15. loan, lone
  16. locks, lox
  17. loop, loupe
  18. loot, lute
  19. made, maid
  20. mail, male
  21. main, mane
  22. maize, maze
  23. mall, maul
  24. manna, manner
  25. mantel, mantle
  26. mare, mayor
  27. mark, marquee
  28. marshal, martial
  29. marten, martin
  30. mask, masque
  31. maw, more
  32. me, mi
  33. mean, mien
  34. meat, meet, mete
  35. medal, meddle
  36. metal, mettle
  37. meter, metre
  38. might, mite
  39. miner, minor, mynah
  40. mind, mined
  41. missed, mist
  42. moat, mote
  43. mode, mowed
  44. moor, more
  45. moose, mousse
  46. morning, mourning
  47. muscle, mussel
  48. naval, navel
  49. nay, neigh
  50. nigh, nye
  51. none, nun
  52. od, odd
  53. ode, owed
  54. oh, owe
  55. one, won
  56. packed, pact
  57. packs, pax
  58. pail, pale
  59. pain, pane
  60. pair, pare, pear
  61. palate, palette, pallet
  62. pascal, paschal
  63. paten, patten, pattern
  64. pause, paws, pores, pours
  65. pawn, porn
  66. pea, pee
  67. peace, piece
  68. peak, peek, peke, pique
  69. peal, peel
  70. pearl, purl
  71. pedal, peddle
  72. peer, pier
  73. pi, pie
  74. pica, pika
  75. place, plaice
  76. plain, plane
  77. pleas, please
  78. plum, plumb
  79. pole, poll
  80. poof, pouffe
  81. practice, practise
  82. praise, prays, preys
  83. principal, principle
  84. profit, prophet
  85. quarts, quartz
  86. quean, queen
  87. rain, reign, rein
  88. raise, rays, raze
  89. rap, wrap
  90. raw, roar
  91. read, reed
  92. read, red
  93. real, reel
  94. reek, wreak
  95. rest, wrest
  96. retch, wretch
  97. review, revue
  98. rheum, room
  99. right, rite, wright, write
  100. ring, wring
  101. road, rode
  102. roe, row
  103. role, roll
  104. roo, roux, rue
  105. rood, rude
  106. root, route
  107. rose, rows
  108. rota, rotor
  109. rote, wrote
  110. rough, ruff

348.  sew, so, sow

349.  shake, sheikh

350.  shear, sheer

shoe, shoo

sic, sick

side, sighed

sign, sine

sink, synch

slay, sleigh

sloe, slow

sole, soul

some, sum

son, sun

sort, sought

spa, spar

staid, stayed

stair, stare

stake, steak

stalk, stork

stationary, stationery

steal, steel

stile, style

storey, story

straight, strait

sweet, suite

watt, what

wax, whacks

way, weigh, whey

we, wee, whee

weak, week

we’d, weed

weal, we’ll, wheel

wean, ween

weather, whether

weaver, weever

weir, we’re

were, whirr

wet, whet

wheald, wheeled

which, witch

whig, wig

while, wile

whine, wine

whirl, whorl

whirled, world

whit, wit

white, wight

who’s, whose

woe, whoa

wood, would

yaw, yore, your, you’re

yoke, yolk

you’ll, yule swat, swot

tacks, tax

tale, tail

talk, torque

tare, tear

taught, taut, tort

te, tea, tee

team, teem

tear, tier

teas, tease

terce, terse

tern, turn

there, their, they’re

threw, through

throes, throws

throne, thrown




A preposition is a word placed before a noun or a pronoun to show in what relationship the person or thing denoted by it stands in regard to something else.

–A preposition simply means that which is placed before.

–The preposition can join a noun to other nouns e.g. There is a cow in the field.

–The preposition can also join a noun to an adjective e.g.  He is fond of tea.

–A preposition can join a noun to a verb e.g. The cat jumped off the chair.

–The noun or pronoun used with a preposition is called its object. It is the accusative case and is said to be governed by the preposition.  E.g.

There is a dog in the house.  Accusative case

–A preposition may have two or more objects as in: The road runs over the hills and plains.

–Sometimes a preposition is placed after an object.  E.g. Here is the watch that you asked for.

That is the boy I was speaking of.

Simple prepositions are at, by, for, from, in, of, off, on, out, through, till to, up and  with.

  1. a) Place– about, at, against, among, below,
  2. b) Time—at, on, in, from, until
  3. c) Agency—at, by, through
  4. d) Manner—with
  5. e) Cause/Reason—for, of, with, through
  6. f) Possession—on, of, with
  7. g) Standard—at(price), by(inches)
  8. h) Motive—from what I know of him, I did it from gratitude

Complex prepositions consist of more than one word. They express different meanings as follows:

  1. a) Place—close to, away from, out of,  next to,  ahead of,
  2. b) Cause or reason—because of, due to, with a view to, in view of
  3. c) Exception—except for, apart from
  4. d) Contrast—In spite of

Most complex prepositions are made up of two words but some three words like  ‘with regard to’

–Notice that the triple-worded prepositions begin with a simple preposition and end with one.


Fill the blanks in sentences below with an appropriate preposition.

  1. No doubt he has achieved much but I cannot give him credit__ all that he boat__.
  2. She was the only hindrance __his achievement.
  3. He is indebted __his friend __a large sum.
  4. It is difficult to agree __those critics who ascribe the work of Shakespeare—Bacon.
  5. The soldiers__ the fort were provided__ provisions to last them a year.
  6. We are accountable __God __our actions.
  7. Measure yourself __your equals and learn __frequent competition the place which nature has allotted –you.
  8. At the eleventh hour he retired __the contest leaving the field open __his opponents.
  9. Dogs have antipathy __cats.
  10. He has been very indulgent __his children.
  11. I purposely refrained __saying more.
  12. I insisted __ going.
  13. I assented __ his proposal.
  14. I am not satisfied __ your explanation.
  15. He did not profit __ his experience.
  16. He is innocent __ the crime.
  17. His views do not accord __ mine.
  18. The avaricious man is greedy __ gain.
  19. He is suspicious __all his neighbours.
  20. He is indifferent __ his own interests.
  21. He is prompt __ carrying out orders.




Antonyms and Synonyms

Antonyms are words with opposite meaning e.g. good—bad while Synonyms are words with similar meaning that can replace each other in a sentence e.g. get—acquire , run—scamper  etc.


Note making

Note making entails picking out the most important points from a given piece of writing. The main aim of note making is to condense information in a passage into a brief and simple form and still retain clarity.

When making notes consider the following points

  1. Read the given text carefully at least three times.
  2. Identify the main points by marking them out or underlining them.
  3. Write the marked points down in note form using numbers or bullets.


Summary Writing

If you are required to make summary of a piece of text observes the following:

  1. Read through the story and the questions at least two times.
  2. Pick out the main points by underling them or marking them out in their proper order.
  3. Transfer the points on to a rough draft part of the question or any space you can get.
  4. Then from details in the rough draft, write a fair copy in continuous prose; separating the points in the order they appeared in rough draft using a comma and joining them up using co-ordinating and subordinating conjunctions.
  5. Use a topic sentence to introduce your summary at the beginning.
  6. Stick to the word limit and make sure you count the words by indicating the total number at the bottom on the right of the fair copy.
  7. Avoid grammatical errors because they attract penalties


A synopsis is a summary of a piece of writing. In order to write a synopsis, it is important to fully comprehend the theme and subject matter of the source material.  Writing a synopsis will involve the same steps you would use to write a summary. A good synopsis should condense information without omitting any important points. A synopsis, unlike summary, should be expressed in your own words and should include your own voice or opinion. It is advisable to make a draft you can revise until you are satisfied before writing the final copy.

Occasionally, you might be required only to write a synopsis of a part of a text or be given word limit.


Question tags

A tag is a special construction in English. It is a statement followed by a mini-question. The whole sentence is a tag question and the mini-question at the end is called a question tag.  A tag is something small we add to something larger. We usually tag a question at the end of a statement to ask for confirmation e.g. She is coming, isn’t she? Or to encourage a reply from someone.

The basic structure is


positive statement—negative tag,  he has gone, hasn’t he?

Negative statement—positive tag,   It wasn’t the boy, was it?


The question tag borrows the auxiliary or helping verb in the statement.

E.g. You might see him, mightn’t you?

Most question tags are formed from helping verbs used in the statement whether subordinate of main as follows:

We are here, aren’t we?

She does like him, doesn’t she? Etc.

When the verb in the main sentence is in the simple present or past  tense without the helping verb, we form the question tag with ‘do’ ‘does’ or ‘did’

You play the guitar, don’t you?

Alison like tennis, doesn’t she?

They went to the cinema, didn’t they?

She studied in New Zealand, didn’t she?

He hardly ever speaks, does he?

When the statement contains a word with a negative meaning without ‘not’ the question tag would still need to be positive.  E.g. They rarely eat in a restaurant, do they?

Some verbs have different question tags e.g.

I am attractive, aren’t I?

For commands, the tag ‘will you’ is used  e.g.

Stop it, will you? Or   Don’t make noise, will you?

Requests that begin with ‘let’ take the ‘shall we’ tag. E.g. Let us go home, shall we?

Irregular tags are those that have indefinite pronouns e.g.

No one is here, is there?

No one is unhappy, are they?/is he?

Somebody saw her, didn’t they?




Oral literature, sometimes called orature, verbal arts or oral tradition is a spoken, acted or performed art whose medium is words. It is passed on from one generation to the other by word of mouth.

Functions of Oral Literature

  1. for entertainment
  2. To create self-awareness—oral literature makes us understand ourselves.
  3. Oral literature teaches us about our history and this enables us to understand and interpret it.
  4. The teaching of Oral literature promotes nation building and intercultural understanding, thus helping creating harmony in a nation.
  5. Oral literature sharpens and develops language skills such as speech, listening, creativity, wit etc.


Forms of oral literature

Oral literature is categorized into three main forms

1) Narratives.

2) Songs.

3) Short forms.


A narrative is a story or prose account of people events and places that may be fictional or factual. A narrative is also called a tale or a folk tale.

Classification of Narratives

Classifying refers to grouping of stories basing on the shared features like the manner of action of main characters and setting.

Narratives are classified into myths, legends, dilemma, explanatory ogre and trickster.


Myths are stories of creation and always involve a supernatural character.  Myths deal with supernatural phenomena and origin of people.

Characteristics of myths

  1. Myths always seek to explain origin of mysterious things like life and death.
  2. They don’t have opening and closing formulae.
  3. Myths are always regarded as facts by their community of origin.
  4. Myths refer to things that happened at the beginning of time.
  5. Myths involve a supernatural character like God or gods and spirits.
  6. They are always set in the early mysterious or magical world.
  7. People take myths as sacred or religious stories.


These are stories about memorable historical events and people.

Characteristics of legends

  1. Legends are understood to be stories of true historical events and people.
  2. The characters in legends are always given imaginary details or a bit of exaggeration.
  3. Legendary stories are not treated as holy but secular. That is, they talk about heroes and heroines who inhabited earth and such events deemed to have taken place.


These are stories which have a character or characters burdened with two moral choices which they must choose but such a decision is usually difficult to make. Sometimes the story ends with a debating question which the audience can debate on.

Explanatory or Etiological

These are stories that try to trace or explain the origin of behaviour, both physical and cultural in people and animals.


  1. They seek to explain behaviour of people and animals.
  2. These stories link past decisions or mistakes to present traits in animals and people.
  3. The stories are based on observable features in people and animals but that cannot be explained clearly by the human reason.

Ogre or Monster

These are stories that feature a non-human character that is usually grotesque, frightening and evil.


  1. The character in the story is usually a monster that is imagined as an evil creature.
  2. The monster usually interacts with human beings in a destructive way: eating children, swallowing people etc.


These are stories that feature a character that plays tricks on others.


  1. There is usually a smaller or weaker animal that uses its intelligence to trick a foolish, bigger and stronger animal.
  2. In these stories, the animal may simply exploit the opportunity that comes its way that others have failed to see or take advantage of.
  3. In other occasions, the animal may be tricked first but later it uses the same tricks or better ones to outwit the other.


  1. She should be audible and fluent.
  2. Should be able to use gestures and tonal variations.
  3. He should be creative and imaginative.
  4. She should be proud of her culture.
  5. He should be pleasant and entertaining.
  6. She should have a good memory.
  7. She should be confident.
  8. He should be able to connect the past with the present.



This is the order events in a story. Oral narratives often have simple straightforward plots. Events in a narrative would constitute three parts: a beginning, middle and an ending.

Beginning presents the audience with problems facing the main characters.

The middle shows the attempts by the characters to solve the problems.

The ending shows how the problems are finally solved.

Some stories have complex plots and therefore would not follow this order.

Consider the following questions when analyzing the plot:

  1. How many major characters are introduced at the beginning of the story?
  2. Are there problems or a problem facing major characters in the story?
  3. Through which actions do the characters try to solve the problems?
  4. What kind of resolution is offered?
  5. Do the characters emerge triumphant or they are defeated?


Classify a narrative and give reasons for your classification. E.g. it is a trickster narrative since the story has or involves tricks; the hare tricks they hyena into killing his own mother.


Characters are people or animals involved in a story. In oral narratives, characters include

—human beings    —Animals   —Birds

—Trees   —Mountains   —Spirits   —gods    —monsters

No distinction is made between animals, plants and man in oral literature. They can interact freely. This style of representation is known as personification.

Hence, narratives use symbolic characters as fictional masks so that narratives can actually mimic us, describe us and correct us without causing offence.

Character traits are used to refer to the uniqueness of characters in their speech, behaviour, actions and interactions with other beings.

We can tell the character trait of a character by

  1. What the character does.
  2. What the character says.
  3. What other characters say about her

Character traits do not include the physical appearance of a person e.g. beautiful, fat deformed etc.

We use adjectives to describe character traits e.g. greedy, loving, grateful etc.

In identifying character traits

  1. Identify the trait.
  2. Give illustrations or an explanation to justify your identification.

Do not use general adjectives like good or bad to describe characters. Use specific traits only like cruel.  It is sometimes useful o identify the role each character has in the story in relation to their character traits. The role can provide context and limit your choice of character traits you can assign e.g. if someone who has been mistreated for a long time decides to kill the oppressor, the trait might be vengeful, cruel, brave or inhuman depending on the role and context.

Common roles are

Villain/ Antagonist — the evil character, or the anti-hero in a story.

Protagonist —the good character, or the hero in a story.

Symbolic character—characters that represent other people of concepts in real world.

Caricatures—exaggerated characters.



These are features that the narrator employs to effectively deliver the message in a specific piece of oral narration. These paralinguistic features add entertainment value to the performance. These features are


The narrator imitates the action and speech manners of the characters.


This is the ability of the narrator to incorporate in his narration, objects on sight, people and other things and involve them in the narration by pointing at them, inviting some on stage or putting available objects in use as musical instruments.

Facial Expression

They involve moment of face muscles to show contortion, frowning, grimacing, smiling, sneering and flinching. Facial expressions mainly show appropriate emotions at different stages of narration.

Tonal Variation or Intonation

This is the use of a rising and falling pitch in the voice of the narrator appropriately, when asking questions, making statements and for other dramatic purposes.

Pace of delivery

This is how fast the narrator speaks while narrating the story. The pace of delivery can vary depending on the nature of the story and the emotions to be impacted in the audience. For instance, to make the audience sad a slow torturous pace is appropriate.

Onomatopoeia and idiophones  

Onomatopoeia is use of English words in a story that imitates sounds. Words like scratch, screech, whisper, hiss etc. are English words that imitate sound and if used in a story would constitute onomatopoeia. The effectiveness of Onomatopoeia is to create the originality of events.

Idiophones involve use of local or non-English words to imitate sounds in a story. Words such as Puff! Ndo ndo ndo, or Chubwi can be used to capture the sounds heard by a character in the story and would constitute use of idiophones as a style.


Gestures can be used to illustrate movements and mimic action.

Body Movements

To show the movement of characters in terms of leaning, running, walking, jumping and sitting.  

Accompanying instruments and costumes

Costumes can be used to make the narration more colourful and entertaining, while accompanying instruments like drums, arrows, placards etc help dramatize and mimic events in a story.


It is important to cultural dances in the narrative, that is, by use of songs to break the monotony of narration.

Dramatic Pauses

Pausing dramatically can be useful to let the point sink, draw attention to a major development in a story, create suspense or invite a reaction from the audience or applause.

Rhetorical Questions

Rhetorical questions are used to provoke the audience to think critically about something.


Repetition of some words or segments to emphasis certain points or drum in more entertainment.


Opening Formula

Common opening formulae include …long ago…once upon a time…long ago etc.

The opening formula has the following uses

  1. Announces the beginning of a narrative.
  2. Attracts the audience’s attention to the narrative.
  3. Separates the world of reality from the world of fiction.
  4. Identifies the narrator.

Closing Formula

Common closing formulae are …since that day …and there ends my story.

Closing formula has the following uses

  1. Announces the end of a narrative.
  2. Momentarily releases the audience concentration.
  3. Clears the way for the next activity.


This is where the narrator makes reference to familiar objects or historical figures known to the audience.


Non-human characters like animals or trees are given human qualities like talking, laughing, gossiping etc.


Events within the story are exaggerated, for example, a stone shedding tears, a man changing into a snake etc. to make the story interesting.


Time is not defined in a tale by use of vague phrases such as once upon a time, one day, later etc. usually to create a mysterious past.

Direct Translation

The story as narrated doesn’t pay attention to the grammatical rules. E.g. He gave her a stomach.

Use of Vernacular

Non English words from a specific language, that often cannot be translated successfully, are used in a narrative.


The narrator withholds information from the audience until the end to increase curiosity or interest.


Events in the story turn out contrary to our expectations. What happens at the end or within a given context is not what the audience would by and large expect to happen.

Social Economic Activities in Oral Narratives

Oral narratives reflect social economic activities of communities that tell them.

Social activities include circumcision, courtship, marriage monogamy and polygamy, worship and wars.

Economic activities include crop farming, livestock keeping, bee-keeping, fishing, pottery, hunting, trading, blacksmithing/iron smelting and weaving.

Moral lessons

The lessons we learn from oral narratives should be universal. If the question asks for a moral lesson, the lesson stated must be positive e.g. we should respect other people’s property.

All lessons identified must be illustrated to show the action of a character in the story and the consequences of that action.

Generally, oral narratives encourage virtues such as hard work, co-operation, bravery, honesty, wisdom etc.

Functions of Oral Narratives

  1. Entertainment—stories amuse and relax the audiences.
  2. Education—stories educate the audience and teach moral lessons.
  3. Socialization—story telling sessions bring together people to share in artistic and creative affair.
  4. Cultural conservation—stories reveal the way of life of a people, their social economic activities; helping future generation adapt and preserve them.
  5. Oral narratives help in sharpening language skills such as listening, good memory and creativity.


An oral poem or a song is a composition in verse form expressing ideas and thoughts verbally. An oral poem can be sung, recited or chanted.

Types of Songs/Oral Poems


These are songs performed when a baby is born or sung to encourage a woman in labour.

Child Naming

Songs sung during naming of newborns. Such names are given in several ways:

  1. after an important event.
  2. Location where the child is born.
  3. According to season.
  4. After the father of the husband, mother etc.
  5. from recurrent dreams.
  6. Inheriting names of important people.
  7. Praise names.


Songs sung to comfort a baby to sleep. Lullabies also

–educate on social values and culture,

–tell more about the social organization of the people, their food and work,

–have simple and repetitive words,

–are sung softly and slowly,

-have a rocking rhythm.


Children’s Songs and Games

Songs performed by children during their playtime. They keep children busy and entertain them.


These are songs sung during the season or ceremony of circumcision to encourage the initiates and ridicule the cowards. They are usually full of obscenities in the direct use of sexual language or talk about relationship between men and women.

Courtship Songs

Songs sung by those in love to express emotions of happiness, praise lovers and express romance. Sometimes they are sung by jilted lovers to express sadness or deal with marital problems or unrequited love.


These are songs performed during marriage ceremonies. They are often sung to praise the bride and groom. They also express the sorrow of leaving home and parting with friends. Some of the marriage songs warm about the problems of living among strangers or in-laws. Some advise on how to cope with married life. These songs also may be sung as farewell to the bride’s beloved siblings and parents.

They may tend to scorn but generally, they are happy songs.

Work Songs

Work songs are sung as accompaniment to some chores like pounding, ploughing etc. They are sung in unison to make strenuous work more bearable. They also sung to discourage laziness and extol the value of working hard.

Some work songs are specific, like hunting songs, fishing songs etc.

Sacred / Religious 

These are songs sung during religious activities like worship, sacrifice etc. They include hymns, praise and lamentations that make reference to supernatural beings.

Political/Patriotic Songs

They are performed during public holiday and political rallies. They are usually sung to create political awareness, promote propaganda, conformity or to protest against injustice and oppression. But mostly they are sung to praise good leaders and satirize bad ones.

War Songs

These are songs sung or performed during war. They are meant to inspire warriors to fight bravery. They are also sung to honour heroes and glorify the achievement of war.

Beer Party Songs

These are songs sung by drinkers together with brewers at a drinking party. They are sung by revellers to express enjoyment, praise the brewers and satirize the lazy or the poor.

Dirges/Funeral Songs

These are songs sung during funerals or memorial ceremonies usually accompanied, in some communities, with loud wailings and sobs. They are sung to mourn the dead, share grief with the bereaved and console the relatives of the dead. Dirges are sometimes sung to satirize the benefactors of the deceased’s wealth.

Characteristics of Songs

  1. They have repetitive segments—songs would have a refrain or chorus to emphasize the mood and create rhythm.
  2. They have direct address of the audience for immediacy of expression.
  3. They carry direct translation of original language for local flavour or authenticity.
  4. Many songs have rhetorical questions to involve the audience and provoke them to think about issues the songs raise.
  5. Songs are populated by idiophones and onomatopoeia to echo local sounds and make them interesting.
  6. Songs are full of exaggerations or hyperbole to create comic or satirical effects.
  7. Songs carry striking imagery, like metaphors and similes to create mental images in the mind of the audience.
  8. Songs have antiphon or call and response mode. Many songs are sung in a way that the soloist call and the choir or group respond, or one person calls and another responds.
  9. Many songs are elastic and flexible; which means they can be stretched during performance to accommodate the time given or shortened on demand. Some songs can be modified to suit disparate situations like the famous Mwana wa mbeli song.
  10. Some songs depend on the tone and texture of the voice of the performer to establish mood and even meaning. The same song can be sad and at another context happy or even spiritual depending on how it is sung and on tone.

Styles in Oral Poetry

When discussing styles in oral poetry, we base on the following aspects

a] The patter of the poem

The pattern f the poem refers to the structure and layout. How many stanzas does the poem or song have an d how many lines per stanza?

b] Diction

Diction refers to the choice of words used in a song. When composing a song, the poet must choose words carefully, by using poetic licence, so as to make sure there is rhythm in the song as well as the message.

c] Imagery

Imagery refers to figures of speech like Metaphor, simile and symbolism that create mental images in the mind of the audience.

Metaphor refers to direct comparison of qualities of two things by referring to one thing using another. E.g. Your father is a lion.

Simile refers to direct comparison of the qualities of two things using words like, like and as e.g. She is as fat as a pig.

Symbolism refers to using objects in a song that have a metaphorical sense or extended meaning and runs throughout the song. E.g.  A song that talks about a snake but the snake in the song represents a corrupt leader in a given society.

d] Satire/Humour

Satire is the use of mocking language in a song which in essence creates humour. The subject in the song may be mocked and ridiculed by the persona as being like an elephant that is scared of fighting a hare, or describing the physical features of the subject in a ridiculous manner e.g. his head has the shape of a mango fruit, his hands resemble long sticks and his stomach, like a tube of toothpaste.

Humour is any use of language that is funny or creates comic relief. Humour can be serious or light.

Sarcasm is another tool that helps creates satire and humour at the same time. Sarcasm is saying something to someone while you mean the opposite of what you say in order to hurt his feeling and create humour. For instance, one can tell a very short man, a pigmy,

”My girlfriend loves tall men; I am afraid of you because you are going to make her fall in love with you.”

Of course what he means is that she will not even notice him because he is a short man.

Any song that has sarcastic statements can be said to have a sarcastic or satirical tone.

e] Irony

Irony occurs when events in a song or a story goes contrary to the expectations of the audience or reader.  Like in a situation where the child in a family is the breadwinner and his parents depend on him for everything. This would be contrary to our expectations that parents provide for their families and children.

Situational Irony occurs in situations where events go contrary to expectations or the outcome is not expected as in the example above.

Dramatic Irony occurs in plays mostly where the audience know something that surprisingly some the characters in the play do not know. For instance if character A steals goods from character B, and later character B, unaware of who the thief is, goes to seek help from character A in searching for the goods when clearly the audience is aware who stole the goods.

Verbal Irony occurs when someone says something while doing the opposite of what he says. E.g.” I am coming,” when he is going away. Verbal Irony is different from sarcasm because it is not meant to hurt the feelings of the addressee.


Suspense involve withholding information from the reader or audience as a performer or narrator to arouse their curiosity and enhance their concentration, or even the dilemma situations in a song where no conclusive ending is present to make the audience second guess on the controversial situation presented.


Occurs when a song borrows a pattern from another famous song; or makes reference to a famous historical situation.  A song can be sung in the same structure say a famous song like Hallelujah was structured or borrow words from famous songs such as Desiderata. That would be use of allusion.


Rhyme is the repetition of syllables or end sounds of lines in a song to create rhythm. The last sounds the song below carry a rhyme scheme.

e.g . She went away

and saw life

Running the say

she was a wife

with the  pay

Sometimes songs have internal rhyme in lines as shown below

He said, he was made

They said, they made


Alliteration involves repetition of the initial consonant sound in lines of a poem or song as shown below, usually to create musicality or rhythm in the song.

Peter paid their pending salaries


Assonance involves repetition of the vowel sounds in lines of a song or poem usually to create musicality or rhythm in the poem as shown below.

She sits around silent and sickly


This is the repetition of consonant sounds in lines of a song located either in the middle or at the end of words as shown below to create musicality or rhythm in the poem.

He sat straight and let pets met around him

Idiophones and Onomatopoeia

Idiophones are local or non-English words that describe sounds like tuff! And onomatopoeia are English words that describe sounds like scratch, that are used in songs to create originality of experience and to make the songs more enjoyable and interesting.

How to Analyse an Oral Poem/Song

Analysing a song involves the following:


  1. Establish the type of the song. That is if it is a dirge, a lullaby, a patriotic songs etc.
  2. Paraphrase the song. Paraphrasing a song is writing the verses in the song in prose and in your own words without changing the intended meaning.
  3. Identify the voice or persona in the song. It is important you establish how many voices are there and who is the person speaking or persona.
  4. Identify the subject matter or the themes in the oral poem or the message that we derive from the poem. Find out what the persona is trying to say.
  5. Identify the structure of the song by looking at the pattern of words, lines and stanzas. How many lines per stanza and how many stanzas in the poem?
  6. Identify styles that the poet employed to convey the message and create rhythm.
  7. Look at the diction, the economy of words in the poem and how the diction best captures the mood, tone and attitudes in relation to the message in the song.
  8. Think about the performance of the poem or song and answer these questions:

–Who would best perform the song?

–What kind of an audience would be suitable for the song?

–What would be the best occasion for the performance of the song?

–Which accompaniments and paralinguistic features/non verbal cues would suit the song?

–Which mode of performance (recitation, chant, choral, solo, etc) would best fit the song?


Consider the song below and answer questions that follow.

Mama really loves chicken


Mama throws down the pot pwa!

Like a scared dog

She runs after our cat

It runs swiftly swaying and swerving

She emerges in the court


Mama throws aside her clothes fwa!

She is a mad cow

Shouting, she giggles and laughs

It had eaten the chicken stew

Mama kills all its young ones


  1. Identify six styles used in the song above and give their effectiveness on the poem.


Question 2

Read the song below and answer questions that follow.

Shaka Honours Muzilikazi

The hills echoed with the laughter of the Zulu army.

At the southernmost point the army rested,

Shaka addressed them:”My brothers, our journey is now pointless.

Everywhere we go we find only those who acknowledge our authority,

Zulu power no longer issues from conquest

But from a bond of an all-embracing nationhood,

We must turn back to our homes.

Perhaps in the north Soshangane and his lot need a lesson.”


At Bulawayo they sang and danced for the returning army.

Shaka was still eager to consolidate the nation’s boundaries.

He said to his war councillors,” Our easy life

Shall soon undermine our fighting spirit

I want you Muzilikazi, to head to the north

And there establish peace among the quarrelling nations

And subdue the troublesome people of Ranisi

Who have caused endless wars among friendly nations,

You shall seize from them the loot of cattle

And return it to its original owners.”

The king spoke to Muzilikazi with great warmth and friendliness,

He said:”I give you my own axe, Muzilikazi,

So that when you pass the ruins of your native country

You raise it and pray for guidance of your ancestors.

I give you this so that wherever you are

You may know I shall always honour those who are our heroes.”

Muzilikazi of Mashoba was moved by this act,

He said, his eyes wet with tears;

“My lord, I do not know what great things I have done,

What great heroism I have displayed,

That I should deserve a gift most coveted by all heroes of Zululand?

Long ago you sheltered me when I was orphaned

And now you honour me.”

A] What kind of an oral poem do you think this is?

–Epic; because it is narrated and it is about renown figures such as Shaka Zulu.

–Historical poem because people like Muzilikazi who are subjects in the poem are historical figures.

–Narrative poem because it narrates to us the story of Shaka Zulu honouring Muzilikazi.

–Legendary/heroic/ode/praise/war song because it celebrates the heroic deeds of the Zulu army and its leaders Shaka and Muzilikazi.

B] Briefly describe the culture of the Zulu as reflected in the poem.

–Nationalist/patriotic—they have a strong kinship bond, “Zulu power…issues from an all-embracing nationhood.”

–Warlike/warriors e.g. “the hills echoed with the laughter of the Zulu army”

Pastoralists/kept cattle e.g. “You shall seize from them all the loot of cattle.”

–They are religious e.g. they have a traditional religion in which ancestors are revered/they practise ancestor-worship; pray for guidance from your ancestors.”

–They have a sense of justice; returned cattle to original owners.

–They are artistic e.g. their art includes song and dances, “At Bulawayo they sang and danced for the returning army.”

–They recognise and honour heroism e.g. “Shall always honour those who are our brave heroes.”

–Peace lovers e.g. Shaka Zulu tells Muzilikazi to establish peace in the north.

C] Identify and explain two images from the poem.

–“The hills echoed with the laughter of the Zulu army” this describe how happy the Zulu were for victory in war.

–“Our easy life shall soon undermine our fighting spirit”: meaning that if we relax or concentrate too much on celebrating our victory we might become complacent or lose our power in war.

–“..The ruins of your native country” describe how Mzilikazi’s native country has been ravaged by war.

–“his eyes wet with tears: gives a visual picture to describe the extent to which Mzilikazi was moved by the way Shaka honoured him.

–Battle axe: power or authority symbol.

–An all-embracing nationhood: a symbol of unity.

D] What do you learn about Shaka’s character from this poem?

–Authoritative/dictatorial: the way he addresses his army and his councillors. For example to Muzilikazi, “I want you Muzilikazi, to head to the north.”

–Power-hungry: “Zulu power no longer issues from conquest”

–He is just: he gives Muzilikazi an axe as an illustration of his readiness to honour those who exhibit courage.

Cunning/Manipulative/tactical/wise/intelligent/; the gesture of giving Muzilikazi the axe is just a cunning way of getting him to undertake the difficult mission on which he sends him.

Friendly/Warm: He spoke to Muzilikazi with great warmth and friendliness.

–An orator; the way he talks is creative and seductive e.g. “Our easy life shall soon undermine our fighting spirit.”

–Ambitious: the way he cautions against complacency and then sends Muzilikazi on another mission.

–Warlike: even when they have won the war, he still looks for opportunities to fight.

–Charismatic: the army and the councillors obey him, for example, Muzilikazi is moved to tears when Shaka gives his axe, yet the main reason for the axe is to persuade Muzilikazi to subdue The troublesome people of Ranisi.

–Patriotic—He solicits for “an all embracing nationhood” and tells the army, “We must get back to our homes.”

–Peace-loving: “establish peace among the quarrelling nations”

–Religious: tells Muzilikazi to pray.

–Kind/Caring; took Muzilikazi in as an orphan and cared for him.

E] State and explain a proverb which could be used to warn/caution the people of Ranisi.

–You reap what you sow. They terrorized friendly nations, now they will experience similar/worse terror from Shaka’s warriors.

–Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

–Those that live by the sword perish by the sword.

–Every dog has its day.

Question 3

Read the oral poem below and answer the questions that follow.


The poor man knows not how to eat with the rich man.

When they eat fish, he eats the head.


Invite a poor man and he rushes in

Licking his lips and upsetting the plates.


The poor man has no manners, he comes along

With the blood of lice under his nails

The face of the poor man is lined

From hunger and thirst in his belly


Poverty is no state for any mortal man

It makes him a beast to be fed on grass


Poverty is unjust. If it befalls on a man

Though he is nobly born, he has no power with God.


A] What evidence is there to show that this is an oral poem? Identify and illustrate such features.

–Repetition e.g. the poor man/ poverty

–hyperbole/ exaggeration e.g. “it makes him a beast to be fed on grass”

–striking characterization e.g. the poor man cast in extreme terms.

B] Describe a probable situation in which such a poem could be performed.

–A beer party where cheap local brew is consumed by poor people.

–A traditional baraza where the conduct of a poor man is being castigated or ridiculed.

C} If you were to do a solo performance of this oral poem, what elements would you emphasize?

–Dramatisation e.g. eating the fish clumsily/ rushing in and licking one’s lips/upsetting the plates on a table/paint finger nails (blood of lice) walk on all fours to impersonate a beasts being fed on grass.

–Facial expressions e.g. to show hunger and thirst.

–Tonal variation e.g. vary one’s pitch to put special emphasis on words ‘poverty is unjust’.

D} What does the phrase “..with the blood of lice under his nails” reveal about the poor man?

The poor man lives in unsanitary or unhygienic conditions.

E] Describe with illustrations the tone of this poem.

–Compassionate: talks about the injustices of poverty towards the poor

–contemptuous/critical/satirical the poor man is described in contemptuous terms e.g. rushes in licking his lips, upsetting plates etc.




A riddle is a question, statement or description in a figurative language that is intended to test the listener’s ability to use their wits to unravel the meaning. Riddles are words puzzles in which familiar objects or situation are referred to in a figurative terms for us to decipher what is actually meant.


–Riddles are word puzzles: a game where you have to think about carefully in order to answer.

–They have an opening formula ‘riddle riddle’

–Riddles are short witty statements usually clever and amusing.

–Riddles use the question—answer format e.g. q..I have a riddle?

Ans…  Say it.

Riddles have a hypothetical prize—riddles are based on situations or ideas which are imagined or possible rather than real and true.

Classification of Riddles

  1. Declarative riddles are described in form of a statement. E.g. Catch my tail and we go. Ans. A jembe.
  2. Interogative riddles poses questions to be answered e.g. What is bouncing in the house? Ans. A churning gourd.
  3. Idiophonic/ sound riddles—it employs idiophones that should be unravelled. E.g. Huyu huyu poa! Ans. A night runner.
  4. Simple riddles. They are brief e.g. Water standing up? Ans. Sugarcane.
  5. Epigrammatic/ Complex riddles—Such riddles are presented as a series of puzzles. E.g.

The four-legged sitting on the four-legged waiting for the four-legged.  Ans. A cat sitting on a table waiting for a rat.

6.Riddles on people e.g. Best food for a baby. Ans. Sleep.

7.Riddles on plants. E.g. What tree has only one thorn? Ans. A sisal plant.

8.Riddles on parts of the body. E.g. Thirty-two  seated, one lady dancing. Ans. Teeth and the tongue.

Four gates that produce water. Ans. A cow’s udder.

  1. Riddles on waste products. E.g. A hill on the veranda. Ans. Excrement.
  2. Riddles on modern technology. E.g. A camera on my body. Ans. Eyes.
  3. Riddles on natural phenomena. E.g. When dressed she isn’t as beautiful as when naked. Ans. The moon.
  4. Riddles on animals. E.g. The white lady in the office. Ans. The jigger.


Functions of Riddles

–for entertainment or fun and humour

–for sharpening wit/ to enlarge our imagination

–to expand our knowledge of the environment

–To enhance our figurative use of language or creativity e.g. describing things without naming them

–to teach values and morals

–to pass a secret message by old people

Stages in a Riddling Session

  1. Invitation—the challenger or riddler draws the attention of the audience with an opening formula

e.g. Riddle riddle/ I throw a riddle/ I have a riddle

  1. Acceptance—The respondent or audience responds by saying; state it, say it, throw it or let it come
  2. The riddle itself—the challenger states or poses the riddle e.g. I have a house that has no door.
  3. Guesses—the audience tries to solve the riddles by giving guesses. E.g. An orange.

If they are unable to find the solution or if all guesses are wrong then the riddle will have stage 5.

  1. Prize—The challenger asks for the prize e.g. Give me a prize.

She is given a prize, usually a town, a city etc, which he rejects until given the city or prize of choice that she would accept. She will then say she has gone and visited the city and brought the greeting from the people there. The audience would acknowledge the greetings.

  1. The challenger gives the solution/ right answer. E.g. The answer is an egg.

Proverbs and Sayings

Proverbs are wise sayings that hide meaning in metaphors or similes that they employ, Proverbs are slightly different from sayings because sayings do not employ metaphors and similes.


–They are short and fixed

–they have a summative function

–they are incorporated in speech

–they are sometimes used to introduce a story

–they are common within a particular language or community or they are communal

Functions of Proverbs

–They are used to flower one’s speech

–They act as a mirror to society

–They summarize situations

–Can be used for entertainment

When analysing proverbs, you should be able to identify

–the type of the proverb

–objects of reference

–the communal philosophy in the proverb or the general message conveyed

–a similar proverb that can replace it

Types of Proverbs

  1. Proverbs of fate e.g.

— Accidents will happen.

–Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

–Action speaks louder than words.

–Advice is least heeded when it is most needed.

–A chain is no stronger than its weakest link.

–A fool and his money are soon parted.

–Easy come, easy go.

  1. Cautionary proverbs. E.g.

— He who steals with a woman will live in fear till he dies.

–An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

–An empty purse frightens away friends

–An idle mind is a devil’s workshop.

–A bird in hand is worth two in the bush.

  1. Proverbs on communal life E.g.

–Unity is strength.

–A problem shared is a problem half-solved.

–If you fall for me and I fall for you we can call it a game.

–On the way to one’s beloved there no hills.

  1. Epigrammatic proverbs. These are longer than usual. E.g.

— A man who marries a beautiful wife is like another who plants maize near the road in a poor neighbourhood.

–A man stung by a bee doesn’t go around smashing all bee-hives.

–If a gut allows a knife to be swallowed, the anus must wonder how it will get out.

–When trouble knocks at your door and you tell it you have no extra seat, it will tell you not to worry because it had brought its own stool.

–When a rat smiles at a nearby cat, just know that its hole is nearby.

  1. Summative proverbs or those proverbs that best summarize issues and stories

–Beauty is only skin deep.

Change is as good as rest.

–A friend to all is a friend to none.

–A good example is the best sermon.

A new broom sweeps clean.

–A stitch in time saves nine.

–A watched pot never boils

–A man who causes trouble for others also causes trouble for himself.

–A man roasting maize doesn’t wander away from the fireplace for too long.

–A young bull mounts the cow from the head.

–A drum is heavier on the return journey.

However long it takes, a stammerer will call ‘baba’.

–Staring at water doesn’t quench your thirst.

–The pen is mightier than a sword.

–When in Rome, do as the Romans.

–The squeaky wheel gets the greese.

–When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

–No man is island.

–Fortune favours the bold.

–People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

–Hope for the best but prepare for the worst.

–Birds of a feather flock together.

–Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

–A picture is worth a thousand words.

–There is no such a thing as free lunch.


Similarities between riddles and proverbs

–Both are brief

–Both employ figurative language

–Both are fixed—a riddle has a fixed response while a proverb has a fixed wording.


–Riddles have an opening formula

–Riddles require at least two performers while a proverb just one to say it.

–Riddles are common with children while proverbs common with adults.

–Riddles are used as preludes to storytelling sessions while proverbs are used in conversation.

–Riddles are witty statements or word puzzles while proverbs are sayings of wisdom.

Tongue Twisters

A tongue twister is a word game that is intended to test a speaker’s fluency to utter without hesitation or faltering a sequence of words with particular problems of articulation.


A tongue twister is a word game that plays on words with problems of articulation

–It employs alliteration, assonance and consonance

–They are mostly ungrammatical or they need not make sense.

–they are brief

Functions of Tongue twisters

–They entertain or create fun

–They aid in learning pronunciation

–Enhances confidence by helping one overcome shyness and enjoy communication

–they help train concentration and memorization

–they promote creativity

–they help develop one’s ability to recite

–They help one to learn a foreign language with particular problems of articulation

Examples of Tongue twisters

–She sells sea shells on the sea shore

–A disorganised organizer cannot organize a disorganized organization

–The red long lorry rolled down the long Limuru road

–Four hundred and forty four frightened fools fought for food

–Peter Piper picked a peck of speckled pepper

–How high up has he heaved his heavy hoe?

–Kantai can tie a tie, untie a tie and dye a tie like Dyre who can tie a tie, untie a tie and dye a tie; so, if Kantai can tie a tie, untie a tie  and dye a tie, why can’t I tie a tie, untie a tie  and dye a tie like dyre?


Read the text below and answer questions that follow.

Betty Botter bought a bit of butter

But he said the butter’s bitter

“If I put a bit of bitter butter in my butter

It’ll make my better butter bitter

But a bit of better butter will make the bitter butter better.”

So she bought a bit of butter

Better than her bitter butter

She put it in her butter

And her butter wasn’t bitter

‘twas better Betty Botter bought a bit of better butter


  1. Identify three cases of elision in the item above and write the expressions in full.

Butter’s—butter was

It’ll—it will

‘twas—it was

  1. Identify with a reason, the item above?

It is a tongue twister because it has words following each other that are challenging in terms of pronunciation and employs alliteration and assonance.

  1. State five benefits a form one student would get by reading this item.

–Reading the tongue twister would entertain him

–It would help the student learn the pronunciation of /b/ in difficulty situations

–It would sharpen the student’s fluency

–It would promote creativity in the student

–It would develop the student’s ability to recite

–it would enhance the student’s concentration

  1. Identify stylistic features evident in this tongue twister

–Alliteration e.g. Betty Botter bought

Rhyme e.g. butter



–Repetition of words e.g. bitter, butter

  1. This item is a word game. State the rules the performer would apply when reciting this.
  2. a) Recite fluently without hesitation
  3. b) Strictly follow the order of words
  4. c) Say it quickly
  5. e) What would be the effect of translating this item into another language?

–The effects of sound, especially /b/ and /t/ would be lost. One may end up with a sequence of words which may not be recognized as of the same kind as the item above.


A pun is a wordplay which involve words that have similar spellings but different meaning or homonyms e.g. can(a container), can(auxiliary verb and homophones (words with same pronunciation but different spellings and often different meanings) e.g. some and sum. Puns thrive on ambiguity of words to create fun within a sentence. Puns also employ metaphors and literal meaning of words.

A person who is fond of using puns is called a punster.


  1. A bicycle can’t stand alone because it is two-tyred.
  2. A will is a dead giveaway.
  3. A backward poet writes in verse.
  4. In a democracy, it is your vote that counts.
  5. She had a boyfriend with a wooden leg but broke it off.
  6. With her marriage, she got a new name and a dress.
  7. A boiled egg in the morning is hard to beat.
  8. When two egoists meet it is an I for an I.
  9. Scientists have finally discovered the wrong thing about a female brain: that the left side has nothing right and the right side has nothing left.
  10. What do you call a sleeping bull? A bull-dozer.
  11. He bought a donkey because he thought he might get a kick out of it.
  12. Why are fish so smart? Because they live in schools.
  13. I was struggling to figure out how lightning works then it struck me.
  14. Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.
  15. Have you ever heard of an honest cheetah?
  16. I have been to the dentist so many times so I know the drill.
  17. Speaking ill of the dead is a grave mistake.
  18. I fired my masseuse today. She rubbed me the wrong way.

Oral Literature Research/Field Work

Field work is the act and process of going out to a community to collect oral literature materials and related information for study and analysis. Field work is necessary for

  1. a) The student to relive the performance of oral literature materials (recordings, videos etc.)
  2. b) Experience firsthand, the community’s customs and beliefs.
  3. c) Recording and storage of oral literature materials to be used by the future generations.
  4. d) To enable a student know and explore new knowledge not covered by earlier researchers.
  5. e) To help the student acquire research skills in academic study.

Key Stages in Field Work

  1. Preparation

It involves stating the purpose and scope of study and objectives or research to guard against digression. It also involves identifying the location for the research, familiarization with earlier works on the study or literature review, establishing contact with useful people like informants, deciding on the key methods to be used in collecting data e.g. questionnaires or interviews, securing permissions to conduct research from relevant authorities, buying or hiring of recording materials and budgeting for accommodation and transport.

  1. Material Collection

This is done through various methods of collecting date e.g. interviews, questionnaires, observation etc.

  1. Recording of Information

Recording is done through writing, typing, using tape recorders etc.

  1. Processing and Analysis of Information

This involves scrutinising of information collected in preparation for interpretation and documentation, transcription, interpretation, classifying into genres, themes, styles and making a conclusion.

  1. Dissemination

This is the spreading the information gathered through media.



Common Problems Encountered During Field Work

  1. Loss of memory especially for details not recorded.
  2. Outrageous demands from sources of information like payments.
  3. Harsh or unpredictable weather.
  4. Breakdown or problems of transportation, delays, hiked fares etc.
  5. Informants giving wrong or distorted information.
  6. Accidents and misfortunes or ill fate e.g. death
  7. Sickness in the middle of fieldwork.
  8. Prohibitions, lack of access, customs etc.
  9. Loss of equipment like camera etc.

Field work should be carried out in relevant and appropriate places like rural areas where there is ethnically authentic information and performance; elders would give detailed oral testimony or material, display great experience and skill while children would easily perform riddles, singing games and tongue twisters.




A noun is a name of anything or simply, a naming word. Nouns are categorized into

–Proper nouns—names of specific people, places or things. Proper nouns always start with a capital letter e.g. Kenya, Peter, Lake Victoria, Nairobi etc.

–Common noun—these are names of people, places and things that are not specific. E.g. desk, boy, river, plate etc.

–Concrete Nouns—names of things, people etc that can be touched.  E.g. book desk, water, James, bottle etc.

–Abstract nouns—names of things or concepts that cannot be touched or seen.  E.g. wind, corruption, love, hate, God etc.

–Collective nouns—names of group of things. These kinds of names usually take a singular verb.

Count and non-count Nouns

Count nouns are names of things that can be counted. They thus occur in singular and plural forms.

e.g. boy—boys  one boy—20 boys.

–Most singular count nouns that end in the sound /s/, /ch/ and /sh/ take –es in plural e.g. bus—buses, church—churches, bush—bushes.

–If a singular count noun ends with ‘y’, the ‘y’ is usually dropped in plural and replaced with ‘ies’  unless the ‘y’ comes after a vowel. E.g. Lady—ladies, cry—cries.

–If the word ends with ‘y’ but the ‘y’ is preceded by a vowel then only ‘s’ is added in plural. E.g. Day—days, Key—keys.

–If the word ends with /f/ we drop the f and replace it with –ves. E.g. Life—lives, Hoof—hooves.

Non-count nouns refer no things that cannot be counted. Things like

–substance—food, sand, dust

–qualities—happiness, kindness

–ideas—knowledge, knowledge

–Liquids—water, milk

–objects—furniture, hair, luggage

Most countable nouns do not have singular and plural forms; they merely occur in their respective nature or quantities.

Water—singular, Water—plural. A lot of water.     20 gallons of water.

Sometimes due to specifications some non-countable nouns are gives the plural  ‘s’ to mean different large quantities like waters in reference to oceans.

Irregular and Regular Nouns

Regular nouns are nouns that take a predictable plural form in relation to singular forms. For example cup—cups, toy—toys, shirt—shirts, Church—churches, bus–buses. Most regular nouns therefore take ‘s’ or ‘es’ in plural.

–Nouns ending with ‘o’ with a vowel before the ‘o’ usually take ‘s’ in plural. E.g. Ratio—Ratios, but if it ends with ‘o’ with a consonant before the ‘o’ then it would take ‘-es’ in plural. E.g. Bufallo—Buffalloes.

–Still a few nouns are an exception, in that they end with ‘o’ preceded by a consonant  but still takes just ‘s’ in plural like dynamo—dynamos.

–Nouns that end in /f/ take /s/ in plural like chief—chiefs, gulf—gulfs but others like dwarf, hoof and scarf can take both ‘s’ in plural or ‘-ves’ that is dwarf—dwarfs or dwarf—dwarves; hoof—hoofs or hoof—hooves and scarf—scarfs or scarf—scarves.


Irregular nouns are nouns that do not take ‘s’ or ‘es’ in plural form. E.g. man—men, woman—women, mouse—mice, child—children.

–There are those that change from singular to plural like man—men, goose—geese etc.

–There are those that do not change from singular to plural like swine—swine, sheep—sheep, deer—deer, species—species, series—series.

–Some of them are used only in plural forms like scissors, tongs, spectacles, trousers, jeans, shorts, pyjamas and news.

–There are those that seem plural but are actually singular e.g. Mathematics, physics, measles etc.

Collective Nouns

These are nouns which in their singular forms refer to a set or group of people, animals or things. E.g.

A crowd—a group of people without order

A band—a group of musicians

Choir—a group of singers

Sometimes collective nouns occur in phrases. When a phrase is used to indicate a collective noun we call it a phrasal quantifier because it shows the quantity of the noun present. For example a piece of cake,

A cup of tea—two cups of tea etc.

Some phrasal quantifiers can be used with both count and non-count nouns e.g. a lot of students, a lot of water, a pile of books, a pile of wood etc.

Other examples are

  1. A bundle of books, a pinch of salt, a realm of knowledge, a dose of medicine, a bale of grass, a blade of grass, a bouquet of flowers, a set of people, a heap of rubbish, a lump of sugar, a sheet of paper, a speck of dust, a bar of soap, a load of manure, a piece of advice, an item of clothing, a tonne of sugar, an army of ants, a colony of wasps, a cluster of antelope,a herd of cattle, a troop of apes, a flock of sheep, a kennel of dogs, a shoal of fish, a band of gorillas, a flange of baboons, a congress of baboons, a culture of bacteria, a cloud of bats, a hive of bees, a file of civil servants, a school of dolphins, a swam of flies.

Collective nouns denote singularity in character; that is why they tend to take a singular verb e.g. a crowd has been gathering since morning. But sometimes members within a collective noun might have divergent opinions e.g. The crew have different duties and responsibilities.


Compound nouns

A compound noun is a noun that is made up of more than one word.  The noun formed from combining two words can be written as

  1. a) a single word e.g. Shop+keeper—shopkeeper
  2. b) A hyphenated word e.g. Passer-by, father-in-law, attorney-general
  3. c) Separate words e.g. Ice cream, Cow dung, assistant minister etc.

–In most compound nouns the plural ending is added to the last word e.g. boyfriends, deputy heads, commanders-in-chief  etc.

However, the plural ending in others is added to the first word e.g. passers-by, fathers-in-law etc.

–Some words take plural endings on either the first word or second e.g. Attorneys-general or attorney-generals.

–Compound nouns can take a noun +noun e.g. bookshop, noun+verb e.g.  tea break,  adjective+noun e.g. Hot dog, etc.




Packing List

When packing remember the following

  1. Order or have a proper organisation of items involved
  2. Have a proper titile e.g. Back to School Packing List
  3. Have a sub-heading indicating the categories of items involved. For example Clothes, Shoes and Cosmetics.
  4. You should show clearly the specific number or quantity of items involved. For example; 3 shirts, one tube of toothpaste etc.
  5. You should also show the type of items involved. For example, shirt—red.


Serial no. Items Type of items Quantity Description
1 Clothes a)shirts






–New yellow

–Old blue

–White—short sleeved





–black official

–blue jeans

2 Shoes a)rubbers 1 pair Black and white
b)leather 1 pair Brown
c)sandals 1 pair Red
3 Bathroom accessories a)towel 1 Brown
b)soap 1 Geisha medium
4 Beddings a)Sleeping bag 1 Manta medium
b)Sheets 2 Red and white
c)blankets 1 Black dotted
5 Camera Sony 1 Digital, 20 megapixels
6. Toiletries a)toothpaste 1 Colgate medium
b)toothbrush 1 Colgate medium
7 Body oil Vaseline 1 Small


Before writing a packing list, one must consider

–Where he is going. The location determines the items. E.g. the coast of Mombasa would need light clothes and MT Kenya region heavy ones.

–Means of transport—aeroplanes can limit the amount of luggage to be carried along.

–Length of stay—this will determine the quantity of each item you carry.

–Purpose—e.g. if you are going to swim you will have to carry costumes.


You are a member of the Wildlife Club. The club has organised for a three day camp in the Maasai Mara Park. Write the packing list of the items you would need during the camp.


Etiquette is a set of rules and norms that govern our polite and acceptable way of interaction especially through greetings, requests and commands.


It is important to greet people according to their a)age  b)position  c)relationships.

–An older person should be greeted in a formal way. E.g Good morning Mr. Kinuthia.

–A person in a more senior position than you are should also be greeted in a formal way even when they are younger than you. E.g. How do you do Mrs. Kendi?

–Your age mates can be greeted in an informal way if you are friends or relatives, or if they are not your seniors. E.g. Hi Jackie, or Hi bro. Again members of your extended family can be greeted in an informal way. E.g. Hi uncle, Hullo dad.  But people that are not related to you and are not your friends should be greeted in a formal way, unless they are younger/age mates and not your seniors in positions.


When introducing someone important or titled, mention their respective titles in the greetings as shown below.

–Start by their titles if you want to introduce them to someone else

Your Excellency, may I introduce you to Mrs. Wanjala. (For presidents)

Your honour, meet Mr. Omori, the manager KCB bank.

When introducing an ordinary person to a titled person, mention the lay person then introduce by mentioning the name of the titled person before giving the title. E.g.

Mom, meet Ms. Anne Waiguru, the Cabinet Secretary,  Ministry of Interior Government.

Common titles are

–prime Minister—The Right Honourable

–Member of parliament—Honourable

–Judge/magistrate—Your Honour, Your Lord/Lady, Your Lordship/Ladyship

–Mayor—Your Worship

King/queen—You Majesty

Members of the royal family e.g.  grand duke, duke, duchess—Royal Highness

–Prince, Princes – Your grace

–Other royals—Lady/Lord


Sir/Madam—any important person or professional

Professor—Highest University title for a teacher

Mr.—respectful title for any man

Mrs.—Respectful title for a married woman followed by her husband’s Sir Name or her full marital name.

Ms.—a respectful title for a woman whose marital status isn’t clear or known.

Miss.—a respectful title for a lady who isn’t married.

Arrmy titles

Officer cadet—lieutenant—captain—major—colonel—brigadier—major—field marshall.

Semi-formal situations

Sometimes you can introduce or refer to a titled person in an informal occasion. In such a circumstance, avoid the formal titles.

Dear Mr. President, meet Kenneth Owour, Member of Parliament Kanduyi constituency.

–When introducing someone as a guest, it is important to include information about their interests and achievements at the tail end. E.g.  Mr. John Kamau, MD Kenya Seed Company. He is the founder of Salima Electronics Company and a senior member of the Catholic church.

Self Introduction

When introducing yourself, do not start with any title, just greetings then your full name before other details follow.  Examples:

Good morning gentlemen; I am James Barasa, Professor of Mathematics at the University of Nairobi.

Do not start with Mr. or Miss.


When making requests use polite language. The following phrases would help someone sound more polite:

Please—please tell me the truth.

Excuse me—excuse me lady, have you seen my bag?

Sorry—sorry madam, I am late.

Pardon—pardon me Jane, I didn’t get your instructions.

I am afraid—used when you want to give a disappointing statement or answer to someone who is probably expecting something positive. E.g. I am afraid I do not have the book you wanted to borrow. ]


When someone gives you something you say ‘thank you’ and then he can answer in acknowledgement ‘you are welcome’ or ‘it is nothing’ or ‘don’t mention it’. The goal here is to sound as modest as possible.

Telephone Etiquette

When making or answering a telephone call, the person on the other end of the line obviously cannot see you. You will therefore be judged solely by what you say and how you say it.

Points to note

  1. Give a good impression of yourself from the beginning by being courteous, helpful, businesslike and brief.
  2. Use polite language i.e. words such as ‘could you’ ‘may I’ ‘I would like to’ ‘would you please’.

Receiving a personal call

  1. a) Opening words:


—good morning/afternoon/evening (choose according to time of the day)

  1. b) Identify yourself:

This is John speaking ( it is considered rude to give yourself a title like Mr/Mrs/ms but professional titles like dr/prof are allowed)

e.g. This is Eng. Wekesa.

Receiving a business call

  1. a) Opening words:

Greetings—Good morning/afternoon/ evening

  1. b) Then identify your institution

You have reached Paradise Hotel or Lugulu Girls High School

  1. c) Ask who you are speaking to —Whom am I speaking to
  2. d) Ask how can help — How can I help you

It is rude to respond by asking the caller  ‘What do you want?’ or ‘Who are you’

Making a call

Your first words are said after the recipient’s opening remarks

–The greetings will depend much on how well you know the caller

Hi Peter, What is up?

This is Christine, how are you doing?

This is Indimuli speaking…

Business call

When making a business call, follow the procedure below

  1. a) Greetings e.g. Good morning
  2. b) Identify yourself e.g. My name is Agness Manyara
  3. c) State the reason for calling e.g. Can I speak to Mrs. Wenani please?

Ending a call

At the end of both personal and business calls, it is customary for the recipient to thank the caller for calling.

When taking a call message in the office follow these steps.

–Note down the message

–Write the name of the caller or his behalf and the institution the caller represents

–note down the date when the call was made

–note down the phone number so that it is easier to call back

–Indicate whether your boss or you, ought to call back and whether urgently


A diary is a private document in which you record activities, events and appointments you want to remember. I t acts as an aid to memory. Many people find diary keeping very useful because it helps them honour appointments.

A diary contains a calendar for a whole year with a space provided for each day of the week and month. The space is usually small, so, you have to be selective and brief.  Many diaries also contain spaces where you can record personal information like your name, address, blood group and the person to be contacted in case of an emergency. At the back of a diary, there is usually space for names address and telephone numbers of people you contact frequently.

In offices, you may find desk diaries where dates of meetings or other important activities of an organisation are recorded.

There are two types of diaries which are also known as personal journals.

Appointment diary is used to record specific time and date of the daily schedule e.g.

Sunday, 1st June 2017

8:00 AM Meet mom at the Afya Centre
10:00 AM Watch the Vampire movie
2:00 PM Visit auntie Jane in Buruburu
4:00 PM Return the borrowed book ‘Sinbad misadventures’


A personal diary or journal differs from an appointment diary because a personal journal is a record of events that have already happened and is usually in narrative form.  The title must always be the date in full when the events happened. E.g. Day one, Monday, 23rd October 2016. When wring a personal journal, capture the feelings and opinions that you experienced because they help the writer relive those often exciting moments.  Each day should be in one paragraph whether long or short. Be detailed and imaginative when recounting past episodes.  E.g.

Tuesday, 4th February, 2017

First day in high school. I am excited and frightened at the same time.  I pray that my fears do not show. I have too many questions but I don’t want to appear stupid. So, I keep them to myself. It is the end of the first day and I haven’t made even one friend. I will have to change my tactics. One of the things I have to learn is how to eat hot food quickly. Today, I had barely eaten a quarter of my food when the teacher on duty said it was time to clear from the dining hall. I felt so helpless and sad.

You can use the present perfect tense mixed with present simple tenses as in this example or just simple past tense mixed with past perfect tenses.


A Cloze Test requires one to fill gaps left in a given passage and context so as to make it complete using the most appropriate or suitable words.  The best way to complete a cloze test is by first reading through the passage to establish the context then trying the fill the easier blank spaces as you read through the second time before completing the whole test the third or even fourth time of reading. Filling the blank spaces would involve testing words in their respective spaces to see whether they fit in the context until you pick on the best synonym. It is crucial to be aware of the punctuation marks because any space after a full stop, an exclamation mark or a question mark must be filled with a word beginning with a capital letter. Similarly, spaces that are part of proper nouns—that require you to complete the noun would require a word that begins with a capital letter.  It is necessary to check the tense of the sentence where you have to fill the blank space to make sure you use the word in its proper tense that would fit.  A cloze test only takes one word per blank space.


Fill in each of the blank spaces below with the most appropriate word.     10 marks

The Israel—Arab conflicts in the Middle East __ caused by a number of factors, central among them was the Belfast Declaration __ the British government that it wanted to help the Zionists return the Jews who were __persecuted in Europe back to their ‘ancestral’ land.  Of course the British were sure that Palatine land was not Jewish land to be returned or repossessed but they __ the Jews, who had vast resources in Europe, to support the empire and fill indebted to the empire for helping them create their own __ of Israel.

Many of the British politicians did not even like the __ and their presence in Palestine land was obviously to exploit those lands for whatever recourses they could  get. __ the fall of the Ottoman Empire, Britain wanted to get a piece of the Middle East and had succeeded __ to some degree. Controlling the Arabs was becoming a difficult task __ the British wished that by establish a Jewish state in Palestine they would have a better ally. __ did they know that the very Jewish state would turn against the empire and declare its own independence forcing the British soldiers out and pushing the Arabs backwards into their own countries; thereby creating a conflict that would only end with an apocalypse of the Middle East especially by Iran nukes.

Silent Consonants and Vowels

These are consonants and vowels that form part of a word structure but are not pronounced.

A: aesthetic, bread                B: bdellium, debt, and plumber


C: indictment, muscle, science               D: djinn, handkerchief, Wednesday


E: give, like, name (the ‘e’ here is also known as the ‘magic e’)


F: halfpenny       G: gnat, gnaw, gneiss, gnu, high, phlegm, sign, though


H: daughter, echo, heir, honest, hour, orchid      I: friend, business    J: marijuana


K: knee, knife, knight, knot, know           L: calf, could, talk, yolk


M: mnemonic          N: autumn, column, damn, hymn, solemn


O: colonel, leopard, people           P: corps, coup, pneumonia, psalm, psyche, receipt


Q: Colquhoun (Scottish name), lacquer         R: forecastle, sarsaparilla (GA)


S: aisle, bourgeois, debris, island        T: ballet, castle, rapport, listen


U: colleague, guard, guesses, tongue         V: Milngavie (Scottish town)


W: answer, gunwale, sword, two, wrist, wrong       X: billet-doux, faux pas, Sioux


Y: Islay (Scottish island), Pepys              Z: chez, laissez-faire, rendezvous

Commonly Misspelled words

Maneuver   –foolscap    –myopia –diarrhea –wry –surprise –Endeavour –awry –occasion –convenient  –occurrence   –recommendation   –committee   –necessary   –dormitory  –pneumonia  –exercise   –abbreviate  –abundant   –abysmal  –acquiesce –aggressive abstinence allegiance  –privilege   –annoyance  –entrepreneur  –apostrophe   –argument  –urge    –attorney  –auxiliary  –bargain  –bureaucratic  –cheetah   –curriculum  –syllabus  –etiquette  –grateful  –absenteeism  –enmity   –intelligence  –pronunciation   –contemptuous  –laboratory  –liquor  –messiah  –mediocre   –medieval   –nuisance  –onomatopoeia  –paraphernalia  –personnel rendezvous  –gradable satellite  –souvenir  –chauvinism  –silhouette  –tomorrow  –wrestle   –sellotape  –hierarchy –lieutenant  –drunkenness –sergeant rhythm


accidentally/accidently     accommodate –    achieve – acknowledge     acquaintance –  acquire acquit     acreage     address –    adultery –  advisable     affect – effect  Aggression     aggressive –    allegiance    almost     a lot   amateur –    annually     apparent     arctic –    becoming     beginning     buoy/buoyant  –    camouflage –    capitol – capital (both words exist, but are distinct)  Caribbean     category     caught  cemetery –    changeable  chief     colleague     collectible – collectable  column     coming –    committed  concede     congratulate     conscientious – conscious     consensus     controversy     coolly    deceive     definite   –defiantly desperate –  difference –    dilemma –    disappoint –    disastrous – embarrass –    exhilarate  existence –    experience –    extreme –    fascinating –    fiery –    fluorescent     foreign –    friend     gauge –    grateful –    guarantee –    guidance     harass –    hierarchy –    humorous     hygiene –  ignorance –    imitate –    immediately     independent     indispensable – indispensible    inoculate     intelligence     jewelry     leisure     liaison –    library –    license     lightning – lightening lose  maintenance –    medieval memento –    millennium –    miniature minuscule – miniscule    mischievous –    misspell –    occurrence –    occurred –    omission –    original     outrageous –parliament –    pastime –    perceive –    perseverance – plagiarize     playwright –  precede –    presence     principle – principal

Prophecy (as noun) – prophesy (valid as verb)    quarantine –    queue –    questionnaire

Receipt     recommend –    referred     reference –vacuum


Informal Letters

These are letters written to friends and relatives. They usually ignore the element of formality.

The salutation in these letters should be semi-formal e.g. Dear Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms/Dr/Prof. For people you barely know and such letters should end with ‘Yours Sincerely’ plus the initials and the name. E.g.

Yours Sincerely

K.l. Wafula.

–Such letters have only a single address—the one that belongs to the writer.

–It is always better to end with your name and just start the address with your box office number e.g.

P.O. BOX 77


For people that are close to you like friends, only use their first name in the salutation. For example

Dear Mercy, or Dear John, or even a shorn version like Dear bro.

–always has the date after the address. Skip a line when moving from one item to another.


Write a letter to your friend in another school. In the letter inform her about life in your school, your ambition and the happy memories you shared in the past.


P.O. BOX 33



31st January 2017


Dear Sasha,

How are you doing? I hope you are as fine as I am or even better.

Life here at school is Ok. I have come to like the school and made many friends. The weather is a bit warmer than what we are used to in Eldoret but I am adapting well. The meals are sometimes delicious and other times bad but that is to be expected.

I want to concentrate on my studies and come the end of my four years here in school; I should get a strong grade. I hope you are working hard too. We used to be competitors in primary school, remember?

I still remember our moments together, how we would skip the rope together, how we would go singing the Christmas chorals in church. Do you remember how you forgot the lines in the middle of your performance?  And I cut in and rescued the situation; everyone thought we had planned that move and praised our genius ha! It was lovely.

Anyway, I miss you so much and yearn to see you when schools close. In the meantime I will be awaiting your reply with eagerness. Pass my greetings to your friends.

Your Friend




Formal Letters

Formal letters must be clear concise and complete. The effectiveness of a formal letter determines the kind of response the writer is likely to receive. Good formal letters should have the following qualities:

–They should reflect clarity of thought. Before writing a letter think about the subject matter and make sure you understand what you want to communicate.

–Use a variety of sentences—mix short sentences with relatively long ones to give your writing flavour.

–The right words should be selected carefully to convey the precise meaning required.

–Ideas should be expressed logically.

–Use formal language—avoid using slang.

–Any irrelevant information should be omitted.

–Formal letters should have a polite tone.


Addresses should be written in capital letter. A formal letter has got two addresses. The first address should be the sender’s or writer’s the followed by the addressee’s. Do not start the sender’s address with the sender’s name but you can use the name of the institution the sender belongs to.

–Always skip a line after writing the address before you write the date or salutation. It is advisable to use the block format when writing letter.


Formal letters use formal salutations like Dear Sir or Dear Madam and sometimes Dear Mr/Mrs/Ms.

–When you salute using Dear Sir/Madam, always sign off with Yours Faithfully. But if you salute with Dear Mr/Mrs. Always sign off with Yours Sincerely.


For Re: or reason for writing do not write ref: only RE: and then write a very brief and summative reason for writing. The statement should summarize what the letter is all about. Always skip a line after and before RE.


The introductory paragraph should clearly state the objective of the letter. It prepares the reader for the main points. The body should be specific; devoid of unnecessary details. A good body should have at least three paragraphs expounding on the introduction and explaining clearly and briefly what is at stake. The last paragraph should conclude the letter by showing optimism or stating the main message.

Letters of Application

When applying for a job consider the following

  1. a) Mention under ‘RE’ the kind of vacancy you are applying for.
  2. b) In your introduction, indicate what informed you of the vacancy e.g. a specific newspaper issue, website or memo.
  3. c) In the body, share your abilities and indicate why you think you can contribute to the improvement of that institution if given a chance.
  4. d) Express optimism in your conclusion that you will get the job.
  5. e) When writing use current dates and be detailed.


You graduated as certified accountant, four years ago and you have been working several accounting jobs. You see on The Standard newspaper of 7th January 2017, an advertisement for a qualified accountant to fill the vacancy of senior bursar Strathmore College. Write a letter applying for the job.


P.O. BOX 66







P.O. BOX 101



Dear Sir/Madam,


RE: Applying for the vacancy of senior bursar Strathmore College

Following the advertisement appearing on The Standard  of 7th January 2017, I would like to apply to fill the vacancy of a senior bursar.

I am a graduate of Kenyatta University where I studied a bachelor’s degree in commerce—accounting option and I am also a certified accountant, holder of CPA section 5 from Kenya School of Monetary studies. I have a wealth of accounting experience, having worked at Lugulu Girls as an accountant for two years then Kibabii University in the office of Finance for a year. Currently am working in the county government of Bungoma as a procurement officer.

I am a very hardworking individual, punctual and dedicated to my work and this can be verified by the referees that are provided on my CV.  If I get an opportunity to work in your institution, I will bring a wealth of experience, freshness and enthusiasm in your accounting department, as my track record shows.

My main motivation for choosing to work in your institution is the good reputation your institution has cultivated in its treatment of clients, workers and the public. I would feel proud to be part of the Strathmore community that prides itself on excellence of service.

Please find attached my full resume and other documents that attest to my profile as befitting your institution.

I am looking forward to a positive response from you.


Yours Faithfully


Denis K. Barasa


Letters of Invitation

Letters of invitations are written to invite people for an event or social occasion. Some letters of invitation can be formal, inviting an applicant to an interview but majority of such letters are semi-formal inviting people formally to a social event like a wedding.


As the secretary of Kalamu Writers Club, write to the Editor-in Chief of a local publication, inviting him to be your guest speaker during your annual party.


–Introduction—State directly the message that you are inviting him to be the guest speaker during the club’s annual party.

–In the body state what the club is all about, its membership and why he would be relevant to the members and the objectives of the party. Also state what he should address in his speech.

–in the conclusion, look forward to a reply soon and give contact details like phone number that he can reach quickly.

–As a secretary, write in third person—detach yourself from the group and say, ‘the group would…’



P.O. BOX 2433







P.O. BOX 6664



Dear Sir,

RE: Invitation to be our guest speaker on our annual party

Members of Kalamu Writers would be grateful if you agreed to be their guest speaker during their annual party which will be held at the Sagret Hotel on Friday 16th January 2017 from 7PM.

Kalamu writers club has a membership of 100. These are people who are interested in writing and would like to improve their skills and knowledge by listening to lectures, attending workshops and writing articles for their club’s monthly magazine. The club has been in existence for five years.

At our last general meeting members selected you to be this year’s guest speaker for the annual party. Members have been impressed by the high quality of your magazine for some time now. It is an objective magazine which has always stood for truth.

The club takes care of the travelling, accommodation and appearance costs at a fixed cash amount of ksh 10,000 for every invited chief guest.

The club is looking forward to hearing from you soon. You can reach the secretary or the chair directly on a call: 0722767889 or email [email protected].

Yours Faithfully


Muthoni Otieno

Club Secretary


As the secretary of Lugulu Girls Journalism Club, write to a famous radio presenter, inviting her to be your guest speaker during your annual party.

Letter of Apology

A letter of apology is a way of telling someone that you are sorry for doing something wrong or causing a problem. The language therefore should be apologetic.

What sets apart the letter of apology from other types of letters is the language used.

Features of a Letter of Apology

  1. It should be short and to the point. If it is long and winding, it sounds as a justification for the wrong done.
  2. It should first be in acceptance or admission of the wrong committed to the offended party.
  3. It should express regret for what has happened.
  4. The tone of the letter must be apologetic.
  5. The apology is usually followed by a short explanation.
  6. Where appropriate, an offer of compensation should be made.
  7. Depending on the relationship between the person apologising and the one receiving the apology, the letter can be formal or informal.



–Admit or accept the wrong done

–If you accept responsibility, offer compensation

–Promise not to repeat the mistake



You are a chief accountant of Lolian Flower Limited, you were spotted by the manager coming late to work despite the laid down rules which prohibit lateness. Apologise for your behaviour.


P.O. BOX 33








Dear Mr. Obudho,


RE: Apology

I would like to apologise for being late for work today morning contrary to the laid down rules on lateness.

I have taken this early opportunity to correct the impression my behaviour might have portrayed. While my behaviour today was inexcusable, I was delayed by a niggling family matter concerning my wife which is now under control.

I would like to assure you that this will not happen again.

Yours Sincerely


Kiprop Songok

Chief Accountant


Letters of Requests and Inquiry

As in other business or official letters, letters of requests contain the following information

  1. The reason for writing in the introduction.
  2. The facts you are presenting about your case, organised in a logical fashion.
  3. What you want the addressee to do for you, starting with the most important request.

You need to sell yourself and demonstrate that you deserve what you are asking for. Give good reasons. You need to state that the person who is to grant you the request stands to benefit.  Appeal to the addressee’s sense of fairness and indicate that you have faith in him.

Letters of Inquiry, on the other hand, are written when you want to find out or verify information from a certain institution or ask if a certain firm has specific goods or provide certain services.

Example of Letter of Request

You are in form four. You have not completed paying your school fees although the principal has allowed you to stay on so that your studies in this crucial year are not interrupted. Fortunately, you have read about a nongovernmental organisation that helps intelligent but needy high school students. Write a letter to them requesting for a bursary.




P.O. BOX 234








30TH January 2017





P.O. BOX 465



Dear Mrs. Indimuli,


RE: Request for financial assistance

I am writing to request your esteemed foundation to grant me a bursary to enable me clear my fees balance of ksh 98,000.

I am a form four student at Skyways high school. I owe the school this amount but my parents are unable to pay because of the prolonged drought that has hit our Kakamega county and destroyed crops and animals. My family has no money and they are barely surviving.

My performance in exams has been good. I have topped our candidate class for the last two terms with a mean grade of A minus. I am a very hardworking and humble student and I am hoping to get your help so that I can realise my dream of studying Civil Engineering in the university.

I am writing to you because your interest in the education of the disadvantaged Kenya is  well known. I know some of the benefactors of your program and they are ever grateful to Education Support Foundation. I will be honoured to be one of them.

I would be happy if you granted me a bursary of ksh 98000. If you decide to help please write the cheque in the name of the school and if you need further details you could email the principal on [email protected] or call her on 0732456665.

Yours Sincerely



Letter of inquiry

You are the procurement manager of Carnivore Club; write a letter to Keroche Industries Limited to inquire if they have the three types of alcoholic drinks that they have been advertising on the major television stations; their wholesale prices, quantities they can supply and the respective discounts.




P.O. BOX 764







P.O. BOX 66



Dear Sir/Madam,



I would like to find out information on the new drinks being advertised by your company on NTV,KTN and Citizen television channels.  According to the adverts, the names of the new drinks are Cesta, Guarana and Zem. Kindly let me know the prices of these drinks at the wholesale price and the discounts attached to each load. Also furnish me with details on alcoholic content of these drinks and their classifications.

We are the leading entertainment house in Nairobi, therefore, we would be glad to get these new drinks the soonest possible so that we can introduce them as part of the many options we have to our patrons.

Please respond the soonest possible by email on [email protected] or call me on 0791875262.


Yours Faithfully


George Maina

The Procurement officer


Recommendation letter/Confidential Report

A confidential report is sometimes referred to as reference or recommendation letter. This type of report requires the writer to comment in confidence or give an assessment of the suitability of someone or something for a given task or activity. Such reports are expected to mention the strengths and weaknesses truthfully. They are therefore not meant for public readership but for the person requesting for them.

When writing a confidential report consider the following:

–The writer’s address   –date   –recipient address   –reference number or registration number

–The name of the person being recommended   –strengths and weaknesses of the subject

–In the closing tag include name, signature and your title




P.O. BOX 78






P.O. BOX 46



Dear Sir,


RE: Peter Baraka—Admission Numbers 4121

The above named was a student in the school from 2003—2006. While here, he displayed exemplary leadership qualities and served as games captain for two years. Under his leadership, the school was well represented in ball games to the national level. It was in recognition of this that he was voted the outstanding prefect of the year (2005).

Academically, he was of average ability. This saw him score a mean grade of B minus in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Exams of 2006. In addition, Baraka’s spoken and written English is good, his Swahili even better. He is also good in simple arithmetic and his strongest point is his useful habit of taking down important information for later reference.

Apart from his tendency to keep to himself when ignored, Baraka is reliable, co-operative and industrious.

I recommend him with full confidence that he will not disappoint you if offered a job in your association.

Yours Faithfully


James Situma




Imagine your name has been given as a referee by Miss Jane Watate who has applied for a job as a receptionist and typist at Mombasa Tourist Office because you were her class teacher. Email a confidential report on her suitability for the position to Mombasa Tourist Office.

Consider the following details:

–Academic ability    –performance of her duties   relationship with clients   –other relevant qualities


An idiom is an expression whose meaning is different from all the meaning of its constituent words and that is used to summarize situations. Idioms are unique in a given language and community and might not make sense in other languages.

Common idioms

A hot potato

Speak of an issue (mostly current) which many people are talking about and which is usually disputed

A penny for your thoughts

A way of asking what someone is thinking

Actions speak louder than words

People’s intentions can be judged better by what they do than what they say.

Add insult to injury

To further a loss with mockery or indignity; to worsen an unfavorable situation.

An arm and a leg

Very expensive or costly. A large amount of money.

At the drop of a hat

Meaning: without any hesitation; instantly.

Back to the drawing board

When an attempt fails and it’s time to start all over.

Ball is in your court

It is up to you to make the next decision or step

Barking up the wrong tree

Looking in the wrong place. Accusing the wrong person

Be glad to see the back of

Be happy when a person leaves.

Beat around the bush

Avoiding the main topic. Not speaking directly about the issue.

Best of both worlds

Meaning: All the advantages.

Best thing since sliced bread

A good invention or innovation. A good idea or plan.

Bite off more than you can chew

To take on a task that is way to big.

Blessing in disguise

Something good that isn’t recognized at first.

Burn the midnight oil

To work late into the night, alluding to the time before electric lighting.

Can’t judge a book by its cover

Cannot judge something primarily on appearance.

Caught between two stools

When someone finds it difficult to choose between two alternatives.

Costs an arm and a leg

This idiom is used when something is very expensive.

Cross that bridge when you come to it

Deal with a problem if and when it becomes necessary, not before.

Cry over spilt milk

When you complain about a loss from the past.

Curiosity killed the cat

Being Inquisitive can lead you into an unpleasant situation.

Cut corners

When something is done badly to save money.

Cut the mustard [possibly derived from “cut the muster”]

To succeed; to come up to expectations; adequate enough to compete or participate

Devil’s Advocate

To present a counter argument

Don’t count your chickens before the eggs have hatched

This idiom is used to express “Don’t make plans for something that might not happen”.

Don’t give up the day job

You are not very good at something. You could definitely not do it professionally.

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket

Do not put all your resources in one possibility.

Drastic times call for drastic measures

When you are extremely desperate you need to take drastic actions.

Elvis has left the building

The show has come to an end. It’s all over.

Every cloud has a silver lining

Be optimistic, even difficult times will lead to better days.

Far cry from

Very different from.

Feel a bit under the weather

Meaning: Feeling slightly ill.

Give the benefit of the doubt

Believe someone’s statement, without proof.

Hear it on the grapevine

This idiom means ‘to hear rumors’ about something or someone.

Hit the nail on the head

Do or say something exactly right

Hit the sack / sheets / hay

To go to bed.

In the heat of the moment

Overwhelmed by what is happening in the moment.

It takes two to tango

Actions or communications need more than one person

Jump on the bandwagon

Join a popular trend or activity.

Keep something at bay

Keep something away.

Kill two birds with one stone

This idiom means, to accomplish two different things at the same time.

Last straw

The final problem in a series of problems.

Let sleeping dogs lie

Meaning – do not disturb a situation as it is – since it would result in trouble or complications.

Let the cat out of the bag

To share information that was previously concealed

Make a long story short

Come to the point – leave out details

Method to my madness

An assertion that, despite one’s approach seeming random, there actually is structure to it.

Miss the boat

This idiom is used to say that someone missed his or her chance

Not a spark of decency

Meaning: No manners

Not playing with a full deck

Someone who lacks intelligence.

Off one’s rocker

Crazy, demented, out of one’s mind, in a confused or befuddled state of mind, senile.

On the ball

When someone understands the situation well.

Once in a blue moon

Meaning: Happens very rarely.

Picture paints a thousand words

A visual presentation is far more descriptive than words.

Piece of cake

A job, task or other activity that is easy or simple.

Put wool over other people’s eyes

This means to deceive someone into thinking well of them.

See eye to eye

This idiom is used to say that two (or more people) agree on something.

Sit on the fence

This is used when someone does not want to choose or make a decision.

Speak of the devil!

This expression is used when the person you have just been talking about arrives.

Steal someone’s thunder

To take the credit for something someone else did.

Take with a grain of salt

This means not to take what someone says too seriously.

Taste of your own medicine

Means that something happens to you, or is done to you, that you have done to someone else

To hear something straight from the horse’s mouth

To hear something from the authoritative source.

Whole nine yards

Everything. All of it.

Wouldn’t be caught dead

Would never like to do something

Your guess is as good as mine

To have no idea, do not know the answer to a question


Phrasal Verbs



phrasal verb Meaning example sentence
ask sby out invite on a date Brian asked Judy out to dinner and a movie.
ask around ask many people the same question I asked around but nobody has seen my wallet.
add up to sthg Equal Your purchases add up to $205.32.
back sthg up Reverse You’ll have to back up your car so that I can get out.
back sby up Support My wife backed me up over my decision to quit my job.
blow up Explode The racing car blew up after it crashed into the fence.
blow sthg up add air We have to blow 50 balloons up for the party.
break down stop functioning (vehicle, machine) Our car broke down at the side of the highway in the snowstorm.
break down get upset The woman broke down when the police told her that her son had died.
break sthg down divide into smaller parts Our teacher broke the final project down into three separate parts.
break in force entry to a building Somebody broke in last night and stole our stereo.
break into sthg enter forcibly The firemen had to break into the room to rescue the children.
break sthg in wear sthg a few times so that it doesn’t look/feel new I need to break these shoes in before we run next week.
break in Interrupt The TV station broke in to report the news of the president’s death.
break up end a relationship My boyfriend and I broke up before I moved to America.
break up start laughing (informal) The kids just broke up as soon as the clown started talking.
break out Escape The prisoners broke out of jail when the guards weren’t looking.
break out in sthg develop a skin condition I broke out in a rash after our camping trip.
bring sby down make unhappy This sad music is bringing me down.
bring sby up raise a child My grandparents brought me up after my parents died.
bring sthg up start talking about a subject My mother walks out of the room when my father brings up sports.
bring sthg up Vomit He drank so much that he brought his dinner up in the toilet.
call around phone many different places/people We called around but we weren’t able to find the car part we needed.
call sby back return a phone call I called the company back but the offices were closed for the weekend.
call sthg off Cancel Jason called the wedding off because he wasn’t in love with his fiancé.
call on sby ask for an answer or opinion The professor called on me for question 1.
call on sby visit sby We called on you last night but you weren’t home.
call sby up Phone Give me your phone number and I will call you up when we are in town.
calm down relax after being angry You are still mad. You need to calm down before you drive the car.
not care for sby/ sthg not like (formal) I don’t care for his behaviour.
catch up get to the same point as sby else You’ll have to run faster than that if you want to catch up with Marty.
check in arrive and register at a hotel or airport We will get the hotel keys when we check in.
check out leave a hotel You have to check out of the hotel before 11:00 AM.
check sby/ sthg out look at carefully, investigate The company checks out all new employees.
check out sby/ sthg look at (informal) Check out the crazy hair on that guy!
cheer up become happier She cheered up when she heard the good news.
cheer sby up make happier I brought you some flowers to cheer you up.
chip in Help If everyone chips in we can get the kitchen painted by noon.
clean sthg up tidy, clean Please clean up your bedroom before you go outside.
come across sthg find unexpectedly I came across these old photos when I was tidying the closet.
come apart Separate The top and bottom come apart if you pull hard enough.
come down with sthg become sick My nephew came down with chicken pox this weekend.
come forward volunteer for a task or to give evidence The woman came forward with her husband’s finger prints.
come from some place originate in The art of origami comes from Asia.
count on sby/ sthg rely on I am counting on you to make dinner while I am out.
cross sthg out draw a line through Please cross out your old address and write your new one.
cut back on sthg consume less My doctor wants me to cut back on sweets and fatty foods.
cut sthg down make sthg fall to the ground We had to cut the old tree in our yard down after the storm.
cut in Interrupt Your father cut in while I was dancing with your uncle.
cut in pull in too closely in front of another vehicle The bus driver got angry when that car cut in.
cut in start operating (of an engine or electrical device) The air conditioner cuts in when the temperature gets to 22°C.
cut sthg off remove with sthg sharp The doctors cut off his leg because it was severely injured.
cut sthg off stop providing The phone company cut off our phone because we didn’t pay the bill.
cut sby off take out of a will My grandparents cut my father off when he remarried.
cut sthg out remove part of sthg (usually with scissors and paper) I cut this ad out of the newspaper.
do sby/ sthg over beat up, ransack (BrE, informal) He’s lucky to be alive. His shop was done over by a street gang.
do sthg over do again (AmE) My teacher wants me to do my essay over because she doesn’t like my topic.
do away with sthg Discard It’s time to do away with all of these old tax records.
do sthg up fasten, close Do your coat up before you go outside. It’s snowing!
dress up wear nice clothing It’s a fancy restaurant so we have to dress up.
drop back move back in a position/group Andrea dropped back to third place when she fell off her bike.
drop in/ by/ over come without an appointment I might drop in/by/over for tea sometime this week.
drop sby/ sthg off take sby/ sthg somewhere and leave them/it there I have to drop my sister off at work before I come over.
drop out quit a class, school etc I dropped out of Science because it was too difficult.
eat out eat at a restaurant I don’t feel like cooking tonight. Let’s eat out.
end up eventually reach/do/decide We ended up renting a movie instead of going to the theatre.
fall apart break into pieces My new dress fell apart in the washing machine.
fall down fall to the ground The picture that you hung up last night fell down this morning.
fall out separate from an interior The money must have fallen out of my pocket.
fall out (of hair, teeth) become loose and unattached His hair started to fall out when he was only 35.
figure sthg out understand, find the answer I need to figure out how to fit the piano and the bookshelf in this room.
fill sthg in to write information in blanks, as on a form (BrE) Please fill in the form with your name, address, and phone number.
fill sthg out to write information in blanks, as on a form (AmE) The form must be filled out in capital letters.
fill sthg up fill to the top I always fill the water jug up when it is empty.
find out Discover We don’t know where he lives. How can we find out?
find sthg out Discover We tried to keep the time of the party a secret, but Samantha found it out.
get sthg across/ over communicate, make understandable I tried to get my point across/over to the judge but she wouldn’t listen.
get along/on like each other I was surprised how well my new girlfriend and my sister got along/on.
get around have mobility My grandfather can get around fine in his new wheelchair.
get away go on a vacation We worked so hard this year that we had to get away for a week.
get away with sthg do without being noticed or punished Jason always gets away with cheating in his maths tests.
get back Return We got back from our vacation last week.
get sthg back receive sthg you had before Liz finally got her Science notes back from my room-mate.
get back at sby retaliate, take revenge My sister got back at me for stealing her shoes. She stole my favourite hat.
get back into sthg become interested in sthg again I finally got back into my novel and finished it.
get on sthg step onto a vehicle We’re going to freeze out here if you don’t let us get on the bus.
get over sthg recover from an illness, loss, difficulty I just got over the flu and now my sister has it.
get over sthg overcome a problem The company will have to close if it can’t get over the new regulations.
get round to sthg finally find time to do (AmE: get around to sthg) I don’t know when I am going to get round to writing the thank you cards.
get together meet (usually for social reasons) Let’s get together for a BBQ this weekend.
get up get out of bed I got up early today to study for my exam.
get up Stand You should get up and give the elderly man your seat.
give sby away reveal hidden information about sby His wife gave him away to the police.
give sby away take the bride to the altar My father gave me away at my wedding.
give sthg away ruin a secret My little sister gave the surprise party away by accident.
give sthg away give sthg to sby for free The library was giving away old books on Friday.
give sthg back return a borrowed item I have to give these skates back to Franz before his hockey game.
give in reluctantly stop fighting or arguing My boyfriend didn’t want to go to the ballet, but he finally gave in.
give sthg out give to many people (usually at no cost) They were giving out free perfume samples at the department store.
give sthg up quit a habit I am giving up smoking as of January 1st.
give up stop trying My maths homework was too difficult so I gave up.
go after sby follow sby My brother tried to go after the thief in his car.
go after sthg try to achieve sthg I went after my dream and now I am a published writer.
go against sby compete, oppose We are going against the best soccer team in the city tonight.
go ahead start, proceed Please go ahead and eat before the food gets cold.
go back return to a place I have to go back home and get my lunch.
go out leave home to go on a social event We’re going out for dinner tonight.
go out with sby Date Jesse has been going out with Luke since they met last winter.
go over sthg Review Please go over your answers before you submit your test.
go over visit sby nearby I haven’t seen Tina for a long time. I think I’ll go over for an hour or two.
go without sthg suffer lack or deprivation When I was young, we went without winter boots.
grow apart stop being friends over time My best friend and I grew apart after she changed schools.
grow back Regrow My roses grew back this summer.
grow into sthg grow big enough to fit This bike is too big for him now, but he should grow into it by next year.
grow out of sthg get too big for Elizabeth needs a new pair of shoes because she has grown out of her old ones.
grow up become an adult When Jack grows up he wants to be a fireman.
hand sthg down give sthg used to sby else I handed my old comic books down to my little cousin.
hand sthg in Submit I have to hand in my essay by Friday.
hand sthg out to distribute to a group of people We will hand out the invitations at the door.
hand sthg over give (usually unwillingly) The police asked the man to hand over his wallet and his weapons.
hang in stay positive (informal) Hang in there. I’m sure you’ll find a job very soon.
hang on wait a short time (informal) Hang on while I grab my coat and shoes!
hang out spend time relaxing (informal) Instead of going to the party we are just going to hang out at my place.
hang up end a phone call He didn’t say goodbye before he hung up.
hold sby/ sthg back prevent from doing/going I had to hold my dog back because there was a cat in the park.
hold sthg back hide an emotion Jamie held back his tears at his grandfather’s funeral.
hold on wait a short time Please hold on while I transfer you to the Sales Department.
hold onto sby/ sthg hold firmly using your hands or arms Hold onto your hat because it’s very windy outside.
hold sby/ sthgup Rob A man in a black mask held the bank up this morning.
keep on doing sthg continue doing Keep on stirring until the liquid comes to a boil.
keep sthg from sby not tell We kept our relationship from our parents for two years.
keep sby/ sthg out stop from entering Try to keep the wet dog out of the living room.
keep sthg up continue at the same rate If you keep those results up you will get into a great college.
let sby down fail to support or help, disappoint I need you to be on time. Don’t let me down this time.
let sby in allow to enter Can you let the cat in before you go to school?
log in (or on) sign in (to a website, database etc) I can’t log in to Facebook because I’ve forgotten my password.
log out (or off) sign out (of a website, database etc) If you don’t log off somebody could get into your account.
look after sby/ sthg take care of I have to look after my sick grandmother.
look down on sby think less of, consider inferior Ever since we stole that chocolate bar your dad has looked down on me.
look for sby/ sthg try to find I’m looking for a red dress for the wedding.
look forward to sthg be excited about the future I’m looking forward to the Christmas break.
look into sthg Investigate We are going to look into the price of snowboards today.
look out be careful, vigilant, and take notice Look out! That car’s going to hit you!
look out for sby/ sthg be especially vigilant for Don’t forget to look out for snakes on the hiking trail.
look sthg over check, examine Can you look over my essay for spelling mistakes?
look sthg up search and find information in a reference book or database We can look her phone number up on the Internet.
look up to sby have a lot of respect for My little sister has always looked up to me.
make sthg up invent, lie about sthg Josie made up a story about why we were late.
make up forgive each other We were angry last night, but we made up at breakfast.
make sby up apply cosmetics to My sisters made me up for my graduation party.
mix sthg up confuse two or more things I mixed up the twins’ names again!
pass away Die His uncle passed away last night after a long illness.
pass out Faint It was so hot in the church that an elderly lady passed out.
pass sthg out give the same thing to many people The professor passed the textbooks out before class.
pass sthg up decline (usually sthg good) I passed up the job because I am afraid of change.
pay sby back return owed money Thanks for buying my ticket. I’ll pay you back on Friday.
pay for sthg be punished for doing sthg bad That bully will pay for being mean to my little brother.
pick sthg out Choose I picked out three sweaters for you to try on.
point sby/ sthg out indicate with your finger I’ll point my boyfriend out when he runs by.
put sthg down put what you are holding on a surface or floor You can put the groceries down on the kitchen counter.
put sby down insult, make sby feel stupid The students put the substitute teacher down because his pants were too short.
put sthg off Postpone We are putting off our trip until January because of the hurricane.
put sthg out Extinguish The neighbours put the fire out before the firemen arrived.
put sthg together Assemble I have to put the crib together before the baby arrives.
put up with sby/ sthg Tolerate I don’t think I can put up with three small children in the car.
put sthg on put clothing/ accessories on your body Don’t forget to put on your new earrings for the party.
run into sby/ sthg meet unexpectedly I ran into an old school-friend at the mall.
run over sby/ sthg drive a vehicle over a person or thing I accidentally ran over your bicycle in the driveway.
run over/ through sthg rehearse, review Let’s run over/through these lines one more time before the show.
run away leave unexpectedly, escape The child ran away from home and has been missing for three days.
run out have none left We ran out of shampoo so I had to wash my hair with soap.
send sthg back return (usually by mail) My letter got sent back to me because I used the wrong stamp.
set sthg up arrange, organize Our boss set a meeting up with the president of the company.
set sby up trick, trap The police set up the car thief by using a hidden camera.
shop around compare prices I want to shop around a little before I decide on these boots.
show off act extra special for people watching (usually boastfully) He always shows off on his skateboard
sleep over stay somewhere for the night (informal) You should sleep over tonight if the weather is too bad to drive home.
sort sthg out organize, resolve a problem We need to sort the bills out before the first of the month.
stick to sthg continue doing sthg, limit yourself to one particular thing You will lose weight if you stick to the diet.
switch sthg off stop the energy flow, turn off The light’s too bright. Could you switch it off.
switch sthg on start the energy flow, turn on We heard the news as soon as we switched on the car radio.
take after sby resemble a family member I take after my mother. We are both impatient.
take sthg apart purposely break into pieces He took the car brakes apart and found the problem.
take sthg back return an item I have to take our new TV back because it doesn’t work.
take off start to fly My plane takes off in five minutes.
take sthg off remove sthg (usually clothing) Take off your socks and shoes and come in the lake!
take sthg out remove from a place or thing Can you take the garbage out to the street for me?
take sby out pay for sby to go somewhere with you My grandparents took us out for dinner and a movie.
tear sthg up rip into pieces I tore up my ex-boyfriend’s letters and gave them back to him.
think back remember (often + to, sometimes + on) When I think back on my youth, I wish I had studied harder.
think sthg over Consider I’ll have to think this job offer over before I make my final decision.
throw sthg away dispose of We threw our old furniture away when we won the lottery.
turn sthg down decrease the volume or strength (heat, light etc) Please turn the TV down while the guests are here.
turn sthg down Refuse I turned the job down because I don’t want to move.
turn sthg off stop the energy flow, switch off Your mother wants you to turn the TV off and come for dinner.
turn sthg on start the energy, switch on It’s too dark in here. Let’s turn some lights on.
turn sthg up increase the volume or strength (heat, light etc) Can you turn the music up? This is my favourite song.
turn up appear suddenly Our cat turned up after we put posters up all over the neighbourhood.
try sthg on sample clothing I’m going to try these jeans on, but I don’t think they will fit.
try sthg out Test I am going to try this new brand of detergent out.
use sthg up finish the supply The kids used all of the toothpaste up so we need to buy some more.
wake up stop sleeping We have to wake up early for work on Monday.
warm sby/ sthg up increase the temperature You can warm your feet up in front of the fireplace.
warm up prepare body for exercise I always warm up by doing sit-ups before I go for a run.
wear off fade away Most of my make-up wore off before I got to the party.
work out Exercise I work out at the gym three times a week.
work out be successful Our plan worked out fine.
work sthg out make a calculation We have to work out the total cost before we buy the house.

Bowing and Curtsying

People show respect to those who are senior to them in age or position by among other ways bowing and curtsying.

Bowing is done by men and it involves bending part of your body forward especially the neck and head.

You should bow

–When standing before a person you respect or when walking past him or her as a formal way of showing respect.

–An actor may take a bow to appreciate the audience’s applause.

–When praying, or to show respect to someone who has died, or show that you are ashamed in a formal way.

–In a courtroom to show respect to the chambers as representative of the law of the land.

–In parliament when entering as an honourable house that make laws of the land.

–when you are being sworn into office to show respect to the laws and the process.

–During graduation ceremony, when receiving acknowledgement or a certificate.

–When being introduced to an important guest or the guest can bow to acknowledge the hosts.

During festivals, when introducing items on stage.

A girl or a lady can curtsy by slightly bending their knees and holding, very quickly, up their dress or skirt on both sides of their thighs as a sign of respect for an important person.

Curtsying applies in the following situations:

  1. When a girl meets a respectable older person as a formal way greetings.
  2. When a lady receives a present or a certificate during graduation.

English Sounds

Sounds in English are divided into consonants and vowels. A sound composed of two vowel sounds in a word is called a diphthong e.g. dear /ia/ or say/ei/ and a sound made up of three vowel sounds is known as a triphthong e.g. flour/aua/.

IPA examples listen  
ʌ cup, luck AM  
ɑ: arm, father AM BR  
æ cat, black AM  
e met, bed AM 1
ə away, cinema AM 2
ɜ:ʳ turn, learn AM BR 2
ɪ hit, sitting AM  
i: see, heat AM  
ɒ hot, rock AM BR 3
ɔ: call, four AM BR 4 5
ʊ put, could AM  
u: blue, food AM  
five, eye AM  
now, out AM  
say, eight AM  
go, home AM 6
ɔɪ boy, join AM  
eəʳ where, air AM BR 1 7
ɪəʳ near, here AM BR 7
ʊəʳ pure, tourist AM BR 7


Consonants IPA examples listen  
b bad, lab AM  
d did, lady AM  
  f find, if AM  
  g give, flag AM  
  h how, hello AM  
  j yes, yellow AM  
  k cat, back AM  
  l leg, little AM  
  m man, lemon AM  
  n no, ten AM  
  ŋ sing, finger AM  
  p pet, map AM  
  r red, try AM 8
  s sun, miss AM  
  ʃ she, crash AM  
  t tea, getting AM 9
  check, church AM  
  θ think, both AM  
  ð this, mother AM  
  v voice, five AM  
  w wet, window AM  
  z zoo, lazy    
    pleasure, vision    
  just, large    


Adjectives are words that modify or provide more information about nouns.

Adjectives of quality refer to words that show the nature of nouns in terms of beauty, ugliness, morals and shapes. For example: She is a nice girl.  He is heavy.   John is a thin boy.  This job is difficult.

Usually such an adjective has a variety of synonyms e.g. Huge—big, enormous, gigantic, vast etc.

Adjectives of quantity are words that describe a noun by showing how many or how much of the noun is there or shows the number of the items. E.g. thirty books, both girls, all students etc.

Gradable adjectives describe qualities that can be measured or graded in some way. For example, something can be less interesting, interesting, quite interesting or very interesting. Therefore interesting is a gradable adjective because it can be graded. Gradable adjectives are usually used with intensifiers like very, quite, fairly, terribly, rather, completely, absolutely and really.

Very sorry, really disappointed, quite sick, terribly happy, fairly ashamed etc

Non gradable adjectives describe either extreme qualities like furious, starving, mad or absolute qualities such as correct, alive, dead, square, round, vast etc.

Non gradable adjectives thus cannot be used with intensifiers like very. You cannot be very correct or quite dead or even absolutely round.

Comparative forms of adjectives are used when we want to compare two people, things or situations mainly by adding –er at the end of the adjective e.g. This is smaller than that. Go higher than she went.

Sometimes the word more is more suitable especially when the adjective is a word with more than two syllables and it cannot take the suffix –er.  E.g. Rita is more attractive than Eunice.

–Comparative forms always occur with the word ‘than’ to bring out the comparison.

She is brighter than I. He is more confused than I.  Etc.

–Adjectives that end with ‘y’ usually drop the ‘y’ in comparative form before taking on –er. E.g. Ken is happy—Ken is happier than Jennifer.

Superlative forms of adjectives are used to compare more than two items, people or situations and show the most dominant or the best of the lot.  E.g. Njeri is the tallest of the four girls.

The word ‘than’ is not used with superlatives. Superlatives are formed by adding –est to the adjective and introducing the article ‘the’ before it. E.g. She is the cleverest girl in class.

Some adjectives form their superlative forms by doubling the last consonants and adding –est but this only occurs when a word with one syllable ends with a single consonant preceded by a single vowel. E.g.

Big—bigger—biggest, Fat—fatter—fattest.  Hot—hotter—hottest.

When an adjective has more than two syllables, we form the superlative by adding the word ‘most’ before it and the article ‘the’ e.g. The most disgusting book.  She is the most hardworking boy in class.

The superlative form ‘most’ is also used with adjectives that end with the suffix –ful. E.g.

Beautiful—more beautiful—the most beautiful

Careful—more careful—the most careful

Irregular adjectives do not have a predictable pattern of forming comparatives and superlatives. E.g.







Some adjectives can take both –est and most /er and more in superlative and comparative forms. E.g.

Luke is heavier/ more heavy than Jacob.

Silas is the smartest/most smart boy in school.

Others are brave and pretty. But it would wrong to use both versions in the same sentence. For example saying John is more smarter than Joyce would be wrong. You would have to choose one version.


Impromptu Speeches

An impromptu speech is a speech one makes without prior preparations. Speeches made on many occasions involve planning beforehand. For example a political speech to be delivered to a target audience will be written a couple of days before the material day and the speaker would rehearse it several times.  But in some situations, especially informal ones, people are required to say something, give a speech, because of their positions and influence in society or relation to the guest of honour.

To effectively give an impromptu speech, observe the following:

  1. a) Make a habit of talking in front of people so that you get used to it. This will cultivate your public speaking confidence.
  2. b) At your own time practice giving a speech to an imaginary audience to enhance your use of the stage and how to utilize body movements, gestures and other skills when on stage.
  3. c) Learn how to pronounce words correctly and how to control your breath when talking to people.
  4. d) Develop some humorous comments, quotes, proverbs etc that you can employ to ease tensions on such occasions.

–When called upon to deliver an impromptu speech

  1. Settle on a topic or issue you want to talk about.
  2. Make sure you are familiar with the topic you would talk about.
  3. Try to stay calm and relaxed by taking a deep breath.
  4. Visualize your main points in your mind or quickly note them down and stick to the order of how you visualize them.
  5. Expound on your main points in your speech elaborately.
  6. It is better to start with a quote or a proverb and if there is tensions in the crowd make some humorous comments to ease the tensions.
  7. Observe the allocated time.
  8. Maintain eye contact with the audience
  9. Project your voice clearly so as to be heard.
  10. Display necessary facial expressions suited to the occasion like smiling if it is a wedding, looking solemn if it is a requiem mass etc.

Primary Axillaries

Auxiliary verbs are helping verbs. They help the main verbs in a sentence to show tense and mood. E.g.

I am cooking food. (Present tense)    I had gone home. (past perfect tense)   He must go home.  (Imperative mood)

The following primary auxiliaries act as helping verbs:

–Forms of be i.e. am, is, are, was, were, being

–Forms of have i.e. has, have and had

–Forms of  do i.e. do, does, did, done

Auxiliary verbs can be use to form questions e.g.

Have you seen him?     Did she travel? Etc

Auxiliaries do, did, done and does are used for emphasis e.g.

I did win the encounter.      I do like him.      She does cry a lot.   Etc

–Sometimes primary auxiliaries act as main verbs e.g.

She has a book     She had a knife     John is a good boy    The Wafulas are rich.

Modal Auxiliaries

Modal auxiliaries are verbs which help other verbs to express mood in a sentence which include doubt, certainty, possibility, permission etc.

Mood is usually in form of

  1. a) Ability—could and can e.g. I can swim. We could sing back then.
  2. b) Requests—can I, shall we, may I… e.g. Can I use your pen?

May I talk to your dad?    Shall we go.

  1. c) Permission—you can, you may, you could…e.g. You can go home. You may see the doctor now. Etc
  2. d) Willingness—can, could and will e.g. I can give you the money tomorrow. I could steal.  I will come.
  3. e) Wish—may e.g. May God bless you.
  4. f) Obligation or duty—must, ought to, should e.g. I must finish this work before I go. You ought to pay fees for your children. You should respect your parents.
  5. g) Certainty—will e.g. I will come next week. We will all die.
  6. h) Possibility or probability—can, might, may, could e.g. I can win the race. He might come.  She may recover.   We could lose.
  7. i) Reassuring—will g. it will be OK.
  8. J) Threatening—will e.g. I will kill you.


A phrase is a word or a group of words within a sentence that plays a particular function e.g. as a verb, preposition, adverb etc.

A verb phrase is headed by or contains a verb—usually a verb and an auxiliary verb as shown.

She is going home.  Auxiliary verb is and the main verb ‘going’.

I can see you.  I could have died.   We would laugh a lot in those days.   You should sing.

An adverb phrase acts as an adverb in a sentence; that is, giving more information about the verb or adjective. E.g.

She sat near the door.   Cover the table with a piece of cloth.

She came last year.  He is handsome like Brad Pitt.

He played quite well. We made it by sheer luck. I was utterly disgusted.  He came forthwith when I called.

A prepositional phrase is headed by a preposition or acts as a preposition in a sentence. E.g.

He lowered the bag to the ground.   He jumped over the fence.

—Most prepositional phrases are actually adverb phrases.

An adjective phrase consist of one or more words one which must be an adjective. E.g.

Most girls like bright clothes.

–If there are more words then the most important is the adjective and the rest would be modifiers (provide more information about the adjective). E.g.

Our classroom is very clean. Is this too high?

The modifier is usually an adverb of degree such as very, quite, too etc.


A clause is a group of words that can pass of a sentence but usually part of a longer sentence.

A conditional clause is made up of a subordinate clause starting with the word ‘if’  and a main clause separated from the subordinate clause with a comma.  E.g.

If you eat unripe fruits, you will suffer from stomach ache.

However, if the sentence begins with a main clause then the comma is not used. E.g.

You will suffer from stomach ache if you eat unripe fruits.

You will suffocate if you sleep in a stuffy room.

–Conditional clauses are usually used to persuade, warn and advice people.

A noun clause performs the same function as a noun or pronoun in a sentence. E.g.

What he is telling us is very interesting.

The underlined words can be replaced by a single noun or pronoun.

–Noun clauses usually begin with words such as that, whether, if, what, who and which.

I was angry that he had lost my key

He did not know whether to go or remain behind.

A relative clause is usually a noun clause headed by a relative pronoun. E.g.

The boy who was the top in national exams is here

The cat which was found dead was mine.

Gender Nouns

Gender nouns are nouns that portray discrimination or bias in ones language.  When we use language, we must be careful not to exclude or discriminate against a certain section of people either male or female. In most cases it is the female sex that is affected by the bias which occurs through the use of pronouns.  E.g.

A candidate should be provided with everything he needs.

A good leader is one who respects himself.

These examples have a gender bias towards them. To alleviate this problem we can rewrite them as follows:

A candidate should be provided with everything he or she needs.

A good leader is one who respects himself or herself.

But this arrangement is usually deemed clumsy or repetitive.  The best way is usually to rewrite the sentence in plural; for example:

Candidates should be provided with everything they need.

Good leaders are those who respect themselves.

–Yet another way is the use of the second person pronoun ‘you’ which is gender neutral. E.g.

As candidates, you should be provided with everything you need.

As good leaders, you should respect yourselves.

In spoken or informal language, people tend to use the plural pronouns ‘their’ and ‘them’ as shown.

If anybody rings, tell them I am in a meeting.

But this is ungrammatical because it lacks subject—pronoun number agreement. To avoid this complication, one can rewrite this sentence as follows:

If anybody rings, say I am in a meeting.

–Apart from pronouns, there are also words that tend to be sexist. If the context includes both men and women, it is best to replace such terms with gender-neutral ones as shown below.






Lay man







Run by


Lay person


Business person




To accommodate both men and women, some nouns have male/Female contrast in their forms. The feminine forms normally ends in –ess. Note that some people object to use of feminine forms. For example they prefer using hero for both male and female.















  1. a) Fill in the blank spaces in the following passage with an appropriate gender neutral word.

Successful business __ work very hard. Their firms are __by very competent people. For example, they only employ a sales __ who is qualified. The chair __ is normally a very good spokes __ for the firm.

  1. b) Rewrite the following sentences in order to remove the sexist use of pronouns. Do not change the meaning of the sentence.
  2. Everyone has his rights.
  3. Nobody should blame himself for it.
  4. A parliamentarian should articulate the view of his people.
  5. Everybody wants to pass his exams, doesn’t he?
  6. None of the teachers can neglect his students.
  7. c) Rewrite to remove the clumsiness.

1) Whoever did it will pay for his or her actions.

2) Each cashier paid himself or herself.

3) A worker may injure himself or herself on the job.

4) If anyone wants to pass his or her exam, he or she must work hard in his or her studies.

Active Voice

A verb is said to be in active voice when it form shows that the person or thing acting as the subject does something or is the doer of the action.  E.g. Silas loves Mary.  Ken gives offering.

A passive voice refers to the verb when it form shows that something is done to the subject: that the subject is not active and suffers or receives the action. E.g. Mary is loved by Silas.   Offering is given by Ken.

–When you change an active voice into a passive one, the subject of the verb becomes the object of the verb and often the word ‘by’ is used to show this relationship.   Tom kicked the ball. (active)   The ball was kicked by Tom. (passive).

–The ‘by’ word sometimes is not used in active voice when only one agent is known especially if the subject was indefinite pronoun. E.g. someone kicked the ball (active).  The ball was kicked (passive).

Someone stole my pen—My pen was stolen.

–Sometimes obvious objects are omitted in passive voice e.g.

He handed her the chair—the chair was handed to her.   The phrase ‘by him’ is obvious and can be left out but the sentence would retain its meaning.

Somebody hit the dog with a stick—The dog was hit with a stick.


Write the following sentences in the passive voice.

  1. He loves babies.
  2. She killed him.
  3. Ken is greeting the guests.
  4. Sally sent him.
  5. Wafula has seen him.
  6. Jane had married John.
  7. You will see Jesus.

Negotiation Skills

Negotiation skills involve holding an amicable discussion with an aim of reaching a favourable agreement over a disagreeable matter or varying opinion.

To negotiate effectively

–be patient

–use polite language

–listen to the other party carefully so as to advance a sound argument

–do not interrupt.

–be pleasant and convincing; if you want something then the reason behind it must be valid and reasonable.

–Compromise in case you don’t get what you want but state clearly your stand.

–Look for win-win situations for both parties or aim to meet halfway.

–Appreciate the other party’s views and let them know this as much.


BUYER: How are you this morning?

SELLER: I’m okay.

BUYER: My name is Musimbi.

SELLER: My name is Karani. Welcome.

BUYER: I’m looking for good chickens but your don’t look so good. I’m going to have visitors and this being the Christmas season; I really must give them a feast.

SELLER: These are the right kind of chickens for your visitors. They’re healthy and well fed.

BUYER: On the contrary, they look underfed anyway; what is your price?

SELLER: It depends. I charge more for cocks; they have more meat, you know. (Points at a red cock) This one, for instance, goes for Ksh 400.00. As for the hens, I charge Ksh 250 each.

BUYER:  You are not serious! Much of the weight is a bundle of bones. I’m giving you Ksh 150.00 for each hen and Ksh 300.00 for each cock. I’m buying three of each—three hens for Ksh 450 and three cocks for Ksh900. This will give us a total of Ksh 1,350.00.

SELLER: You know I buy and sell. I don’t get them from my shamba. Your figure doesn’t give me any profit at all.

BUYER: But you also know that money is hard to come by and especially during this Christmas season. Give me a reasonable price unless you prefer I go to another seller.

SELLER: Let me make it Ksh 225.00 for a hen and Ksh 375.00 for a cock.

BUYER: It looks like you’re not interested in selling your chickens.

SELLER: No I’m. Otherwise, why would I be here? My children’s fees come from this business.

BUYER: Okay, take Ksh 175 for each hen and 325 for each cock.

SELLER: No. There would be no profit for me.  You can do better than that. You can surely promote my small business. Just give me 350 per cock and 225 per hen.  This will be 625 for the three hens and 1,050 for the three cocks.

BUYER: (Doing his mental arithmetic) that is a total of Ksh 1,725.00. Okay. At least I’ll be able to feed my visitors (handing him the money) here you are.

SELLER: Thank you (as he ties the chickens together) You’re a good customer. Please come again.

BUYER: See you.



  1. What is the purpose of greetings in this situation?
  2. Identify and explain the negotiation skills of the buyer and the seller.
  3. What does this business transaction reveal about the nature of good negotiations?


A speech is a formal talk, presentation or delivery of information to a defined audience with a specific purpose.  Most speeches are meant to convince, sway and motivate the audience. Sometimes a speech can be made to refute allegations, reveal a secret or condemn specific people.

Before writing a speech, one should prepare adequately.

A proper speech should have the following:

A relevant title that reflects on the content.

–A speech must acknowledge the guests in attendance by observing the protocol. A protocol should be observed in its own paragraph and should start from the senior most guest to the general audience.  Relevant formal titles of guests should be said.

–Start the speech on the second paragraph by either quoting a relevant philosopher, a past speaker or any relevant book;  or by giving statistics, a short story,  a proverb, a riddle,a thought provoking question etc.  E.g.

“Educate a woman and you educate a nation.”

“Recent statistics show that in every ten 9 Kenyans 2 are HIV positive. “

–The body should occur naturally from the introduction. Involve the audience and the chief guest in your speech by referring to them from time to time.  E.g. Ladies and gentlemen…or Mr. Principal…etc

–Emphasise on important points by providing good examples so that each issue occurs in its own paragraph.

–Space your speech by skipping lines after every paragraph.

–A good speech should have several short paragraphs tackling different issues.

–The conclusion should re-emphasise your motive and direct the audience attention to the main points. Therefore, a short passing summary of the most important points mentioned would do.  A conclusion can also include stating the way forward, providing a solution etc.

–After drafting the speech, go over it or proof-read it aloud to correct mistakes and establish  the tone and rhythm that you would use by altering punctuation to achieve the desired effect.

–A creative speech would involve simple and complex sentences, simple and complex phrases like nevertheless, at any rate, however; use of verbal cues like firstly, secondly; use of gestures and other paralinguistic features etc.

–When writing the speech start with opening quotation marks to show that it is meant to be spoken and then end with closing speech marks.


The Big Picture

“The principal, deputy principal, teachers and students


Today I will talk to you about seeing the big picture. I am aware, and I hope you are too, that my title resonates with a published inspirational book by the famous Neurosurgeon, Ben Carson.  Well, we have the same message. It is the message Jesus gave to His faithful, prophet Mohammed gave to His followers and Buddha gave to His pupils: that there is something bigger and better beyond the daily occurrences, that following the road to self actualization and harmony is the ultimate path of an enlightened human being.


Students, the message is simple: sacrifice and Invest now for the future. Sleep less now because you will eventually sleep more comfortably in future.


Buddha’s life was short, Jesus ministry was short, Mohammed’s teachings were short-lived but their messages live on.  2000 years later these messages have gained bigger followings than envisioned. Why? Because they saw the bigger picture and sacrificed their lives, they lived what they preached; they avoided a life full of comfort, preached love, patience and brotherhood—the people listened.


So, students as you study know that you have to be the change you want to see in the world as voiced by the famous Mahatma Gandhi.  You have to believe in yourself, set goals and believe you can achieve them. Do not worry if things don’t work out as you had expected. There are always false starts everywhere; in business, in athletics, politics and even academics.  What matters is—Are you able to persevere to the end? Are you willing to keep trying, again and again till you succeed? Are you willing to suffer now and achieve what you need later?


Madam Principal here will tell you that it is not easy rising to the top. It requires time and patience. It requires sacrifice. But you can’t sacrifice if you can’t see the big picture. So, first see the big picture which in your case is what you want to be in future and the grades you need in the national exams in order to achieve your dream.  Again the big picture can be the mark you want to leave behind when you die, the legacy; how do you want to be remembered?


Students, let us stay focussed. Keep your eyes on the prize. Be like those great three: Jesus, Buddha and Mohammed who lived lives full of sacrifices and left a big legacy in our world.


Thank you all and may God bless you.

Prefixes and Suffixes

A prefix is part of a word (a morpheme) that is attached to a word at the beginning to create a different meaning of that word e.g.  Fore-word, Re-cur, pre-empt etc.

A suffix, on the other hand, is a morpheme that is attached at the end of a word for the same purpose. E.g. educa-tion, govern-ment etc.

–Pre- means before and fix means attach.

–Uusally the words combined do not change their spellings and pronunciation except when using all and well e.g.  All-so—also, Well-fare—Welfare.

–Common prefixes are non-  un-  dis-  ir-  im-  in-  il-  ab-  ig-  mis-

–Adverbs can also be used as prefixes e.g.  out-   over-  up-   down-

–Prefixes be-  en-  em- usually indicates to make or create something mentioned e.g.

Bedevil (create problems for)   encase (put in a case)    empower (give power to)    embitter    entangle

–Prefix re- indicates repetition e.g.  re-organise, reverse etc.

–Suffixes are used to create nouns. Common suffixes are

-acy  -ee  -ette  -ion   -let    -ship  -eer   -ery   -hood  -ism   -ment  -tion     -ar    -ence    -ess  -ian    -ist   -ness   -ure   -dom   -ency   -et   -ics    -ity

e.g. Cigarette   etiquette   kitchenette  leatherette facet   etc.

–Adjectives can be derived by the following suffixes   -able   -al    -esque    -ify    -ful   -ic    -ish    -en    -less   -ly    -ous

–Suffixes can also be used to create adverbs. –ly is the most common e.g. beautifully,   automatically etc.

–Suffixes are also used in the formation of new words by the derivational method e.g.

Anthropology (society)  astrology (stars) gynaecology (fertility)  zoology archaeology (ruins) pathology (diseases) biology  geology   psychology   immunology   etymology   speleology  (caves)  theology  criminology   ornithology (birds)  technology  cosmology (universe)  paleontology (rock)   chronology (order) physiology

Transitional Words and Phrases

These are words and phrases used to link sentences together in the development of a paragraph. Sometimes they are known as connectors.

This transitional words and phrases can be used to show


On the contrary, on the other hand, nevertheless, unlike, there are some exceptions

–To show addition

Besides, moreover, again, and, furthermore, also, in addition

–To show comparison

In the same manner, in the same way, similarly, likewise, corresponds

–To indicate concession or compromise

Even though,  despite this,   in spite of this, in spite of   though, although, albeit

–To indicate emphasis

Actually, in fact, indeed, certainly , as a matter of fact

–To introduce an example

For example, that is, for instance, in particular, in other words

–To introduce a sequence

First, firstly, second, next finally etc

–To introduce a reason

Therefore, then, consequently, so, accordingly, hence, for this reason , thus

–To introduce a conclusion

In summary, In conclusion, to conclude, in short, to sum up, finally

–To link specific sentences

And, but, then

Thank You Note

A thank you note is written to acknowledge a favour done by a friend or any other people. E.g.

P.O BOX 10



23RD JULY 2017


Dear Karen,

I am very happy that you made it to my wedding. I felt proud and happy seeing you around. You have always been nice to me and I appreciate that. My husband and I loved your gift (pressure cooker) and we will make good use of it. That was very thoughtful of you.

Thank you for coming and my God bless you.

Best wishes



A congratulatory note is written by friends or family to give credit or acknowledge excellence in performance by an individual. E.g.

P.O. BOX 66



26TH MAY 2017


Dear Lim,


Hearty congratulations on your promotion to the position of sales manager. To me the news did not really come as a surprise for I have always believed you have what it takes. If anyone deserved the post, you surely did. Knowing you, I am sure you will not rest on your laurels and will soon climb a notch higher.


Best of luck in your new duties.


Your friend



A Note of Condolence is written to console the family of the deceased and share in their grief. Notes of condolences should be

–handwritten to give them a personal and caring touch

–say something in praise of the deceased

–be sincere

–be brief

–be sent as soon as the news is received. In fact all notes should be prompt to the news.

For example

P.O. BOX 45





Dear Mr and Mrs Kamau,


My wife and I were terribly saddened by the death of your daughter. She will really be missed by us and all who knew her.

It is hard to picture our neighbourhood without her as she was very friendly, funny and generous.

Your family is in our thoughts at this trying moment and if there is anything we can do to help, please do let us know.

With deep sympathy


Mr and Mrs. Ochieng


If the family of the deceased is familiar with yours, there is no need for the inclusion of other formal details like the return address and the subject, but if you only knew the deceased and the parents do not know you; it would be paramount to include the formal details as shown below.  Again, some condolences are more formal and can be read on behalf of the sender who is unable to attend the funeral service especially someone like the president.


A classmate of yours has died in a road accident. You have met the parents several times during visiting days and have even been to their home. Write a letter of condolences to them.


P.O. BOX 321






P.O. BOX 11



Dear Mr and Mrs. Wafula,

It was with great shock that I received the news of the passing away of your daughter. Allow me to share in your grief although you barely know me.

Your daughter and I were close. She was a great friend. I will remember her particularly for her dedication to education. Her warmth and friendliness will be missed dearly.

Do let me know if there is anything I can do to help.

With Deep Sorrow

Jane Wakoli



–Thank you, congratulatory and notes of condolences should be written as soon as possible after the event.

Transitive and Intransitive Verbs

Transitive verbs are verbs that are usually followed by an object.  E.g. She admires her aunt.  The verb admire is transitive because you must say what is admired for the sentence to make sense.  Other transitive verbs are kick, discover, receive, see, like etc

–Some transitive verbs have a limited range of objects they occur with; for example, the verb kill must occur with an object that is alive or a concept that is alive. You can’t kill a stone.

Intransitive verbs do not really need objects to make sense in a sentence. The subject does the action but doesn’t affect anybody or anything else.  E.g. I slept.  Others are arrive, squeak, bark, yawn etc.

–Most intransitive nouns are followed by adverbs e.g.   It happened yesterday.  I slept soundly.

–A few verbs can be used transitively and intransitively e.g. ate—she ate.    She ate Ugali.  Others are write, read, drink and play.

–Ditransitive verbs are verbs that can take direct and indirect objects.

An indirect object is usually the benefactor of the action of the verb and the direct object suffers from the action. E.g.  John kicked the ball to James. The ball is direct object because it suffers from the action of the verb and James is the indirect object because he is the benefactor of the action of the verb.


An infinitive is the simplest form of a verb. The verb is said to be in its infinitive form when it does not show or form part of the tense in a sentence.

Bare infinitive—sing

To infinitive—to sing

-ing infinitive—singing

All these forms can occur in all tenses as follows:

She is going to sing, she was going to sing, she will be going to sing.

She is singing, she was singing, she will be singing.

She sings, she could sing, she will sing.

–An infinitive can be used as an object of a sentence e.g.

To eat lots of chocolate would be unwise if you want to be slim.

–If the ‘to’ infinitive is used interchangeably with the –ing infinitive the sentence would not retain the meaning e.g.

She was to score—she was scoring. She was to eat—she was eating.

Newspaper Reports

To write a good newspaper report observe the following:

  1. a) Decide on the topic.
  2. b) Research on the topic to establish the two sides of the story. Research will also enhance your knowledge in the selected topic area.
  3. c) Make sure your title for the report is attractive and catchy—it should be short simple and relevant to the contents.
  4. d) In the introduction or first paragraph, tell the reader about the Who (victims and culprits) , the Where (where the event occurred) and the Why (explaining events). The introduction should be brief and details should be saved for later paragraphs.
  5. e) The body should expound on details or issues and elaborate on people or things mentioned in the introduction. The writer needs to tell the story vividly and objectively.
  6. f) The concluding paragraph should give a perspective or conclusive opinion on the way forward.
  7. g) After the last paragraph, the report should end with the word ‘by’ and the full name.
  8. h) The report should include quotes from players involved and information should be attributed.


More by this Author

MPs have tried to disassociate themselves from a report showing that the Constituency Development Fund lost Sh4 billion in one year.

However, officers from the Auditor-General’s office, who appeared before the National Government Constituency Development Fund committee, said the report had not mentioned names.

“The reports are not meant to blame anybody but lead to a dialogue on how the issues raised can be fixed,” Deputy Auditor-General Alex Ringera said.

Committee Chairman Moses Lesonet questioned the method used by Auditor-General Edward Ouko to conduct the audits, accusing him of including projects in schools and police stations as CDF assets.

“Once the CDF gives out money, it should not answer as to whether the school or police station undertook the work. It is up to your office to audit such institutions,” he said.

Another Deputy Auditor-General, Mr David Gichana, said the CDF structure provided that the committees were responsible for prudent use of funds given to institutions, since project committees in schools, dispensaries and others funded from the kitty report to the CDF teams.


A report is an account given or opinion formally expressed after investigation.  Reports perform an important function in large organisations. They enable the administrators to keep track of normal operations, to learn about unexpected developments and to judge whether there is satisfactory progress on a new project. In the science and social fields, reports form the link between research and practical use of discoveries. They present a series of facts which enable someone to make a decision based on reliable information. Most formal reports are as a result of a project, an investigation or a commission.

Format of a formal report


The report should have a title which should indicate the content of the report and should be brief e.g.



The introduction to a report should set out clearly the

–specific purpose of the report

–circumstances or events that necessitated the report

The terms of reference of the report which include

–who authorized the report

–if a committee was appointed to carry out investigation and its nature

–when the report is due

–who is to receive the report when ready


The procedure should outline how the information was collected mainly through interviews, scrutiny of information, observation, examination, questionnaires and other methods like spying, traps etc.


This part presents facts, views, illustrations, statistics, experiments and other observations derived from or in accordance to the respective procedures used

–The evidence should be presented in a logical sequence

–Names, places and quotations should be given here


This deals with what can be deduced from the findings, logical conclusions or inferences should be made in a paragraph.


This emanates from the conclusion. This contains means or ways of improving the situation, solving a problem and or the way forward as seen and evidenced from the research.

A good report should have a fairly good number of recommendations, at least four.

–After recommendations, the following ending is appropriate

Report written and compiled by:

NAME:_____                SIGN________      TITLE_______


You are the head of a committee commissioned by the principal of Uzima Secondary School to investigate the serious water wastage and the resulting shortage. The committee is required to come up with solutions to the problem. Write the report.





Following the frequent cases of water shortage in school, the principal of Uzima Secondary School, Mr. John Kamau, formed a committee to investigate the problem and recommend solutions.

Terms of Reference

The committee was to begin work on 3rd of October 2016 and finalise the report by the end of October 2016. The report was to be handed to the principal on 2nd of November 2016 at 10.00 AM.

The following were members of the committee

  1. Ogot Mageto—Chairperson
  2. Rukwaro Mureith—Deputy Principal
  3. Kironyo Mwara—Boarding master
  4. Salmas Mbori—Teacher
  5. Nyakuri Lumi—Head cook
  6. Wesley Kimoli—School Watchman
  7. Adit Wawango—Head boy
  8. Runga Osori—Student
  9. Kesi Wafula—Student
  10. Keth Kiburi—Secretary


The committee developed a questionnaire which was used to gather information from the students and workers on how water is used in school. Forty students were sampled from all classes and dormitories to respond to the questionnaires. Ten workers in the dormitories and kitchen were interviewed by members of the committee.  The committee also visited the school kitchen and the boarding areas to observe the state of the water facilities.


After analysing the information, the committee found that:

1) Leaking taps

There is a great deal of water going to waste through leaking taps and broken water pipes. The leaking taps are those next to the dining hall and the broken pipes are mainly at the pigsty.

2) Negligence

Most students interviewed admitted to forgetting to turn off taps after tapping water especially when they are in a hurry or late to class.

3) Poor management of taps

When the tanks are empty and water isn’t running from taps, many students who investigate if the taps are running open them and leave and when water is pumped especially at night, usually, there is no one to close the open taps so the water can fill tanks.

4) More tanks

The four tanks currently serving the school population are not enough. The school has a population of 1300 and water gets exhausted fast.


The committee concluded that the water shortage is caused mainly by water wastages and that this situation can be solved effectively by the following recommendations.


The committee came up with the following recommendations:

  1. The school should mount an intensive awareness campaign among students on the importance of conserving water and management of taps.
  2. The administration should immediately repair all the faulty taps and broken pipes.
  3. The taps should be put on lock when the tanks run dry.
  4. The school administration should add more tanks to hold enough water for the bourgeoning student population.


The report was written and compiled by

Obunga Ratemo


The committee secretary


The electricity bill in your school is very high. Your principal has appointed you the secretary to a team commissioned to investigate the matter. Write a report of the proceedings, findings, conclusion and recommendations of the team.


A notice of a meeting specifies the following details

  1. a) Title of the group that is to meet

2) The nature of the meeting

3) The date and time of the meeting

4) The venue

5) The name and title of the person calling the meeting

6) The agenda of the meeting



Lugulu Girls’ High School

P.O. Private Bag





End Term Staff Meeting


A meeting of all teaching members of staff will be held on 2nd November 2017 from 9.30 AM to 2.30 PM in the School Board Room.

The full agenda will be as follows

  1. Preliminaries
  2. Reading and confirmation of previous minutes
  3. Matters arising
  4. Reports on the teaching progress
  5. Student discipline issues
  6. Reorganisation of the school library
  7. Emerging issues
  8. Adjournment


Mrs. Lunani

The Principal




Minutes are records of proceedings in a meeting.  They serve the following purpose:

–As a proof of a meeting taking place and the decisions arrived at.

–They provide a record that can be referred to by those unable to attend the meeting and as a reminder to those who were present.

–They hold members accountable for the decisions and commitments made during the meeting.

–They are legal documents which are admissible in a court of law.

–Minutes give a summary of the main points discussed and the decisions reached. As you take minutes ensure you put down all important points and that you understand resolutions reached before recording.

Minutes are usually written informally, short hand, in order to keep pace with the proceedings and later rewritten as a final official draft as soon as possible. Minutes should be written in a passive voice using formal language. Minutes should also be written in the third person e.g. it was agreed that… members discussed… etc

Structure of Minutes


There must be a heading containing the name of the group meeting; there must be time, date and the venue of the meeting within the title. E.g.


List of Members

A list of members present is given against their titles first; then a list of apologies against their titles; a list of members absent against their titles before mentioning the gust in attendance.

–Any guest available is listed under the subtitle ‘in attendance’.

–Items in minutes are numbered  as Min 1/11/2017 where the word min stands for minute then the serial number of the item then month and year.

–This would apply for the first meeting where the first minute would have the serial number ‘1’ but subsequent minutes would have respective serial numbers.


You are the secretary of the Talanta Self Help Group. Write minutes of the proceedings of the meeting held on 10th September 2016 from 10.00 AM in Kendum Social hall. The agenda of the meeting had the following items:

–Issuing of loans

–office space and furniture

–office telephone


–Matters arising

Two members sent their apologies and Mr. John Sikuku the county director attended as a guest.



Members Present

  1. Ken Simiyu—chair
  2. Silas Maina—secretary
  3. Titus Waweru— treasurer
  4. Wamgui Helen—Member
  5. Omondi James—member
  6. Wafula Simon—member
  7. Ruth Kerubo—member
  8. Daisy Matete—member
  9. Anita Seme—member
  10. Geddra Macheo—member


Members Absent

  1. William Juma—member
  2. Dan Wanyama—member



  1. Erick Simiyu—member
  2. Caxtone Simiyu—member

In attendance

John Sikuku—Bungoma county Director (administration)


Min 14/9/2016: Preliminaries

The chairperson welcomed members to the meeting. The meeting was opened by a prayer from Anita Seme. The chair received apologies from two members listed above. The chair thanked members for coming and acknowledged the presence of the Bungoma county director of administration Mr. John Sikuku.

Min 15/9/2016: Reading and Confirmation of previous Minutes

The minutes of the meeting held on 10th August 2016 were read through by the secretary. They were proposed by Ruth Kerubo and seconded by Daisy Matete to be a true record.

Min 16/9/2016 Matters Arising

Min 5/8/2016 payment of Dues—the treasurer reported that members had been paying the dues as agreed and promptly and the total shares were at Ksh 250,000. He said the funds were in the joint bank account awaiting a project receipts were tabled as proof.                                                                                                                     Min 7/8/2016 Group Tour—Mr. Wafula, who been tasked with the responsibility of organising the group tour reported that he had already booked a hotel in Mombasa at Ksh 90,000 and the tour would commence of 2nd December 2016. He added that the tour would be for four days.

Min 17/9/2016: Issuing of Loans

It was discussed that loans given are too small and the processing of loan application takes too long. It was resoled that members be given loans three times their number of shares and the emergency loans be disbursed within a week; normal loans would be disbursed within a month from the application date.

Min 18/9/2016: Office Space and Furniture

It was discussed that with the increasing membership, office space is inadequate and the office furniture is scarcely enough. It was resolved that bigger premises be rented with at least six spacious rooms and that tables, seats and cabinets be purchased by the treasurer working with Ms Matete within a month.

Min 19/9/2016: Office Telephone

It was discussed that there is need to install office telephone to ease communication. It was resolved that it will be installed the soonest possible and that the secretary, working with the treasurer will apply for telephone tools  and network on behalf of the group on 23rd of September 2016.

Min 20/9/2016: Emerging Issues (A.O.B)

The county director promised to help the group get a stationary supply tender to all county offices in December 2016.

It was also noted that the new office secretary is a vast improvement upon the last one who was inefficient.

Min 21/9/2016: Adjournment

There being no other business, the meeting ended with a prayer from Daisy Matete at 43.30 PM. The next meeting will be held on 3rd of January 2017 from 10.00 AM TO 2.00 PM in Kendum Social Hall.


Confirmed by:                 Secretary____Date_________

Chairperson_____ Date____________



Remember that minutes are signed in the next meeting so the signing spaces are usually left blank till then.


As the secretary of the Evergreen Environmental Club, write minutes of a meeting held on 15th December 2017, whose agenda was as follows:


  1. Apologies
  2. Confirmation of minutes of the meeting of 14th November 2015
  3. Matters arising
  4. Review of tree-planting project
  5. Sourcing of club funds
  6. Collaboration with the local community
  7. Emerging issues (A.O.B)


A recipe is a set of instruction that tells you how to cook something and the items of food you need for it. A good recipe should be as precise as possible because a vague one will not help one produce a proper dish.  All the ingredients must be given as well as their respective quantities. The amounts of different items would, of course, depend on the number of people to be served.

It is important to explain how the items are mixed, for how long they should be cooked and, if possible, at what temperatures. Every step should be explained and every detail included. Any omission could be disastrous.

To cook by dry heat, usually in the oven.

Usually used generally to refer to grilling done outdoors or over an open charcoal or wood fire. More specifically, barbecue refers to long, slow direct- heat cooking, including liberal basting with a barbecue sauce.

A mixture containing flour and liquid, thin enough to pour.

To mix rapidly in order to make a mixture smooth and light by incorporating as much air as possible..

To incorporate two or more ingredients thoroughly.

To heat a liquid until bubbles break continually on the surface.

To cook on a grill under strong, direct heat.

To heat sugar in order to turn it brown and give it a special taste.

To cut solids into pieces with a sharp knife or other chopping device.

To separate and remove solids from a liquid, thus making it clear.

To soften a fat, especially butter, by beating it at room temperature. Butter and sugar are often creamed together, making a smooth, soft paste.

To preserve meats by drying and salting and/or smoking.

To dissolve the thin glaze of juices and brown bits on the surface of a pan in which food has been fried, sauteed or roasted. To do this, add liquid and stir and scrape over high heat, thereby adding flavor to the liquid for use as a sauce.

To remove fat from the surface of stews, soups, or stock. Usually cooled in the refrigerator so that fat hardens and is easily removed.

To cut food in small cubes of uniform size and shape.

To cause a dry substance to pass into solution in a liquid.

To sprinkle or coat with flour or other fine substance.

To sprinkle drops of liquid lightly over food in a casual manner.

To sprinkle food with dry ingredients. Use a strainer or a jar with a perforated cover, or try the good, old-fashioned way of shaking things together in a paper bag.

As a verb, to remove the bones from meat or fish. A fillet (or filet) is the piece of flesh after it has been boned.

To break lightly into small pieces.

To flame foods by dousing in some form of potable alcohol and setting alight.

To incorporate a delicate substance, such as whipped cream or beaten egg whites, into another substance without releasing air bubbles. Cut down through mixture with spoon, whisk, or fork; go across bottom of bowl, up and over, close to surface. The process is repeated, while slowing rotating the bowl, until the ingredients are thoroughly blended.

To cook by braising; usually applied to fowl or rabbit.

To cook in hot fat. To cook in a fat is called pan-frying or sauteing; to cook in a one-to-two inch layer of hot fat is called shallow-fat frying; to cook in a deep layer of hot fat is called deep-fat frying.

To decorate a dish both to enhance its appearance and to provide a flavorful foil. Parsley, lemon slices, raw vegetables, chopped chives, and other herbs are all forms of garnishes.

To cook with a thin sugar syrup cooked to crack stage; mixture may be thickened slightly. Also, to cover with a thin, glossy icing.

To rub on a grater that separates the food in various sizes of bits or shreds.

From the French word for “crust.” Term used to describe any oven-baked dish–usually cooked in a shallow oval gratin dish–on which a golden brown crust of bread crumbs, cheese or creamy sauce is form.

To cook on a grill over intense heat.

To process solids by hand or mechanically to reduce them to tiny particles.

To cut vegetables, fruits, or cheeses into thin strips.

To work and press dough with the palms of the hands or mechanically, to develop the gluten in the flour.

Neither cool nor warm; approximately body temperature.

To flavor and moisturize pieces of meat, poultry, seafood or vegetable by soaking them in or brushing them with a liquid mixture of seasonings known as a marinade. Dry marinade mixtures composed of salt, pepper, herbs or spices may also be rubbed into meat, poultry or seafood.

Dredged with flour and sauteed in butter.

To cut or chop food into extremely small pieces.

To combine ingredients usually by stirring.

To cook uncovered in a hot fry pan, pouring off fat as it accumulates.

To cook in small amounts of fat.

To boil until partially cooked; to blanch. Usually this procedure is followed by final cooking in a seasoned sauce.

To remove the outermost skin of a fruit or vegetable.

To remove the peels from vegetables or fruits.

To preserve meats, vegetables, and fruits in brine.

A pinch is the trifling amount you can hold between your thumb and forefinger.

To mash foods until perfectly smooth by hand, by rubbing through a sieve or food mill, or by whirling in a blender or food processor..

To run cold water over food that has been parboiled, to stop the cooking process quickly.

To make solid fat into liquid by melting it slowly.

To cook by dry heat in an oven.

To cook and/or brown food in a small amount of hot fat.

To cut or tear in small, long, narrow pieces.

To put one or more dry ingredients through a sieve or sifter.

To cook slowly in liquid over low heat at a temperature of about 180°. The surface of the liquid should be barely moving, broken from time to time by slowly rising bubbles.

To remove impurities, whether scum or fat, from the surface of a liquid during cooking, thereby resulting in a clear, cleaner-tasting final produce.

To cook in steam in a pressure cooker, deep well cooker, double boiler, or a steamer made by fitting a rack in a kettle with a tight cover. A small amount of boiling water is used, more water being added during steaming process, if necessary.

To extract color, flavor, or other qualities from a substance by leaving it in water just below the boiling point.

To destroy micro organisms by boiling, dry heat, or steam.

To simmer slowly in a small amount of liquid for a long time.

To mix ingredients with a circular motion until well blended or of uniform consistency.

To combine ingredients with a lifting motion.



A friend of yours visited you recently and thoroughly enjoyed the meal you prepared. He has requested you for its recipe to prepare a similar meal for four people. Write the recipe.


Stewed Beef to serve Four People


Meat is one of the commonest foods worldwide. Stewed beef is a common meal in Kenya especially served during lunch and supper or any dinner. The meal should not be eaten frequently in large quantities because of health concerns but at most twice a week. In small quantities it can be eaten every day.


500 grams beef

1 large onion

3 medium sized tomatoes

I bunch coriander leaves

Half a teaspoon royco

1 dessert spoon cooking fat

Salt to taste

Two teaspoonfuls of gravy


  1. Wash the beef
  2. Remove fats from the beef by cutting it out where possible
  3. Chop the beef into mouthful pieces
  4. Put the pieces in a pan and add cook on a dry pan till the meat is tender
  5. Add cooking fat and fry till it turns golden brown
  6. Dice onions and add to the cooking meat, fry till they also turn golden brown
  7. Grate tomatoes and add to the mixture; fry till they are part of the meat stew
  8. Add royco and coriander cut in small pieces.
  9. Add gravy and salt to taste
  10. Leave the meat to simmer for two minutes

The stewed beef can be served while hot with Chapati


Argumentative Essay

In life there are issues such as abortion, alcoholism and sex that require one to form an opinion. And for one to win others over to his side, he needs to argue out or form an argument to persuade others to his side. An argumentative essay is therefore meant to persuade other people or woo them to be part of a certain belief or opinion.

The Structure


Just like in speech writing, an argumentative essay should carry a title that summarises its argument.


The introduction should appeal to the emotions of the reader. The tone should be sincere because it is important for the reader to trust what you are saying.


In the body, you need to emphasise your appeal to reason rather than feelings. Give specific facts, examples and ideas that are logical.

–List advantages and disadvantages

–Include statistics if possible

–Do not exaggerate facts, for example by overgeneralization like all men are unfaithful

–Be prepared to make concessions or compromises if the opposite side has valid points e.g. We acknowledge the fact that politics favours the rich but revolutions do not solve…

–Refer to authority and give references to support your arguments so that it doesn’t look like you rae the only one advocating for something.

–Organise your points from the least to the most important.


A good conclusion restates in a memorable way what the argument is about

Essays Based on Set Texts

When writing essays based on set books

  1. The first step is always to read and understand the question well.
  2. Underline the key words in the question and what they command you to do e.g.

Write an essay to show the evils of corruption in a society as brought out in the play Betrayal in the City by Francis Imbuga.

In the above essay question the key words are underlined.

  1. Write an introduction. The introduction should be less than six lines and should interpret the question by giving a general example from real life or paraphrase the question in a general way. E.g.

Societies suffer rising unemployment and lack of development among other evils when individuals charged with managing public funds and resources embezzle or misappropriate the funds for personal use.  This situation is evident in the play Betrayal in the City by Francis Imbuga as argued below:

–Avoid using the same words used in the question when writing an introduction

  1. Construct the topic sentence that would run across the answers. The topic sentence captures the key words in the answer as reflected in the question which means the sentence replaces the underlined words, where necessary, with the issues under discussion in the paragraph e.g.

Unemployment (represents the key word evil) is rampant in Kafira because of corruption.

This sentence will run across the essay with four different issues that represent evil under discussion being highlighted. The topic sentence must be a sentence and not a subtitle like ‘unemployment.  E.g.

Unemployment is rampant in Kafira because of corruption. Then three illustrations to show this

Inefficiency in government is brought about by corruption. Then three illustrations

Some killings in Kafira are as a consequence of corruption. Explanations…

Under-development is caused by corruption…….

  1. The body should carry 4 paragraphs. Each paragraph should have a topic sentence and a detailed explanation and illustrations of the point being argued. Each point can score a maximum of three marks if well explained and with a proper topic sentence. The points are graded by

— Full (well explained)

–Fair (Fairly explained)

— Thin (Not well explained but there is an attempt)

–Unpointed (misunderstood the question)

— Narration (Key words not captured in the answer)

–T.E (You cannot remember details from the story well so you quote or use details that are not in the book)

Vague (whatever is written is not clear or is confusing)

  1. The conclusion of the essay should be brief and concluding words should be used. Such words are

In conclusion… To conclude… In summary… To sum up… etc

The conclusion should agree with the key argument of the question and mention two or three points discussed as evidence. The conclusion should be less than five lines. E.g.

To conclude, it is true that corruption is the source of evils like lack of development and unemployment in societies.  A good conclusion just like a good introduction would score a full ( 2 marks) a fair one will score one mark.


The words few, a few, little and a little are known as quantifiers.

Few and a few are used with count nouns like a few desks, few boys etc while a little and little are used with no count nouns or mass nouns like a little water, little milk etc.

–Few and little have negative meaning and usage. Few means not many or not enough; little means not much or not enough as well. A few and a little have a positive meaning and they do not have comparatives and superlatives.  These words are also used as comparatives and superlatives e.g.


Little—less—least /littlest

There are few girls in class. (not enough to be taught)

There are a few students in class. (they are enough for a lesson)

There is little water in the cup. (not enough to quench thirst)

There is a little tea in the flask; you can take. (it is enough)

–Few and little can be used with intensifiers such as quite, too and very but a little and a few cannot. e.g.

The crops dried up because there was too little water in the soil.

We have very little money left.

The matatus that are back on the road are quite few.

Taking Part in an Interview


Imagine that an NGO in your area is looking for a form four leaver to educate the local community on ways of combating Malaria. Briefly explain how you would behave in an interview room.

  1. a) Gather information about the institution that has invited you and their area of interest. Also gather information about the general questions people ask in interviews and their appropriate answers.
  2. b) On the day of he interview, dress smartly, decently and formally. This communicates a lot about your personality—first impression is always important.
  3. c) Practice addressing an imaginary crowd to build your confidence and use of body language.
  4. d) Arrive on time to calm down and familiarize yourself with the area.
  5. e) When ushered into the interview room, greet the interviewers and remain standing till you are offered a seat. Warmly respond to the welcoming gestures.
  6. f) Sit upright and express your confidence by avoiding fidgeting, shuffling of feet etc.
  7. g) Avoid short inadequate answers.
  8. h) Maintain eye contact with interviewers and respond to questions confidently.
  9. i) Do not chew.
  10. j) If you are not sure about answers to some questions, be honest and admit it.
  11. k) Use polite language in your responses; do not feel offended by any question.
  12. l) Observe the interviewers cues—know when to speak like when the interviewer nods his head, and when to leave.
  13. m) Listen keenly to questions and comments.

As an interviewer

–Be friendly and prepared to ask questions

–research on the topic

–Be tactful, especially when asking simple questions.

–Listen to the interviewee—do not talk to much or carry prejudices be open minded and fair.


Your school is recruiting a new school captain. The principal and the prefect body are conducting interviews for this recruitment. You are interested in the post. Write an interview that may take place in the interview room.

Marking scheme

–the interviewee should say something about herself

–the body will have questions and answers concerning duties of a school captain and the role of prefects in the school

–She will be asked how she can deal with specific tricky situations if appointed e.g. a strike.

–She will be asked about why she is interested in leadership and her motivation to apply

–She will answer why she thinks she is the best person and not others

–She will answer what challenges she will be expecting and how to handle them like how to balance academics and leadership

–She will be asked, supposed she is not given the post she wanted but given a lesser one?

— In conclusion, one interviewer can thank the interviewee for coming

–The lead interviewer would inform the interviewee how she would receive communication if successful or not.


An e-mail is an electronic mail or letter. These letters are passed electronically by the use of computer network.  Unlike  the postal mail, e-mails are faster and can be accessed by the recipient  at different  geographical locations.

To write an email one needs the following:

  1. An email address e.g. [email protected]
  2. A password that protects your email from those who are not supposed to access it.
  3. The email address of the one you are writing to e.g. [email protected]
  4. The subject of the email

When you write an email

  1. a) The message should be brief, clear and relevant
  2. b) Use the right tone
  3. c) It should be free of mistakes
  4. d) Do not write everything in capital letters—write the way you write a letter.
  5. e) Sign off using one name and the word regards e.g.



CC  is carbon copies and is meant to show that the very copy of the email has been sent to other email addresses listed under the title cc. If the email is only one copy the title cc is left blank.


TO: [email protected]

FROM: [email protected]


SUBJECT: Annual Reports

DATE: October 1st 2017

Dear Wekulo,

This is to inform you that our annual marketing report will be due in the Director’s office by the end of the month. I will be grateful if you forwarded your regional reports to reach my office not later than Wednesday 5th 2017.

Thank you for your co-operation.




You have seen an advertisement for several vacancies in the ministry of medical services. Those interested are supposed to submit their applications via email to the head of human resource in the ministry whose email address is [email protected] . You are a qualified nurse and interested. Apply for the job.


A questionnaire is a set of printed questions systematically arranged for the purpose of obtaining information from respondents.


  1. The title of the project and its sponsorship. This is written on the first page e.g.


  1. Introduction—there should be an introduction to the project. It can be used to show the importance of the project and to instruct the respondent on how to answer questions.
  2. Structure
  3. a) Arrange questions in a logical order beginning with personal information such as gender, age, level of education etc. This is factual information and less demanding.
  4. b) Progress towards questions demanding greater details, opinions or thought i.e open questions as opposed to closed questions. g.
  5. Name of your town.
  6. Do you have any street lights?
  7. What would you say are the reasons for incidents of crime in your area?
  8. What advice would you offer the police department on crime management ?
  9. c) Questionnaires can be designed in such a way that the respondents simply tick the response they favour e.g.

Please tick the appropriate box

Gender:  Female □ Male □

Married: Yes □ No □

  1. d) Other questions may be framed in such a way as to grade a respondent’s attitude or feelings towards something e.g.

School uniform should be made compulsory for all learning institutions (Tick one)

Strongly Agree □

Agree □

Disagree □

Strongly disagree □

Doesn’t matter □


  1. e) Keep the questionnaire to an appropriate length. People do not have time to keep on turning the pages.
  2. f) Use culturally appropriate language and do not patronize the respondents.
  3. g) Responding to questionnaires takes time and intrudes on the people’s privacy. You should therefore show appreciation for the respondent’s efforts.
  4. h) It is also useful to give your respondent an idea as to how the result of the questionnaire might be of benefit to them.


Imagine you have been asked to look into the effects of romantic relationships on high school students. Prepare a questionnaire that will help you collect information you require.


Curriculum vitae, sometimes called a resume, is a brief account of your education and career. It is a document that gives a potential employer a picture of a prospective employee. It is therefore meant to sell you as a worthy product. To achieve this, it must be planned carefully.

Normally, a CV organises information into the following headlines: Personal details, contact details, education, work experience, special skills and referees.

These headings should be highlighted, for example, by underlining, capitalization or bolding so that they stand out. Whether you place education or work experience first depends on which one is stronger for you. For example, if you have just finished school, put education first. Note that while some people arrange educational qualification and employment experience in the order in which they were acquired, many others prefer to put the most recent ones first.









Field Economics
Current Address P.O Box 9742-00100, Nairobi, Kenya

Mobile: 0725950083

E-mail: [email protected]


Marital status Single
Nationality Kenyan
Identity Number 23358787
Religion Christian
Date of birth 12/05/1983
Languages (Spoken and written) English, Kiswahili
Career Aspiration Economist



Proficient in Research, Teaching, Training, Planning, Organizing, Coordinating skills, Administration, Statistical analysis using SPSS, E-views and STATA, Report Writing, Preparation of Presentation material, Leadership skills, Teamwork, Decision Making skills, and Effective Communication .



  • Teaching
  • Data entry and analysis
  • Writing of scientific papers
  • Report writing
  • Writing of project reports







University of Nairobi 


PhD in Economics


Collaborative PhD Programme in Economics (CPP) sponsored and managed by the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC)



University of Nairobi 


Masters of Arts in Economics


June 24, 2007 to September 30, 2007: Africa Economic Research Consortium (AERC)


Collaborative Masters Programme in Economics (CMAP) for Anglophone countries expect Nigeria; Joint Facility for Electives (JFE)


Specialized in:

  • Health Economics


  • Corporate Finance and Investments






University of Nairobi

B.A (Economics Major, Sociology Minor)

First Class honors



Moi Girls’ Secondary School


Mean grade B – (Minus)


Misikhu Boarding Primary School


Mean Grade B (Plain)



Other Certification

  • Computer Literacy (Windows XP/2000, Internet and E-mail, Ms- Word, Ms-Excel, Ms-PowerPoint)
  • Statistical packages (E-views, STATA, SAM and SPSS)




  • Ability to take initiative and inspire others
  • Ability to mix and adjust quite fast with different people
  • Ability to cope with flexible task, travel long distances and work odd hours.
  • Ability to be proactive and highlight problem areas.


2006/07-2007/08 Awarded University of Nairobi Scholarship.

2009-2013 Awarded African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) PhD scholarship




  1. Participated in the Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE) workshop from Sunday 20 to Tuesday 22 March at the St. Catherine College, Oxford
  2. Participated in the AERC International Conference on Natural Resource Management and Climate Change in Africa from September 15th 2008 to September 17th 2008 at intercontinental Hotel, Nairobi



  1. August 2008-Date Part time Lecturer at the University of Nairobi, School of Economics.
  2. June, 2010 – September, 2010 International Development Research Centre (IDRC) as a consultant in the Eco-health program. Involved in management of concept notes and report writing


Reading novels, listening to music, watching soap operas and reading educational and professional journals

SPORTS: Netball





Professor Gamiano Mwabu,


University of Nairobi,

P.O Box 30197,


E-mail [email protected]

Tel 0721565387




Dr Damiano Kulundu Manda,

Manager, Research,

African Economic Research Consortium,

P.O Box


E-Mail [email protected]

Tel. 0721553635


Dr. Adolf F. Mukenda,

Senior Lecturer in Economics and Head of the Department,

P.O Box 35045,

University of Dar es Salaam


[email protected]

Tel +255754489275



Imagine that you have done KCSE exam and passed. You see an advertisement in a local daily of a position that you qualify for. You decide to apply for it. Write a resume/CV that would be attached to your letter of application.

Question KCSE 2012

Read the advertisement below and answer the question that follow.

The Electoral Commission is currently seeking to recruit 800 clerical officers, who will work closely with the commission for two months to register voters in preparation for elections. The clerks will be expected to prepare a voters register.

Applicants must be :

Citizens of Kenya

–18 years and above

–Fluent in Swahili and English

–In possession of KCSE grade C and above

–Computer literate

–Able to work with little or no supervision

Interested candidates are required to send their applications to the following address so as to reach the commision by 30th, November 2015. The Chief Executive Officer, Electoral Commision, P.O. BOX 679439-010


  1. a) Write an application letter in response to the advertisement.
  2. b) Write an accompanying curriculum vitae.

Book Review

A book review is an advertisement for the book. It is a report or a critique giving a person’s opinion about a book or a film.

–After publication, a book should be reviewed to

  1. a) Publicize it
  2. b) Get to know its suitability to the readers
  3. c) Know the background information on the author
  4. d) Assess the relevance of the contents to the public
  5. e) Determine the price

When reviewing a book, point out the following:

–the title of the book

–Its author or playwright


–Date of publication


–the reviewer

When reviewing the book, a summary of the book should be given. The summary should be done in form of a synopsis. The summary should highlight major themes and state what the book is all about.

The book review should also point out an aspect of the book that is striking or original. This could be: style, characterization, setting etc

–Assess in your own opinion, whether the book is successful or not giving valid reasons e.g. The book is fun for children because it is full of juvenile mischief etc.



Title: Who am I? The Story of Barack Obama

Author: Phillis Andrews

Publisher: East African Educational Publishers

Reviewer: Okong’o Nyanduki Sheila

Date of Publication: April 23, 2010

Price: Ksh 500

This book, used in more than 600 schools in the US, is a biography of Barack Obama for elementary school children. Using colour photographs and text, it tells how Obama struggled to define himself as a black child in a white world. Starting with his birth to a white mother and a black Kenyan father, it follows the fascinating story from his early life in Hawaii to his move to Indonesia and the rich cultural differences he experienced there. Children will be intrigued by the way Obama dealt with his return to Hawaii at age ten as an outsider. They will learn how he managed to surmount many odds to become President of the United States. This is an inspirational story for children of all backgrounds. The colour photographs of Obama as a child and throughout his life allow children to understand and identify with the 44th President. This book can be read by children as young as seven but is appreciated as a photo biography by children in the upper elementary grades. The actual reading level is grade 3-4.



A biography is an account of someone’s life history written by someone else. It is normally a true story. The writer of a biography is called a biographer. Writing a biography gives us a sense of setting, time and place of major events in a person’s life. The story usually starts with his or her birth as a major event.

Points to consider when interviewing the subject for a biography

  1. Select a person you are interested in. Be friendly.
  2. Spend time with the subject.
  3. Be creative in setting up your interview so that it doesn’t seem so formal.
  4. Give the subject all your attention. Talk less and listen more.
  5. Be tactful especially when asking tricky or uncomfortable questions especially questions that touch on their weakness.
  6. Do not be afraid to ask dumb questions i.e those that would be touching on someone’s weakness.
  7. Note down facts, especially specific dates of relevant events and where possible verify with other sources.
  8. Make a list of questions you would like to ask.
  9. Do prior research to enable you have background information to enhance your interview.
  10. Read newspapers, magazines, internet sources etc as well as listening to tapes and watching videos about the person if they are available.
  11. Interview family members and friends also to get alternative views on the subject.
  12. Research on the historical period when the subject lived and worked so as to understand the socio-political influences on the decisions he took.
  13. Be objective—tell the truth basing on your on your findings i.e. strengths an weaknesses.
  14. Write a first draft, proof-read then write a final copy in prose.
  15. Try as much to stay creative and entertaining as you tell the story.
  16. You can divide the life of your subject into sections or memoirs i.e Childhood Adulthood etc.
  17. A biographer strives to bring to life the most significant moment of his or her subject.
  18. A eulogy is a short biography.


An autobiography is the history/ story of a person written by that person. The authors of autobiographies describe events and people they think influenced their lives.  They are based on facts and are therefore referred to as non-fiction.


  1. Date of birth
  2. Place of birth
  3. Early childhood
  4. Schools attended
  5. Favourite subjects
  6. Interests in life and dreams
  7. Sports and hobbies
  8. Memorable events in your life
  9. Careers
  10. Family members
  11. Where you lived

The author describes events in the order in which they occurred. Interesting details are highlighted, often humorous stories to enliven the piece of writing.

Auto biographers write to justify their lives—what they have done. They look at themselves as people who have lived interesting and important lives. They are characters in their own works. They select events and details they serve to embrace their artistic purpose of the work, namely making an important statement about life.


Biography Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa was born in 1910 in Skopje, capital of the Republic of Macedonia. Little is known about her early life, but at a young age she felt a calling to be a nun and serve through helping the poor. At the age of 18 she was given permission to join a group of nuns in Ireland. After a few months of training, with the Sisters of Loreto, she was then given permission to travel to India. She took her formal religious vows in 1931, and chose to be named after St Therese of Lisieux – the patron saint of missionaries.

On her arrival in India, she began by working as a teacher, however the widespread poverty of Calcutta made a deep impression on her and this led to her starting a new order called “The Missionaries of Charity”. The primary objective of this mission was to look after people, who nobody else was prepared to look after. Mother Teresa felt that serving others was a key principle of the teachings of Jesus Christ.

She experienced two particularly traumatic periods in Calcutta. The first was the Bengal famine of 1943 and the second was the Hindu/Muslim violence in 1946, before the partition of India. In 1948, she left the convent to live full-time among the poorest of Calcutta. She chose to wear a white Indian sari, with a blue border, out of respect for the traditional Indian dress. For many years, Mother Teresa and a small band of fellow nuns survived on minimal income and food, often having to beg for funds. But, slowly her efforts with the poorest were noted and appreciated by the local community and Indian politicians.

In 1952, she opened her first home for the dying, which allowed people to die with dignity. Mother Teresa often spent time with those who were dying. Some have criticised the lack of proper medical attention, and their refusal to give painkillers. Others say that it afforded many neglected people the opportunity to die knowing that someone cared.

Over time the work grew. Missions were started overseas, and by 2013, there are 700 missions operating in over 130 countries. The scope of their work also expanded to include orphanages, and hospices for those with terminal illnesses.

Mother Teresa never sought to convert those of another faith. Those in her hospices were given the religious rites appropriate to their faith. However, she had a very firm Catholic faith and took a strict line on abortion, the death penalty and divorce – even if her position was unpopular. Her whole life was influenced by her faith and religion, even though at times she confessed she didn’t feel the presence of God.

The Missionaries of Charity now has branches throughout the world including branches in the developed world where they work with the homeless and people affected with AIDS. In 1965, the organisation became an International Religious Family by a decree of Pope Paul VI.

In the 1960s, the life of Mother Teresa was first brought to a wider public attention by Malcolm Muggeridge who wrote a book and produced a documentary called “Something Beautiful for God”.

In 1979, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize “for work undertaken in the struggle to overcome poverty and distress, which also constitutes a threat to peace.” She didn’t attend the ceremonial banquet, but asked that the $192,000 fund be given to the poor.

In later years, she was more active in western developed countries. She commented that though the West was materially prosperous, there was often a spiritual poverty.

“The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.”

-— Mother Teresa

When she was asked how to promote world peace, she replied,”Go home and love your family”.

Over the last two decades of her life, Mother Teresa suffered various health problems but nothing could dissuade her from fulfilling her mission of serving the poor and needy. Until her very last illness she was active in travelling around the world to the different branches of The Missionaries of Charity. During her last few years, she met Princess Diana in the Bronx, New York. The two died within a week of each other.

Following Mother Teresa’s death the Vatican began the process of beatification, which is the second step on the way to canonisation and sainthood. Mother Teresa was formally beatified in October 2003 by Pope John Paul II. In September 2015, Pope Francis declared:


Giving Directions

Directions are explanations on how to carry out a certain task such as preparing a seedbed, mending a bicycle or reaching a certain place.

Qualities of Good Directions

They should be simple and clear

–The instructor should be knowledgeable on the subject matter

–Instructions should be given step by step and in the correct order

–Emphasis the critical points that the listener must know or must handle with caution

–Confirm from the listener if every step is clear

When giving directions

–Note the landmarks along the way

–Give estimates of time and distance from one stop to another

–Give directions in relation to sides e.g. turn left or right

–Advice of the availability of certain means of transport e.g. take a boda boda

–Always give directions from the starting point that is familiar

–Do not give options because they tend to confuse someone—just give the easiest way When receiving instructions

–Be attentive and take notes

–Seek clarification on any area that might not be clear

–Pay close attention to the instructor’s gestures and body language

–Repeat the instructions if possible to confirm that you have understood them.


Internal memo or just memo is an internal communication document within an organisation or institution. It is used to pass information within different offices of the same institution and not beyond. The information could be a short report, instructions, reminders or suggestions.

Usually, a given organisation has a standard form used for internal communications. This form may vary from one organisation to another.

Basically the internal memo has the following:

  1. The name of the organisation or institution printed at the top. This should be capitalized and in bold or underlined. E.g.


                       Internal memo

  1. The subheading ‘internal Memo’ printed below the name of the institution.
  2. Below the heading, the following information will appear
  3. a) Reference number of the communication memo
  4. b) The title and name to whom the memo is addressed.
  5. c) Title and name of other people who have been sent a similar copy of information or need to know about the communication.
  6. d) Name and position of the sender
  7. e) Date in full of communication
  8. f) Title of subject of the memo
  9. g) The message itself o r contents

The contents of a memo are usually very formal brief and direct.


                        KYANGULI SECONDAY SCHOOL

Internal memo

REF/NO: 33/06/2017

TO: All prefects

FROM: The deputy Principal

CC: Julius Opondo—The Principal

DATE: 12TH JULY 2017


SUBJECT: School Uniforms

It has been observed that prefects have stopped wearing their proper school uniforms. This is disturbing as a prefect is a model for the rest of the school community. I request those concerned to stop this habit.


James Okiru


–The date should be written in full

–The subject of the memo should be brief and concise.

–The message should be written clearly.

–There is no complementary closing such as Your Faithfully. All memos must be signed. Write your name without indicating the designation then as you sign off, you need to indicate your designation below he signature e.g. FROM: Head of Physics

Signing off


Josephat Lagat




Internal memo

REF/NO: 67/5/2017

TO: Bursar

FROM: Josephat Lagat

CC: Principal

DATE: 10th June 2017


SUBJECT: Hire of Transport

Fifteen students from our school will be taking part in the inter-school debating competition scheduled for 18th June at Emeraid High School from 9.00 AM. They will be accompanied by two teachers from the department.

Kindly make arrangements to hire transport for the event.

Thank you.


Head of Languages


  1. You are the chairperson of environmental club of your school. You have noticed that many of your classmates are not keeping the compound, dormitories and classrooms clean. You have been authorized by the principal to write a memo to all the prefects on this. Write the memo.
  2. Imagine you are the Head Prefect; prepare a memo notifying other students of changes in the school diet.



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