KCSE 2019 English Paper 3 Questions With Marking Scheme

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Answer three questions only.

  1. Imaginative Composition (Compulsory) (20 marks)

      1. Write a story beginning with the following sentence:
        I was mistaken to have thought that the night would be like other peaceful nights.

      1. Write a composition on the advantages and disadvantages of the internet.
  2. The Compulsory Set Text (20 marks)

    H.R. Ole Kulet, Blossoms of the Savannah

    Irresponsible decisions can lead to serious consequences. Referring closely to H.R. Ole Kulet in Blossoms of the Savannah, write an essay in support of this statement.
  3. The Optional Set Texts (20 marks)

    Answer any one of the following three questions.

    1. The Short Story

      Moran (Ed.), Memories We Lost and Other Stories

      Write a composition on the evils of war, using illustrations from "The President" by Mariatu Kamara

    1. Drama

      David Mulwa, Inheritance

      Ill-gotten wealth can never bring true happiness. Write a composition in support of this statement, drawing examples from Lucuna Kasoo's life.

    1. The Novel

      John Steinbeck, The Pearl

      Desire without limits can be a source of agony both to ourselves and our family members. Using illustrations from The Pearl, write an essay in support of this statement


Paper 101/3 is intended to test the candidates' ability to communicate in writing. Communication is established at different levels of intelligibility, correctness, accuracy, fluency, pleasantness and originality. Within the constraints set by each question, it is the linguistic competence shown by the candidate that should carry most of the marks.

Examiners should not hesitate to use the full range of marks for each essay.

It is important to determine first how each essay communicates and in which category A, B, C or D it fits.

(The marks indicated below are for question one.)

D CLASS (01-05)

The candidate either does not communicate at all or his language ability is so minimal that the examiner practically has to guess what the candidate wants to say. The candidate fails to fit the English words he knows into meaningful sentences. The subject is glanced at or distorted. Practically no valid punctuation. All kinds of errors. ("Broken English").

D 01-02

Chaotic, little meaning whatsoever. Question paper or some words from it simply copied.

D 03

Flow of thought almost impossible to follow. The errors are continuous.

D+ 04-05

Although the English is often broken and the essay is full of errors of all types, we can at least guess what the candidate wants to say.

C CLASS (06-10)

The candidate communicates understandably but only more or less clearly. He is not confident with his language. The subject is often undeveloped. There may be some digressions. Unnecessary repetitions are frequent. The arrangement is weak and the flow jerky. There is no economy of language; mother tongue influence is felt.

C−  06-07

The candidate obviously finds it difficult to communicate his/her ideas. He/she is seriously hampered by his/her very limited knowledge of structure and vocabulary. This results in many gross errors of agreement, spelling, misuse of prepositions, tenses, verb agreement and sentence construction.

C 08

The candidate communicates but not with consistent clarity. His/her linguistic abilities being very limited, he/she cannot avoid frequent errors in sentence structure. There is little variety or originality. Very bookish English, links are weak, incorrect, repeated at times.

C+  09-10

The candidate communicates clearly but in a flat and uncertain manner. Simple concepts sentence forms are often strained. There may be an overuse of clichés, unsuitable idioms. Proverbs are misquoted or misinterpreted. The flow is still jerky. There are some errors of agreement, tenses and spelling.

B CLASS (11-15)

This class is characterized by greater fluency and ease of expression. The candidate demonstrates that he/she can use English as a normal way of expressing himself/herself. Sentences are varied and usually well-constructed. Some candidates become ambitious and even over ambitious. There may be items of merit of the one word or one expression type. Many essays in this category may be just clean and unassuming but they still show that the candidate is at ease with the language. There may be a tendency to under mark such essays. Give credit for tone.

B− 11-12

The candidate communicates fairly and with some fluency. There may be little variety in sentence structure. Gross errors are still found occasionally, but this must not be over punished by the examiner.

B 13

The sentences are varied but rather simple and straight forward. The candidate does not strain himself in an effort to impress. There is a fair range of vocabulary and idiom. Natural and effortless. Some items of merit, economy of language.

B+ 14-15

The candidate communicates his ideas pleasantly and without strain. There are errors and slips. Tenses, spelling and punctuation are quite good. A number of items of merit of the whole sentence or the whole expression" type.

A CLASS (16-20)

The candidate communicates not only fluently but attractively, with originality and efficiency. He/She has the ability to make us share his deep feelings, emotions and enthusiasms. He/She expresses himself freely and without any visible constraint. The script gives evidence of maturity, good planning and often humour. Many items of merit which indicate that the candidate has complete command of the language. There is no strain, just pleasantness, clever arrangement, felicity of expression.

A− 16-17

The candidate shows competence and fluency in using the language. He may lack imagination or originality which usually provide the "spark" in such essays. Vocabulary, idiom, sentence structure, links, variety are impressive. Gross errors are very rare.
Positive ability. A few errors that are felt to be slips. The story or argument has a definite impact. No grammar problem. Variety of structures. A definite spark. Many margin ticks.

A+ 19-20

The candidate communicates not only information and meaning, but also the candidate's whole self: his/her feelings, tastes, points of view, youth, culture. This ability to communicate deeply may express itself in a wide range of effective vocabulary, original approach, vivid and sustained account in the case of a narrative, well developed and ordered argument in the case of a debate or discussion. Errors and slips should not deprive the candidate of the full marks he deserves. A very definite spark.


 A  A+  19-20
   A  18
   A  16-17
 B  B+  14-15
   B  13
   B  11-12
 C  C+  09-10
  C  08
  C  06-07
 D D+  04-05
  D  03
  D  00-02


  1. The main signs used to indicate the degrees of seriousness of an error.





      A vertical wavy line in the margin is used only when a construction error affects more than one line.
  2. The following symbols may also be used.
    2. REPETITION — (of words) a circle around the word
      R - (of ideas) usually in the margin
    3. ILLEGIBILITY (ILL) — (of ideas) usually in the margin (If it affects more than one line)
    4. VAGUENESS (V) — vague in the margin)
    5. WRONG WORD ORDER (WO) - Underline once and write W.O. in the margin
    6. ILLOGICAL or CONTRADICTORY (ILL)-(in the margin)
    7. BROKEN ENGLISH (BR) - when the candidate fails to communicate BR in margin.
      1. COW (done by the TL) to indicate that a candidate has cancelled his/her work.
      2. BRACKETS [ ] indicate a part of a D script that communicates.
      3. * Use an asterisk to indicate an item or a sentence that the rubrics indicate should be used
  3. TO INDICATE AN ITEM OF MERIT use a tick (√) either above a word or in the margin for the whole sentence.


  1. Almost any error of agreement
  2. Serious tense error
  3. Errors of elementary vocabulary: spelling and misuse
  4. Punctuation errors or missing punctuation which causes serious lack of communication.
  5. Elementary errors of sentence construction. f) Ridiculous use of idiom that affects communication.
  6. Misuse of common prepositions
  7. Contracted forms
  8. Misuse of capital letters - Use CAPS. Underline the first page and use CAPS on subsequent pages where the mistake persists.


  1. Read and decide on the degree of communication achieved, A-D
  2. After underlining decide on the mark category c) Allocate a numerical mark to the essay.


All problem scripts must be marked by the examiner and then sent to the Team Leader with comments.

    1. Consistent distortion of question, evasion of question, writing on a totally different subject with a clumsy attempt at connecting the essay to the subject given, inclusion of memorized passages, etc.
    2. The question is given an unacceptable or questionable interpretation.
    3. Essays contain long, semi-irrelevant digressions or lack coherence.

      The examiner marks the essay, gives a linguistic mark and comments on the nature of the irrelevancy. The essay is then passed over to the team leader who judges whether the irrelevancy should be judged as a deliberate attempt to deceive or should be attributed to the candidate's poor understanding of the subject. Deduct up to 4 marks for irrelevancy in the essay. If dishonesty is suspected, the Chief Examiner should be informed. Any deduction of 3 marks or more should be referred to the Chief Examiner.
    Since the rubrics may change from year to year, the POINTS OF INTEPRETATION that are part of this MARKING SCHEME must be consulted and adhered to faithfully. Here are some general rules that usually apply.
    1. Read and decide on the category D+, D or D
    2. Mark the errors on all the pages of the essay.
    3. Team leaders should look at a good number of those scripts and ensure that the mark given is fair.
    It should be remembered that the main quality of an essay is how effectively it communicates. If an essay looks too short, the examiner should take the time to count the exact number of words. The essay should not exceed 450 words.


A good number of words and expressions are understood and currently used by all Kenyans. They can be used in essays without any need for quotation marks or explanations. We can include among those:
panga, rungu, shamba, murram, matatu
wananchi, ugali, madarasa, harambee, matoke
maendeleo ya wanawake, salaam, ayah, askari
debe, duka, Nyayo, boma, sukumawiki, goat party, manyatta, magendo


Although "English" spelling is more common than "American" spelling in Kenya, examiners should accept both spellings and no penalty should be given for such variations. Penalize for lack of consistency in usage of either.


    1. — It must be a story. If not 4 marks AD.
      — Must be begin with the statement. If not deduct 2marks AD.
      — The story should give an account of an unpleasant encounter at night.
    2. — It must be a discursive essay. If not duct 4 marks AD.
      — It must capture both advantages and disadvantages of the internet. If not 2 marks AD
  2. H.R. Ole Kulet, Blossoms of the Savannah

    Decisions are part of life. We make decisions about what we eat, what we wear, what job to take and how to bring up our families. However, sometimes we make irresponsible decisions that leave us and our immediate family members very unhappy. These irresponsible decisions and regrettable consequences are aptly captured in Ole Kulet's Blossoms of the Savannah. (Accept any other relevant introduction-2 marks)

    Having been retrenched, Parsimei Ole Kaleo decides to relocate to Nasila. He plans to settle and begin a business of selling agricultural inputs such as pesticides and fertilizer. The desire to grow rich quick makes him get into business deals with Oloisudori, a very corrupt man. Ole Kaelo's friend, Supeyo, warns him against his closeness with Oloisudori, but he refuses to take heed. Oloisudori supplies Ole Kaelo with stock only to come later and make outrageous demands that Ole Kaelo cannot meet. Oloisudori wants to be paid what Ole Kaelo owes him. On seeing Resian, he changes his mind and wants Ole Kaelo to give him the daughter to marry instead. This leads to disagreements between father and daughter and finally Resian flees from home. (Pp23-26, 64-65, 92-95, 97-98, 100-101, 107-109, 110-111, 119-120, 170-172, 175, 179-180, 194, 208-210).

    Ole Kacio, refuses to take his daughters to the university. Instead, he glorifies in immersing them into Nasila culture. He even instructs Parmuat to teach his daughters what is expected of a Nasila woman. Resian has a burning desire for further education but her father would hear none of it. Ole Kaelo also does not object to Oloisudori's suggestion to have Resian as his wife. As a father, he fails to protect her daughter against this extortionist. The situation is exacerbated when Ole Kaelo continues to receive gifts from Oloisudori. Feeling unprotected, Resian escapes from home to avoid this forced marriage. (Pp4-5, 33, 58, 61, 89, 98, 122, 138, 152-152-153, 182-184, 206-210, 284)

    Mama Milanoi makes an irresponsible decision by maintaining a low profile when her two daughters are to punitive cultural practices and yet she knows their stand. (Pp57-58, 63, 78, 78, 79, 87, 102-103, 230-231, 270-271).

    Apart from supplying goods to Ole Kaelo's shop, Oloisudori is also the man behind Ole Kaelo's beautiful house. He hatches a plan to financially drain Ole Kaelo. Ole Kaelo is unable to refund the money spent by Oloisudori to put up the house. He regrets getting into these thoughtless business deals.

    Having received hefty sums of money from Oloisudori, Ole Kaelo decides to make fresh arrangements to have Taiyo marry Oloisudori. This is because Resian has fled. This is the only way he can save his business from Oloisudori. Ole Kaclo and Mama Mlanoi conspire to have Taiyo circumcised first before joining Oloisudori as a wife. Taiyo is cheated that she is being escorted by the women to Resian's hideout only to be forcibly circumcised. This marks the height of betrayal in this family. Taiyo also flees from home. (Pp206-210, 211, 270-275).

    Oloisudori decides to confront Minik over Ole Kaelo's daughters but he was clobbered thoroughly and his vehicles reduced to smoldering shells. (Pp 61-62, 93, 256-257, 264, 281-284).

    Olarinkoi abducts and attempts to rape Resian. His ill intentions fail miserably and his thumb is nearly severed from Resian's bite. He is admonished. (Pp141-142, 210, 221-222, 232). Accept other responses from the rest of the text.
    Mark 3:3:3:3 for 4 well-illustrated points (12 marks): grammar and presentation 4 marks.


    When we make irrational decisions, the consequences may be dire. We should be able to think critically about our actions lest they destroy our families. Ole Kaclo's family disintegrates because of irrational decisions. Ole Kaclo's daughters undergo untold suffering as a result of their father's foolish and selfish decisions, their misery could have been avoided.
    (Accept any other relevant conclusion-2 marks)
    1. The Short Story - The President'
      Write a composition on the evils of war, using illustrations from "The President' by Mariatu Kamara.

      War is a devastating experience. When a country experiences war, the effects are disastrous. In the absence of peace both adults and children suffer. In some instances, children are the most affected. They may be displaced and get separated from their families. Their education may be interrupted and they may also suffer physical assault.
      (Accept any other relevant introduction-2 marks)


      — In the short story "The President' because of war there is a group of rebel soldiers who recruit children and particularly young boys. The boys are given instructions on how to punish the citizens. The young boys are misused by the rebel soldiers.
      — The citizens are punished for having voted for the president. This is done by chopping off their hands. After their hands are chopped off the victims are told to go and show their hands to the president and ask him for new hands. Kamara is a victim of these circumstances.
      — War leads to separation of families. Kamara is separated from her family and later her cousins. A good Samaritan offers to help her after reading her story in a newspaper. She moves to Canada where she stays with a Sierra Leonean couple who take her to school.
      — When there is war, children get affected. Their education is interrupted Kamara like the other children stops going to school. She is later taken back to school by the Sierra Leonean couple she lives with. However, she has to learn a new language and also learn how to write without hands. At the end of the story she shows progress at school and is able to write her name and a few sentences using a computer.
      — War leads to childless parents or a situation where only one parent is left behind to take care of a child. Kamara discovers that she is pregnant. She works hard on her own to take care of the child because the father of her child was shot dead by the rebel soldiers in her presence.
      — Children are also forced to beg on the streets in order to survive. They have nobody to provide basic needs. In the short story, Kamara and her cousins beg on the streets in order to survive.
      — Victims of war are also forced to live in refugee camps because they are displaced from their home. This happens to Kamara and her cousins.
      — Innocent citizens are subjected to physical and psychological torture. (Pp54, 55).

      Mark 3:3:3:3 for 4 well-illustrated points (12 marks): grammar and presentation 4 marks.

      War is not a solution to problems a country faces, it only aggravates the situation. It brings about suffering and in such circumstances children are the most affected. This is what is illustrated in "The President' by Mariatu Kamara. (Accept any other relevant conclusion-2 marks)
    2. David Mulwa, Inheritance
      Ill-gotten wealth can never bring true happiness. Write a composition in support of this statement, drawing examples from Lacuna Kasoo's life.


      It is said that there is no human being who does not want to be rich. This is because wealth gives one access to a host of material comforts. But one thing money cannot buy is happiness and many rich people are unhappy, especially if the wealth is acquired unjustly. Lacuna Kasoo is one such a person. (Accept any other relevant introduction-2 marks)


      — Lacuna Kasoo kills his father, the beloved King Kutula, because he wants to take over and modernize the country. But he is greedy and ruthless and once in power, his most urgent business is to enrich himself. He and his cronies steal so shamelessly that the country is soon bankrupt. In spite of his wealth, he is not a happy man. He is insecure and suspicious and the people resent him. (Pp15-16, 20 22-24, 61, 64, 68-69, 78, 112-117, 133-137).
      — The two white men who confront him about the money the country owes the former colonizers are at first respectful. They refer to him as "Your Excellency" but a little later, they are referring to him as "Lacuna". He demands respect but he does not get it. (Pp6364, 70-76, 78, 81-82, 106-112).
      — When Lacuna comes to meet Goldstein and Robert, he is highly dignified and selfassured. A little later, he is almost on his knees pleading" "Please! Please! You must help me! There is famine, there's unemployment, no money for anything..." He is humiliated. Goldstein tells him: "What do you want this time round, Lacuna? And be brief! Business is time; is facts! Facts! Facts! Not whine and dribbling drivel ...." (p74) All the money stashed away in foreign accounts cannot buy him respect. Robert is a very young man yet he treats the King like dirt. (Pp46, 60, 61, 65, 72-74, 76-77, 78, 80-83).
      — Lacuna is unpopular with his people and is aware of it. There are uprisings and insurgency against him. When a leader faces opposition, he or she cannot enjoy a moment of peace. Lacuna probably spends sleepless nights, wondering what to do. The atmosphere in the country and in the palace is not conducive to a life of ease. (Pp20, 29, 40-41, 49, 75, 78, 85, 86-87, 89-90, 96, 115, 122, 124, 132, 135).
      — The encounter with Lulu shows how low Lacuna has sunk. A nineteen-year-old girl stands up to him and rejects his advances. He has the power to force her to do his bidding, but she asserts herself. His power, wealth and status do not intimidate Lulu. Normally, young girls would consider it a great privilege to catch the eye of the King. But here is a King pleading with a poor girl but she does not budge. This exposes his helplessness and misery. (Pp53-56, 92-94, 97, 104-105, 118-121, 136).

      Mark 3:3:3:3 for 4 well-illustrated points (12 marks): grammar and presentation 4 marks.

      Wealth can give you many benefits but it is not the most important thing in life. Money cannot buy you good health or love or peace. King Lacuna Kasoo realizes this but a little too late. In spite of having a private jet and billions of shillings hidden in foreign accounts, he is humiliated by the donors and rejected by his own people. He has not earned his wealth and he loses all of it in the end. In the final analysis, he cuts a very pathetic figure. (Accept any other relevant conclusion-2 marks)
    3. The Novel
      John Steinbeck, The Pearl

      Having desires and dreams of prosperity is not a bad thing but we must guard against becoming obsessed. In an attempt to pursue our desires we may end up endangering our lives and those of the immediate family members. In The Pearl by John Stenbeck, Kino gets into trouble as he tries to achieve his desires.
      (Accept any other relevant introduction-2 marks)

      — Although Kino runs away because of his safety and that of his immediate family members, he still clings to the pearl with the hope of getting a better selling price. Kino starts on a journey to a foreign land whose dangers and security he knows very little about. Kino is armed with a sword against heavily armed trackers. Kino thinks that the trackers are after both their lives and the pearl. He manages to kill the trackers, however, their only son Coyotito is shot dead. (Pp44-46, 63, 72-73, 74-77, 92, 95, 96-98, 104, 106-107, 108, 114-115, 116-118).
      — It is because of the pearl that Kino's boat is maliciously destroyed. This is a society that depends on the sea for its livelihood and a boat is critical in every adult's life. When his only boat is destroyed, he is obviously devastated. This is because his life depends on it. "He stumbled towards the beach and he came to his canoe. And when the light broke through again he saw that a great hole had been knocked in the bottom." (Pp32, 79-80, 86, 87,90,91).
      — Juana realizes that the pearl is evil and tries to prevail upon Kino to get rid of it. When he refuses, she tries Juana tries throe it back into the sea. In agitation, Kino assaults Juana. (Pp59, 60, 79-80, 83-84).
      — Kino loses his hut. The moment he got the pearl he earned many enemies that were keen to torment him out of malice. He almost lost both his wife and son in the inferno. Fortunately, Juana manages to escape with Coyotito, however everything is consumed in the fire. "The fierce light of the burning house lighted Kino's face. The neighbours were tumbling from their houses now and they watched the falling sparks and stamped them out to save their own houses." (Pp88-90, 91).
      — Kino's obsession to hold on to his pearl causes him to kill a man. Kino and wife are forced to go inot hiding. (Pp84-86, 115).
      — Kino suffered physical harm by attackers whose intent was to rob him of the pearl. For instance, a man entered his house in darkness. He managed to wound the intruder but he also suffered a wound in the forehead. "... struck at it with his knife and missed, and struck again and felt his knife go through cloth, and then his head crashed with lightning ... Kino could feel warm blood down from his forehead.” (p. 58, 59, 78).

      Mark 3:3:3:3 for 4 well-illustrated points (12 marks): grammar and presentation 4 marks

      In conclusion, it is important for people to pursue worthwhile desires; however, we should be aware that blind pursuit could endanger our lives. For this reason, we should observe moderation in whatever dreams we strive to realize.
      (Accept any other relevant conclusion-2 marks)

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