• The A.V. Club
  • The Takeout
  • The Inventory

The founders of the Bored Ape Yacht Club weren’t doxxed

People walk by a Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT billboard in Times Square on January 25, 2022 in New York City.

On Feb. 4, BuzzFeed published an article that revealed the identities of two of the most influential personas in the crypto world, known as “Gordon Goner” and “Gargamel.” They are the pseudonymous co-founders of the Bored Ape Yacht Club, one of the most expensive and prestigious collections of nonfungible token—or NFT—avatars.

The group, now incorporated as Yuga Labs and seeking venture capital, has been reportedly valued at around $5 billion by investors. But the founders, identified as Greg Solano and Wylie Aronow, wished to stay pseudonymous and allege they have been “doxxed” against their will by BuzzFeed.

BuzzFeed used public documents about Yuga Labs’ incorporation in Delaware to identify the co-founders. But the term doxxing—which refers to publicly revealing information about someone, often to endanger them—does not really fit what happened.

Identifying the founders of one of the world’s most valuable crypto companies provides transparency into the operation of an influential company. Revealing their identities—powerful people in influential positions, even if they wish to remain anonymous for personal reasons—is not doxxing, it’s public interest journalism.

What is the Bored Ape Yacht Club?

The Bored Apes, named after its drawings of different cartoon apes, are now the second-most valuable NFT collection by average sale price, according to crypto website The Block. Nonfungible tokens are a way to store data on a blockchain. They typically point to digital images, game characters, or social media posts—a way to verify the authenticity of something native to the internet. NFTs of artworks have boomed in the past year, rising in price and popularity since the artist Beeple sold a $69 million NFT collage at Christie’s auction house in March 2021. Since then, the NFT market has ballooned into a $35 billion industry according to the investment bank Jeffries, and its on pace to become an $80 billion industry by 2025.

The supply of Bored Ape NFTs is limited: There are only 10,000 Bored Ape avatars—or unique pictures of apes—in existence. While each may sell for $25,000 on average, some have sold for millions of dollars available in the cryptocurrency Ether. The founders receive the original price paid for the apes, plus a cut of each successive sale.

The Bored Apes also have a contingent of celebrity collectors: Justin Bieber recently purchased a Bored Ape for $1.3 million on the peer-to-peer marketplace OpenSea , and Paris Hilton and Jimmy Fallon recently discussed their apes on The Tonight Show .

Not only is having an ape in one’s Twitter profile picture a contemporary status symbol—indicating someone was really early to the project or spent a lot of money on one after it became popular—it’s become a real business.

Yuga Labs, the company behind the Bored Apes, is in talks with the venture capital firm Andreesen Horowitz for an investment that would reportedly value the firm at $5 billion , making it more valuable than established pre-IPO tech companies like the creator platform Patreon ($4 billion), the artificial intelligence lab OpenAI ($2.9 billion), and the online education firm Masterclass ($2.8 billion).

How BuzzFeed found the Bored Apes co-founders 

The NFT space is an unregulated pseudo-financial industry where people typically invest for speculative purposes, often hoping to make money. While there are plenty of NFT offerings that are not schemes designed to steal people’s money, scams and rug-pulls (where project founders flee after the initial sales) are commonplace.

Bored Ape Yacht Club, however, has been incredibly successful. It has become so popular its avatars are frequently sold at the esteemed auction houses Christie’s and Sotheby’s alongside blue-chip art.

But in order to do business with venture capital firms, the co-founders needed to set up a legal corporation, so the company Yuga Labs was incorporated in Delaware with an address linked to Solano. BuzzFeed found these public filings and connected the dots. When approached by BuzzFeed, Yuga Labs CEO Nicole Muniz confirmed that the founders were, in fact, Solano and Aronow.

What is doxxing?

Doxxing is the act of intentionally releasing personal information about someone online “often with the intent to humiliate, threaten, intimidate, or punish” the person identified, writes David M. Douglas, a scholar at the University of Queensland in Australia. Douglas says that deanonymizing people is justified if it is in the public interest, the rationale for doing so is clearly explained, and the people responsible are themselves not anonymous.

Doxxing was a frequently used intimidation tactic during the Gamergate controversy , in which anonymous users targeted female gamers. But discussions of doxxing have also arisen when journalists for Gawker revealed the identity of a Reddit troll and (while likely incorrect ) Newsweek revealed the creator of Bitcoin.

By contrast, BuzzFeed determined it was in the public interest to know who was in charge of a new company purportedly worth $5 billion seeking funding from prominent investors. The Bored Ape Yacht Club founders’ identities were unlikely to stay private because their business filings were public and easily identifiable. As publications do in these cases, it determined that identifying them would not cause serious danger for people—in this case, ostensible multi-billionaires with the means to protect themselves—who may control one of the most valuable companies in the world.

This is generally how business reporting works. Journalists seek information about powerful businesses and the people who run them and publish it for the public benefit. Reporters make judgment calls about whether identifying an anonymous person helps the public, if it’s likely that the information will stay private if otherwise unreported, and whether reporting it could seriously endanger them.

But that’s now how Muniz, the CEO of Yuga Labs, saw it. In an interview with D3 , she claimed releasing the co-founders’ identities was “very, very dangerous,” namely because the crypto industry has “attracted some nefarious characters.” Certainly, owning a stake and influence in a $5 billion company can attract threats and danger, but this is not unique to crypto or the Bored Ape Yacht Club. And neither co-founder took great pains to remove personally identifiable information from public business listings.

“Extreme wealth can make you a target for criminals, no doubt,” said Los Angeles Times editor Jeff Bercovici in a tweet . “Most wealthy people deal with that by hiring security. If these guys thought they could avoid threats by concealing their identities so poorly, they were wrong, and BuzzFeed did them a favor by demonstrating that.”

Where crypto meets the real world

The crypto world likes to believe it inhabits a parallel universe: It has its own decentralized money, its own decentralized organizations , and its own ideas around what is public and what is private. For example, all transactions of a public blockchain like Bitcoin or Ethereum can be tracked, a permanent append-only ledger of all changes. But the identities of those behind the transactions are hidden behind cryptographic addresses. Only through connecting a person or business to that address can reveal who is behind it.

But secrets are hard to keep when you run one of the most valuable entities on the internet. The Bored Ape Yacht Club’s co-founders attempted to cross over from the crypto world to the real world. In the United States, firmly located in the real world, privately owned businesses are required to have public listings in the state in which they are incorporated. Any serious attempt to conceal the founders’ identity would have likely involved Cayman-based shell companies or Swiss bank accounts.

The result was predictable. The anonymous co-founders of a $5 billion tech company incorporated in Delaware became immediately identifiable. But, BuzzFeed published information about the co-founders, believing correctly that you cannot hold a large tech company accountable if you don’t know who is in charge.

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how to annotate an article ap lang


What makes humans human?

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two chimps hugging

Scientists speculated in the 1970s that chimps share almost 99 percent of our genetic makeup. It was a good guess -- research in the following decades proved them right. Humans do, after all, have a lot in common with other animal species. We feel pain, and if you've ever watched a cat attempt to jump onto a hot stove and quickly retreat, you'll have decided that felines do, too. We have emotions, and as any dog -owner can tell you, their canine friends exhibit joyful, affectionate and even depressed behavior. And if you observe a chimp -- a species believed by many to share a common ancestor with humans -- you'll see many traits and behaviors that seem far more human than animalistic.

So what makes up that tiny, 1 percent difference between humans and chimps?

At the genetic level, DNA comparisons reveal certain alterations -- a slightly mutated gene here, a different protein there. These deviations show us why human jaws are smaller than those of chimps, and why we're more, or less, susceptible to certain diseases. Though the genes are remarkably similar, their expression isn't. Think of it this way: Sand and water can be combined to make either glass or just wet sand.

But does evolutionary progress explain religion, art, literature or moral decision-making? On the cognitive level, humans are vastly different from most species. We have self-awareness, spiritual curiosity and philosophical musings. We possess the capacity for mathematics, language, invention, mechanical adaptation and music. Chimps form communities, but there's a wide gulf between that community and human culture. And while chimps show self-awareness by recognizing themselves in mirrors, there's not yet any proof that this self-awareness leads them to ponder the greater mysteries of the universe (which, in their case, could be prompted by the question, "What makes chimps chimps?") These collective differences seem to make up the human "soul," and what makes humans human.

What exactly defines and constitutes the soul is a question philosophers have pondered since ancient times. By the time of Socrates' death in the fifth century, the term "soul" was used in much the same way it's used today -- as not only that which differentiates the living from the dead, but as something responsible for our sense of justice, foresight, introspection and our various emotional states. Interestingly, some branches of philosophical thought around the fifth and sixth centuries maintained that animals and plants had souls as well, and some philosophers -- such as Empedocles, Anaxagoras and Democritus -- didn't differentiate between animals and plants, because both were alive [source: Lorenz ].

Regardless, our thoughts seem much more complex than those of other species. It could be argued that this is because we are Chimp 2.0 -- a better version of a base model. The other argument is that we've become something entirely different, due perhaps to an evolutionary mix-up or even a higher power.

Lots More Information

Related howstuffworks articles.

  • How do humans evolve?
  • Should we breed endangered species?
  • What would it take to save every endangered species?
  • Why is water vital to life?
  • Bosveld, Jane. "Soul Search." Discover. June 12, 2007. (July 20, 2010)http://discovermagazine.com/2007/jun/soul-search
  • Criswell, Daniel, Ph.D. "What Makes Us Human?" Institute for Creation Research. (July 20, 2010)http://www.icr.org/article/what-makes-us-human/
  • Dean, Cornelia. "Science, religion and the battle for the human soul." New York Times. June 26, 2007. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/26/health/26iht-snsoul.1.6336892.html
  • Lemonick, Michael D. "What Makes us Different?" Oct. 1, 2006. (July 20, 2010)http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1541283,00.html
  • Lorenz, Hendrik, "Ancient Theories of Soul." The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2009 Edition).http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ancient-soul/
  • Penman, Danny. "Can we really transplant a human soul?" Mail Online. Apr. 9, 2008. (July 20, 2010)http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-558271/Can-really-transplant-human-soul.html
  • Rubin, John. "What Makes Us Human?" Nova. Jan. 1, 2008. (July 20, 2010)http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/body/what-makes-us-human.html
  • Small, Meredith F. "The Human Soul: An Ancient Idea." LiveScience. Nov. 28, 2008. (July 20, 2010) http://www.livescience.com/culture/081128-hn-soul.html

Please copy/paste the following text to properly cite this HowStuffWorks.com article:

woman looking at a skull

how to annotate an article ap lang

5 Simple Steps to Annotate a Book for AP English Language

If you want to know how to annotate a book in AP English Language and Composition, check out these 5 simple steps to annotate effectively.

If you’re reading this post, you’re probably taking AP English Language and Composition this year ( if you’re taking AP English Literature, check out this guide on how to annotate books for AP English Literature instead ).

Your summer assignment is to read and annotate a book (or two… or even three, depending on your teacher) and complete an assignment on it.

Or, the school year has already started and you have a similar assignment, and you’re not sure what to do.

When I first started AP English Language, I had no idea how to annotate properly either. I felt overwhelmed and unsure of where to begin.

It's normal to feel overwhelmed by the prospect of annotating a book in AP English Language at the beginning.

However, over a year, I learned to refine my annotation techniques. This helped me with critical analysis on the AP exam and led me to score a 5.

In this article, I’ll be providing a step-by-step guide on how to annotate a book for AP English Language effectively. At the end of it, you’ll also know how to prepare yourself for effective annotation and analysis on the actual AP English Language exam.

Check out this FREE 12-page high school plan workbook, meant to guide you in choosing classes, extracurriculars, and more to get into your dream college.

What is the purpose of the AP English Language course? How is it different from AP English Literature?

AP English Language and AP English Literature are two different courses with two very different aims. When you read and annotate texts for these two courses, you should be looking for and thinking about different things. 

Therefore, it’s essential to understand the distinction if you want to do effective annotation.

What Does AP English Language Assess You On?

AP English Language assesses your ability to:

  • Identify an author’s attitude toward a subject
  • Identify and explain the rhetorical devices the author uses to persuade you of their opinion
  • Make your own effective arguments

Let’s take the example of 1984 by George Orwell, a very commonly-used novel in AP English Language classes.

Orwell wrote the book to address totalitarianism. It’s clear from the book that Orwell disapproves of totalitarianism entirely—the whole point of the book is to show how dangerous it is.

In the book, Newspeak is the official language of the totalitarian state of Oceania. It is very limited in what it allows speakers to express, thus controlling their thoughts and ability to resist. Newspeak can be interpreted as a symbol of psychological control and censorship.

In George Orwell's 1984, the government of Oceania uses different tactics to control every aspect of people's lives.

Through the use of Newspeak, Orwell illustrates the terrifying control a totalitarian government can exert over people. This is an effective way of conveying his condemning attitude toward totalitarianism. 

In AP English Language, you’ll be interpreting many speeches, cartoons, and other forms of media. You’ll be analyzing how authors make their content persuasive. Then, you’ll use what you’ve learned to make your own persuasive arguments.

What does AP English Literature Assess You On?

AP English Literature assesses your ability to:

  • Identify the deeper themes in a text (how the text relates to humanity and life)
  • Identify and explain literary devices the author uses to convey the themes

Let’s take the example of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, a commonly-used book in AP English Literature classes.

A primary theme in the novel is the dangers of unrestrained scientific exploration.

Throughout the novel, Shelley uses setting changes to demonstrate how Victor Frankenstein’s scientific ambitions have increasingly isolated him from humanity. Victor goes from living at home to attending boarding school to working in a lab in the mountains to doing a mad goose chase in the Arctic.

In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Victor goes on a wild goose chase for his monster in the Arctic.

As he becomes increasingly engrossed in his scientific work, he becomes increasingly alienated from humanity, both physically and figuratively. The setting of the novel reflects this evolution. 

In AP English Literature, you need to read novels and poems and understand their universal themes relating to humanity.

You may also like “Most Impressive AP Classes + Useful Tips to Succeed in Them”

What is Annotating?

Before you start annotating a book for AP English, you need to understand what annotating is. 

Annotating involves thinking beyond the meaning of the words on the page. 

When reading a novel, this means thinking beyond the immediate events of the plot. It means asking questions like, “Why does the author use this metaphor here? What message are they trying to convey?”

When reading a speech, this means thinking beyond the surface meaning of the speaker’s words. It means asking questions like, “What is the context in which the speaker gave this speech? What audience were they addressing? How did these factors affect how they communicated their ideas?” 

To annotate a book in AP English Lang, you need to think beyond the surface meaning of the words on the page.

When you annotate, you should constantly be thinking about the greater significance of literary and rhetorical choices made by the author. Then, you should jot down your thoughts in the margins.

Why is Annotating So Important?

Knowing how to annotate a book for AP English Language is extremely important because it teaches you how authors persuade their readers effectively. As a result, you learn how to make more effective arguments in your writing.

On the AP English Language exam, you will need to write three essays: one analysis of a rhetorical passage and two argumentative essays of your own. By annotating properly, you develop the critical thinking skills necessary to identify and explain rhetorical devices, as well as logically argue your point.

Beyond the course, you’ll find that you become more aware of the rhetorical strategies in everything you read. Also, your ability to make effective arguments will come in handy in many situations.

Annotating books in AP English Language will teach you about how authors effectively communicate their message. This will help you make more effective arguments.

What Tools Do You Need to Annotate? 

To annotate, you only need a few things that you probably already have:

  • A highlighter
  • A writing instrument (pencil or pen is fine)
  • A copy of the book you’re annotating

And that’s it! Just remember that you shouldn’t go crazy with underlining or highlighting long sections. Your annotations, while detailed, should be legible. If you want to make a note about a long section, I suggest bracketing it.

Steps to Annotate a Book for AP English Language Effectively

We’ve finally reached the section on how to annotate a book for AP English Language. By following the 5 simple steps below, you’ll be on your way to becoming a better AP English student and critical thinker.

You may also like "The Ultimate Guide to Get a 5 on AP U.S. History"

Step #1: Actively Think Beyond the Surface Meaning

The whole point of annotating is to get you to think beyond the surface meaning of the words.

From the moment you pick up your book, you should be questioning the significance of various details. Why did the author include this reference? Why did the author include this character? What is the significance of these lines of dialogue?

Authors include certain details for a reason. Your goal should be to make educated guesses about those reasons.

Also, annotating shouldn’t feel easy because it isn't easy. As you’re reading and annotating, you should feel the gears of your brain turning.

Annotating books in AP English Lang isn't easy and shouldn't feel easy.

Step #2: Think About the Author’s Message

A huge part of AP English Language is being able to identify the argument an author is making  and  how they make their argument effective.

As you’re reading, contemplate the author’s message. For example, in  1984 , George Orwell’s message to readers is that totalitarianism is extremely dangerous.

Step #3: Identify Rhetorical Devices

To understand how authors make effective arguments, you need to explain how the rhetorical devices they use contribute to their argument.

As  this source  describes it, “Rhetorical devices are formative techniques used to evoke emotion or persuade.” In other words, they are tools employed by authors to convince you of their opinion.

Below, I've included a list of the rhetorical devices I most commonly referred to as an AP English language student.

Ethos is used to show that the author is qualified to speak about a topic. For example, a speaker talking about the possibility of parallel universes may talk about their educational background and research in physics.

As you can see, ethos is extremely important.

Hello, I'm a psychology major, and today, I'll be talking about why you should believe in the existence of parallel universes. Boo! Next! PS No hate against psychology majors, but I hope you see my point.

Pathos is an appeal to the audience’s emotions. For example, an environmental activist raising awareness about habitat protection may show images of animals suffering from habitat loss.

Logos is an appeal to the audience’s logical reasoning. For example, the author of an article about why people should stop texting while driving may include statistics about accidents related to phone usage.


Juxtaposition is where two things are placed next to each other to accentuate their contrast.

For example, consider these few lines from the 2016 AP English Language rhetorical analysis passage:

“Others prophesied the decline of the West. He inspired America and its allies with renewed faith in their mission of freedom. Others saw only limits to growth. He transformed a stagnant economy into an engine of opportunity. Others hoped, at best, for an uneasy cohabitation with the Soviet Union. He won the Cold War, not only without firing a shot, but also by inviting enemies out of their fortress and turning them into friends.”

In this section, Margaret Thatcher contrasts what people expected and what Ronald Reagan did. In doing so, she shows how Reagan was a resilient, capable leader who found a way to succeed in times of difficulty.

This contributes to her overall message: that Reagan was an incredible leader, dedicated to promoting the welfare of the American people.

Syntax is how words and sentences are arranged. It is an artistic choice that can be used to emphasize an author’s message.

In the excerpt from Thatcher’s speech, you can see that she uses syntax to convey her message. She alternates between starting sentences with “Others” and “He”.

In doing so, she marks the contrast between majority pessimism and Reagan’s resilient, inspiring attitude.

Use these 9 pages of prompts to help you figure out what extracurriculars to pursue in high school.

A simile compares two objects using “like” or “as”.

In the following excerpt from the 2021 AP English Language rhetorical analysis prompt, the writer (novelist Marian Evans Lewes) uses a simile:

“What comes after, is rather the sense that the work has been produced within one, like offspring, developing and growing by some force of which one’s own life has only served as a vehicle, and that what is left of oneself is only a poor husk.”

In the passage, Lewes is responding to a young woman who has written to her about her dreams to become an author. In her letter, she advises the young woman to be patient and faithful about writing, instead of being driven by ambition.

Through this simile, she shows that the success of one’s work does not usually bring glory. Instead, like nurturing a child for 9 months in one’s body, it leaves you drained.

In doing so, she emphasizes her point that a writer should not be driven by ambition. What ambition promises—the glory of your success—is usually not fulfilled.

A metaphor compares two objects to one another directly, without using “like” or “as”.

In the same passage from Lewes, she uses a metaphor:

“It is a misfortune to many that they begin to write when they are young and give out all that is genuine and peculiar in them when it can be no better than trashy, unripe fruit.”

She evokes a direct comparison between immature writing and “trashy, unripe fruit”. In doing so, she emphasizes her point that the young woman should not be impatient.

Imagery is an appeal to the five senses. In the 2021 AP English language rhetorical analysis passage, former president Barack Obama uses imagery:

“... not thinking about the blisters on their feet, the weariness after a full day of work…”

In this excerpt, he was referring to the thousands of people who boycotted public transportation in Montgomery, Alabama.

The main message of his speech was to encourage the American people to stand up for justice as Rosa Parks did. By appealing to the senses through details like “blisters” and “weariness”, Obama demonstrates the resilience and admirability of people who stand up for justice.

Diction refers to the word choice of the author. Simply referring to diction as a rhetorical device is not enough. You have to be specific about the type of diction the author employs.

Does the author use formal language? Or perhaps the author uses colloquial phrases?

For example, a speaker may use colloquial phrases to relate to their audience. In contrast, if the same speaker were to use formal language, their message would not resonate as deeply with the audience.

You may also like " How to Take APUSH Notes—Improve Speed, Memory, and Grades"

Tone is used to describe an author’s attitude toward a subject. There is an endless list of tone words to choose from, but generally, the more specific, the better.

For example, saying that an author has a negative tone regarding a subject doesn’t say much. However, saying that the author has a condemnatory tone tells more about their attitude.

Here is an example of tone as a rhetorical device in practice:

Say that your mom is angry at you for turning in your homework late. As a result, she tells you that your lack of discipline will hurt you in more major ways than a small homework grade in the future.

Moms are good at making effective arguments.

Her condemnatory tone makes you realize what a poor choice you made by watching TV instead of doing homework.

She convinces you to see the situation from her point of view: that not doing your homework demonstrated a lack of discipline, which will have far-reaching consequences if you don't fix it.

These are just a few examples of rhetorical devices to look for when annotating a book for AP English. Check out a more comprehensive list of rhetorical devices with examples here.

Step #4: Comment on the Significance of the Rhetorical Device

Once you’ve identified the rhetorical device, you need to comment on its significance. If you don't, there’s no point in marking it.

Simply identifying metaphors or similes or clever syntax doesn’t tell anything about the author’s message or rhetorical choices.

Notice that in the examples I provided in the previous step, I always linked the rhetorical device back to the author’s main message.

While annotating, you should be thinking along these lines as well.

Ask yourself questions like, “How does this detail relate to the author’s main message?” and “How does the author use ethos, pathos, and logos to convince me of their message?” (One of my summer assignments for AP English Language was to identify at least 5 examples each of ethos, pathos, and logos in a book. You must be familiar with the rhetorical triangle and be able to apply it.)

Step #5: Don’t Be Afraid to Mark Other Things

Although it’s important to mark rhetorical devices while reading, you can also mark anything else that warrants a comment.

Not every annotation needs to be incredibly deep and meaningful.

As you’re reading, jot down questions you have or other comments, like an emotional response or a connection to something you’re familiar with.

While annotating a book for AP English Lang, you can mark and comment on things other than rhetorical devices.

FAQ About Annotating

How much should you annotate .

A common question I see asked is how much to annotate.

In general, I suggest writing as much as possible. Whenever some deeper meaning emerges to you, immediately jot it down.

Also, I recommend going back and rereading. Each time you reread, you will notice new details worth noting down.

However, keep in mind that more does not always mean more. Annotating more does not always equal more value.

Make sure your annotations are meaningful—most of them should probe beyond the surface meaning of the words on the page. They should relate to the message and rhetorical choices of the author.

How Do You Annotate Without Ruining the Book? 

Another question I see frequently is how to annotate a book without ruining it.

What happens when you don't want to annotate a book for fear of ruining it...

Ahhh but it's so beautiful! It would be a crime to write in this

As a book lover who likes to keep my books pristine, I can empathize with this dilemma. In general, however, I am mostly particular about books that hold special memories.

When it comes to non-fiction books and assigned readings, I actually prefer to annotate extensively. Sometimes, I jot down my thoughts directly in the margins. Other times, I highlight a few sentences and write down my thoughts on a sticky note.

However, if you are still worried, check out these  options for annotating  without writing in the book.

Overview of How to Annotate a Book for AP English Language

To annotate a book for AP English Language effectively, you should always be thinking about:

  • The author’s message
  • Rhetorical choices made by the author to convince you of their message

To do this, you should be:

  • Actively thinking beyond the surface meaning of the words
  • Contemplating the author’s overall message
  • Identifying rhetorical choices
  • Explaining the significance of the rhetorical choices
  • Asking questions and marking anything else worth bringing attention to

Additionally, it’s good practice to reread because with each reread, you will notice new important details.

Annotating effectively isn’t an easy skill, but it is a valuable one. When you feel discouraged, remember that annotating should feel like it’s really working your brain.

If you learn how to annotate a book in AP English Lang effectively, you'll improve your critical thinking skills.

If you feel the gears of your brain turning, remember that you’re strengthening your critical thinking skills. These critical analysis skills will be essential for your success on the AP English Language and Composition exam and beyond.

I hope you found this guide to annotating books in AP English Language helpful! Let me know which book you’re currently reading for AP English Language in the comments below!

For more posts on AP class tips, check out:

  • How to Annotate a Book for AP English Literature
  • Most Impressive AP Classes (+ Useful Tips to Succeed in Them) Part 1 —math and science
  • Most Impressive AP Classes (+ Useful Tips to Succeed in Them) Part 2 —humanities/social sciences and foreign language
  • The Ultimate Guide to Get a 5 on AP Spanish Language and Culture
  • The Ultimate Guide to Get a 5 on AP U.S. History

how to annotate an article ap lang

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The 5 things YOU should know to succeed in AP Language and Composition!



I agree, I believe that annotations are extremely essential for many things. I take an AP Overall English course, and with the rigorous academics, I constantly annotate.

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On the AP Lang Exam, what should I do to effectively annotate the passage and have enough time answer the questions correctly?

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AP ® Lang teachers: looking to help your students improve their rhetorical analysis essays?

Coach Hall Writes

clear, concise rhetorical analysis instruction.

How to Annotate a Speech

September 13, 2022 by Beth Hall

Preparing for the AP® Lang exam can seem overwhelming. There is so much to do in a short amount of time. However, it does not have to be stressful! This will only make the experience miserable. Instead, you want to break down the key elements and develop a technique that will help you succeed on the exam. For instance, one essential aspect will be practicing how to annotate a speech. Since you have limited time to do this on the exam, you want to progress from more detailed annotations to becoming methodical in your process. Thankfully, these tips and techniques below will help you gain the confidence needed to streamline your annotations! 

Saying/Doing Analysis 

This is an excellent method if you find the speech a bit dense or complicated! If there is space, you will have one side of the paper representing “saying” and one side representing “doing.” If you do not have room, everything can go together. You can even use two colors to differentiate these points. 

As you read or listen to the material, write down what it is saying. For instance, what is the main idea of each section? Ultimately, you are summarizing the main components by breaking down the speech into more manageable pieces. Then, you can go back and review your notes versus having to reread everything.

For the “doing” part, you are examining what the writer is doing. 

  • Is the writer contrasting something?
  • Is there a specific tone?
  • Why is the writer sharing this information?

Honestly, this part of the activity is imperative to genuinely analyze the speech. It should have more bullet points than the “saying” section. 

What/Why Analysis 

This method is very similar to the Saying/Doing Analysis. In the right column or margin, write bullet point notes about “what” the writer is doing (such as rhetorical choices.) In the right column or margin, write bullet point notes about the “why” or “how.” Doing so helps you plan your commentary. 

Bonus tip: Ask yourself why does the speaker makes this choice for this audience on this occasion.

When figuring out how to annotate a speech, practice is imperative! You need to gain comfort with your technique to apply it the second testing begins. For instance, highlighting is not permitted on AP exams. However, using different color highlights may be helpful as you work on comprehension. As the test comes closer, develop a method that works best for you and can occur on the exam. For instance, maybe you underline or circle meaningful words or phrases you need to remember. Or, perhaps you divide the passage into sections and star key points. This allows you to watch for tone changes, define unfamiliar terms, and explore how the writer builds an argument. Make sure to be meaningful in what you make stand out to avoid becoming distracted by the markings.

Exam-Like Conditions 

As you practice, mimicking exam-like conditions will be vital. However, you do not need to do this on the first day of your course. You must prepare over the months and weeks leading up to the exam. So, you may give yourself 15-17 minutes to annotate a speech during the first practice. Then, you shorten this time as the exam comes closer. Ultimately, this method will allow you to see your growth while ensuring you are comfortable on exam day.

Identification of Key Elements 

As you build your technique on how to annotate a speech, focus on the essential aspects. Ultimately, you need to identify the writer’s purpose and argument or message. You cannot lose sight of the prompt as you are reading.

For instance, you can use SPACE (speaker, purpose, audience, context, exigence) or SOAP (speaker, occasion, audience, purpose) to ensure you slow down to really absorb the information. This also allows you to identify rhetorical devices (nouns) and choices (verbs). You can then use the margin to pick out interesting word choice, tone, and comparisons/contrasts. As you mark, just make sure the focus is on reading. This is not a scavenger hunt. You want to keep an open mindset and focus on what the writer is “doing.”     

Learning how to annotate a speech takes time. You must give yourself plenty of practice to hone in on your method. You need a streamlined process to focus on “what” (choices) and “why” (commentary). Maybe you like to read the speech once and then go back and annotate. Or, maybe you want to annotate from the beginning. Likewise, you may like to use the margins or need more space on a separate sheet of paper. Since you only have about 5-10 minutes to annotate on the exam, start practicing now. Your future self will thank you!

Wondering how to prepare for the Lang exam? Check out this blog post here for more tips!

AP® Lang Teachers

Looking to help your students improve their rhetorical analysis essays?

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