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Navigating Common Grammar Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

When your child writes a composition, they are also graded for the language component in their writing. In this article, we will look at the most common grammatical errors made by students when writing, as shared with us by our TWC teachers. Keep an eye out for these errors, some of which are easily avoidable!

1. Punctuation

One of the most common grammatical errors students make is not using proper punctuation. Students might forget a comma or a full-stop, which leads to the loss of precious marks. Younger students may also forget to capitalise names and the first letter of their sentence.

For example, a student may write the following sentence: “I have lived in singapore since I was a baby” and would have lost marks for not capitalising the letter “S” in “Singapore” and forgetting the period after the word “baby.”

2. Sentence fragments

A sentence fragment happens when a period is used incorrectly, thus leading to a poorly formed sentence. Sentence fragments can cause writing to come across as unpolished and unorganised as well. Avoiding sentence fragments will make compositions easier to read.

An example of a fragmented sentence is: “I went to see a doctor. Because I had a fever.” Notice how the two sentences look unorganised and how they should be combined into one?

3. Writing in the present tense

Students who are weak in grammar may write their compositions in the present tense when compositions should be written in the past tense (i.e. because they are recounting a past event). As such, writing in the present tense will result in marks being deducted. This usually occurs because students may have poor knowledge of word forms in the past tense.

4. Inconsistent or incorrect use of pronouns

Typically, there will be a few different characters within a story or a composition. It is important to ensure that the pronouns used throughout the entire composition are consistent. For example, the story might start off with the characters “Kathy and Jessica”, and change to “Kathy and I” halfway through the story. Some younger students may also use the wrong gender or pronoun for the character shown in the 3- or 4-picture format. For instance, students may use the word “boy” and the pronoun “he” when the given pictures are of a girl instead.

5. Getting confused with the different homophones

A homophone is a word that sounds similar to another word but has a different meaning. An example would be “your” and “you’re”. It is a common mistake to make since it can be difficult to differentiate when these words are spoken out loud. However, the differences between the various homophones can change the meaning of a sentence completely. Another good example is “to” and “too”.

What can be done to avoid making these grammatical mistakes and losing marks unnecessarily? Our teachers advise students to:

  1. Avoid rushing through their writing.

  2. Set aside ample time to check and re-read what they have written.

  3. Pay more attention to the areas where they are prone to make errors when they check their own work (e.g. punctuation, tenses).

For those who are weak in English, picking up reading as a hobby can help improve grammar and spelling as well. For tips on how you can help your child develop a love for reading, check out our previous article here.

Are you looking for a programme that will help your child develop a firm foundation in the English language? Check out TWC’s Prep Matters English Tuition, where our dedicated teachers can help your child develop confidence to ace the English subject and get exam-ready. Take a look at our timetable now!



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