Most teachers approach spelling, punctuation and grammar with feelings of dread: it’s one of those areas which it can be difficult to liven up. Students view it as dry and unnecessary. But it is possible to teach fun SPaG lessons. And not only is it possible, it’s necessary. Because when you read students’ work and find these errors again and again, it can take you to the very edges of your sanity…
Crazy capital letters
Since they entered reception, aged just four years old, students have been taught that names start with a capital letter. A CAPITAL LETTER. And, breathe…
Way back in the mists of time, there was a life before mobile phones. And in this blessed and wonderful era, students did not write u instead of you. Oh, for the good old days!
Why does this word cause so much confusion? Que is Manuel’s catchphrase in Fawlty Towers. Queue is a line of people.
The sentence that runs on and on and on and on…
Full stops? Nah, they’re for wusses. A really great sentence is unhindered by a full stop. Just chuck in some commas and a sentence can go on for lines and lines and lines… You get the idea.
The word is simple. Not simples. It might pass in conversation, or if you’re a meer cat advertising insurance, but it won’t pass in an English essay. So don’t even try.
They’re, their and there are the biggest culprits here. You can stick a ten-foot high poster on the wall next to a student, explaining the difference between the three, and they will still write they wanted to take there friends. And you will quietly retreat into your stock cupboard and scream into a pillow.
It is not I was sat. It is I sat or I was sitting. That is all.
Admittedly, the English language can be tricky when it comes to apostrophes. The rules for plurals seem to fox many an adult, never mind the children. But apostrophes for contraction are easier to master. You would think.
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