Grammar can be hard, but it shouldn't be. In this article, we show you how to stop making the 7 most common grammar errors Year 6 students must fix.
Nowadays, everybody seems to struggle a little with grammar. But if you want to do well in High School English, you need to stop making the mistakes everyone does. But don’t worry, to help you out, we’ve identified the 7 grammatical mistakes Year 6 students must fix before they start High School.
In this article, we’re going to show you what the mistakes are, tell you how to fix them, and let you download a worksheet so you can practice your new skills!
Here are our strategies for fixing these grammatical mistakes.
Let’s eat grandma.
Let’s eat, grandma.
Both the sentences above, although they have the same words, have completely different meanings. This is because of how grammar functions. Grammar can alter the meaning of a sentence, add fluidity and influence your writing.
In the first sentence, Grandma is dinner. In the second sentence, we are telling Grandma that dinner is ready.
What’s the difference?
That’s right, the comma following the clause “let’s eat.” Commas used like that at the end of a sentence are important for identifying who is being addresses as opposed to who is being eaten.
Grammar is a key skill that students are expected to have already mastered when going into High School but they are not taught it.
While younger years at Primary school are being taught the rules of grammar, older students have missed out. In addition, students who have recently moved to Australia, have to learn the language and a whole host of complex, and sometimes contradictory or inconsistent, grammar rules.
However, doing well in English in High School means writing grammatically correct sentences, consistently.
Thus, it is important that you fix your grammar mistakes before you go into High School.
Grammar is the method through which we string together words to ensure they make sense. It is a set of structural rules governing the composition of clauses, phrases, and words in a natural language.
Think about it like this.
We have key rules we follow in life to make sure we don’t get in trouble. Similarly, there are certain grammatical rules we need to follow to ensure we write clearly.
Here are the top 5 reasons why grammar is important:
Enough talking about grammar, let’s look at the mistakes you make and how to stop making them before High School.
In a sentence, a subject must agree with the verb. There are a few different rules we follow to ensure that the subject and verb agree in a sentence.
A subject is the part of the sentence which indicates:
A verb tells you what the subject in the sentence is doing.
So, how do you ensure your subject and verb are in agreement?
Here are the 3 steps we teach matrix students to follow:
Practice your knowledge of subject/verb agreement using our Grammar Worksheet!
The next common mistake students make is using the wrong tense. Here are the three common things students do:
How can you avoid using the wrong tense?
There are some simple steps you can follow to ensure you get tenses right.
It is important you practise these rules so that you can understand how to apply them.
Ugh! Commas? Am I right? Comma errors are common grammatical mistakes by students and adults of all skill levels.
It’s hard to get commas right all the time, there are so many different rules.
But just because it’s hard doesn’t mean you shouldn’t strive to get it right!
As a rule, the fewer commas the better, but sometimes we have to have commas. Students will sometimes use too many commas or other times too few commas. Both are wrong.
A comma can change the meaning of the sentence as we saw before (Do you remember how not to imply you’re about to eat grandma?).
How can we fix it? Here are the key rules you should remember:
Now you need to remember these and put them into practice.
English can be a tricky language! We get it! There are so many words which sound the same, nearly look the same but have completely different meanings. A common mistake teachers note is when students mix up words and use the wrong word. this changes the meaning of the sentence without the student intending it.
Let’s go through the most common misused words and where you should use each one of them.
Firstly, let us look at what each of these words means.
Use ‘there’ when referring to a direction or location, use ‘their’ when indicating possession and ‘they’re’ as a short form of they are.
Let’s differentiate the meaning between these two words. Your is a possessive adjective and is used when talking about someone’s possession. You’re, on the other hand, is a contraction of you and are.
Can I borrow your book?
You’re a nice person.
Except and accept sound the same, except that we have to accept that they are not.
Use “except” when you want to exclude something and accept when you want to talk about affirmative action.
A key tip: Remember ex means gone and alludes to the meaning of the word “except”.
What do they both mean?
Both these words are not interchangeable as they belong to different parts of speech. Knowing the meaning of the two words will help you use them accurately.
Remember: device is a noun and devise is a verb.
Often students and adults will jumble up license and licence or practise and practice.
One of the forms is a noun and the form is a verb, but which is which?
Words ending with “-ce” are nouns.
Words ending with “-se” are verbs.
But why do I see the verb spelled as “-ce” in books and online?
In American English, there is no distinction between practice and practise or licence and license. Instead, the use the “-ce” form for both.
But Australian English uses both, so that means you need to get them right.
Hot tip: A good rule to follow is that like noun precedes verb in the alphabet. The noun form (c) always precedes the verb form (s).
Many students think that every time they write ‘its’ they need an apostrophe in between. That is not true.
Its and it’s are two separate words with separate meanings.
Its: a possessive; refers to belonging or association to something that has already been mentioned
It’s: a contraction of it is or it has
Use ‘its’ when you are talking about possession and ‘it’s’ when you do not want to say ‘it is’ or ‘it has’!
A Sentence that doesn’t have a subject, verb or fails to express a complete thought is known as a sentence fragment.
A sentence fragment is usually disconnected from the main clause and cannot stand on its own. A sentence which cannot stand on its own is a dependent clause.
But don’t worry, sentence fragments are simple to fix!
Here’s a simple 3 step process:
Remember: every dependent clause needs to be attached to an independent clause!
The word placed before a noun to denote if it is generic or specific is known as an article. There are two types of articles. Let’s look at them!
A definite article is used when we want to talk about a specific object. Whilst, an indefinite article is used when we are talking about something generic.
Can I ride a bike?
Can I ride the bike?
When we say “ a bike” we are referring to any of the bikes available- it is not specific. However, when we say “the bike” we are referring to a particular bike we want to ride.
Hot tip: When you are sure about what object you are referring to use a definite article, however, if you are not picky about the object then use an indefinite article!
Whether it be a sentence, a paragraph, or an essay, each pronoun should refer clearly to one particular pronoun.
A vague pronoun reference occurs when:
A vague pronoun reference can cause unclarity about what the pronoun is referring to. This can make the sentence ambiguous.
Words which are typically included in a vague pronoun reference are:
Reminder: A pronoun cannot be attributed to a whole sentence. A plural pronoun can be attributed to more than one noun but never to a whole sentence.
How can we stop making vague pronoun references in our writing?
Following these steps will aid you in making sure you are not making vague pronoun references!
Now that we have gone over the 7 most common mistakes made by students, it’s time to work on ensuring they are completely fixed. You can only do this through practice.
It is extremely important to practice grammar because it will help you retain the rules better and allow you to work on your skills.
If you want to ensure that you’re across all of your grammar, read more about writing with correct grammar in our ‘Grammar Toolkit’.
What are you waiting for? Get practising!
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