Writing: Grammar

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Writing: Grammar Revision

Grammar


You will learn here about:

  • Basic sentence structure and the importance of sentence length
  • The indefinite and the definite articles
  • Modal verbs and their uses
  • The use of compound sentences and paragraphs

Make sure you are happy with the following topics before continuing:

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Sentence Structure


Golden Rule No.1


 

Full, grammatically correct sentences are needed in your writing

This means that they need to make sense by themselves, and are begun with a capital letter, and ended with a full stop.

 


Golden Rule No.2


 

Sentences will need a verb – an ‘action‘ word

These show what is happening, for example, ‘she was humming’, ‘they are cooking’, ‘we flew’…

 


Golden Rule No.3


 

Sentences need a subject – something/someone ‘doing‘ the verb

The subject is also called the ‘noun‘, and can be a person, place, or thing, or: the chef, the kitchen, the meal.

 


 

For Example:

 

The man jogged

The man‘ is the subject

(the noun)

…as he is doing the ‘jogging

(the verb)

 


 

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Sentence Length


Sentences have to be the right lengthdon’t make them too ‘waffly’ and long!

 

For example:

 

The man walked and then jogged and then he was out of breath.

 

This sentence would be improved by splitting it in two:

The man walked and then jogged. He was out of breath.

 

Can you see how when you read this sentence now, the break feels more natural than reading the longer version in one go?

Breaking up a sentence with punctuation mimics the way we break up speaking, with pauses and breaths, and it is just as important.

 

It will help the reader to properly take in what they are reading, and follow along in their head.

In turn, this makes your text more effective.

 


 

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Articles


There are two forms of articles:

  • Indefinite
  • Definite

 

Articles go before nouns to either describe general or specific things.

 

Indefinite articles are not specific to a particular thing:

A‘ or ‘an‘ are the indefinite articles – ‘an’ before a vowel

 

Definite articles are specific to a particular thing:

The‘ is the definite article

 


 

For example:

 

a) ‘Can I have the ruler please?

The ruler’ refers to a specific ruler that the speaker and the audience share knowledge of.

 

b) ‘Can I have a ruler please?

A ruler’ refers to any ruler.

 


 

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Modal Verbs


Modal verbs:

  • Are used to refer to likelihood, capability and necessity
  • Go before the main verb
  • Change the meaning of the sentence

 

The most common modal verbs are:

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Irregular Plurals


You may need to write about more than one thing at once in your text, such as:

 

  • a group of people

or

  • the reasons why you support an idea

 


 

 

In written English, when you want to talk about one thing at a time, it is singular.

But, when you want to talk about more than one thing at a time, it is plural.

 


 

When you need to talk about plurals in your text, words have either a regular or irregular plural.

 


 

But, what does this mean?

 

Well…

When you add an ‘s‘ or an ‘es‘ to the end of a word to make it into a plural

…it is a regular plural.

 

And…

When you change a word in a different way to make it into a plural

…it is a irregular plural.

 


 

Have a look at these lists of regular and irregular plurals to see this pattern for yourself!


 

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Compound Sentences


A compound sentence is a sentence that links two clauses together.

These clauses usually make sense on their own too.

 

These are connected by:

  • Joining words such as or and but
  • Either a comma or a semicolon

 

For example:

“We had pizza for lunch, but fajitas are my favourite food”

 

See how this sentence make sense on its own without the ‘but‘?

 

Compound sentences are useful as they allow writers to build more detail into writing. However, it is easy to get carried away with building them up!

 


 

For example:

 

“Katie went to the gym today before work but ended up being quite late so she went for lunch early and stayed after for a while longer then got in the car and drove home with a little bit of traffic but managed to make dinner for the kids in time.”

 

Try this instead:

 

“Katie went to the gym today before work, but she ended up being quite late. She went for lunch early and stayed for a while longer afterwards. Then, she got in the car and drove home despite a little bit of traffic, and managed to make dinner for the kids in time.”

 


 

Remember that connectives shouldn’t be used in a sentence more than twice if it can he helped.

 

This ensures that sentences are broken up, easy to read and make grammatical sense.

 


 

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Paragraphs


A paragraph is simply a group of sentences which follow on from each other. They ensure your writing is clear.

 

To signify you have started a new paragraph, make sure you write on a new line.

 

Within your writing, make sure you give each paragraph a main point using this structure:

  1. The first paragraph should introduce the topic
  2. The second paragraph should provide additional detail
  3. The last paragraph should summarise the main points addressed

 

Within a new paragraph, make sure that you talk about a new thingplaceperson or time.

 


 

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Note:

When forming paragraphs, imagine that the reader is only looking at the first sentence of each paragraph and has to explain what the content is to others.

This way, you will make sure that a strong overview is provided, and that your writing is as effective as possible!

Example: Modal Verb Sentences


 

”The boy must do his homework.”

 This sentence shows the need for the homework to be done.

 

”The girl might go to the party.”

 This sentence shows the likelihood/possibility of the girl going to the party.

 

”The man can play the guitar.”

 This sentence shows the ability/capability of the man to play the guitar.

 


 

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Example: Paragraphing


 

Below is part of a homework task which was handed in for an assignment called ‘What you did over the holidays?’.

 

However, look closely as there should be a new paragraph in the text.

 

See if you can identify where it should be!

 

 

Did you get:

  • Before ‘After a long journey…’?

 

Beginning a sentence like this usually indicates that a new paragraph is needed, as it is a new point in time and doesn’t link to the previous story.

 


 

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Additional Resources

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Exam Tips Cheat Sheet

FS Level 2

Writing: Grammar Worksheet and Example Questions

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Writing: Grammar L2

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Writing: Grammar L1

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