psle english mistakes

5 Common Mistakes to Avoid in PSLE English

psle english mistakes

When it comes to English, mastering the fundamentals of grammar and its correct usage is essential for your child to do well in the subject. However, despite many years of learning the language and going through numerous practice assessments, some students may still find themselves making errors that could have been avoided and thus saving them a few extra points.

Ms Suritha Shah, a PSLE English Trainer at MindChamps, highlights some of the mistakes that students commonly make in the PSLE English paper and shares the correct usage for each.

1. Everyday vs Every Day

‘Everyday’ is an adjective. When used as an adverbial phrase of time, it should be written as ‘every day’.

Incorrect: She jogs in the park everyday.

Correct: She jogs in the park every day.

Here’s how to use ‘everyday’ correctly:

Jogging in the park is her everyday activity.

2. Issues with Apostrophes

When used to depict possession

Apostrophes are commonly used to reflect possession, such as:

Jack’s house

Today’s agenda

However, do take note of the correct placement of apostrophes in the following instances:

* If two people possess the same item, put the apostrophe + s after the second name.

Jack and Helen’s house is magnificent.

* If there is no joint possession and each person owns a separate item, add apostrophe + s to both names.

Jack’s and Helen’s houses are both magnificent.

When it comes to personal pronouns

When using personal pronouns, do not add apostrophe + s.

For example:

Incorrect: It’s leg is injured.

Correct: Its leg is injured.

Incorrect: She turned to face Helen, who’s face was pale.

Correct: She turned to face Helen, whose face was pale.

Omission of apostrophes in contractions

Apostrophes can be used to show an omission of letters, and is commonly used as part of a contraction.

For example:

it is = it’s

does not = doesn’t

has not = hasn’t

Changing a regular noun to the plural form

Do remember not to use apostrophe + s to change a regular noun into plural.

For example:

Holiday should be changed to holidays and not holiday’s

Apostrophe should be changed to apostrophes and not apostrophe’s

3. Were vs Where vs We’re

Here’s what you need to know when using these three words to construct sentences:

‘Were’ is the past tense of the verb ‘to be’.

Examples:

If I were a king, I would live in a grand palace.

They were in school today.

 

‘Where’ is an adverb to indicate ‘in’ or ‘at what place’.

Examples:

Where is the train station?

Where are we going tomorrow?

 

‘We’re’ is the contraction of ‘we are’.

Examples:

We’re going to Sentosa tomorrow.

We’re having a discussion.

4. Lie vs Lay

First of all, do familiarise yourself with the definition of these two words:

Lie – recline or assume a resting position

Lay – to put or place something in a horizontal position

Take into consideration how the past and past participle tenses would differ, when both lie and lay are taken as present tense.

Present Tense: Lie

Past Tense: Lay

Past Participle Tense: Lain

Present Tense: Lay

Past Tense: Laid

Past Participle Tense: Laid

5. Then vs Than

‘Then’ is most commonly used as an adverb. It is used in relation to time and the order in which events occur.

For example:

He ended the call, then packed his bags.

Walk straight, then turn right when you see the huge painting.

 

On the other hand, ‘Than’ is used to express a comparison between two or more items.

For example:

Tom is stronger than Aaron.

 

This article was first published on the MindChamps blog.

Want to know how to help your child do well in PSLE English? Find out more about our PSLE Success programme now and book a one-on-one PSLE Learning Strength Evaluation for your child.

 

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