SPaG : Spelling, punctuation and grammar

                SPaG

                                                     SPELLING, PUNCTUATION and GRAMMAR

                                             Information for tutors and students


Whatever the subject, whoever is teaching, basic SPaG marking principles apply to all. The tutors job is not to correct mistakes the students have already made, but to help them not to make that mistake next time. Take a look at how we mark your work and  there are some simple examples of grammar and punctuation for you to study.

EnglishVP’s marking policy addresses SPaG using the following symbols:




Symbol
Meaning



sp





p






gr





//




Spelling error.





Punctuation error (capital letter missing,  wrong punctuation mark)




Grammar error (incorrect sentence structure, word order or choice of word)




Paragraphing error (indicates where a new paragraph should have been started).





















Spelling

How to mark spelling:

The first element of SpaG is marking incorrect spelling. Mark by writing ‘spin the   margin and underline the word.

•     Manage time to ensure that students are able to look at their incorrect spellings and correct them.
•     Time can also be allocated within tutor time for students to work on spellings and learn key words for subjects (this is when students can develop a glossary of subject specific words)



How to help your students develop their spelling skills:


•     It is essential that when you are introducing new words you spend time looking at the words and talking about their spelling.
•     Approach spelling in a phonetic way – refer to the sound charts if needed. (Appendix 1)
•     Encourage students to have a go for themselves, point out words within words, root words etc.




To continue learning, improving and checking spelling, students should:


•     Write corrected words in their notebooks or in a personal vocabulary book.
•     Identify words which pose a particular challenge and learn them by repeatedly writing or using mnemonics.
•     Have access to a dictionary or dictionary app  to find the correct spelling when they know they are unsure.
•     Make effective use of a spell checker (on any device),


Punctuation

Another element of SPaG is the marking of punctuation errors. These are to be indicated
using a p’ in the margin with the error underlined.


How to mark punctuation:


•     All errors in punctuation should be marked, with guidance as to why it is incorrect. (Appendix 2)
•     Manage time to ensure that students are able to address their punctuation errors, perhaps with guidance from the teacher. Where appropriate, students are to correct them.
•     Time can also be allocated within class time for students to work on punctuation exercises.



How to help your students with punctuation:


•    Show the students the simple explanations and examples in appendix 2 and ask them to write their own sentences.




To continue learning, improving and checking punctuation students should:


•     Be encouraged to proofread their work.
•     Identify aspects of punctuation which pose a particular challenge and develop their skills through independent study, this can be supported by the English department.
•     Make effective use of grammar checks (on any device) and peer assessment.


Grammar

A further element of SPaG is the marking of grammatical errors. These are to be indicated using a grin the margin with the error underlined.  Staff could concentrate on tense usage, sentence types and word types. Students should be told to always use complete sentences when writing.

How to mark grammar:


•     Mark one common grammatical error on each piece of work.
•     Manage class time to ensure that students are able to look at their incorrect grammar and correct it.



Helping your students improve their grammar:


It is acknowledged that this can be tricky for those teachers who are not subject specialists.  (Appendix 3, 4 & 5)

•     When a common error has been identified, teachers should look for ways to address this within their subject area.
•     Liaise with the English department to share resources and teaching practices. .




To continue learning, improving and checking grammar, students should:


•     Be encouraged to proofread their work.
•     Identify aspects of grammar which pose a particular challenge and develop their skills through independent study, this can be supported by the English department.
•     Make effective use of grammar checks (on any device) and peer assessment.



The final element of SPaG is the marking of paragraphing errors. These are to be indicated
using a ‘//where the new paragraph should have been applied.


How to mark paragraphing:


•     Mark every paragraphing error.  New paragraphs should be started for the following reasons: change in time, place, topic, or speaker.
•     Manage time to ensure that students are able to look at their writing.  




Helping your students with paragraphing:


•     Make paragraphing explicit when reading.  For example; if looking at an instructional text identify the changes in paragraphs.
•    Liaise with the English department to share resources and teaching practices. .




To continue learning, improving and checking paragraphing, students should:


•     Be encouraged to proofread their work.
•     Make effective use of peer assessment.






















Full Stop       .


Used to mark the end of a sentence.


Also used in abbreviations


Using full stops


End of a sentence:
The class was interesting.
I’m not a good student, but I try my best.

In abbreviations:
You can buy tea, coffee, etc. at the coffee shop.
Please hand in your work by 29th Oct. at the latest.


Comma
,


Used in four main cases:


·   lists
·   direct speech
·   to separate clauses
·   to mark off parts of a sentence

Using commas

In lists:
There’s a choice of duck, pork, beef or fish.
In direct speech:
Pass the salt, he said.
To separate clauses in complex sentences:
We met in York, where I was living then.
To mark off parts of a sentence:
My brother, David, will be joining us.


Apostrophe


Used in two main ways:


·   to show possession
(belonging to)
·   to show omission
(missing letters)


Using apostrophes


Showing possession:
This pen is Priyas.

Showing possession (plural ending in ‘s’):
She attends a girls school in Cornwall.

Showing omission: Dont use those stairs. Its cold today.




Inverted commas
‘’
Used to indicate direct speech or quotation.


Also known as quotation marks or speech marks.


 single ‘’ quotations  or double “” direct speech


Using inverted commas


Direct speech:
You never listen to me, she said.
Why should I?he replied.

Quotation:
The minister’s plans were described as too ambitious and lacking a clear focus.


Exclamation mark
!


Used to end a sentence expressing an exclamation.


In direct speech it can also be used to indicate dialogue spoken loudly.


Using exclamation marks

Look out! he cried.

These are best avoided in formal writing.


Question mark
?

Used to end a sentence or statement which poses a question.


Questioning words: how, why, where, when, who, what.


Using question marks

How do I get to the library?

Why do giraffes have long necks?




Colon
:


Used in between two related clauses, where the second clause cannot stand alone.
Also used
·   to introduce a list
·   before quotation or direct speech


Using colons

Between two clauses:
I knew what I had to do: confess my crime.

Introducing a list:
You will need the following ingredients:
flour, sugar, eggs, milk

Before a quote:
Everyone remembers Hamlet’s dilemma:
to be or not to be.”


Semicolon
;


Used in between two equal clauses, which are closely related but could stand alone.


Using semicolons

Call me tomorrow; I’ll know the answer
then.

The flight was long; Australia is very far away.


APPENDIX 3



Subject


The person or thing a sentence is about.


Sarah plays football.
(subject)           (object)


Subject examples


1.) Teaching is an exciting job.

2.) Mark came to our house for dinner.

3.) Is your aunt feeling better?


Object


The person or thing affected by the
sentences verb.


We were listening to music.
(subject)            (verb)         (object)


Object examples


Direct object:
(directly affected by verb action)
I bought her some flowers to say sorry.

Indirect object:
(person or thing benefiting from action of main verb)
I bought her some flowers to say sorry.


Phrase


A small group of words that act as a meaningful unit within a clause but do not stand alone.


I was living in York, where I worked.
(phrase)


Phrase examples

Noun phrase:
A pile of books was on the desk.


Verb phrase:
Tomorrow, we will be going to the park.

Adjective phrase:
The wedding was really beautiful.




Main Clause



A group of words that contains a verb and can stand on its own.


I was living in York, where I worked.
(main clause)


Main clause examples


1.) I am eating a piece of cake.

2.) It will be sunny today.

3.) There was no answer.


Subordinate Clause



A secondary clause, which depends on a main clause for meaning.


I was living in York, where I worked.
(subordinate clause)


Subordinate clause examples


1.) I went to visit my sister, who has just had a baby.

2.) Venice, where we went last year, is a beautiful city.

3.) We celebrated at the pub, which was just down the road.


Simple Sentence


A group of words which contains a verb and makes complete sense, with one main clause.


I love cats.
(main clause)


Simple sentence examples


1.) I went shopping.

2.) She grew up in London.

3.) I took him to the park.




Compound Sentence


Two or more main clauses that are usually joined by a conjunction.


I love cats, but I’m allergic to cat hair.
(clause 1)   (conjunction)      (clause 2)


Compound sentence examples


1.) I went shopping and I bought some shoes.

2.) She grew up in London, but her family are Irish.

3.) I took him to the park and he enjoyed playing on the swings.


Complex Sentence


A main clause joined to one or more subordinate clauses.


I love cats, having owned several.
(main clause)       (subordinate clause)


Complex sentence examples


1.) I went shopping, which is my favourite activity.

2.) She grew up in London, after her family moved from Ireland.

3.) I took him to the park, where he enjoyed playing on the swings.


APPENDIX 4





Nouns


Words that identify a person, idea or thing.


woman, tree, love, city, computer


‘Naming words


Types of noun

Common: refers to things in general friendship, dog, night, road, education Proper: a specific person/place/thing Edinburgh, Asia, Clare, Tuesday, Big Ben Concrete: something that exists physically dog, road, Asia, Big Ben, computer Abstract: intangible idea
love, friendship, education, time
Collective: groups of people or things
audience, team, family, class


Adjectives


Words that are used to modify nouns.


small, quick, annoying, beautiful


‘Modifying words


Using adjectives


Placed before a noun:

I have brown hair.
It was an interesting book.

Placed after a link verb:

This cake is delicious. The snow feels cold.


Verbs


Words that express the actions of a person or thing.


run, breathe, grow, have, be


‘Doing’ words


 Usi ng verb s  to  descr ibe  Actions: She is laughing. Events: It rained for days.
Situations: We had a lovely time.

Change: Children grow up quickly.




Adverbs


Gives information about a verb, adjective or another adverb.


clearly, soon, hopefully, there, really


 Usi ng  ad verb s  t o  des crib e…

How something happens:
We watched the match hopefully.

When something happens:
The film will be starting soon.

Where something happens:
We will set up the stage over there.


Pronouns


Used in place of a noun that is already known.


I, you, we, her, mine, them, ours


Types of pronoun

Subjective: subjects of verbs
I, you, we, he, she, it, they
Objective: objects of verbs/prepositions me, you, us, him, her, it, them Possessive: refer to something owned mine, yours, hers, his, ours, theirs Reflexive: refer back to subject of clause myself, himself, herself, itself, ourselves, yourselves, themselves


Conjunctions

Used to connect phrases, clauses and sentences.


and, because, if, but, or, until


Joining words. Also called
connectives’


Using conjunctions

Coordinating conjunctions: join items of equal importance

You can have coffee or tea.

Subordinating conjunctions: connect a subordinate clause to a main clause.

I made a sandwich because I was hungry.




Prepositions


Used to show relationships between nouns and the other words in a sentence.


under, over, between, on, in, with


 Using  prepositions  to  describe

Positioning:
Your shoes are under the table.

Timing:
The party is on Saturday.

A way of doing things:
We had to go without them.


Determiners


Used to introduce nouns or phrases.


a, the, those, this, every


Types of determiner

Definite article:
the

The indefinite article:
a/an

Possessive determiners:
(show ownership)
my, your, his, her, our, their, its


APPENDIX 5



Subject


The person or thing a sentence is about.


Sarah plays football.
(subject)           (object)


Subject examples


4.) Teaching is an exciting job.

5.) Mark came to our house for dinner.

6.) Is your aunt feeling better?


Object


The person or thing affected by the
sentences verb.


We were listening to music.
(subject)            (verb)         (object)


Object examples


Direct object:
(directly affected by verb action)
I bought her some flowers to say sorry.

Indirect object:
(person or thing benefiting from action of main verb)
I bought her some flowers to say sorry.


Phrase


A small group of words that act as a meaningful unit within a clause but do not stand alone.


I was living in York, where I worked.
(phrase)


Phrase examples

Noun phrase:
A pile of books was on the desk.


Verb phrase:
Tomorrow, we will be going to the park.

Adjective phrase:
The wedding was really beautiful.




Main Clause



A group of words that contains a verb and can stand on its own.


I was living in York, where I worked.
(main clause)


Main clause examples


4.) I am eating a piece of cake.

5.) It will be sunny today.

6.) There was no answer.


Subordinate Clause



A secondary clause, which depends on a main clause for meaning.


I was living in York, where I worked.
(subordinate clause)


Subordinate clause examples


4.) I went to visit my sister, who has just had a baby.

5.) Venice, where we went last year, is a beautiful city.

6.) We celebrated at the pub, which was just down the road.


Simple Sentence


A group of words which contains a verb and makes complete sense, with one main clause.


I love cats.
(main clause)


Simple sentence examples


4.) I went shopping.

5.) She grew up in London.

6.) I took him to the park.




Compound Sentence


Two or more main clauses that are usually joined by a conjunction.


I love cats, but I’m allergic to cat hair.
(clause 1)   (conjunction)      (clause 2)


Compound sentence examples


4.) I went shopping and I bought some shoes.

5.) She grew up in London, but her family are Irish.

6.) I took him to the park and he enjoyed playing on the swings.


Complex Sentence


A main clause joined to one or more subordinate clauses.


I love cats, having owned several.
(main clause)       (subordinate clause)


Complex sentence examples


4.) I went shopping, which is my favourite activity.

5.) She grew up in London, after her family moved from Ireland.

6.) I took him to the park, where he enjoyed playing on the swings.


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