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Tips from an "expert"

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As of yesterday, I had marked a smidge over 550 'scripts' in the Writing component of NAPLAN. That's a lot of reading persuasive writing/expositions/discussions. I'd like to think that puts me in a reasonably unique position to comment on what makes good writing - or even easier, what NOT to do!

It is pretty obvious that many kids are much more familiar with spoken English than written English and that this is responsible for a lot of the errors I see. While English is an evolving language, the point of writing is effective communication and the more "correct" you are, the easier it is for readers to read what you have written.

So without further ado, here is Ingi's Guide To Common Errors in Writing:
  • There is no word "alot". It does not exist (except perhaps in some people's imagination). I think what they are trying to write is "a lot" (note the space). And before you Grammar Police comment, they are not referring to the verb "allot" either. I am rather annoyed that we have been told to ignore this as an error when marking, as it is sooooo common.
  • "Could of"/"should of"/"would of"/"must of" - these are unfortunately all incorrect. The ear hears "would've" as "would of". It is, in fact, a contraction of "would have". Ditto all the others.
  • Similarly, there is no such word as "themselfs". It is a misspelling of "themselves".
  • If one more kid writes "I'm gonna", I'm "going to" hurt something! Ditto for the close relation "gunna". 
  • "I reckon" that there may be a lot of other ways to start a sentence which is an opinion.
  • In fact, there may be "heaps more" ways.
  • Quite a few ways, "and stuff".
  • Think about what you are writing/have written - does it makes sense? For instance "if you starve, you could die. Or worse." Please tell me what might be worse than dying of starvation?
  • "There" - is a place or idea (look at the food over there!). "They're" - is a contraction for "they are" (they're going to starve to death). "Their" is possessive (their kids are starving).
  • Definitely remember how to spell "definitely" (not "definately" - I stand accused of this one!!!).
  • Apparently multiple exclamation marks are redundant!!! But not on blogs :-)
  • i think Everyone should at least Try to use A Capital letter at the Start of a sentence and not throughout except for Pronouns full stops or commas or other punctuation marks also help us Work Out what youre trying To Say as well 
  • Now of course, there is room for a little conversational tone (especially on a blog!), but in formal exams, not all conversational phrases are appropriate. In addition, we are not texting here people!  (hi i'm Ingi and i'm gonna tell u about why i think everyone should cook - whattya reckon?).
 I do try to proof read my posts to make sure I haven't written "write" instead of "right" or some other silly error which will make me look like a dufus, but I'm sure I'm not always super-attentive. Feel free to Grammar Police me in the comments if you ever find an error (but be nice, I cry easily!).

There are many more out there and many great websites to point them out (the Oatmeal does a great job, but not for young kids or the easily offended). These are just the more common errors/irritating phrases I have come across in the last couple of weeks. 

I have one more week of marking to go - not sure if we (the 208 teachers they have employed) will get through all the scripts (240,000 odd) by then. Not sure what will happen if we don't. I will share with you that out of those 208, only 41 teachers have not been more than 2 marks away from the head markers on the common scripts - and I'm one of them!! Super accurate marker I am! Which I'm pretty happy about, because I am not a Primary teacher or English teacher and it's my first time marking. 

I have to wade through a lot more "I strongly agrees", "firstly/secondly/thirdly" (and sometimes "forthy/fifly/sixly/sevenly/ately" as well!). In conclusion, I strongly agree that it may be a long week ahead! But the family is coming to visit tomorrow night for a few days (yay!) and my cold/flu is on the improve, despite the pounding my social life is giving it, so things are on the up!


Comments

  1. I love this, Ingi. You're rocking this gig, my friend! (By the way I am totally Guilty of using capitals mid-sentence. But I never, ever write u for 'you,' or ur for 'you're,' and I try to avoid writing seventhly anywhere at all, so I hope I am in the clear, grammatically speaking?!)
    I hope you have a beautiful time with your family this weekend. They must go to that divine ice creamery, don't you think?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do believe they will, Helena! Video Boy is a huge ice-cream fan. You are in clear grammar wise dear Helena! Your words are so beautiful YOU COULD SHOUT THEM and I'd still adore them :-)

      Delete
  2. Ingi
    You are a legend! My head would be swimming by now. btw I think you'd love Eats, Shoots & Leaves.
    Oh and after your post back, I discussed with my family, "Why learn to cook" and had some great answers, and some cute ones from my little ones.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My head certainly swims by the end of the day - I find myself re-reading the same paragraph over and over as my mind wanders.....There are certainly a lot of cute replies and lots of Awww moments.

      And I'm pretty sure we have that book - I love it! I post lots of grammar police pics on Facebook!

      Delete
  3. What about "lose" and "loose" - that one drives me nuts. Now tell me - what is the correct apostophe placement in a sentence like "I read 6 month's worth of People Magazine yesterday"? Is there an apostrophe? Month's should be possessive there, right?

    seriously. i need to know.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lose and loose drive me crazy too! They are so commonly misused that I often question my usage of them.

      Now, I tell you - did you notice the "expert" part in inverted commas? I had to google that one...and I can report for temporal expressions (time), if it is singular (one day's worth), the apostrophe goes before the s, and if it is multiple (6 months' worth) the apostrophe goes after the s. This is only for future tense situations. And if you were to write "I'll see you in six months" it does not have an apostrophe...clear as mud???

      Delete
    2. Thank you! Thank you so much! I can't believe how many times I've needed to know this!

      Delete
    3. Ha! Yes, what's with "definitely"?! It catches me too. As do those exclamation marks!!!!!!!! ;) #GoodLuck

      Delete

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