Monday, October 22, 2012

Basic grammar rules

Throughout primary school, Andre had trouble with grammar rules regarding singular/plural and past/present. He could never seem to remember when to use what and often relied on what he felt "sounded right" (which of course, was frequently wrong!)

For some reason, even though we're an English-speaking family, he could never quite get a handle on grammar. A teacher friend of mine suggested that I compile a list of rules for Andre.  I attempted it and found that it helped tremendously. Somehow by organising the rules for him in a structured format, they didn't seem so arbitrary to him and became much easier to remember. The list also acts as a convenient reference list.

So for parents out there with kids like Andre, I thought I'd share my list. Do note this is not exhaustive but it covers most of the major ones.

Grammar Rules

1.       Is it singular or plural? (Look at the front noun).  Is it past or present? 
a.     The butcher sells meat at the market everyday.
b.     John cleaned his shoes yesterday.

2.       These are all singular:
a.     None of the girls is coming.
b.     Each of the boys has a pen.
c.     Everyone is coming to the party.
d.     Every artist loves to paint.
e.     Anybody is allowed to participate.
f.      Somebody is coming.
g.     Something is missing.
h.     Neither of the girls likes to travel
i.       Either one of them is coming.
j.       Uncountable nouns:  Water leaks from the pipe.

3.       These are all plural:
a.      All the boys have pencils.
b.      Both of them love ice cream.
c.      The pen and book belong to Ali.
d.      A few marbles were rolling on the floor.
e.      Many people visit the zoo.
f.       Most children dislike vegetables.

4.       Singular or plural – for these, look at the front:
a.      John as well as the girls loves to go to the beach.
b.      The girls except Mary like to eat fried chicken.
c.      All the trees but the one with fruit are to be chopped down.
d.      Susan, together with her friends, is playing at the playground.
e.      These books, with the magazine, belong to Jasmine.
f.       The carpet, like the curtains, brightens up the room.
g.      Collective nouns: A group of boys is coming this way.

5.       Singular or plural – for these, look at the back:
a.       Either the eraser or the pencils are missing.
b.      Neither the bags nor the box is heavy.


Anonymous said...

Hi Monica,
Thanks for this ready made list, you are a gem.
I was just thinking last week while revising stuff with my son, it would be good to compile them in one place. Somehow never had issues with daughter, but with my son, its a whole new ball game, sigh!


monlim said...

Sun: Glad it's useful!

Anonymous said...

Monica this comes so timely!
I was going through English with my son and he's also confused in the same way. Haha.

SL (mum of opposites)

monlim said...

SL: Seems like many kids are confused between the "s" behind the verb and behind the noun. Who can blame them? One is singular, one is plural. So odd, the English language!

Beth said...

In the singular section the first sentence can also be correctly written as, "none of the girls are coming". None can mean not one or not any so therefore can be both singular and plural.

It seems for every rule in English there is an exception. It is a tricky language!

monlim said...

Beth: You're right but I think in the school context, they teach "none" as singular. Confusing enough without the exceptions. English is a tricky language indeed!

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