Resource Readings


Grammar mistakes that we might be unaware of

Regardless of speaking or writing, communication is an important aspect of our life.  Hence, proper grammar is salient to effectively express our thoughts.

I would like to present a fun quiz of (10 questions) some of the common grammar mistakes that we make and see you if you are able to spot them.  For parents, this is the kind of exercise your child will do in the English paper 1 examination known as “Editing”.  

Each sentence has only one grammatical error.  You are not supposed to add or omit any word in the sentence.  You just have to spot the mistake and replace it with a correct word.  Answers are provided after the quiz.  Have fun!

One example has been done for you.
Father took us for a drive at his new car last night.
Father took us for a drive in his new car last night.

  1. There are various ways to deal with different stress that we face at work or in school.
  2. Teenagers may succumb to peer pressure so as to fit in to their groups.
  3. Social media enables people to stay connected and learn new skills.
  4. A spoilt child may become greedy and expects his parents to suit his whims and fancies.
  5. He should put more focus in his grammar if he wants to improve his English.
  6. With the advent of technology, information is now readily available on our fingertips.
  7. My boss showed his satisfaction by nodding at me as I presented my slides yesterday.
  8. Despite being on a wheelchair, he still goes about with his favourite activities.
  9. The police is looking at ways to engage the community in fighting crime.
  10. We will continue using the old software at the meantime, until the new one is available.  

Answers

  1. There are various ways to deal with different stresses that we face at work or in school.
  2. Teenagers may succumb to peer pressure so as to fit in with their groups.
  3. Social media enable people to stay connected and learn new skills.
  4. A spoilt child may become greedy and expect his parents to suit his whims and fancies.
  5. He should put more focus on his grammar if he wants to improve his English.
  6. With the advent of technology, information is now readily available at our fingertips.
  7. My boss showed his satisfaction by nodding to me as I presented my slides yesterday.
  8. Despite being in a wheelchair, he still goes about with his favourite activities.
  9. The police are looking at ways to engage the community in fighting crime.
  10. We will continue using the old software in the meantime, until the new one is available.    

Well-done!
If your score is 8 or more, you have a good grasp of grammar.  Keep it up!

Keep trying!
If you score between 5 and 7, be more mindful of the mistakes.  Put more emphasis on accuracy and you should be on your way.

Please get help!
If you score less than 5, try to do more grammar practices.   You may hit the bookstores and get a copy of my book, Strengthen English Editing for Upper Secondary Levels for more practices.  Don’t let your lack of proficiency affect how you communicate with people.


How Good is Your Grammar – 2020

1. _____ should I report the matter to?

i) Who       ii) Whom      iii)   Whose

2. Please  ______ the book with you when you go to school.

i) bring       ii) take         iii)   fetch

3. The students  _____ more time to complete their projects.

i) request       ii) request for         iii) requesting

4. Parents play an important role _____ a child’s development.

i) to     ii) in   iii) at

5. The police _____ doing the necessary to warn the public about scams.

i)  is    ii) are           iii) am

6. The cheery blossoms are so beautiful.  My mother would love it if she _____ here!

i)  is ii) was            iii)   were

7. Students are only allowed to eat _____ the canteen.

in                ii) from         iii)   at

8. Since the air-conditioner is  _____, we shall use the fan instead.

i) spoilt           ii) spoiled      iii)   broken

9. She _____ in bed the whole of yesterday due to a high fever.

i) lay               ii) laid            iii)   lied

10. Teenagers will try to fit in ______ their peers to avoid rejection.

i) to         ii) with     iii)   by

11. Passengers are reminded to be _____ for their flight.

i) on time           ii) in time      iii)   about time

12. You will stay fit and healthy if you run _____. 

i) every day       ii) everyday iii)   one day

13. What _____ you do if you see someone litter?

i) would              ii) will             iii) are

14. He suggested _______ to that Korean restaurant to have fried chicken.

i) going      ii) to go iii) go

15. Choose the correct sentence:

i) I have completed my work already.

ii) I have already completed my work.

16. I am travelling _____ the bus right now.

i) in ii) on iii) with

17. Being her best friend, you should know her better than _________.

i) me ii) I do iii) mine

18. The class _______ plans for the graduation ceremony last week.

i) discussed about          ii) discussed     iii) discussed on

19. This torchlight shines ______ than the old one.

i) brighter ii) more brightly iii) brightest

20. You will have ______ time to finish your work if you continue to waste more time.

i) less        ii) lesser    iii) little    

Answers

1 ii) whom 
This is a case of subject vs object.  Subject refers to the doer of an action while object is the receiver of an action.  Hence, “who” refers to the doer and “whom” refers to the receiver.  Example: He is someone who is helpful (doer of action) whom everyone likes (receiver of adoration)

2 ii) take
You use the word ‘take’ from point of origin to destination and ‘bring’ from destination back to origin.  In this case, the person is leaving the point of origin to a destination.

3 i) request
The word ‘request’ means to ‘ask for’.  Hence, when using the word ‘request’, ‘for’ is not necessary anymore.

4 i) to

‘To’ is a preposition to indicate towards something.  Example: Smoking is harmful to your health.

5 ii) are – Police should be treated as a plural entity.

6 iii) were
Subjunctive form is used when you imagine yourself to be someone or an unlikely event happening.  The word ‘were’ is usually used in this form.  It also does not matter if the noun or subject is singular or plural in subjunctive form.  


7. iii) at – The preposition ‘at’ is used when referring to a ‘place of action’.

8 iii) broken

The word ‘broken’ indicates equipment and machines that are no longer working whereas, ‘spoilt’ is used for people (a spoilt brat) or food.

9 i) lay – The past tense form of ‘lie’ is ‘lay’.

10 ii) with – to show inclusion or togetherness

11 i) on time
To be ‘on time’ is to be punctual and ‘in time’ indicates sufficient time to spare or the last moment.

12 i) every day
The phrase ‘every day’ (2 separate words) indicates ‘daily’, and a single word ‘everyday’ is used as an adjective.  Example: This is my everyday breakfast.

13 i) would
Besides being a past tense form of ‘will’, the word ‘would’ is usually used to indicate hypothetical (imaginary) situations.

14 i) going

The word ‘suggest’ is a unique verb.  It can only be used in the following ways:

1.suggest + that Example: I suggest that you apologize.

2.suggest + noun Example: I suggest the movie.

3.suggest + gerund (a gerund is a continuous form of a verb)

15 ii) I have already completed my work

When using the present perfect tense, the word ‘already” must come before a verb

16 ii) on

You use the preposition ‘on’ for transportation like buses, trains & planes.  The preposition ‘in’ will be used for taxis and cars.


17 ii) I do

18 ii) discussed

The word ‘discuss’ means to ‘talk about’.  Hence, it does not require the preposition ‘about’ anymore.

19 i) more brightly – The adjective ‘brighter’ cannot be used as an adverb.

20 i) less
The word ‘lesser’ is not used to show quantity but intensity.  Example: He will get a lesser punishment if he pleads guilty.

How well did you fare?

Top of the pack!

Well done if your score is 17 or more!  Your proficiency of the language is excellent.  You have a good understanding of grammar.

On the right track!

If your score is between 13 and 16, you have a fairly good command of the language.  Put more emphasis on accuracy and you should be on your way.

Please take note!

If you score between 10 and 12, you need to take note on your common mistakes.  It may be affecting your interaction with others.

Please get help!

If you score less than 10, you should seek help on improving.  Don’t let your lack of proficiency affect how you communicate with people.

Some Significant Changes to the Education System (Secondary)

All mid-year exams would be scrapped for secondary 1 students from 2019 and secondary 3 students from 2020/2021.  This is to allow students to familiarise themselves with higher content rigour during the transition years from primary to secondary level, and from lower secondary to upper secondary.

In addition, to eliminate competition in learning and pre-occupation with grades, report books will no longer include the student’s ranking in class and level.  Aggregate scores of L1R4 and L1R5 will also not be reflected for the lower secondary students.

Please click on https://www.moe.gov.sg/news/press-releases/-learn-for-life—preparing-our-students-to-excel-beyond-exam-results for more information.


Reforms in Britain’s GCSE and A-Levels Exams

Under the reforms, grades for subjects will be progressively switched and completed by 2020. There will be nine grades under the new system, compared with eight under the old one.

Exams for some subjects such as Science will also be made more rigorous by including Maths content.

Kindly click on http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/education/british-exam-reforms-wont-affect-spore-students for more information. 


Work-Study Degree Programmes by Local Universities

The Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) and SIM University (UniSIM) have launched degree programmes in engineering, hospitality, IT and business finance.  The programmes enable its undergraduates to work and receive sponsorships for their studies at the same time.  The offer is also made available for working adults who may like to pursue a degree.  Kindly click on http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/education/universities-to-run-apprenticeship-degree-schemes


How Secondary School Posting is Done

All students are ranked based on their aggregate scores that extend to decimal points.  The top student is posted to the school at the top of his list of six choices.  Likewise, the second pupil and so on, until there are no more vacancies in the school.  A student who fails to get his top choice will be posted to the next school on his list.  If that school is also full, he will be sent to his third-choice school, and so on.

Where there are two or more pupils with the same rounded aggregate score vying for the last place in a school, they will be posted based on their citizenship. Singaporeans get in first, followed by permanent residents and international pupils.  In the event where there is still a tie, between two Singaporeans for instance, the one with the higher unrounded aggregate score will be posted to the school first.  If the two have the same unrounded aggregate score, then posting will be determined by computerized balloting.

For students who fail to get a place in any of their choices of schools, they will be posted to one near their home that still has vacancies.  But they must have met the school’s lowest PSLE aggregate.  Those still without a school will be posted to one in other postal districts that still has vacancies.

If a child whose school has an affiliated secondary school and he wants to go there, he must indicate it as his first choice.  This gives him priority. However, it is still subject to the availability of places.

Source: The Ministry of Education


Visual Text Comprehension
How to present your answers?

Primarily, the Visual Text Comprehension tests your interpretation of the graphics presented and your ability to answer the questions correctly based on the graphics.

Although there are many different ways questions can be asked, the following FOUR questions are the most commonly found in the exams.  As an author of the Visual Text Comprehension, I would like to share some insights on how students can answer the questions more accurately and effectively apply the technique.

For the purpose of better understanding, we shall analyze these questions using on the attached illustration.

1. Who is the target audience?

To answer this question, you have to indicate the specific group of people instead of simply indicating a general group of audience.

Referring to the graphic –
Those whose family members have history of the glaucoma. (specific group)

2. What is objective of the advertisement?

An objective is a purpose or aim.  To answer this question, you must

  1. identify the specific group of audience and
  2. specific action taken by the audience

Referring to the graphic –
To get people whose family members have history of glaucoma (specific group) to have their eyes checked. (specific action)

3. What is the intended effect of the picture?

An intended effect is usually the resulting feeling of an action.  To answer this question, you must

  1. mention how will the audience feel from looking at the picture and
  2. what will they do as a result

Referring to the graphic –
To instill a sense of fear (feeling of audience); especially to those with family history of glaucoma, so that they will have their eyes tested. (action as a result)

4. Why is the word “Robber” effectively used?

When the question asks why a certain word is “effective”, it usually looks either

  1. effectiveness of capturing the audience attention OR
  2. relevance to the product / organization

Referring to the graphic –
A “robber” is someone who takes away something precious from you.  As such, the Vision Robber indicates something that will rob your vision which will capture the attention of the audience as eyesight is something valuable to everyone. 


Grammar Test Part II
20 Questions

(Answers are below the page)

1. She suggested _______ to the movies but no one was interested.

i)  going      ii) to go          iii) go 

2. Choose the correct sentence:

i) I have fed the dog already.

ii) I have already fed the dog.

3. Please remember to shut _______ the lights when you leave the room.

i) down      ii) off              iii) all     

4. Though we _______ be there at 9pm, the shop will be closed by then.

i) shall        ii) will             iii) should

5. She _______ be there at the party this Saturday.

i) shall        ii) will             iii) maybe

6. None of the boys _______ going to the beach.

i) is             ii) are             iii) am

7. Choose the correct sentence:

i) I want to feedback on the poor service quality.            

ii) I want to give feedback on the poor service quality.

8. We _______ the plans but came to no conclusion.

i) discussed about          ii) discussed     iii) discussed on

9. I saw her _______ the old lady at the market yesterday.

i) help         ii) helped      iii) helps

10. This building used to be a school _______.

i) last time        ii) previously    iii) recently    

11. My dad is taking my brother and _______ to the mall tomorrow.

i) I        ii) me              iii) both correct

12. James, as well as his friends _______ going to the movies tonight.

i) is       ii) are             iii) were        

13. Stay _______ for further announcement on the situation.

i) tune     ii) tuned        iii) tuning

14. There are far _______ people buying compact discs these days.

i) less        ii) lesser        iii) fewer

15. His dad insists he _______ his food before eating the ice cream.

i) finished        ii) finish         iii) finishes

16. There _______ no trucks on this road on Sundays.

i) are                ii) is                iii) will           

17. After working so hard, I look forward to _______ my holiday soon.

i) have               ii) having       iii) get

18. She is angry _______ him for forgetting her birthday.

i) at                   ii) with           iii) about      

19. Choose the correct sentence:

i) I want to know the reason why you are unhappy.      

ii) I want to know the reason you are unhappy.

20. Choose the correct sentence:

i) Can you tell me how much that pen is?   

ii) Can you tell me how much is that pen?

iii) Both correct

Answers

1. Correct answer is (i). 
The verb ‘suggest’ is an unusual verb.  It can only be used in the following ways:
1.suggest + that
2.suggest + noun
3.suggest + gerund (a gerund is a continuous form of a verb)

2. Correct answer is (ii). 
The word ‘already’ has to be used before a verb in the present perfect tense.

3. Correct answer is (ii).
‘Shut off’ is used to used when the action is almost immediate.  ‘Shut down’ requires a process such as in a computer, factory etc… before the operation is completed.  To shut something is to close.

4. Correct answer is (i).
The modal verb ‘shall’ is used when the subject is in the first person such as “I” or “we”.

5. Correct answer is (ii).
Only modal verb ‘shall’ is used when the subject is in the first person such as “I” or “we”.  All others should use the modal verb ‘will’.

6. Correct answer is (ii).
Although the word ‘none’ indicates not a single subject (noun), the plural indicative form in this sentence belongs to the plural noun “boys”.   

7. Correct answer is (ii).
The word ‘feedback’ is a noun and should not be treated as an action.

8. Correct answer is (ii).
The word ‘discuss’ indicates to ‘talk about’.  Hence, it does not take the prepositions such as ‘on’ or ‘about’.

9. Correct answer is (i).
In a two-verb sentence, the correct tense is indicated by the first verb (saw) whereas the second verb (help) would disregard the tenses and nouns; retaining the root form.

10. Correct answer is (ii).
The word ‘previously’ means ‘in the past.’  The phrase ‘last time’ indicates the last incident or occasion.  For eg. The last time I saw him was 2 weeks ago…

11. Correct answer is (ii).
The pronoun ‘I’ would be correct if
For eg. My brother and I are going to the mall…

12. Correct answer is (i).
In this sentence, the noun (James) is a singular entity.  The phrase “as well as his friends” is not regarded as part of the noun.

13. Correct answer is (ii).
The word stay indicates that you have already tuned in and to remain so.

14. Correct answer is (iii).
The word ‘few’ is used for countable noun and ‘less’ for uncountable noun.

15. Correct answer is (ii).
Similar concept as Question 9

16. Correct answer is (i).
The noun (trucks) is a plural, and so the plural indicative form ‘are’ should be used.

17. Correct answer is (ii).
When you look forward to something, it indicates the future.  The future tense, which is also the present continuous form, should be used.  

18. Correct answer is (ii).
You can only be ‘angry with’ or ‘mad at’ someone or something.

19. Correct answer is (ii).
A reason is a cause and thus the word ‘why’ becomes redundant in the sentence.

20. Correct answer is (i).
This is a case of a question (How much is that pen?) within a question (Can you tell me). 

In such a scenario, the whole sentence has to be restructured. 
For eg.
How old are you?  (direct question)
Can you tell me how old you are?  (question within a question)

How well did you fare?

Top of the pack!
Well done if your score is 17 or more!  Your proficiency of the language is excellent.  You have a good understanding of grammar.

On the right track!
If your score is between 13 and 16, you have a fairly good command of the language.  Put more emphasis on accuracy and you should be on your way.

Please take note!
If you scored between 10 and 12, you need to take note on your common mistakes.  It may be affecting your interaction with others.

Please get help!
If you scored less than 10, you should seek help on improving.  Don’t let your lack of proficiency affects how you communicate with people.


Grammar Test Part I
20 Questions

(Answers are below the page)

1. Don’t touch the kettle!  ______ hot!

i)  It’s         ii) Its           iii)         Its’     

2. _____ do you think is the most hardworking in the office?

i) Who       ii) Whom      iii)   Whose

3. Can you please help me to ______ the dog for a walk?

i) bring       ii) take         iii)   fetch

4. “Hello Ben!  Can I _____ to your office at 3pm today?” asked Richard.  

i) come      ii) go             iii)   visit

5. Mr Tan _____ in East Coast as he loves the beach.

i) stays       ii) lives         iii)   both correct

6. He had lived in _____ flat before moving to a landed home.

i) a HDB     ii) an HDB     iii)   HDB

7. Please _____ by this week if you are going to the excursion.

i) revert     ii) revert again   iii)    revert back

8. The children are usually dismissed at half_____ one.

i)  passed    ii) pass           iii)   past

9. This place is so beautiful.  If my mother _____ here, she would love it!

i)  is             ii) was            iii)   were

10. The service in this restaurant is _____.

i)  no good      ii) not good    iii)    no-good

11. Singaporeans are working harder and longer on _____.

i) an average     ii) average    iii)   the average

12.When I was a child, I studied _____ that school.

i) in                   ii) from         iii)   at

13. Can you please help me put these files _____ the box?

i) into                ii) in             iii)   inside

14. I could not buy a drink as the vending machine was _____.

i) spoilt              ii) spoiled      iii)   broken

15. He _____ in bed the entire day as he had a high fever yesterday.

i) lay                  ii) laid            iii)   lied

16. Please _____ your report by this week.

i) hand up         ii) pass up     iii)   hand in

17. The meeting will commence at 8.30am.  Please be there _____.

i) on time           ii) in time      iii)   about time

18. Judy runs 5km _____ to stay fit and healthy. 

i) every day       ii) everyday iii)   one day

19. What _____ you do if won the grand prize?

i) would              ii) will             iii) are

20. Although the task is difficult, I shall take _____ the challenge!

i) on                     ii) up              iii) down           

Answers

1. Correct answer is (i). 
‘It’s’ is a contraction of ‘it is’

2. Correct answer is (ii). 
This is a case of subject vs object.  Subject refers to the doer of an action while object is the receiver of an action.  Hence, “who” refers to the doer and “whom” refers to the receiver. 
For eg. He is someone who is helpful (doer of action) whom everyone likes (receiver of adoration)

3. Correct answer is (ii).
You use the word ‘take’ from point of origin to destination and ‘bring’ from destination back to origin.
In this case, the person is leaving the point of origin to a destination.

4. Correct answer is (ii).
‘Go’ indicates from point of origin to destination and ‘come’ from destination back to origin.  In this case, Richard is leaving his point of origin to a destination.

5. Correct answer is (ii).
‘Live’ is used when something is permanent and ‘stay’ when it is temporary.

6. Correct answer is (ii).
The word ‘H’ in HDB makes a vowel sound and ‘an’ is required.

7. Correct answer is (i).
‘Revert’ here is ‘to get back’.  So if you use ‘revert back’ means ‘to get back back’.

8. Correct answer is (iii).
‘Past’ here is a preposition indicating ‘beyond in time’ whereas ‘passed’ is the past tense of the action word ‘pass’.

9. Correct answer is (iii).
Subjunctive form is used when you imagine yourself to be someone or an unlikely event happening.  The word ‘were’ is usually used in this form.  It also does not matter if the noun or subject is singular or plural in subjunctive form.  

10. Correct answer is (ii).
‘No-good’ is only used as an adjective.  For eg. This is a no-good deal.

11. Correct answer is (ii).
In this sentence, the word ‘average’ is a generalisation.  ‘The average’ or ‘an average’ is used for something more specific or definite.

12. Correct answer is (iii).
The preposition ‘at’ is used when referring to a ‘place of action’.

13. Correct answer is (i).
The preposition ‘into’ is usually used with verbs indicating movement.

14. Correct answer is (iii).
‘Broken’ indicates equipments and machines that are no longer working whereas ‘spoilt’ is more appropriately used on people; such as ‘a spoilt brat’.

15. Correct answer is (i).
We need to use the past tense form of ‘lie’ which is ‘lay’.

16. Correct answer is (iii).
To ‘hand in’ is to give something typically to someone of authority and ‘hand up’ is a form of broken English.  ‘Pass up’ usually indicates ‘giving up’ an opportunity.

17. Correct answer is (i).
To be ‘on time’ is to be punctual and ‘in time’ indicates sufficient time to spare or the last moment.

18. Correct answer is (i).
‘Every day’ written separately indicates ‘daily’, and a single word ‘everyday’ is used as an adjective.  For eg. This is my everyday task.

19. Correct answer is (i).
Besides being a past tense form of ‘will’, the word ‘would’ is usually used to indicate hypothetical (imaginary) situations.

20. Correct answer is (ii).
In this sentence, to ‘take up’ is to accept a task.  ‘Take on’ is usually used when challenging an opponent.  For eg. He decided to take on the bully.

How well did you fare?

Top of the pack!
Well done if your score is 17 or more!  Your proficiency of the language is excellent.  You have a good understanding of grammar.

On the right track!
If your score is between 13 and 16, you have a fairly good command of the language.  Put more emphasis on accuracy and you should be on your way.

Please take note!
If you scored between 10 and 12, you need to take note on your common mistakes.  It may be affecting your interaction with others.

Please get help!
If you scored less than 10, you should seek help on improving.  Don’t let your lack of proficiency affects how you communicate with people.


Tutoring can boost your child’s advantage!

Not every child learns the same way.  Some pick up quickly while others do not.  Students who are struggling with their studies will find home tuition beneficial, as coaching will help them understand the school curriculum more thoroughly and easily.  On the other hand, academically adept students will find that tuition can help them achieve far better grades and achieve a breakthrough they could not have done without mentoring.

Therefore, whether they are struggling or doing well in school, students will definitely find that tuition is a good complement to their learning.  With the rigour of the current curriculum, tuition has become second nature in a student’s educational pursuit.  There certainly is no shame that your child may need one.

Tutors do not just sit down with students and provide model answers, but they assist students in problem solving and obtaining the answers.  If the student works at getting the answer, they feel a sense of satisfaction and more importantly, develops confidence.


What makes a good Tutor?

Choosing the right tutor is the first step in helping your child.  Never leave it to chance!  Below are some points to take note:

Educational Qualifications – 
This is the most basic any good tutor must possess.  Having gone through the rigour of examinations, the tutor will be able to identify the stress and psychological aspects students face.  More importantly, the right qualification enables the tutor to impart the right knowledge and even tips to handle the respective subjects.

Experiences – 
Tutors with more experience tend to learn from mistakes made previously to ensure more effective coaching.  Coupled with the right qualification, students are more likely to develop confidence to handle exams leading to academic success.

Passion – 
Passion is a motivation that comes from within.  It is a force that propels an individual to always do better and more importantly, enjoys every moment of what he does.  A passionate tutor never fails to motivate and engage his students.  He keeps abreast of the latest developments and come up with effective strategies to benefit the students.  A tutor with great interest should not see tutoring as job.  He ensures that students understand and are able to apply what they have learnt and soar in schools.

Empowerment – 
A good tutor helps a student to become better learners and be empowered in the classroom.  He must be able to help students progress to the point where they can be independent and confident.  A successful tutor is also one that empathises and has an engaging sense of humour.

A tutor with empathy can read the attitude and emotions of a student.  He is capable of discerning if students are frustrated or even how they feel about being tutored.  The latter is especially true with younger kids who may not appreciate the rationale of tutoring.

Some students may not be enthusiastic about getting help with their academic issues.  However, if a student can feel a tutor’s genuine concern, the student will begin to open up.  This is the time where the tutor is able to enter the student’s model of the world and guide him. 

Having a good sense of humour and an engaging personality can also make the student comfortable enough to open up to the tutor.  


What are the benefits of Group Tuition?

  • Cheaper tuition fees. Rate per student will be lower as compared to 1-on-1 tuition.
  • Provoke competition. With someone who is deemed as a competitor side by side, it will instigate one to work even harder.
  • Students benefit from a diversity of ideas and points of view.
  • Encouraged Participation. Provides opportunities for quiet students to participate.