What can be more important than getting your grammar right? For anyone reading your essays, what irritates more would be when they see your grammar mistakes glaring right at them.

Here are a few tips and tricks offered by our English specialists! Should you abide by these few rules faithfully, be assured that you’ll see better scores for grammar in school!

#1 ‘a’ is used before a consonant and ‘an’ before a vowel

Example: We say ‘a unicorn’ instead of ‘an unicorn’ because ‘unicorn’ is pronounced as ‘you-ni-corm’, so you can treat it that unicorn starts with a ‘y’ sound (a consonant).

As there could be such inconsistencies, try to sound out the word each time before putting ‘a’ or ‘an’ before it!

#2 Knowing where to put the apostrophe

If the noun is plural, add the apostrophe after the s. If the noun is singular and ends in s, also put the apostrophe after the s.

Example: students’

#3 It’s vs Its

Often, we mix up “It’s” and “Its” because they sound the same when pronounced. However, they are used differently. “It’s” is a contraction of “it is”. Meanwhile, “its” is used to say that something belongs to someone or refers to something. When you are unsure of which to use, you could always break “it’s” down into “it is” and try to see if the sentence flows. If it doesn’t you’re probably using it wrongly.

For example, you say “It’s mine” instead of “Its mine”. “It’s mine” broken down would be “It is mine”, which makes perfect sense.

#4 ‘all is good’ OR ‘all are good’?

While both forms are correct, they have slightly different meanings and are used in different contexts. The first can refer to everything while the second is correct only if it refers to an implied concrete set of things.

#5 Words that look identical but are different in terms of usage

These 3 words look very identical but are used in different ways. Even though it might be difficult to understand how they are used, be sure that it is not used wrongly. Otherwise, it would be very out of place.

#6 Referring to a Brand or Entity

A business is not plural, so it should be referred to as ‘it’ instead of ‘they’.

#7 Affect vs. Effect

‘Affect’ is the verb while ‘effect’ is the outcome.

#8 Starting your sentence with connectors

You may start your sentence with connectors such as ‘however’ and ‘nevertheless’ as long as you remember to put a comma behind these words.

The art of piecing sentences together

#9 Double negatives

Even though we would often come across double negative in areas such as informal speech and popular music, it is not used in formal speech and writing as the presence of 2 negatives technically switches the meaning to an affirmative one, which may take on a different meaning.

Example: “I cannot go no further”, “I’m not doing nothing”, “I can’t hardly wait”

These are just but a few tips and tricks to get you started on your mission to perfect your Grammar! Should you want to learn more, we offer foundational English lessons at almost every level (P3-P6, Secondary English and General Paper). Enrol here or sign up for a FREE trial class today!

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