Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar

Here are a few tips that may come in handy.


Capital Letter Usage
Beginning a sentence It is true that a capital letter is used at the start of a sentence.’
A ‘proper noun’ Is a specific and unique noun that always starts with a capital letter, such as a person’s name, a place (New York, Paris, London, etc.), the name of a company, organisation or product
A religious festival Halloween, Christmas, Easter, etc.
Days of the week Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc.
Titles Mr. Mrs. Ms. Lord, Lady, Sir, Dr. etc.
Acronyms BBC, ITV, RAF, AA, DVD, CD.


Commonly Misspelt/Misused Words
Lose / Loose You LOSE at games, because your belt is LOOSE
Weird Weird NOT wierd: No ‘i before e’ here!
Necessary How many Cs and Ss?  Remember your shirt: One collar, two sleeves
Accommodation 2 Cs and 2 Ms.
There/Their/They’re These 3 homophones (words that sound the same but are spelt differently and mean different things) are often confused.

There –  distance or location: the bag is over there.

Their – possessive or belonging to someone: It is their case so they can collect it.

They’re – the shortened or contracted version of they are.  They’re having a lot of fun!

It’s/Its It’s – contraction of it is

Its – it belongs to someone.

Whose/Who’s Whose – shows ownership (whose bag is this? – who owns this bag?).

Who’s – the contracted form of ‘Who is’ (Who’s the best writer in the world?)

Definitely There are definitely two ‘i’s in definitely.
Affect/Effect Affect (verb) – something that impacts on you

Effect – (noun) the end result of something (e.g. a special effect)

Alot This is not a word! A lot of people make this mistake.
Embarrass Double r and double s.
Maintenance Break it down: ‘main’ ‘ten’ ‘ance’.
Occurrence Double c and double r.
Reference / Independent Often spelled with an a.


How To End A Sentence
Full Stop (.) Simply shows that the sentence has ended.
Ellipsis (…) Shows tension or drama (The goblin raised an arm and swung…)
Exclamation Mark (!) Shows impact or excitement (Fantastic!)
Question Mark (?) Shows that a question has been asked (How are you?)


Types of Sentences (and Clauses too)
Simple Generally contains a subject (a noun) and a verb and is a complete thought (e.g. it makes sense).  It must also start with a capital letter and end with a full stop, ellipsis, etc.
An independent or main Clause Is basically a simple sentence: it must make sense on its own.

She walked to the shop.’ is an independent clause.

A dependent clause Is a sentence that does not make sense on its own: it needs the independent or main clause to do this:

‘She walked to the shop: her previous purchase was faulty.

Compound A compound sentence is a sentence where two main clauses are linked by a connective (punctuation or joining word)
Complex A complex sentence is a sentence with both a main clause and a dependent clause.


Paragraphs – Remember TiPToP
Ti A new time (Ti)
P A new person (P)
To A new topic (To)
P A new place (P)


Amazing Apostrophes

The apostrophe is a misunderstood item of punctuation – here’s how to use it:

Contraction (shows that a letter(s) has been removed and two words joined together). Cannot becomes can’t.

Was not becomes wasn’t.

Have not becomes haven’t.

Singular Possession (ownership by one person of a thing, idea or feeling). Jack’s banana – the banana belongs to Jack.

Sarah’s joy – the joy belongs to Sarah.

Stan’s toy – the toy belongs to Stan.

Plural Possession (ownership by more than one person). The children’s dog – the dog that belongs to the children.
When not to use it: Any word ending in s –  where you think it looks right but is wrong.


Common Punctuation

What is it? What it’s for and when to use it.

Semi-Colon (;) The semi-colon is used to link two independent clauses (She always wears black clothes; she likes the Goth look.

The semi-colon also separates multi-word items in a list

Colon (:) The colon introduces a list (His games included: cards, Twister, X-Box etc).

The colon also shows cause and effect (She thought she’d try: she may make it, after all).

Comma (,) Commas can be used to add emphasis: ‘Sadly, the ice-cream melted.’

Commas also separate single-word items in a list (She took: books, glasses, paper, pens…)

Comma in pairs can be used to add more information: Simon, who wasn’t a very nice man, smiled at her misfortune.

Commas separate adjectives: Jelly is sticky, bright, colourful and tasty.


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