19 Jun 2013

GCSE English Language Exam: Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar (SPAG) Monsters

Ever wondered how do examiners mark spelling, punctuation and grammar in English exams?

Imagine this: an examiner, sitting at a screen, marking your script, scoring one essay every few minutes. They're looking for great writing, and also for accuracy. A few minor slips will be forgiven. But if you're messing up consistently, you will lose marks.

These are the SPAG (spelling, punctuation and grammar) monsters which will put you in the lowest band - below C grade. Printer-friendly version is here.

[1] they're/their/there
[2] we're/were/where
[3] you're/your/your
[4] of/off
[5] to/too

[1] dosent (for doesn't)
[2] ov (for of)

Punctuation and Grammar
[1] i instead of I, im for I'm
[2] Capital letters Where there should Be no capital Letters
[3] no capital letters [help me with this]

[4] cant or wont use apostrophes [learn how]
[5] apostrophe's show's up in very weird place's [solve this]

[6] Short. Sentences. Like. This. Which. Go. On. And. On. And. On. [what's wrong with this?]
[7] No full stops anywhere not even when you start a new sentence please you must not do this it is horrible to read i can even feel my brain trying to escape out of my ear [solve this]
[8] No paragraphs. What were you thinking? Put them in like this //

The stuff below won't stop you hitting the mid-band. But it will stop you hitting the top band (A-A*)
When Good Punctuation Goes Bad
[1] Too many exclamation marks!!!!!!!!!!
[2] Ellipsis... all over... the place... like it was written... by a... maniac.
[3] Semi-colons are; used almost; completely at; random. [learn how to do it right]

Too Many Simple Sentences
I eat cheese. Cheese is great. I like it on toast. Sometimes I melt it. Sometimes I don't. [learn how to vary sentences]

All Sentences Start in the Same Way. Either:
The man did this. The man did that. The man did the other. [learn to solve this]
I did this. I did that. I did the other. [learn to solve this]

Finally, please, please check your work!

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