Take a look at this list and help your child brush up on their written and spoken English
As children grow and learn language they make mistakes along the way, particularly when it comes to their use of written and spoken English. Knowing these common grammar mistakes, why children make them and how to fix them can help students avoid basic errors and problems further down the line, ensuring they become more competent writers and fluent English speakers.
At I Can Read our teachers have encountered pretty much every and any mistake a student of English can make. It’s our job to guide the student and ensure they don’t make these easily avoidable mistakes. In this newsletter we would like to share with readers the most frequently made mistakes teachers encounter. Take a look at the errors on this list and help your child brush up on their written and spoken English.
Grammar Mistake One: Conjugating Irregular Verbs
Quite frequently you may hear your child say “I goed to the store with Daddy”, or “I sawed my friend yesterday.” This occurs when children overgeneralize word rules. It is a very common grammar mistake and a logical misstep, especially with pre-schoolers. English is a tricky language to learn with a number of exceptions to common rules. Just when young learners learn to add an ed to make the past tense of a verb, they have to start learning the many exceptions to the rules. The best way to tackle this is active listening and gentle grammar correction.
Grammar Mistake Two: Confusing Than and Then
It’s quite common for children (and sometimes adults too) to write or say “I’d rather have chocolate thencake.” One big reason people make this grammar mistake is because they’re not hearing the words correctly. There’s a slight difference in pronunciation but many accents make the difference nearly undetectable, which can make it hard to hear which word is being used.
In a bid to eradicate this mistake, ask your child to clarify whether he’s talking about time or comparing two things. Then is used to express time and than is for comparison. Once your child has a sense of context, you can teach him to associate then with the rhyming word when as they both refer to time. On the other hand, than can be associated with the word compare because they both have the letter “a” in them.
Grammar Mistake Three: Changing Verb Tense in the Middle of a Paragraph
This grammar mistake is actually more common in writing than it is verbally, although it happens in both cases. Many times students simply don’t keep track of what tense they began with when telling a story and switch partway through. For example, “I was at the zoo and I see tigers!” To tackle this issue with your child try repeating the sentence back when they are finished speaking or writing. Constant gentle reminders will ensure they form great writing habits and an awareness of their error.
Grammar Mistake Four: Knowing when to use I and when to use me
Parents and teachers spend a lot of time prompting children to use the personal pronoun I when the word me is used in a singular sentence. Often children will overgeneralize this correction and think it means anytime they are referring to themselves they must use the word I.
Teach your child to take the other person out of the sentence to check whether it sounds correct without it. For example, “Me went to the supermarket to buy chocolate,” doesn’t sound right, so your child will know to use I. It works the opposite way, too. Take, for example, the sentence, “Please can you drop Dad and I at the supermarket?” If your child takes Dad out of the sentence, “Please can you drop I at the supermarket?” it doesn’t sound right, either. Once your child practices doing this a few times, he’s more likely to self-correct before saying the sentence.
Grammar Mistake Five: Spelling Mistakes
Many spelling mistakes occur when students rush their work or guess spellings. When it comes to assisting your child with spellings try to ensure they take adequate time to practice and try to use the “sound out the word approach” where applicable. Correcting misuse of homophones is also an excellent way to avoid needless mistakes. Homophones are words with the same pronunciation, such as right(correct), rite (ritual), and write (print).