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Tips to Score 10/10 in Grammar Editing, O-Level English Singapore

by | Oct 17, 2022 | 0 comments

O Level English Grammar Editing Tips  – Introduction

Many would agree that the Grammar Editing section in Paper 1 of the O Level English exam is a low-hanging fruit. At the same time, however, students find it frustrating that they are unable to consistently obtain a perfect 10/10 in this seemingly easy-to-score section. If this accurately describes how you feel about O Level English Grammar Editing, this article is for you!

 

O Level English Grammar Editing Tips  – Format and Requirements

Every O Level English Grammar Editing practice consists of 12 lines, where the first and last lines are correct. For eight of the lines, there is one grammatical error in each line. There are two lines with no errors.

For the eight lines with grammatical errors, students are to circle the incorrect word and correct the error. The correct word provided must not change the original meaning of the sentence. For the remaining two lines with no errors, students are to put a tick for each line.

There are only grammatical errors, i.e. no spelling or punctuation errors.

 

O Level English Grammar Editing Tip #1: Determine the main tense of the passage

Before you dive right in to identify the errors, you need to first determine the main tense of the O Level English Grammar Editing passage. This will help you to accurately pick out any tense errors later on. There are two ways to identify the main tense of the passage.

The first way is to read the first and last lines of the passage. We know for sure that the first and last lines of the passage are error-free. Use that to your advantage! Since these two lines are definitely correct, you can be assured that the tenses in these two lines are correct as well. You can thus safely conclude that the main tense of the passage follows that of these two lines.

The second way is to identify the text type. Narrative and recount texts are generally written in past tense, whereas non-narrative or factual texts are generally in the present tense. An example of a narrative text can be found in the O-Level 2020 Grammar Editing section, where the writer recounts his experience at the Great Wall of China. Notice that the passage is written in the past tense. On the other hand, in the 2021 paper, the writer seeks to tell us more about mobile phones through an informative text. You can see that the main tense used in this passage is the present tense.

Do note, however, that there may be shifts in tenses throughout the O Level English Grammar Editing passage. For example, in an informative text, the writer may shift from the present tense to the past tense when making references to a past event. It is therefore important to understand the context of the passage and not just blindly look for errors based on the main tense.

 

O Level English Grammar Editing Tip #2: Familiarise yourself with the types of errors typically found in Editing

“Know Thy Enemy” – Sun Tzu. 

Knowing what the setter is up to will increase your chances of correctly identifying the errors. There are typically ten errors that you should look out for in the O Level English Grammar Editing passage.

 

2.1 Articles

The bridge can carry 800 people at the time. [2019 ‘O’ Level]

Corrected: The bridge can carry 800 people at a time.

 

2.2 Conjunctions

I gasped. ‘Look, it’s snowing!’ Ben, although, said, ‘Snow never falls in Singapore.’ [2015 ‘O’ Level]

Corrected: I gasped. ‘Look, it’s snowing!’ Ben, however, said, ‘Snow never falls in Singapore.’

 

2.3 Subject-Verb Agreement

People tend to greatly underestimate how long they spend on their phones because time pass so quickly when using social media or browsing the internet. [2021 ‘O’ Level] 

Corrected: People tend to greatly underestimate how long they spend on their phones because time passes so quickly when using social media or browsing the internet.

 

2.4 Singular & Plural Nouns

My whole trip was an extraordinary experiences, giving me endless memories and stories to share with all my family and friends when I returned home. [2020 ‘O’ Level]

Corrected: My whole trip was an extraordinary experience, giving me endless memories and stories to share with all my family and friends when I returned home.

 

2.5 Tenses

They kept them out until they are absolutely sure the creature had gone. [2017 ‘O’ Level]

Corrected: They kept them out until they were absolutely sure the creature had gone.

 

2.6 Verb Forms

(a) Phones can also make people forgot basic courtesy. [2021 ‘O’ Level] 

Corrected: Phones can also make people forget basic courtesy.

 

(b) It brushed past Dean before landed on the board. [2017 ‘O’ Level] 

Corrected: It brushed past Dean before landing on the board.

 

2.7 Word Forms

The steps were very steep, which made the wall strenuously to walk on. [2020 ‘O’ Level]

Corrected: The steps were very steep, which made the wall strenuous to walk on.

 

2.8 Prepositions

So, if you can’t stop looking with your phone, you are not alone. [2021 ‘O’ Level]

Corrected: So, if you can’t stop looking at your phone, you are not alone.

 

2.9 Pronouns

(a) My brother, Ben, and me were going to spend Christmas with our aunt in Australia. [2015 ‘O’ Level – Personal Pronoun]

Corrected: My brother, Ben, and I were going to spend Christmas with our aunt in Australia.

 

(b) Although no one was hurt in this incident, about 70 shark attacks take place every year worldwide, some of whom are fatal. [2017 ‘O’ Level – Relative Pronoun]

Corrected: Although no one was hurt in this incident, about 70 shark attacks take place every year worldwide, some of which are fatal.

 

2.10 Comparative & Superlative Adjectives

There are two statues of Raffles in the city, the tallest of which shows him with arms folded. [2014 ‘O’ Level]

Corrected: There are two statues of Raffles in the city, the taller of which shows him with arms folded.

 

One tip is as you identify the type of errors is that the same type of error is unlikely to appear more than twice. So, as you go along, use your pencil to indicate beside your answer the type of error you have identified. Check your work when you are done. Having more than two errors of the same type will signal to you that you should relook your answers!

 

O Level English Grammar Editing Tip #3: Take the entire sentence into consideration when deciding on your answer

This is a strategy often overlooked by many students. In the exam, in order to save time, many students have the tendency to pick out errors on first instinct. They search for clues from nearby words in that particular line, and then hastily conclude their answers.

While this may help save a minute or two, it is not the wisest move to make. Why is this so? In the O Level English Grammar Editing passage, sentences may span over two lines, or more. Not taking the entire sentence into consideration may cause you to miss out on crucial contextual clues, which could be found in the lines before or after that blank.

So slow down for a second, read the entire sentence and digest the information as a whole. This will definitely increase your chances of picking out the correct error!

 

O Level English Grammar Editing Tips  – Conclusion

It is definitely possible to obtain a perfect score in the O Level English Grammar Editing section. If you find your scores stagnant, one thing you can do is to revisit and redo past editing practices. Pay attention to your mistakes, and try to explain the errors to yourself or your friends. If you find yourself struggling with the explanations, approach your teacher or seek help from an experienced tutor. It is important that you understand your mistakes, rather than mindlessly doing practice after practice. If you practise without understanding, you may end up perfecting your mistakes! This is dangerous as it will be more difficult to unlearn a concept that has been deeply entrenched.

We hope that the above tips will give you greater confidence to ace your O Level English Grammar Editing section. Go get that coveted 10/10!

Learning Gems is a premium tuition centre that provides quality online English tuition classes to PSLE and G3 / GCE ‘O’ Level students in Singapore. Our teachers are well-versed with the latest MOE syllabus and have taught at various schools in Singapore. Be it the primary or secondary level, we possess the relevant experience and are fully qualified to help your child.

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