It’s just a WEEK to go before PSLE’s main papers begin! Here are some VALUABLE tips in tackling the SPELLING and EDITING section of English Paper 2 Booklet B (worth 12 marks!)

There are TWO main classes of mistakes to edit (as the name of the section suggests). They USED to be differentiated by bolding and underlining (spelling bolded, grammar underlined), but not anymore, now they are ALL underlined, which makes it EVEN TOUGHER for students to tackle this section!

  1. Spelling errors

  2. Grammar errors

There are NO punctuation errors, NO vocabulary errors. ONLY Spelling and Grammar.

Let us first deal with SPELLING ERRORS.

Sample Questions

In 1937, Sylvan Goldman, the owner of a grocery store was inspyered (1)________ to invent a

shopping trolley. He observed that the shopping baskets of the time were fleemzee (2) ________

and became quite heavy to carry.

  • no matter HOW mangled the misspelled word LOOKS, it will ALWAYS still SOUND like the actual word!
  • You will need to pronounce it as best you can phonetically, to be able to SPELL it correctly.
  • If the misspelled word ENDS with -ed, you NEED to add -ed to YOUR correctly spelled word.
  • If the misspelled word ENDS with -ee / -ie or some other form, you NEED to add -y to YOUR correctly spelled word.
  • If the misspelled word ENDS with -ing / -eeng or some other form, you NEED to add -ing to YOUR correctly spelled word

The answer to Q1 would be … INSPIRED, and Q2 would be FLIMSY.

The problem with these questions is that some students give up before they can even spell the word, as the misspelled word looks so totally alien to them. I always encourage my kids not to let that intimidate them and TRY to pronounce the word as best they can.

Secondly. the GRAMMAR ERRORS.

This section encompasses a LOT more complexity, as there are MANY different types of grammar errors the examiners can test you on.

  1. Verbs / tenses
  2. word form (I have lumped pronouns, articles, etc all into this)
  3. prepositions 

The man shoves (45)_________ him away, growling, “Keep you (46) _________ brawling from

decent people, boy!” Paddy supressed (47)__________ a grin. By the time the rich fool realised he

had been robbed,  he would be far under (48) _________ counting the windfall. All that remained to

be done was to finish the street theatre that had provided cover for the theft.

Q45 is a VERB mistake obviously because the spelling is correct, but the use of singular/plural isn;t. VERB mistakes are the easiest to remedy – there are ONLY 3 other choices in this case!

  • shove
  • shoving
  • shoved

How do we decide? By using our Grammar check rules

  1. check if its Present or Past tense, by checking the rest of the sentence and paragraph. (note: be careful as dialogue sometimes may be in present tense)
  2. check for agreement if it’s present tense (singular noun – singular verb / plural noun – plural verb)

Since the rest of the paragraph is in the PAST tense, the answer should be…SHOVED!

Q46 is testing you on the use of pronouns (different word forms). IF it’s a pronoun mistake, the answer WILL be another pronoun. In this case, the answer is YOUR.

Q47 is a spelling error, so I’ll skip that.

Q48 is a PREPOSITION error, so the student will need to find a suitable Preposition to replace the mistake. In this case, it’s AWAY.

These are the main types of grammar questions usually tested in Spelling and Editing. If you can spot them, chances are you will be able to answer them correctly. Just remember these do’s and don’ts!

  1. DO check tenses! Missing out an ‘ed’ or adding ‘ed’ when not needed could mean losing a mark!
  2. DON’T give up on alien looking words! PRONOUNCE them!
  3. DO list out alternative answers, so you can make the right choice! e.g. list out all forms of a certain word/verb
  4. DON’T change the word into a TOTALLY DIFFERENT word. This ISN’T a vocabulary cloze, the test isn’t about filling the blanks with a different word. It’s about correcting either SPELLING or GRAMMAR mistakes.

I hope this helps all of you develop a better strategy in tackling this major section! TWELVE MARKS is not something to laugh at!



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