The Complete Teacher


The basics of grammar, mechanics and usage

Posted by Hlengiwe Zwane on 08 June 2023, 17:00 SAST

Let us dive into the world of language and discover how we can empower our students to become confident writers and communicators. Grammar, usage, and mechanics are the three pillars that support effective language skills, and they are vital for our student's success in English.

Grammar serves as the backbone of language, providing the structural base for both written and spoken expression. It includes the parts of speech and their usage in constructing meaningful sentences. Usage, on the other hand, delves into the art of employing words and phrases effectively, expanding vocabulary skills along the way.

When we combine grammar, usage, and mechanics, we equip our students with the essential tools they need to write with confidence and communicate clearly. These interconnected components form the foundation upon which language is built.

To help your students embark on this exciting journey, explore some of the basic grammar rules of writing:

Active voice: Encourage your students to favour active voice over passive voice, as it brings energy and clarity to their writing.

Subject-verb agreement: Teach your students the importance of ensuring that the subject and verb in a sentence agree in number. Remind them that a singular subject requires a singular verb, and vice versa.

Verb tense: Guide your students in selecting the appropriate verb tense whether past, present, or continuous in their sentences. This adds precision and coherence to their writing.

Homophones: Raise awareness among your students about words that sound alike but have different meanings and spellings. Emphasise the significance of using the correct word to convey the intended message.

Now, the mechanics of writing. They provide the finishing touches to our students' creations using language:

Capitalization rules: Share the following guidelines to ensure accurate capitalization:

  • Begin sentences with a capital letter.

  • Capitalize proper nouns, including names of people and specific places.

  • Use capital letters for initials in names.

  • Always capitalize the pronoun "I."

  • Start the days of the week and the months of the year with a capital letter.

  • Titles of respect, such as Dr., Mr., and Prof., deserve a capital letter too.

Punctuation rules: Help your students navigate the world of punctuation with these fundamental principles:

  • End statements or commands with a period.

  • Express firm commands or excitement with an exclamation mark.

  • Utilize an apostrophe to form contractions or indicate possession.

  • Pose questions with a question mark.

  • Employ commas to introduce introductory words and separate items in a list.

These grammar and mechanics guidelines are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to mastering the English language. If you're seeking comprehensive teaching resources to support your instruction and your students. Access our valuable resources for this month by clicking here (insert link).

Remember, as educators, we play a crucial role in shaping our students' language skills. By instilling a strong foundation in grammar, usage, and mechanics, we empower them to express themselves eloquently and confidently.

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