Posted in SATs, SPaG, Year 6

Be Determined To Get The Right Determiner!

A determiner is a word that shows us the noun in a sentence – a, an, the, each, many, every, these, those – and even a number!

For example:

AN apple was given to EACH child EVERY day for THREE weeks.

THE is known as the DEFINITE ARTICLE – it refers to a particular item.

For example:

I would like THE apple. (You want a particular apple – I bet it’s that juicy red one!)

(Note: Although we can also use the words this, those and these to denote a specific noun or nouns, they AREN’T definite articles – only ‘the’ is known by this term. This, those and these are sometimes known as ‘demonstrative determiners’ – imagine that you are demonstrating what you are talking about by pointing to them! You don’t need to know this for Year 6 SATs!)

A and AN are known as INDEFINITE ARTICLES – they don’t refer to a specific item.

For example:

I would like AN apple. (You would like any apple.  You’re not bothered which one!)

It’s easy to work out whether you need to use A or AN in front of a noun as long as you know your vowels – A E I O and U! If a noun begins with a vowel, you use AN – if it doesn’t, you use A!

For example:

I placed AN orange on A plate.  (Orange begins with a vowel, so you use ‘an’, whereas plate begins with a consonant, so you use ‘a’!)

(Note: The determiners myyourhisherits, ourtheirwhose are known as ‘possessive determiners’ because they show that the noun belongs to someone or something. You don’t need to know this for Year 6 SATs either!)

Photo by Christine Wehrmeier on Unsplash

Posted in SATs, SPaG, Year 6

Let’s join together for – Conjunctions!

a picture of two hands holding each other.

Conjunctions are words that are used to join sentences, or bits of sentences together. There are a couple of types of conjunctions:

Co-ordinating conjunctions
These are the words that join two sentences together – we can use FANBOYS to remember what they are – For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, So.
For example:
I was hungry so I made myself a sandwich.

Subordinating conjunctions
These join two parts (clauses) of a sentence together. There’s another mnemonic to help us remember them – I SAW A WABUB!
If, Since, As, When, Although, While, After, Before, Until, Because.
For example:
I’m going home before six o’clock.
When Mikey comes home, he will have a snack.
The subordinating conjunction always comes before the part of the sentence that wouldn’t make sense on its own!

Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash

Posted in SATs, SPaG, Year 6

Show how you do it with adverbs and adverbials!

Just like adjectives describe a noun, adverbs tell us more about the verb in a sentence. (Yes, I agree, adjectives should really be called adnouns!!)⠀⠀

Adverbs tell us how, why, where or when something is happening.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
She danced gracefully.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Carefully, Mikey picked up the cat. (Tells us how something is happening)⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
The cat pooped in my shoe yesterday. (Tells us when something is happening)⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
I always walk to work . (Tells us how often something is happening)⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
The kids raced inside. (Tells us where something is happening)⠀⠀⠀

Adverbs can also tell us the possibility of something happening:⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
I definitely placed my keys on the table.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Mikey never misses a chance to go for a walk.

It will probably snow tomorrow.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Maybe she dances when no-one is looking.

And yes, the cat really did poop in my shoes this morning. Thanks, Spangle!

Trust me, adverbials really aren’t scary at all. They are just a small group of words that do the same job as an adverb – they give us more information about the action that is happening in the sentence.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
They are usually about place:⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
The cat pooped in my shoes. (I’m not getting over that any time soon, you know.)⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Or they can be when something happened:⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
I walked a mile early this morning.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Or they can be how something happened:⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
My husband drank his coffee as quickly as possible.⠀⠀

A fronted adverbial is just an adverbial at the front of a sentence:⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Almost instantly, I remembered I hadn’t fed the cat this morning.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
After today, I work three shifts a week.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Below the apple tree, the children ate a picnic.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Fronted adverbials are ALWAYS followed by a comma!⠀⠀

Photo by Laura Marques on Unsplash

Posted in SATs, SPaG, Year 6

Nothin’ Happens Without a Verb!

Verbs are really important!  If there isn’t a verb in a sentence, it’s NOT a sentence! They are the action word – they tell us what something or someone is doing or being in a sentence.  For example:

The cat stretched.

Put your jacket on!

I swam to the edge of the pool.

Ella is drawing a picture.

As you can see from that last example, you can have two verbs together in a sentence.

One of the tricky verbs to spot is the different forms of the verb ‘to be’ – I am, he is, she is, we are, I was, you were, he was, they were.  Sometimes they can be on their own: Mikey was late.  Sometimes they will be together with another verb:  I am typing this post!

Verbs are the words that change to show WHEN something happened – in the past, in the present, or in the future.  Don’t worry about tenses, we’ll have a look at those another day!

Photo by Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash

Posted in SATs, SPaG, Year 6

Amazing Adjectives!

Adjectives are words that describe nouns, giving us more information about what the noun looks like, feels like, smells like, tastes like etc. They let us build up a picture in our minds! For example:

I saw a cat.

Let’s add in an adjective!

I saw a ginger cat.

We can add more than one adjective, to make the picture even clearer:

I saw an enormous, ginger cat.

COMPARATIVE ADJECTIVES compare the noun to something else and they often end in -er.

I had the bigger slice of cake.

Be careful – you can use ‘more’ or ‘less’ with an adjective to make it a comparative one:

My dinner was less tasty than the cat’s.

SUPERLATIVE ADJECTIVES show us that the noun is the least, most, worst or best.  They often end in -est, like smallest, biggest, loudest, quietest.

We can also use ‘most’ or ‘least’ with an adjective, to make a superlative adjective:

Monday is my least favourite day of the week!

Photo by Simone Dalmeri on Unsplash

Posted in SATs, SPaG, Year 6

Nouns and Pronouns revealed!

Here we go!  This is the first part of our SPaG series of blog posts and it’s all about nouns and pronouns!

Nouns name things.  There are four different types of nouns that your child needs to know and be able to spot them in a sentence.  These are:

Common nouns – everyday words like cup, phone, elephant, box, strawberry.  These can be singular (one of them) or plural (two or more – cups, phones, elephants, boxes, strawberries)

Proper Nouns – these are names for individuals, places or things, including days of the week and months of the year – for example Monday, February, Crewe Street, Leeds, Niagra Falls.  They ALWAYS have a capital letter to start them!

Collective nouns – these are names for groups of things – a flock of birds, a group of people, a herd of cows, a murder of crows.

Abstract nouns – these are the names of things you can’t see, hear, smell, touch or taste.  They are names of concepts or ideas. These include: intelligence, love, friendship, idea, happiness.

Pronouns are words we use in place of a noun, or a noun phrase. There are three types:

Personal pronouns – these are used to replace a name, generally to avoid repetition in a sentence and to make it sound less clunky (which is not a technical term, but it should be, right?!)

For example: Mikey enjoys the IT lesson and Mikey looks forward to the IT lesson every week.  Yep, clunky!  We could replace some of the proper nouns (Mikey) and noun phrases (IT lesson) with pronouns and make it much better:

Mikey enjoys the IT lesson and HE looks forward to IT every week.

These are the personal pronouns – I, you, she, he, it, they, me, him, her and them.

Possessive pronouns show who something belongs to: mine, your, our, their,  his, hers, its, yours, ours and theirs. For example:

This book belongs to Mikey. It is his book.

And finally we have:

Relative pronouns – these are used to add more information about a noun in a sentence: that, who, where, when and which.  For example: Mikey went to visit his aunt, who lives in London. (Did ya see I slipped a little possessive pronoun in that sentence too? I’m sneaky like that!)

And there we go! All you need to know about nouns and pronouns for the Year 6 SATs!

Top photo by PNG Design on Unsplash

Posted in SATs, SPaG, Uncategorized, Year 6

Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar – SPaG!

ben-mullins-785450-unsplashOne of the test papers in the Year 6 SATs exams is all about spelling, punctuation and grammar.  So if your child comes home and is worried about fronted adverbials, passive voice, present perfect tense, superlative adjectives and you’re scratching your head – you’re definitely not alone!

You and your child use ALL of the above every day and they aren’t as scary as you think!

What are they testing in SPaG

The Key Stage 2 assessment for English Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar is in two parts – a grammar, punctuation and vocabulary test and a separate spelling test.

The first test is looking at seven different areas:

1)  Grammatical terms and word classes – that’s where those scary terms like abstract nouns and subordinating conjunctions come in!  Find out about nouns and pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, conjunctions, prepositions, determiners and the subject and object!

2)  Functions of sentences – these are the different types of sentences, such as questions and commands.

3)  Combining words, phrases and clauses – finding different phrases in a sentence and what their purpose is.

4)  Verb forms, tenses and keeping them consistent within a sentence or piece of writing – recognising different tenses and being able to form the verb to match the tense.

5)  Punctuation – from capital letters to colons, you need to know where they can go!

6)  Vocabulary – knowing the meaning of words

7)  Standard English – recognising formal language and using it instead of informal, chatty language.

We’re taking a look at each section over on Instagram this week, but don’t worry – there will be a catch up here too!

(And honestly, it’s much easier than you think!)

So, are you ready to be the SPaG superstar your child can turn to?  Then hold tight for SPaG week!


Student photo by Ben Mullins on Unsplash

Moody sky background by Tom Barrett on Unsplash