How to improve in English Grammar in Primary 5 & 6

As the Chinese New Year holidays draw to a close and students return to school, preparation for the CA1 for most of my P6s and some of my P5s continue.

One of the components of Paper 2, which is always tested, is English grammar MCQ. While the grammatical rules in English Language aren’t as complex as other languages like French and German, there are still exceptions to rules and even disagreements among teachers on the proper use of certain structures.


Even then, this is one section that is the easiest to score. I advise my students to improve in the following ways:

  1. Immediately take note of every mistake made in the Grammar MCQ section of the paper
  2. Understand why you have made the mistake by asking your school teacher/tuition teacher/parent. In my classes, I call out my students individually to explain their grammar MCQ mistakes
  3. Learn the correct rule and try to apply it every time you come across the same question


Below are two grammatical structures that students often find confusing – neither and either

Neither of the elephants ________________ (is / are / was /were) sick today.


Here, neither of/either of act as pronouns.

The subject(s) in neither of & either of is considered singular. Therefore, even though elephants may be a plural noun, we look at neither of and choose a singular verb. In this case, the answer is ‘is’ – singular in the present tense.

Neither of the elephants is sick today.


Neither the elephant nor the tigers _______________ (is /are /was / were) today.

Here neither nor (either or) acts as a conjunction. The noun closest to the verb (blank) determines if the verb is singular or plural.

In this case, the noun is ‘tigers’ and the and answer is ‘are’ – plural in the present tense.

Neither the elephant nor the tigers are sick today.

I will be exploring more on grammar structures during Thinking Factory’s March holiday Paper 2 workshops.


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