English Grammar questions can be studied and memorised. All you need to do is follow a set of rules and apply them accordingly. Over time, you will develop good habits for English and the correct grammar usage will come naturally from you. All students learning the fundamentals of grammar should start as early as 5-6 years old and they may take about 6-10 years to master the language. For the younger primary school students that enrol to our centre, we will focus intensively on grammar to make sure they develop good “English habits” from young.
For students taking PSLE, here are some common grammar MCQ questions that you MUST know by now.
1. Neither … nor
Neither Sally nor her sister _______ going to the movie later.
Ans: 2 (is)
Explanation: Firstly, the word ‘later’ shows that the event has not taken place yet, hence options 3 & 4 which are in past tense must be eliminated. Next, we must understand that for “Neither…nor“, we only take into account the 2nd Subject. 1st subject being Sally; 2nd subject being Sally’s sister. Answer is 2 (is -singular/present tense).
2. … , as well as ____________,
Sally, as well as her sisters, __________ to the movie later.
1. is going
2. are going
3. were going
4. was going
Ans: 1 (is going)
Explanation: The key here is to take everything in between the 2 commas as extra information, leaving only Sally as the subject. Again, past tense is not appropriate in this case due to the word ‘later’. So even if I change the words to:
Sally, along with her friends, __________ to the movie later.
We still omit everything in between the 2 commas and take only Sally as the subject.
3. Present/Past Perfect Tense and proper usage of the Past Participle.
After Sally reached home, she realised that her brother _________ all her cookies.
3. has eaten
4. had eaten
Ans: 4 (had eaten)
Explanation: Answer 1 is not appropriate – ‘ate’ is past tense, we need to use past perfect tense here in this case to show that the action of Sally’s brother eating her cookies happened first before the actions of Sally reaching her home or the action of Sally realising that the cookies are gone. Answer 2 is plain wrong – you cannot use a past participle word ‘eaten’ as a stand alone. Past participles are used in Present/Past Perfect tenses or during passive speech sentence structures like “The cookies are eaten…” Ans 3 is Present Perfect Tense, unsuitable in this case as the verbs ‘reached’ and ‘realised’ tells us that the event has already passed.
*Note – do make sure you remember the past participle forms of words (e.g – eaten, known, gone, done, swum, drunk, etc.)
4. My brother and me, or my brother and I ?
My brother and ______ are going to the movies
Ans: 2 (I)
Explanation: Obviously Ans 3 and 4 are out because they indicate possession. Leaving only 1 and 2. Most students get confused over this. Simply break up the sentence by eliminating the conjunction ‘and’. You will have:
My brother is going to the movies.
I am going to the movies.
Join the sentences back together again using ‘and’ you will get:
My brother and I are going to the movies.
5. Sensory verbs + object + bare infinitive
I saw Sally ______ the road yesterday.
3. was crossing
4. had crossed
Ans: 1 ( cross)
Explanation: Students usually think that past tense must be used in this case because of the word ‘saw’. However, we follow a different rule here. The sensory word ‘saw’ + the object ‘Sally’ + the bare inifitive ‘cross’. This is simply a grammar rule to follow. If you find the technical terms too frightening, try remembering it like this :
For sentences containing sensory verbs like (see, hear, observe) , the default verb (in this case – ‘cross’) will be used later on.
The grammar MCQ portion for PSLE is rather straightforward and students who have a strong grasp of English should be aiming to score full marks for it. For those who are weaker, continue studying hard and try your best to remember the rules. After all, grammar rules do not change. It remains the same from Primary 1 all the way to Secondary 4/5!
Hope you enjoyed reading my article. If you want to learn further, check out my online essay writing course.
By Jerry lee
Intellicat Tuition School