PSLE English 2016 | Editing: Common Errors (Part 3)

In the final post for the series, I will go through errors in word forms and connectors. I understand that many of you are busy with common tests and I hope you have found the earlier tips useful as you revise for the Editing section. 

1. Word forms

Quick recap: Most words exist in different forms – a word can be used as a noun, an adjective, a verb and even an adverb.

Take the word ‘energy’ for instance. As a noun, it means ‘a power or ability to be physically or mentally active’. Other forms of this word include ‘energise’ (verb), ‘energetic’ (adjective) and ‘energetically’ (adverb). To create different forms, you usually add a suffix to the basic form of the word.

Editing error: Using the wrong word form

Example 1:


‘Expose’ should be corrected to ‘exposure’ because ‘expose’ is a verb while what is required here is a noun. One clue comes from the word ‘greater’, which is an adjective. Since adjectives only describe nouns, this tells you that you need to correct ‘expose’ into its noun form.

Another clue comes from the word ‘experience’ which is a noun. It makes more grammatical sense for the two words joined by the connector ‘and’ to be of the same form.

Example 2: 


‘Convenient’ is an adjective so it should be corrected to ‘convenience’ which is the noun form of the word. This is a tricky one because many students often confuse these two forms of the word. In this instance, the clue comes from the word ‘cleanliness’ which is a noun.

Just like in the previous example, two words that are joined by ‘and’ should be in the same form. In this case, both words should be nouns. 

Tip for this type of error:

It is useful to know the different forms a word can have and how to use each form correctly in a sentence. Try recording a table that lists the noun, verb and adjective forms of a word. 

As shown in the examples above, you can also try to locate clues close to the errors – ask yourself what form these clue words are and highly likely, the error needs to be corrected to a similar form.

Below is a table of commonly confused word forms:

Another type of word form error results from the confusion between –ed and–ing adjective endings. For instance, you may have heard your friend complaining about how ‘boring’ he feels when he has nothing to do. Here, what your friend means to say is that he feels ‘bored’. 

Although ‘boring’ and ‘bored’ are both adjectives, the –ing form is used to describe the cause while the –ed form is used to describe the effect. I hope these examples below will help to make this distinction clearer to you:

  • The lecture is boring (cause) so I feel bored (effect).
  • I was shocked (effect) to hear such shocking news (cause).
  • The movie was interesting (cause). Everyone is interested to watch it (effect).
  • The class was excited (effect) to go on such an exciting trip (cause).

2. Connectors

Quick recap: Connectors are used to join ideas in a sentence and help express ideas within a paragraph or passage. Common ones include ‘and’, ‘or’, ‘but’, ‘because’ and ‘since’. It is good to be clear on how to use the different types of connectors.

Editing error: Using the wrong connector

Example 1: 


The correct connector to use here is ‘but’ because the sentence is showing a contrast between two ideas. The boys were in desperate need of a drink, yet they did not drink water because they had very little water left.

Example 2: 


‘And’ should be corrected to ‘or’ because two possible scenarios are given – the crab could have been hiding on the island or it has left and is now returning. The clue also comes from the use of ‘either’, which tells us that ‘or’ should follow it instead of ‘and’.

Tip for this type of error:

You will need to read the entire sentence that contains the connector error carefully. Sometimes you may even need to read the sentence that comes before and after it. This is so that you understand the connection between the ideas, which would help you decide on the correct connector to use.

In Summary

This concludes the series on common editing errors. In these 3 parts, I have focused on mistakes involving the following grammar items:

  1. The Infinitive
  2. Subject-Verb Agreement
  3. Prepositions
  4. Present and Past Tenses
  5. Present and Past Participles
  6. Pronouns
  7. Word Forms
  8. Connectors

I hope you have found my explanations clear and have benefitted from the examples I have provided. Let me know in the comments section if there are other grammar items that you would like me to cover or if you have any other questions pertaining to the editing section. All the best!

About the Author: Nora is an English Teacher at Lil' but Mighty. She is committed to providing students with a dynamic and nurturing environment in which they can grow and develop. One of her greatest strengths as an educator is instilling a love for the English Language in her students.