PSLE English | 5 Common Language Errors to Avoid in Situational Writing
Situational Writing (SW) is one component of English where students should aim to score full marks in! This piece of writing is marked based on content (6 marks) and language (9 marks). Even when students are able to hit full marks for content by writing in the required details stated in the question, some students struggle to attain the perfect score for the language portion.
In this post, I would like to share with you 5 simple language errors that students should avoid in SW!
First, let’s take a look at this particular piece of SW. Can you spot the 5 language errors?
1. Note your capital letters!
When it comes to addressing the person the letter is for, remember to capitalise the name.
This is the case for all, even if the name of the person is not stated.
E.g. Principal, Residents, Teacher
On top of that, capital letter is also important when it comes to signing off.
Always start signing off with a capital letter and any words that come after that should be in lower case since it does not start a sentence.
E.g. Yours sincerely; Yours faithfully; Love; Regards
2. Do not use contractions!
A contraction is a short form of a word or combination of words that is often used instead of the full form in spoken English.
For example, “won’t” is a contraction of “will not”.
When it comes to writing formal email or letter in SW, contractions should not be used. In addition, even though it is acceptable for contractions to be used during informal writing, we also advised our students against the use of contractions to avoid any possible punctuation errors.
In this case, “I’m” should be changed to “I am”.
3. Use the correct preposition!
Prepositions are important especially when a time and place is needed as information in the letter. The general rule of thumb is:
Use “at/in” for places, “at” for time and “on” for date e.g. at ABC building on Friday
In the above example, we have to switch the two prepositions around!
4. Do not use short forms of words.
Take note that even if the stimulus states the date in short form (e.g. Jan), do remember to spell it out in your writing!
5. Use the right punctuation to end your sentence.
Generally, avoid using the exclamation mark in formal writing. Exclamation mark conveys the tone of excitement, and it is inappropriate for a formal letter even if there is a need to convey urgency.
Exclamation mark can be used when it comes to informal writing. For example, we can end the writing this way:
Now, let’s look at the edited copy!
That’s all I have for you! I hope that after reading this, you will start to avoid committing such language errors in your SW!!
Thank you for taking time to read through and happy writing!
Ms Tan Sze Li is an English Teacher at Lil’ but Mighty. As a teacher, she strongly believes that learning is a journey for everyone – student and teacher alike. After every lesson, the students leave with new knowledge. Her hope is to inspire students to become inquisitive learners who will spark a change in the world with their thirst for knowledge.