Situational Writing: 3 things to check for accuracy!
The SA1 examinations are upon us and many students are revising fervently for their papers. Paper 1 tends to be a cause of anxiety for students and parents. Continuous writing may be of a greater concern as it has a higher weightage of marks. However, one should not neglect the situational writing section and end up being careless when tackling it.
Frequently, students underestimate the need for accuracy in situational writing.
This oversight may cost them dearly in terms of marks. Today, I will be sharing 3 little details that will affect the accuracy of your work in situational writing.
1. Retain the purpose statement as stated in the task box
Every situational writing piece has a purpose and it should be stated in the opening paragraph of the letter or email.
The purpose will be stated in the task box given on the second page of the question paper. Students should go to the task box and look for a line like this:
The purpose will always be found in the line that mentions:
“Write an email / letter / report / note to [the audience] to [purpose]”.
Do not change the purpose by changing the verb. Instead of using “I am writing to invite you to…”, some children tend to replace the purpose word and change the meaning. “I am writing to tell/inform you about…” is different from inviting the speaker. Stick close to the given word to indicate the purpose accurately!
2. Retain details from the poster
A. Details of people, places, things and actions
B. Uppercase and lowercase usage
Situational writing aims to teach students to communicate information in various contexts and situations. Hence, the accuracy of such information is of utmost importance. Imagine if we were to write an authentic email to invite a guest speaker: if we gave him the wrong date or time, would he turn up for the event at the right time?
Hence, students should refer closely to the poster whenever they are answering a particular content point and include all details that answer it. Do not memorise details; do not paraphrase the details and make them inaccurate.
Students should write “international art competition” instead of “art competition” or “national art competition”. Details of people, places, things and actions provided by the poster should be included completely and accurately.
In terms of information, students should be aware that even the littlest error can be penalised. One particular detail is the usage of uppercase and lowercase letters. Oftentimes, letters and emails require students to include names of places or things. For instance:
In an email that requires students to use the names of the dishes above, they should take note to retain the uppercase letters of the dishes’ names instead of changing them to lowercase as the above words are proper nouns.
3. Comma usage for day, date and time
Commas are used to create organisation. In SW, students usually need to include the day and date of an event. Frequently, the timing is also provided. How do we place the commas accurately?
a) Day, date
A comma is required between the day and the date.
If you are writing the day and date as part of a sentence starter, another comma is needed after the date (see comma in blue above).
b) Day, date, time
When including the day, date and time of an event, a comma is needed to separate each of these details:
Again, if the time details are written in a sentence starter, another comma is needed after the time (see comma in blue above).
SW is meant to teach students how to write an authentic piece of communication. Hence, one needs to understand that communication needs to be accurate and clear. All the best for your paper 1!
Ms. Quek is an English Teacher at Lil’ but Mighty. She is dedicated to helping her students do well in the language through a focus on the learning process. As an educator, she believes in creating a nurturing and stimulating environment for students to learn.