Building Grammar Foundations: Start Young, Start Now

Building Grammar Foundations: Start Young, Start Now

“Grammar? PSLE is still far away! My ah boy (girl) is only nine years old!”

Indeed, PSLE may be a small event in the horizons for now but by the time your child has to sit for it, it may be an extremely stressful affair to brush up his literacy skills within a few months. As Louis Pasteur, a renowned scientist, once said, “Chance favours the prepared mind”. Preparation is therefore key to success.

Like any skill, foundations are essential. For English, this means that students should have a strong command of essential grammar rules before they advance to more sophisticated literacy skills.

What are some essential areas of grammar that will play even bigger roles in English at the upper levels?

Building Grammar Foundations: Start Young, Start Now


1. Know your subject-verb agreement

What are subjects? A subject is the person or thing that performs the action of a verb, or is joined to a description by a verb. For example:


Know your subject-verb agreement. Vocab


What are verbs? A verb is a word used to describe an action, state, or occurrence. A complete sentence cannot be without a verb as it forms the main part of a sentence.

Verbs may be grouped into three main categories:


Know your subject-verb agreement


In a sentence, the subject and the verb need to agree in terms of number. This is known as subject-verb agreement. At the Primary Three and Four levels, some important subject-verb agreement rules that students should be aware of include, amongst others:

  • Both / and

  • Collective nouns (E.g. a flock of birds)

  • Some, most, all

  • One of / none of

  • Indefinite pronouns e.g. someone, everyone, anyone, no one

Students will thus need to be aware of when a subject is singular or plural and change their verbs to the right form accordingly.

Not only that, students should also be aware that verbs are the only words in English that have tenses. That brings us to the second point below.

2. Know your tenses

Tenses are integral to English because they indicate the time of a given action. With tenses, the temporal logic of events can be clearly illustrated. As such, students should be prepared to be tested on the wide variety of tenses used in English. At the Primary Three and Four levels, students should show a clear understanding of the following tenses:

  • Simple present and past tenses

  • Present and past continuous tenses

  • Past perfect tense

When learning tenses, students should learn their form, meaning and usage. This would allow them to know how to craft the tense when they write and use it in the right situation. For example:

2. Know your tenses

3. Know your nouns and pronouns

Nouns are names for people, places, things, buildings, and animals, or to name a particular one of these things. Pronouns are words that replace nouns in order to avoid cumbersome repetitions in sentences.

In English, there are many types of pronouns that play essential roles. At the Primary Three and Four levels, students should have a good grasp of:

  • reflexive pronouns (e.g. ourselves, themselves, yourself)

  • possessive pronouns and determiners (e.g. ours / our ; mine / my)

  • relative pronouns (e.g. who, whose, whom)

These different groups of pronouns play varied roles in English and it is essential that students are fluent with them at the lower levels.

Great things take time. Like how a tree can grow tall and straight because of roots that grow deep into the earth, learning English requires a strong foundation on which more sophisticated literacy skills can be built. Such foundations take time and effort to build, so let’s start now!

Take the grammar quiz below and see how ready you are for P3/p4 grammar!

Take the grammar quiz below and see how ready you are for P3/p4 grammar!


Dying to know the answers? Leave us a comment below with your answers and see our reply to know which ones you have got right!






Grammar Grandma Light Bites (Primary 3 and Primary 4)


Grammar Grandma Light Bites (Primary 3 and Primary 4)

Worried about your child’s English foundations but don’t know where to start helping him or her? Consider signing up for our NEW P3/P4 Grammar Grandma Light Bites! Targeted at mid-primary students, the videos and accompanying worksheets aim to help students with many important grammar question types and how to tackle them!

Group 48 2 1
Ms. Quek

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.

Have something to share? Drop us a comment below!

Leave a Reply


Other related posts

Creative Writing | 3 Easy Steps to Write Your Own Haiku!
Verbs: More than Just Action Words! | Part 3: Changes in Verb Forms
Ketchup on English! – is, are, was and were!
Audience In Visual Text | Visual Text Comprehension
Exploring Points of View (POV) in Composition Writing
Metaphors For? | Part II – Implied Metaphors
10 Beautiful Vivid Verbs to Boost Your Writing and Oral! | Primary School English
Metaphors For? | Part I – An Introduction to Metaphors
3 Family-Friendly Shows on Netflix (Educational & Entertaining)!
Verbs: More than Just Action Words! | Part 2: Tenses
2021 Father’s Day Contest Winners
Verbs: More than Just Action Words! | Part 1: Subject-Verb Agreement
10 Beautiful Words You Can Use in Narrative / Descriptive Writing | Secondary School
Ways To Create A Well-Rounded Character | Creative Writing
Understanding Purpose-Related Questions in Visual Text Comprehension
How Playing Video Games Can Improve Our English (With Practical Tips for Parents!)
Primary School Composition | Onomatopoeia – What’s That?
2021 Mother’s Day Contest Winners + Our Founder’s Journey (Mother’s Day Special)!
Composition Revision: Using Your 5 Senses in Your Writing
How to Create A Dynamic Piece of Writing Using Idioms
Ketchup on English! – Subject-Verb Agreement
Punctuation Marks: Colon Vs. Semicolon
4 steps to Create Suspense
That Simile Though 2 | Using Stronger Similes
How to Avoid Plot Holes in Your Story!
PSLE ORAL | Compiled Prelim 2021 Oral Topics + Questions!
If you’re looking at getting recent PSLE Prelim Oral topics and practice questions, this will be an excellent resource for you!
5 Steps to Convert a Newspaper Article into a Cloze Passage
I would like to share with you 5 steps on how authentic articles can be transformed into cloze passages easily. Read on here!
PSLE English | Oral Conversation: Free SG50 Sample Practice + Model Answers
In this blogpost we will be touching on the oral stimulus-based conversation topic of National Day and SG50! Read on here!
PSLE English | Oral Conversation: Filling your Story with Details Easily + Free Revision Cards
By simply using the 5W1H, your children will be able to lengthen their stories (hence, the conversation!). Read on here!
PSLE English | Situational Writing: Q&A + Formal vs Informal Writing Comparison Chart
To aid you in your situational writing revision, here is a comparison chart that shows the differences between formal and informal writing!
PSLE English Tips | Oral: Stimulus-Based Conversation Checklist
To help my children handle the Stimulus-Based Conversation examination, here are some instructions again about using the checklist!
A Little Encouragement | DIY Motivational Bookmark (Easy to personalise too!)
A bookmark with a quote to motivate is also a chance for them to see the power of words and how words can mean more than what they seem.
Situational Writing: Step-by-Step Guide + Free Revision Card
I believe a walkthrough on the process of doing situational writing is in order. Here are the requirements for content and language!
I Love Reading | 5 Ways to Motivate Reluctant Readers
One of the most important ingredients necessary for a child or anyone learning English is the habit of reading. Get motivated to read now!
PSLE English | Printable Ultimate Grammar & Synthesis Summary
Today, we are sharing two lists of essentials in our Ultimate Grammar and Synthesis Summary Printable. Download them free here!
How Well Do You Know Your Past Participles?
While we are familiar with the past, present and future tenses, the little less known but equally important tense is the past participles.
Primary Composition Writing | Starting Sentences with Introductory Clauses
Today, we'll be revising the use of sentence starters to help you create variety in your sentence structures. Read on here!
The Sentence Train | Lower Primary English
Today, we are going to learn what makes up a sentence. It will come in handy when you do the word order activity in school! Read on here!
PSLE English Tips | Oral: Reading Checklist
This Oral Reading Checklist can be used by children when they practise reading on their own. Download it now!
Language of COVID | 10 Words Added to the Dictionary
Using Personification to Show, Not Tell!
Expressing Character Feelings Too! | Using Show-Not-Tell (Part 2)
How to Choose a Book to Read: 8 Ways
How to Dress Up A Boring Paragraph | Creative Writing
Ketchup on English! – Halloween Special: Prepositions of Time!
Ketchup on English! – Verbs Are Not Just Action Words!
Expressing Character Feelings | Using Show-Not-Tell
Which Picture Should I Use? | Choosing the Best Picture to Use for Composition!
Oral: Reading Passage | Long Vowels – Have You Been Reading Your Vowels Correctly?

Like what you are reading?

Subscribe now to receive news and tips hot off the press!

shape icon 06
shape icon 05