Editing: Common Errors (Part 2) | PSLE English

In the last blog post on Common Errors in editing (Part 1), I wrote about three types of common errors that you may see in the Editing section of Paper 2. These include mistakes in subject-verb agreement, the use of prepositions and in not using the infinitive after ‘to’. I hope you have found those tips helpful as you tackle that part of the paper.

As promised, here are three more typical types of editing errors. Are you ready? Good! Here we go!

1. Present and Past Tenses

Quick recap: The present tense is used to show an action that is done at present time (e.g. Jane needs to sleep now), done habitually (e.g. He sees his parents every week.) or a statement of fact that does not change with time (e.g. Penguins cannot fly.).

The past tense is used to show a completed action (e.g. She visited her sister last night.).

Editing error: Using the wrong tense

Example 1: 

Present and Past Tenses

Correction:

‘Sigh’ should be corrected to ‘sighed’ because the verb needs to be in the past tense. If you have read carefully, you will notice that the rest of the verbs in the extract are in the past tense (‘had been hiking’, ‘saw’), which indicates that the verb ‘sigh’ needs to be in the past tense as well.

Example 2: *Tricky Question!*

*Tricky Question!*

Correction:

‘Retained’ should be corrected to ‘retains’ because a present tense is needed here.

This is a tricky one because there is a shift in tenses – the extract starts by describing what Nagamachi was like in the past (once home to the samurai and their families) but in the next sentence, it describes the area in the present day, indicated by the use of ‘today’. That is why the verb ‘retain’ needs to be in its present tense form.

Tip for this type of error:

You will need to check for the tense word within the same sentence first. If no other tense words are present, read the sentences that come before and after the sentence that contains the verb tense error carefully. Observe whether the verbs found in these sentences are in the present or past tense as this will indicate to you how to correct the error.

Also, look out for adverbs of time, such as ‘today’, ‘now’, ‘yesterday’ or phrases like ‘last year’, ‘this morning’, ‘next week’. Such expressions will also help to indicate the appropriate tense to use.

2. Present and Past Participles

Quick recap: The present participle is a verb ending in ‘-ing’ (e.g. walking).

The past participle for regular verbs usually ends with ‘-d’ or ‘-ed’ (e.g bake-baked and watch-watched) while for irregular verbs, the past participle (e.g. eat-eaten, grow-grown, begin-begun) becomes harder to determine.

Editing error: Using the wrong participle

Example 1: 

Present and Past Participles

Correction:

‘Pass’ should be corrected to ‘passed’ because a past participle should come after the verb ‘have’.

Example 2: 

Present and Past Participles

Correction:

‘Find’ should be corrected to ‘found’ because you need a past participle after ‘be’.

Example 3: 

Present and Past Participles

Correction:

‘Milk’ should be corrected to ‘milking’ because for this sentence structure to be grammatically accurate, you need a present participle.

Tip for this type of error:

To determine whether the verb is in the correct form, look at the other words in front of it, which are highly likely helping verbs (e.g. the verb ‘to be’ or ‘to have’). In this instance, you will probably need a past participle. You usually need to use the present participle as part of a participle phrase e.g. before walking to school, after giving her a present, by rising out of the water.

3. Pronouns

Quick recap: A pronoun replaces a noun in a sentence. Look at the example below:

My mother has just baked a cake. It is delicious!

In the second sentence, the pronoun ‘it’ replaces the noun ‘cake’.

There are many types of pronouns including personal (e.g. he, she, it, we, they), reflexive (e.g. myself, himself, herself, ourselves), possessive (e.g. mine, yours, theirs, its), relative (e.g. who, whom, whose, which) and demonstrative (e.g. this, that, these, those).

Editing error: Using the wrong pronoun

Example 1: *Tricky question!*

*Tricky question!*

Correction: 

‘It’ is incorrect because the noun it is replacing is ‘pictures’ which is a plural noun. The correct answer is ‘them’. Many children got distracted by the extra details after “pictures”, especially “way of life” or even the word, “life”. Be very aware and ask yourself questions about the statement. e.g. What did Kate show the chief editor? Questions like that help to provide a clearer picture at times.

Example 2: 

*Tricky question!*

Correction:

‘This’ should be corrected to ‘these’ because it is replacing ‘advancements’, which is a plural noun.

Example 3: 

*Tricky question!*

Correction:

‘Himself’ should be corrected to ‘itself’ because the noun it is replacing is ‘body’.

Tip for this type of error:

You will need to read the sentence that comes before the pronoun error carefully. This sentence will highly likely contain the noun that is being replaced. Correct the pronoun so that it will ‘agree’ with the noun. As mentioned in example 1, do ask yourself questions about the statement which the error occurs too.

I hope these tips are helping you to tackle the editing section better. Remember to keep a lookout for the final part of this series!


PSLE Editing | Edit with Edit Tea

In this course, your child will learn specially crafted techniques to identify the question types as well as a strategy to spot spelling and grammatical questions.

The result? Your child will achieve near perfect (or even perfect) marks for this section!

Ms. Nora

 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.

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