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					Spelling, punctuation and grammar guide

Many people have problems when it comes to using correct spelling, punctuation and
grammar. This brief guide can be used as a refresher or a tool to help Tutors and
candidates feel more confident about spelling, punctuation and grammar.

The guide supports all levels of Functional Skills English and includes a reminder about
the level differentiation for Functional English, as in the Functional skills guidance:
amplification of the standards of the Functional Skills standards (Qualifications and
Curriculum Development Agency, QCDA, 2007). It may also be useful to candidates
taking other NCFE qualifications.

The following quotations come from some honest discussions about how people feel
about spelling, punctuation and grammar:



   ‘Getting confused with where to go
   in a sentence’                                             ‘I’ve never been able
                                                              to spell’

                             ‘Long sentences with lots of ands - I’m not
                             sure where to put punctuation’

      ‘I never know if I’m using too many
      paragraphs or not enough’


It’s helpful to realise that other people are also unsure about their writing, but it’s even
more helpful to be able to find practical support.

This guide provides information, guidelines, advice, activities and suggestions about
further support to improve spelling, punctuation and grammar.




                                               1
Functional English: level differentiation

Functional English provides the basis for effective communication and understanding
across the 3 subject skill areas: speaking and listening; reading; and writing. Candidates
need to select and use these skills appropriately in order to function as effective citizens,
and to benefit from them in their life, learning and work. It’s important that these skills
can be used in ways that are appropriate to their context, as this is what makes them
‘functional’ in real-life situations.

There are many factors that determine the level of difficulty posed by a situation that
requires the use of functional skills. These factors include a candidate’s familiarity with a
situation, its complexity and technical demand, as well as the ability to resolve an issue
or complete an activity independently. The level of demand may vary from a simple
discussion or exchange about a familiar subject, through to an extended piece of writing
that persuasively communicates information and ideas to a diverse audience.

The level differentiation factors are outlined below:

 Complexity
Real-life situations, as they arise, are often quite complex. Identifying the various
components within a situation, the steps needed to solve a problem or complete a task,
and the accessibility of the activity itself, all contribute to the level of complexity.

 Familiarity
This reflects the extent to which a candidate recognises elements of a problem or
situation, utilising skills and understanding developed in other contexts, and relating this
experience to make sense of a situation. In transferring or applying skills and
understanding, the individual may need to adapt or reorganise their established
approach in order to tackle the situation effectively.

 Technical demand
This reflects the range of knowledge, skills and techniques that an individual is required
to draw upon in order to tackle a particular situation. These are defined in various ways,
for example as national curriculum levels.

 Independence
This relates to the level of autonomy that candidates demonstrate when tackling a
problem or completing an activity. A candidate’s problem-solving skills are a key element
of their independence, allowing them to make confident decisions and to demonstrate
their skills, without requiring the full support of others.


Entry level

At Entry Level the context is familiar and accessible to the candidate, and the English
skills demanded by the situation or problem are clear and straightforward.

The candidate demonstrates some awareness of audience and purpose, recognising
formal and informal contexts and applying their knowledge and skills accordingly.




                                              2
The skills or techniques required may not be specific to the situation or problem.

Guidance and direction are provided by the Tutor.

Level 1

At Level 1, the context may be less familiar than at Entry level but is accessible to the
candidate. The English skills demanded are more precise, requiring a greater level of
accuracy and judgement when applied to a specific situation or problem.

Each situation requires an organised approach and incorporates various options for
selection. Candidates will evaluate the usefulness of a range of texts and/or information
sources as well as making choices about the suitability of their responses and solutions,
in terms of style, vocabulary, presentation and format.

Guidance is provided but autonomous decisions are required to find solutions.

Level 2

At Level 2, candidates analyse multi-faceted tasks where the context may be unfamiliar
and the situation or problem needs to be identified. The usefulness or validity of the tools
available may not be immediately apparent in all situations and there may be more than
one solution.

An initial review and analysis of the task should provide some insight into the key
objectives, audience and purpose that a candidate will need to consider before
determining an appropriate response or solution.

Guidance may be provided, but choices are independently made and evaluated.

The table overleaf shows the standards for the Functional Skills Writing component, at
each level.




                                             3
Entry 1                     Entry 2                      Entry 3                        Level 1                     Level 2

Writing                     Writing                      Writing                        Writing                     Writing
At this level, candidates   At this level, candidates    At this level, candidates      At this level, candidates   At this level, candidates
can:                        can:                         can:                           can:                        can:

Write short, simple         Write short documents with   Write documents with           Write documents clearly     Write documents on
sentences. Use written      some awareness of            some adaptation to the         and coherently to           complex subjects,
words and phrases to        intended audience.           intended audience. Plan        communicate information,    concisely and clearly,
present information.                                     draft and organise writing.    ideas and opinions using    logically and persuasively,
                                                         Sequence writing logically     language, formats and       including extended writing
                                                         and clearly.                   styles suitable for their   pieces, communicating
                                                                                        purpose and audience.       information, ideas and
                                                         Use basic grammar,             Use correct grammar         opinions effectively and
                                                         including appropriate          including subject/verb      persuasively.
                                                         verb/tense and                 agreement and correct and
                                                         subject/verb agreement.        consistent use of tense.
Punctuate using capital     Construct compound                                                                      Use a range of different
letters and full stops.     sentences using common                                                                  styles and sentence
                            conjunctions. Punctuate                                                                 structures, including
                            using question marks.                                                                   complex sentences for
                                                                                                                    different purposes.
                                                                                                                    Punctuate accurately,
                                                                                                                    using commas,
                                                                                                                    apostrophes and inverted
                                                                                                                    commas.
Spell correctly some        Spell correctly a range of   Spell correctly and check      Spell, punctuate and use    Spell, punctuate and use
personal or very familiar   common words.                work for accuracy.             grammar accurately so       grammar accurately so
words.                                                                                  that meaning is clear.      that meaning is clear.

Write documents such as     Write documents such as      Write documents such as        Write a range of            Write a wide range of
forms, messages or notes    forms, messages or simple    forms, e-mails, letters or     documents on paper and      documents on paper and
on paper and on screen.     narratives on paper and on   simple instructions or short   on screen.                  on screen.
                            screen.                      reports on paper and on
                                                         screen.




                                                                      4
Spelling information and activities – candidate worksheet

Only 17% of native English speakers can spell accommodation correctly.

Everyone has words that they find difficult to spell – you’re not the only one! The trick is
to avoid seeing yourself as a bad speller and to develop some strategies to cope with
the words that you find difficult.

Remember:
 Poor spelling could create a bad impression.
 Spelling is assessed as part of many external exams.
 Thinking that you can’t spell can inhibit your writing.

Develop an awareness of words everywhere – menus, advertisements, shops, emails
etc. Start your own spelling improvement campaign by:

   checking spellings in a dictionary
   identifying types of words that you find difficult to spell
   developing strategies to recognise these words
   using memory tricks for difficult words
   revising spelling rules.

Memory tricks

Try this one:

You want to order envelopes and paper for the office, but is it stationery or stationary?
The memory trick that works here is to think e for envelopes and then you know it’s
stationery!

Activity:

List 5 words that you find hard to spell and make up memory tricks to help you
remember how to spell them. Share your memory tricks with others in the group.

Spelling rules

Were you ever taught any spelling rules?

You may have come across ‘i before e except after c’.

Activity:

Share your spelling rules with others in a group.

Spelling strategies

 Break the words into short parts or syllables:

    Mediterranean = Medi terra nean



                                                5
Can you spell long words? How about disestablishmentarianism? Easy! Break it up into
smaller, much easier bits:

Dis/Est/Ab/Lish/Ment/Ar/Ian/Ism

It helps to be able to recognise parts of a word and what they mean:

 Know the roots of words:

   aqua = water eg, aquatic

   audio = hear eg, audible

 Know prefixes and suffixes:

   unsuccessful
   un = prefix
   ful = suffix


   Prefix        Definition                      Example

   An            Not, without                    Anonymous
   Auto          Self                            Autograph
   Con           Together, with                  Consensus
   Dis           Not, away, apart                Distract
   Extra         Outside, beyond                 Extraneous
   Mal           Bad                             Malnutrition
   Ob            Against                         Obstruct
   Para          Beside                          Paraphrase
   Re            Back, again                     Recede
   Un            Not                             Unexpected

   Suffix        Definition                      Example

   Able          Capable of, worthy of           respectable
   An            Relating to                     American
   City          Quality of                      scarcity
   Eer           One who                         Volunteer
   Ful           Full of                         Graceful
   Ion            Act of, state of               Reaction
   Less          Without, lacking                Careless
   Ness          Condition                       Happiness
   Ure           Result of action, agent         Signature
   Wise          In this manner                  clockwise




                                           6
 Know word families by letter string:

    ight          fight, fright, tonight
    ought          ought, thought


Learning techniques

LOOK - THINK - COVER - WRITE – CHECK

This method trains you to picture whole words and write them fluently.

1. Write the word clearly.

2. Look at it carefully. Don't just glance at it, study it.

3. Say it. Think about the different syllables.

4. Get a picture of the whole word in your mind. Create a mental picture associating the
word with a symbol or picture.

5. Cover the word you have learned.

6. Write the word in one go, without looking at the original. If you get stuck, cross it out and
start again. Look at the original and try again.

7. When you've finished, and not before, look back at the original and check if you're right.

8. When you've 'got' a word – practise using it.




Activity:

Look at the list of top 200 problem words (on page 10) and see if any of these strategies
can help you to improve your spelling.




                                                  7
Beware the spell checker!


My spelling’s ok because I always use a spell
checker

Lots of people rely heavily on a spell checker when using a Personal Computer (PC).
Spell checkers are very helpful but your work still needs to be proofread thoroughly.

Look at the following examples of poetry and text that went through a spellchecker
without any corrections:

Eye have a spelling chequer
It came with my pea sea
It plainly marques four my revue
Miss steaks eye kin sea.
Eye strike a key and type a word
And weight four it two say
Weather eye am wrong oar write
It shows me straight a weigh.


As soon as a mist steak is maid
It nose bee fore two long
And eye can put the error rite
Its rare lea ever wrong.
Eye have run this poem threw it
I am sore your pleased two no
Its letter perfect awl the weigh
My chequer tolled me sew.


                                           8
There are know miss stakes in this news letter has wee used special soft wear witch
checks you’re spelling. It is moor or lass a weigh to verify. How ever is can knot correct
arrows in punctuation ore usage: an it will not fined words witch are miss used but
spelled rite. The massage is that proofreading is still berry much reek wired.




                                             9
Incorrect spellings -The top 200 problem words!


Absence             Colleagues           Familiar       Medicine
Accidentally        Coming               Feasibility    Mediterranean
Accommodate         Committee            February       Miniature
Achieved            Comparative          Financial      Minutes
Acknowledge         Competent            Foreign        Mischievous
Acquainted          Completely           Friend         Murmur
Addresses           Conscientious        Fulfil         Necessary
Aerial              Conscious            Fulfilled      Negotiate
Aggravate           Consistent           Gauge          Niece
Aggregate           Convenience          Genius         Noticeable
Agreeable           Courteous            Government     Occasional
All right           Courtesy             Grammar        Occasionally
Amateur             Criticism            Grievance      Occurred
Analysis            Deceive              Guard          Occurrence
Antarctic           Decision             Guardian       Omitted
Anxiety             Definite             Handkerchief   Omission
Apparent            Desirable            Height         Opinion
appearance          Desperate            Heroes         Originally
Appropriate         Disappeared          Honorary       Parallel
Arctic              Disappointed         Humorous       Parliament
Argument            Disastrous           Hurriedly      Pastime
Arrangements        Discipline           Hypocrisy      Permanent
Ascend              Dissatisfied         Imagination    Permissible
Athletic            Efficiency           Immediately    Perseverance
Atrocious           Eighth               Immigrate      Personnel
Automation          Eliminated           Incidentally   Physical
Awful               Embarrassed          Independent    Planning
Bachelor            Emphasise            Influential    Pleasant
Beginning           Enthusiasm           Intelligence   Possesses
Believed            Equipped             Interrupt      Preceding
Benefited           Especially           Irresistible   Preference
Beneficial          Essential            Knowledge      Prejudice
Breathe             Exaggerated          Liaison        Preliminary
Budgeted            Excellent            Literature     Prestige
Business            Exercise             Livelihood     Privilege
Ceiling             Exhausted            Lose           Procedure
Certain             Existence            Losing         Preceeds
Choice              Expenses             Lying          Professional
Clothes             Experience           Maintenance    Professor
College             Extremely            Marriage       Pronunciation




                                       10
Homophones

Have you come across any words that sound the same but have different meanings and
spellings?

These words are called homophones and can cause confusion for speaking and
listening, reading and writing. If you asked for a chocolate mousse in a restaurant it
could sound the same as a chocolate moose!

Activity

Are there any words that you often mix up? Do you know any tricks or tips to avoid this
confusion? Remember the tip to avoid confusing stationery (paper) with stationary (not
moving) is to remember that stationery (paper) has an e in it and link that e with
envelopes.

Do you know the difference in meaning between:

          principal and principle?

          its and it’s?

          praise, prays and preys?

          their, there and they’re?

Make a list of as many homophones as you can think of then look at the homophone
handout list.




                                            11
Homophones list


accessary, accessory   gild, guild           practice, practise
ad, add                gilt, guilt           praise, prays, preys
ail, ale               heroin, heroine       principal, principle
air, heir              hew, hue              profit, prophet
aisle, I'll, isle      hi, high              quarts, quartz
bail, bale             higher, hire          rain, reign, rein
bait, bate             him, hymn             raise, rays, raze
baize, bays            ho, hoe               rap, wrap
bald, bawled           hoard, horde          raw, roar
ball, bawl             hoarse, horse         read, reed
band, banned           holey, holy, wholly   read, red
buy, by, bye           hour, our             real, reel
buyer, byre            idle, idol            saver, savour
caught, court          in, inn               spade, spayed
caw, core, corps       it's, its             sale, sail
cede, seed             jewel, joule          sauce, source
ceiling, sealing       key, quay             saw, soar, sore
cell, sell             knave, nave           taught, taut, tort
dam, damn              knead, need           te, tea, tee
days, daze             knew, new             team, teem
dear, deer             knight, night         tear, tier
descent, dissent       law, lore             teas, tease
desert, dessert        lea, lee              terce, terse
dew, due               leach, leech          tern, turn
die, dye               lead, led             there, their, they're
earn, urn              leak, leek            threw, through
eery, eyrie            mind, mined           vain, vane, vein
ewe, yew, you          missed, mist          vale, veil
faint, feint           mode, mowed           vial, vile
fair, fare             moor, more            wail, wale, whale
farther, father        moose, mousse         wain, wane
fate, fête             morning, mourning     waist, waste
faun, fawn             muscle, mussel        white, wight
fay, fey               naval, navel          who's, whose
faze, phase            nay, neigh            woe, whoa
feat, feet             nigh, nye             wood, would
gallop, galop          none, nun             yaw, yore, your, you're
gays, gaze             ode, owed             yoke, yolk
genes, jeans           oh, owe               you'll, yule




                                   12
Punctuation information and activities

Try not to get confused with too much detail when using punctuation. Recognise how
essential punctuation is in helping a reader to understand the text, but, keep it simple.
Think of punctuation as a way of putting pauses and natural breaks into your writing.

Modern word processing conventions have removed the need for some punctuation in
our writing today and open punctuation in letter writing is now common practice.

Why do we need punctuation?

Punctuation changes the meaning of a sentence and is vital in ensuring that your reader
understands what you are trying to say. The following activities prove this point!

Activity

Consider the importance of placing a comma in the correct place by reading this old
joke:
      A panda walks into a café, sits down and orders a sandwich. He eats the
      sandwich, pulls out a gun and shoots the waiter dead.

       As the panda stands up to go, the manager shouts, "Hey! Where are you
       going? You just shot my waiter and you didn't even pay for your sandwich!"
       The panda yells back at the manager, "Hey man, I'm a panda! Look it up!"
       The manager opens his dictionary and reads the following definition for
       panda: "A tree-dwelling placental mammal of Asian origin, characterized by
       distinct black and white colouring. Eats, shoots and leaves."


Try replacing the last sentence with ‘Eats shoots and leaves’!

Activity

Punctuate the following letter and compare your version to others in your group, then
look at the punctuated example sheets.

Dear Jack
I want a man who knows what love is all about you are generous kind thoughtful people
who are not like you admit to being useless and inferior you have ruined me for other
men I yearn for you I have no feelings whatsoever when we’re apart I can be forever
happy will you let me be yours Jill

Taken from Eats Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss




                                            13
Dear Jack punctuated examples (can be photocopied)

Example 1

Dear Jack

I want a man who knows what love is all about. You are generous, kind, thoughtful.
People, who are not like you, admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me
for other men. I yearn for you. I have no feelings whatsoever when we’re apart. I can be
forever happy - will you let me be yours?

Jill




Example 2

Dear Jack,

I want a man who knows what love is. All about you are generous, kind, thoughtful
people who are not like you. Admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me!
For other men I yearn; for you, I have no feelings whatsoever. When we’re apart I can be
forever happy. Will you let me be?

Yours,
Jill




                                           14
Punctuation definitions and examples


Comma,

Commas mark a pause in a sentence and help the reader to break the sentence into
meaningful parts:

As I walked through the village, I saw Graham, the local postman, cycling past on his
way to the shops.

They’re also used to separate items in a list:

He unpacked his clothes, soap bag, towel and books from his suitcase.

In a sentence with a list of adjectives before a noun, there’s no comma after the last
adjective:

She saw a bright, shining, silver star.


Semicolon;

A semicolon acts as a longer pause than a comma, and a full stop can often be used
instead of a semicolon. The semicolon can be used to link 2 statements together
successfully.

She fell in love with the handbag; a purchase was sure to follow.

A semicolon can also be used as a separator when clusters of items are listed:

He needed to pack his matching hat and gloves; four sets of sports clothes; 2 packs of
painkillers; enough books to read and his favourite sweatshirt.


Colon:

A colon is used at the start of a list or after a word or phrase which is then explained.

Please bring the following items to the meeting: agenda, support notes, photographs and
a diary.

The couple looked out on the most amazing scene: elephants drinking from the
waterhole, a scarlet sun dropping below the skyline and the sounds of the Serengeti all
around them.




                                             15
Apostrophe ’

The apostrophe is used to indicate possession. The big question here is does the
apostrophe come before the s or after the s?
    If the noun is singular (only 1) add the apostrophe before the s to show
       possession:
       The girl’s room = only 1 girl
    If the noun is plural ( more than 1) and ends in s, put the apostrophe after the s to
       show possession:
       The girls’ room = more than 1 girl
    If a noun is plural but does not end in s, the apostrophe goes before the s:
       Women’s


Another big question about the use of the apostrophe is whether to use its or it’s?

It’s with an apostrophe is an abbreviation or contraction of the 2 words it is or it has

It’s a long way = it is a long way
The apostrophe between the t and the s is replacing the letter i

It’s been a long time = it has been a long time

The apostrophe between the t and the s is replacing the letters ha.

Apostrophes can also be used to replace a letter or letters left out of words: don’t, can’t,
didn’t, there’s.

Remember that simple plurals like CVs, CDs, MPs, 1990s do not need apostrophes.


Full stop.

The main use of the full stop is to mark the end of a sentence.


Question mark?

A question mark is used after a direct question:

When does the essay need to be handed in?


Exclamation mark!

The exclamation mark is used to show emotion:

Oh no!




                                             16
Capital letters ABCDEFGH.........

Capital letters are used for a number of reasons:
    for the first letter at the start of each sentence
    after a full stop
    for the personal pronoun ‘I’
    for the first letter of proper nouns: Paul, Manchester, Thursday, May
    for the first letter of the main words in titles of books, plays, films, reports
    for the first letter of people’s titles and for organisations.

Activity

Try becoming a punctuation detective for a few days and look at how it’s being used in
your everyday life. Start questioning if it’s being used effectively and accurately.




                                              17
Grammar

Sentence structure is important and it’s easy to mix up word order and cause confusion.

George W Bush was well known for doing this:

‘Rarely is the question asked: is our children learning’

Other examples of confusing sentence structure are:

      The car stopped at a busy junction which was rusty and old.
      The cake was cooked by the boy in the oven.
      In the distance an old man was dancing with a wooden leg.

It’s important to make sure that you’re writing exactly what you mean to say.


Sentences

 Simple sentences
These consist of only one main clause.

We met our friend for a drink. We went shopping.
        Main clause                                        Main clause

 Compound sentences
These consist of 2 or more main clauses linked by a joining word or words (conjunction)

We met our friend for a drink and then we went shopping.

Main clause 1                            conjunction                              Main
clause 2

 Complex sentences
These consist of a main clause and one or more subordinate clause (a string of words
that does not make sense on its own)

We met our friend for a drink as it was her birthday very soon and then we went
shopping.


       subordinate clause


Paragraphs

Writing needs to be organised and paragraphs help to do this. A paragraph is a group of
related sentences kept together to help the reader follow the points being made. The
sentences should be organised in a logical progression.




                                             18
When reading a passage it should be easy to see the different paragraphs as the first
line is often indented from the margin or there’s a line space between paragraphs. This
helps when you’re searching for information because each paragraph is easily identified
and likely to deal with a different aspect or subject.

Activity

Choose a passage of writing and identify:
 Paragraphs
 Simple sentences
 Compound sentences
 Complex sentences.


Word groups

Remember nouns, pronouns, adjectives etc? Here’s a quick refresher about word
groups:

Word group                 Explanation                       Example

Nouns                      The name of a person, animal,     Steve, dog, Newcastle, car
(Common and proper)        place or object.


Common nouns               A noun is a naming word.          dog, car, week, month


Proper nouns               The name of a person, place,      Steve, Newcastle, BBC,
                           title, organisation, day of the   Sunday, May
                           week, months of the year.

                           Start with a capital letter.

Pronoun                    A word that takes the place of    He, she, it
                           a noun.

Adjective                  A describing word linked to a     Handsome, blonde,
                           noun or pronoun.                  famous, tiny

Verb                       A ‘doing’ or action word.         Running, sleeping, cooking

Adverb                     Describes the verb.               Loudly, quickly

Preposition                Shows the relation between        For, against, with
                           one thing and another.

Conjunction                A linking word.                   and, but



                                             19
Writing frames

A writing frame provides a blank structure to ‘drop’ writing into and can encourage
candidates to see the shape of their writing and to raise awareness of the importance of
structure. Writing frames can be adapted for many purposes such as simple support
frames to develop writing, through to more detailed planning for essays and reports.

Here’s a simple example of a writing frame to develop an argument or a discussion:

Introduce the argument



Arguments for




Arguments against




Writer’s opinion based on the above




Concluding comments




This example can be developed or adapted to suit many levels of learning and can be
far more specific in nature by giving the topic sentence for each paragraph.

 For more information about writing frames go to:
  http://www.excellencegateway.org.uk/page.aspx?o=175054




                                           20
Further activities:

 Encourage your candidates to look at BBC Skillswise
  http://www.bbc.co.uk/skillswise/words/grammar/ for grammar quizzes and games.
  These are interactive, can reinforce their understanding and provide immediate
  feedback.

 Consider using a recording of some contextualized reading material and a transcript
  without end-of-sentence punctuation marks or start-of-sentence capital letters. The
  candidate listens to the recording, highlights each end-of-sentence punctuation mark
  and then reads the passage aloud to ‘hear’ if it makes sense. Provide a fully
  punctuated version of the transcript for comparison. This activity works well in pairs
  or small groups.

 Cut up enlarged copies of sentences so that the word, phrase or clause is complete
  with its comma. Candidates rearrange the sentences so that they make sense and
  this reinforces how to use commas to separate additional information in sentences.

 Adapt the exercise above for arranging paragraphs in a piece of contextualized
  writing.




                                           21
Answering exam questions

A common criticism of exam performance is that candidates don’t answer the question.
This is important at all levels of study and is a study skill that can be taught and
developed over time.

Exam nerves play a large part in candidate performance in exams and candidates
benefit from practical support that makes them feel confident about approaching exam
questions. This is achieved by practising the types of questions likely to be faced and to
have some practical approaches to rely on.

Breaking down the question is an obvious starting point but this is often overlooked by
candidates who launch into an answer immediately without a thorough understanding of
the demands of the question.

Activity

Use the example below to show how a question can be highlighted and deconstructed,
then ask candidates to apply this technique to sample questions. Use the Question
terminology sheets to check definitions.

Sample question:

Using information from documents 1 and 2, list the advantages and disadvantages of
starting school at the age of six. Outline the authors’ opinions about the school starting
age and examine how the image in each document supports their opinions.

Highlighted                      What it means                    Linked to

Using information                Working with knowledge           Taken from docs 1 and 2

List                             to give an item by item          Advantages and
                                 record of names or things        disadvantages (2 lists) of
                                                                  starting school at the age
                                                                  of six
Outline                          to give the main features or     Authors’ opinions about
                                 general idea of                  the school starting age
                                                                  Note: more than 1 author
Examine                          to look at, inspect, or          Image in each document
                                 scrutinise carefully, or in      supports (agrees with)
                                 detail; investigate              the authors’ opinions


See www.ncfe.org.uk for examples relating to each level of Functional Skills
English




                                             22
Question terminology

The following list of definitions will help to ensure that you understand exactly what the
question is asking for. It’s good practice to highlight the key words in a question at any
level to make sure that you do what the question is really asking.


Analyse              to examine in detail in order to discover meaning, essential
                     features, etc.
Apply                to devote oneself with diligence
                     to bring into operation or use
                     to put to practical use; utilise; employ
Assess               to judge the worth, importance, etc., of; evaluate
Calculate            to solve (one or more problems) by a mathematical procedure;
                     compute
Carry out            to perform or cause to be implemented
Chart                to plot or outline the course of
                     to make a detailed plan of
                     to make a chart of
Classify             to arrange or order by classes; categorise
Collect              to gather together or be gathered together
Communicate          to impart (knowledge) or exchange (thoughts, feelings, or ideas) by
                     speech, writing, gestures, etc.
Compare              to regard or represent as analogous or similar; liken
Compile              to make or compose from other materials or sources
Complete             to make whole or perfect
                     to end; finish
Conduct              to do or carry out
Contrast             to distinguish by comparison of unlike or opposite qualities
Contribute           to give (support, money, etc.) for a common purpose or fund
                     to supply (ideas, opinions, etc.) as part of a debate or discussion
Define               to state precisely the meaning of (words, terms, etc.)
Deliver              to carry (goods, etc.) to a destination, esp. to carry and distribute
                     (goods, mail, etc.) to several places
                     to hand over, transfer, or surrender
                     to produce or perform something promised or expected
Demonstrate          to show, manifest, or prove, esp. by reasoning, evidence, etc.
Describe             to give an account or representation of in words
Design               to work out the structure or form of (something)
Detail               to list or relate fully
                     to include all or most particulars



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Develop       to come or bring to a later or more advanced or expanded stage;
              grow or cause to grow gradually
Devise        to work out, contrive, or plan (something) in one’s mind
Discuss       to have a conversation about; consider by talking over; debate
              to treat (a subject) in speech or writing
Estimate      to form an approximate idea of (distance, size, cost, etc.); calculate
              roughly; gauge
Evaluate      to ascertain or set the amount or value of
              to judge or assess the worth of; appraise
Examine       to look at, inspect, or scrutinise carefully, or in detail; investigate
Explain       to make (something) comprehensible, esp. by giving a clear and
              detailed account of the relevant structure, operation, surrounding
              circumstances, etc.
Explore       to examine or investigate, esp. systematically
Generate      to produce or bring into being; create
Give          to present or deliver voluntarily (something that is one’s own) to the
              permanent possession of another or others
              to impart or communicate, identify to prove or recognise as being a
              certain person or thing; determine the identity of
Illustrate    to clarify or explain by use of examples, analogy, etc.
Implement     to carry out; put into action; perform
Interact      to act on or in close relation with each other
Interpret     to clarify or explain the meaning of; elucidate
Investigate   to inquire into (a situation or problem) thoroughly; examine
              systematically, especially in order to discover the truth
Justify       to prove or see to be just or valid; vindicate
              to show to be reasonable; warrant or substantiate
Keep          to have or retain possession of
List          to give an item by item record of names or things
Lead          to show the way to (an individual or a group) by going with or ahead
              to guide or be guided by holding, pulling, etc.
              to phrase a question to (a witness) that tends to suggest the desired
              answer
Measure       to determine the size, amount, etc., of by measurement
Monitor       to observe or record (the activity or performance) of (an engine or
              other device)
Organise      to form (parts or elements of something) into a structured whole; co
              ordinate
Outline       to give the main features or general idea of
Participate   to take part, be or become actively involved, or share (in)
Perform       to carry out or do (an action)


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Plan         to have in mind as a purpose
             to make a plan of (a building)
Prepare      to make ready or suitable in advance for a particular purpose or for
             some use, event etc.
             to put together using parts or ingredients; compose or construct
             to equip or outfit
Present      to show, exhibit
             to put forward; submit
             to bring or suggest to the mind
Produce      to bring (something) into existence; yield
             to bring forth (a product) by physical or mental effort; make
Profile      to draw, write or make a profile of
Promote       to further or encourage the progress or existence of
              to raise to a higher rank, status degree etc.
              to urge the adoption of; work for
              to encourage the sale of (a product) by advertising or securing financial
              support
Propose       to put forward (a plan, motion, etc.) for consideration or action
Provide       to put at the disposal of; furnish or supply
Recognise     to perceive (a person, creature, or thing) to be the same as or belong to
              the same class as something previously seen or known; know again
Recommend     to advise as the best course or choice; counsel
Research      to carry out investigations into (a subject, problem etc.)
Review        to look at or examine again
              to look back upon
Select        to choose (someone or something) in preference to another or others
Serve         to render or be of service to; (a person, cause, etc.); help
              to distribute or provide
Show          to make, be, or become visible or noticeable
              to indicate or explain; prove
Suggest       to put forward (a plan, idea, etc.) for consideration (d)
Summarise     to make or be a summary of; express concisely
Understand    to know and comprehend the nature or meaning of
Undertake     to contract to or commit oneself to (something) or (to do something)
Use           to put into service or action; employ for a given purpose




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Ideas to consider for additional materials:

 Create your own word bank and expand your vocabulary.

 ‘Easy reading is damned hard writing’ Nathaniel Hawthorne, a guide to writing to
  meet the demands of the Functional skills English questions.

 Reading techniques – skimming, scanning, key words, headings etc reading speed.

 Subject verb agreement, use of tense.




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