SENTENCE STRUCTURE PROBLEMS FOUND IN THE WRITINGS OF SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS
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All a sentence needs to be complete is a subject and a verb. “He cries.” is an actual complete sentence. Of course, sentences are typically much more complex than this, but paying attention to subject and verb and can clearly identify each, then that is off to a good start. However, subject-verb agreement is when a student can identify subject and verb; then the student should have no difficulty making sure they agree, in tense and in number. For instance:
Each of the two teams were at their best. (was / its) As the innings progressed, the teams play more competitively (played)
More so, students should avoid passive tense. Typically the passive tense comes into student’s writing when they don’t have the right subject at the start of a sentence. The issue to be discussed by the candidates for instance is social security. (The candidates will discuss the issue of social security.) The format that will be used for the debate is a town-meeting style. (The debate will use a town-meeting style format.) In addition, concerning short or long sentences, the longer the students sentences, the more likely they will include grammatical errors. Sometimes they need long sentences, in which case proper punctuation makes all the difference. But often students can divide sentences into separate, shorter ones and, in doing so, prevent basic writing errors. Short sentences also help to avoid fragments (strings of words without appropriate grammatical structure, such as a sentence without a subject or verb).