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"Write in complete sentences"

(16 Posts)
CrossEyed Mon 10-Oct-11 12:53:46

My child has been told that all comprehension answers now need to be in complete sentences. Trouble is, beyond having a capital and a full stop he doesn't really seem to know what a full sentence is.

For example, if the question is "Why were the children excited?". He would write "Because they were going on holiday". Obviously the teacher wants "They were excited because they were going on holiday".

Any quick ideas for how to help him? I looked at some grammar books at WH Smith, etc, but they didn't seem to have much on this particular area without doing a full book's worth. I guess the real thing is what is a phrase versus a sentence.

Bonsoir Mon 10-Oct-11 12:57:00

My DD has oral comprehension exercises three times a week for homework, in preparation for written comprehension exercises in due course, and I spend a long time ensuring that she answers in proper sentences that use the same construction as the original question: The children (not "they") were excited because they were going on holiday. I suppose I think practice is key!

betterwhenthesunshines Mon 10-Oct-11 13:02:14

A complete sentence should be able to stand alone to make sense.

eg. "Because they were going on holiday"... who was going on holiday? what had happened because they were going on holiday?

but "The children were excited because they were going on holiday" needs no further explanation.

That's the best way I can explain it anyway!

CrossEyed Mon 10-Oct-11 13:02:15

Thanks Bonsoir, I do get that practise is key and we will start on that. But what I am after at the moment is short term ideas that I can use to help explain it to him initially. I know that he need S-V-O but my attempts to explain that to him were met with a blank stares yesterday. I think they have explored what the parts of sentences are, but not how they fit together and not what is a sentence, versus a phrase.

You may well be right that the teacher wants "The children" rather than "They". Either way, right now he is getting neither!

CrossEyed Mon 10-Oct-11 13:04:11

Thanks, betterwhenthesunshines, I will try with that. At least "it makes sense on its own" is a test he can do himself. Does anyone know of any worksheets or something where you identify which are sentences and which are phrases? He quite likes to practice new ideas to make sure he has got them down.

savoycabbage Mon 10-Oct-11 13:12:08

You could try doing it verbally until he gets the hang of it. You can make up some silly ones.

ASuitableGirl Mon 10-Oct-11 13:14:31

How old is your DS?

CrossEyed Mon 10-Oct-11 13:19:04

Thanks SavoyCabbage - he does like silly stuff.

ASuitableGirl, he is eight and in Year Four.

midnightexpress Mon 10-Oct-11 13:22:54

I can understand why the example is confusing - 'They were going on holiday' is a complete sentence, and it only becomes a problem here because of the 'because'. So, I think in the example you give, I'd start by looking at the word 'because', which is usually used to link two ideas in one sentence. If he can't find the two ideas, it isn't a complete sentence.

zipzap Tue 11-Oct-11 10:08:33

When we were little we were told we should never start a sentence with 'because'.

OK so now I know how and when I can break that rule successfully but it would be a useful rule for your dc to have at the moment.

howtocalmachild Tue 11-Oct-11 11:59:53

2nd verbal. We asked DD silly questions verbally that she would then have to respond to in full sentences. It made it fun but she got the idea. Then we moved to trying to use the words that were in the question to answer it etc. Practise works....

KTk9 Tue 11-Oct-11 13:46:28

My dd tends to answer verbally in complete sentences, very odd, but not necessarily write them down!

I tell her to imagine there is someone from outer space reading her answers and has no idea what the question is, would they know what she was on about.

Seems to help focus it!


bigTillyMint Tue 11-Oct-11 13:52:45

Always get him to rehearse the answer verbally first. At this age he should twig on really quickly.

FWIW, I would say the answer should be "The children were excited because they were going on holiday". As who are "They" ?

sittinginthesun Tue 11-Oct-11 13:55:53

We have been discussing this too, with DS (yr 3). I was always taught to use the question as much as possible.

Eg. "why were the children excited?"
"the children were excited because..."

onefatcat Tue 11-Oct-11 14:03:06

Could you show him how to include the question into his answer, that is what I tell my dd.

CrossEyed Wed 12-Oct-11 12:36:41

Thanks everyone. We get new questions this weekend so will try again then.

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