• Natalie Chama

Avoid The Top 5 SPaG Errors In Your Teenager's Writing

Updated: Jul 27, 2021





Sometimes it's hard to identify our children's writing errors, especially if they are not aware of the errors in the first place!

So......where do we start?

That is why it is valuable to outsource your help if you are:


- A homeschool parent


Or


- Get help from your child's teacher in school, and see if they can provide more scope on the common errors teenagers may make in their SPaG (Spelling, Punctuation & Grammar).

I have narrowed it down to a few fine details, that I have identified over the years when it comes to the common SPaG errors our teenagers usually make in their writing.

The common mistakes are:


1. Using ‘text talk’ instead of formal language



This can happen when your child is speaking to a potential employee.


E.g. IDK – I don’t know, LOL – laugh out loud!

When they excessively use this, even in a professional setting, it can dumb down their writing and they might get in a dangerous habit of using it all the time.

So remind them to use it solely with their friends and nobody else!

2. Not using the correct determiners E.g. ‘an’ or ‘a’





Remind them to use the two:

  • If the word starts with a vowel sound, you should use "an."

  • If it starts with a consonant sound, you should use "a." For example: Buy a house in an hour.

3. Use the wrong conjunctions in a sentence




Conjunctions are words that connect two simple sentences.


E.g. for, and but, so, or, nor.

But the problem our children tend to do is use the wrong conjunction that doesn't make grammatical sense in the sentence.


For example, 'Because' he likes to play football so he plays during the week.


'Because' and 'so' are the conjunctions and it is not necessary to have both in the sentence.


So we can take out the 'Because' and keep it as he likes to play football so he plays during the week.



It is a very small detail but when it is used correctly it can make a significant difference!

4. Understanding what a sentence opener is and how to use it.



Sentence openers are the same as connectives and can help your child to find sophisticated ways to start their sentences.

It helps your child to 'show' the story and not just 'tell' the story. As to all the other descriptive writing techniques they may choose to use.


Check out this literacy wheel below that can help your child find interesting ways to open their sentences.


5. Using too many commas in the wrong places or not enough punctuation.





If your child is using commas in random places this can occur again when your child does not read their writing aloud.

Your child should only use a comma when there is a natural pause of breath in the sentence and it doesn't make sense to just read throughout without it. A variety of punctuation can help to add either:

- A dramatic effect.

- To create a pause in the sentence.

- To break down the structure in your child's paragraphs.

- Helps the reader to understand the message that is highlighted.

This takes a lot of practice to teach our child to read their work out loud and it would reduce the number of errors they make in their writing.

So to conclude:

Avoid The Top 5 SPaG Errors In Your Teenager's Writing


1. Using ‘text talk’ instead of formal language

2. Not using the correct determiners E.g. ‘an’ or ‘a’

3. Use the wrong conjunctions in a sentence

4. Understanding what a sentence opener is and how to use it.

5. Using too many commas in the wrong places or not enough punctuation.






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