If you are a parent of a child in primary school, you will probably be becoming aware of the increased focus on grammar and punctuation contained in the new National Curriculum. Your child’s school may have provided information about the new English grammar, punctuation and spelling tests which Year 2 and Year 6 children will be taking next summer. Depending upon when and where you went to school, you may find the information coming from school (and the terminology being used by your child) challenging. Whether you are bewildered by the terminology used or just want to know a little more to support your child, I hope you will find this blog useful. You can click on the Parent’s Start Page to link to information about different areas of grammar and punctuation. Alternatively, enter a term in the search bar or click on a word in the cloud of labels. If you have further queries, get in touch and I will try to help where I can.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017


Determiners usually start a noun phrase and are words which give us information about whether the noun is specific or general.  For instance, in the sentence 'This cat would be the best for me', the word 'this' indicates we are talking about a specific cat.  'A cat' or 'any cat' would not indicate any specific cat, as 'a' and 'any' are general determiners.

When children start writing, they very often rely on the general determiners 'a' and 'an', or the specific determiner 'the'.  We should encourage children to increase the range of determiners they use so that they can vary their writing and communicate more clearly whether they are talking about something specific or general.

As children are taught to read and write many determiners as part of their phonics teaching in Reception and Year 1 classes, it is an ideal opportunity or them to put these words into practice. However, they do not need to know the term 'determiner' until they are in Year 4.

Here are some determiners you can use with your children to help them improve their use.  Ideas are contained in the link to the activity below:

  • a, an, the  (these are also called 'articles' but this is not a term children are required to learn)
  • this, that, these, those
  • some, any, every, another
  • my, your, his, her, its, our, their
  • several, few, many
  • next, last
  • first, seventh, tenth  (ordinal numbers, which indicate an order)
  • six, twelve  (cardinal numbers, which indicate a quantity)
  • which, whose, what (when these words are used to start questions, e.g. Which book is mine?)

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