Dear ‘O’ Level Student: Think Concrete, Specific, Definite

Dear ‘O’ Level Student,

COUNTDOWN time, with 33 days to go before the big day!

To clear your mind a little, and perhaps declutter, as you rev up your revision, you’re probably looking to read essays that would spark ideas on how to articulate your ideas, and give form and shape to your observations.

We’ve compiled 19 essays from the 2013 to 2015 ‘O’ Level exams. Continue reading

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Is the Past Participle a Tense?

EARLIER this week, at the Bukit Timah Food Center, while standing in line for what must be the neighborhood’s hottest hawker breakfast favorite, Sheng Cheng’s Teochew fishball noodles, I heard a lady on a mobile phone three spots behind say: “Eh, I’m at the mee pok long, long queue one. You want what?”

I was amused, and not.

Singlish has a way of grating at the ears, yet there’s something silly and endearing about it—it’s part of our culture and our identity, yet we could demonize it all we want, and still, it speaks of home. Continue reading

The Delights of Writing An Essay

NO sane student would likely raise the hand to the question, “Who likes to write essays?” No sane teacher would ask the question either. There’s something exhausting about turning one’s thoughts into words, especially when you have little or nothing to say.  Continue reading

What My Primary Four Student Learned At Her First Class

IT seems like a long time since I had a Primary Four student seek my counsel on writing. This, I think, has to do with the fact that over the last few years, I’ve bristled at some of the nonsense the poor primary school kids are taught both in school and enrichment centers. They all come in with the same sad ideas about what makes a piece of writing good. Continue reading

Be More Sentence-Savvy, Know Your Parts of Speech

IT is a pity not many students are acquainted with the term, “parts of speech.” From the dozen years of working with students of all stripes, aptitude and attitude, I’d say only about one out of twenty, at their first class, have lit up and said, “Yes, of course, parts of speech! You mean the pronouns and nouns, adjectives and adverbs, those things?” The rest either shrug or respond with the lilt of a question: “Are they the parts that make up a speech?” Continue reading