National Curriculum Primary Appendix English 2 vocabulary grammar punctuation

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English Appendix 2: Vocabulary, grammar and punctuation

The grammar of our first language is learnt naturally and implicitly through interactions with other speakers and from reading. Explicit knowledge of grammar is, however, very important, as it gives us more conscious control and choice in our language. Building this knowledge is best achieved through a focus on grammar within the teaching of reading, writing and speaking. Once pupils are familiar with a grammatical concept [for example ‘modal verb’], they should be encouraged to apply and explore this concept in the grammar of their own speech and writing and to note where it is used by others. Young pupils, in particular, use more complex language in speech than in writing, and teachers should build on this, aiming for a smooth transition to sophisticated writing.

The table below focuses on Standard English and should be read in conjunction with the programmes of study as it sets out the statutory requirements. The table shows when concepts should be introduced first, not necessarily when they should be completely understood. It is very important, therefore, that the content in earlier years be revisited in subsequent years to consolidate knowledge and build on pupils’ understanding. Teachers should also go beyond the content set out here if they feel it is appropriate.

The grammatical terms that pupils should learn are labelled as 'terminology for pupils'. They should learn to recognise and use the terminology through discussion and practice. All terms inbold should be understood with the meanings set out in theGlossary.

Vocabulary, grammar and punctuation – Years 1 to 6

Year 1: Detail of content to be introduced (statutory requirement)


Regularplural noun suffixes –sor –es [for example,dog, dogs; wish, wishes], including the effects of these suffixes on the meaning of the noun

Suffixes that can be added toverbs where no change is needed in the spelling of root words (e.g.helping, helped, helper)

How theprefix un– changes the meaning ofverbs andadjectives [negation, for example,unkind, orundoing:untie the boat]


Howwords can combine to makesentences

Joiningwords and joiningclausesusingand


Sequencingsentences to form short narratives


Separation ofwords with spaces

Introduction to capital letters, full stops, question marks and exclamation marks to demarcatesentences

Capital letters for names and for the personalpronoun I

Terminology for pupils

letter, capital letter

word, singular, plural


punctuation, full stop, question mark, exclamation mark

Year 2: Detail of content to be introduced (statutory requirement)


Formation ofnouns usingsuffixes such as –ness, –er and by compounding [for example, whiteboard,superman]

Formation ofadjectives usingsuffixes such as–ful, –less

(A fuller list ofsuffixes can be found on page  in the year 2 spelling section in English Appendix 1)

Use of thesuffixes –er,–est inadjectives and the use of –ly in Standard English to turn adjectives intoadverbs


Subordination (usingwhen, if, that, because) andco-ordination (usingor,and,but)

Expandednoun phrases for description and specification [for example,the blue butterfly, plain flour, the man in the moon]

How the grammatical patterns in a sentence indicate its function as a statement, question, exclamation or command


Correct choice and consistent use ofpresent tense andpast tense throughout writing

Use of theprogressive form ofverbs in thepresent andpast tense to mark actions in progress [for example,she is drumming,he was shouting]


Use of capital letters, full stops, question marks and exclamation marks to demarcatesentences

Commas to separate items in a list

Apostrophes to mark where letters are missing in spelling and to mark singular possession in nouns [for example,the girl’s name]

Terminology for pupils

noun, noun phrase

statement, question, exclamation, command

compound, suffix

adjective, adverb, verb

tense (past, present)

apostrophe, comma

Year 3: Detail of content to be introduced (statutory requirement)


Formation ofnouns using a range ofprefixes [for examplesuper–, anti–, auto–]

Use of theforms a oranaccording to whether the nextword begins with aconsonant or avowel [for example,a rock,an open box]

Word families based on commonwords, showing how words are related in form and meaning [for example,solve, solution, solver, dissolve, insoluble]


Expressing time, place and cause usingconjunctions [for example,when, before, after, while, so, because], adverbs [for example,then, next, soon, therefore], orprepositions [for example,before, after, during, in, because of]


Introduction to paragraphs as a way to group related material

Headings and sub-headings to aid presentation

Use of thepresent perfect form ofverbs instead of the simple past [for example,He has gone out to play contrasted withHe went out to play]


Introduction to inverted commas topunctuate direct speech

Terminology for pupils

preposition, conjunction

word family, prefix

clause, subordinate clause

direct speech

consonant, consonant letter vowel, vowel letter

inverted commas (or ‘speech marks’)

Year 4: Detail of content to be introduced (statutory requirement)


The grammatical difference betweenplural andpossessive –s

Standard English forms forverb inflections instead of local spoken forms [for example,we were instead ofwe was, or I didinstead ofI done]


Noun phrases expanded by the addition of modifying adjectives, nouns and preposition phrases (e.g.the teacher expanded to:the strict maths teacher with curly hair)

Fronted adverbials[for example,Later that day, I heard the bad news.]


Use of paragraphs to organise ideas around a theme

Appropriate choice ofpronoun ornoun within and acrosssentences to aidcohesion and avoid repetition


Use of inverted commas and otherpunctuation to indicate direct speech [for example, a comma after the reporting clause; end punctuation within inverted commas: The conductor shouted, “Sit down!”]

Apostrophes to markplural possession [for example,the girl’s name, the girls’ names]

Use of commas afterfronted adverbials

Terminology for pupils


pronoun, possessive pronoun


Year 5: Detail of content to be introduced (statutory requirement)


Convertingnouns oradjectives intoverbs usingsuffixes [for example, –ate; –ise; –ify]

Verb prefixes [for example,dis–, de–, mis–, over– and re–]


Relative clauses beginning withwho, which, where, when, whose, that, or an omitted relative pronoun

Indicating degrees of possibility usingadverbs [for example,perhaps, surely] ormodal verbs [for example,might, should, will, must]


Devices to buildcohesion within a paragraph [for example,then, after that, this, firstly]

Linking ideas across paragraphs usingadverbials of time [for example,later], place [for example,nearby] and number [for example,secondly] or tense choices [for example, hehad seen her before]


Brackets, dashes or commas to indicate parenthesis

Use of commas to clarify meaning or avoid ambiguity

Terminology for pupils

modal verb, relative pronoun

relative clause

parenthesis, bracket, dash

cohesion, ambiguity

Year 6: Detail of content to be introduced (statutory requirement)


The difference between vocabulary typical of informal speech and vocabulary appropriate for formal speech and writing [for example, find out – discover; ask for – request; go in – enter]

How words are related by meaning as synonyms and antonyms [for example,big, large, little].


Use of thepassive to affect the presentation of information in asentence [for example,I broke the window in the greenhouse versusThe window in the greenhouse was broken (by me)].

The difference between structures typical of informal speech and structures appropriate for formal speech and writing [for example, the use of question tags:He’s your friend, isn’t he?, or the use ofsubjunctive forms such asIfI were orWere they to come in some very formal writing and speech]


Linking ideas across paragraphs using a wider range ofcohesive devices: repetition of aword or phrase, grammatical connections [for example, the use ofadverbials such ason the other hand, in contrast, oras a consequence], andellipsis

Layout devices [for example, headings, sub-headings, columns, bullets, or tables, to structure text]


Use of the semi-colon, colon and dash to mark the boundary between independentclauses [for example,It’s raining; I’m fed up]

Use of the colon to introduce a list and use of semi-colons within lists

Punctuation of bullet points to list information

How hyphens can be used to avoid ambiguity [for example,man eating sharkversusman-eating shark, orrecoverversusre-cover]

Terminology for pupils

subject, object

active, passive

synonym, antonym

ellipsis, hyphen, colon, semi-colon, bullet points