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SPAG Information for Parents



What is SPAG?

  • SPAG stands for Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar. It is a core focus of the English National

Curriculum released in 2014.


Why is Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar so important?

  • Punctuation can change the meaning of a sentence greatly!
  • We need to use Standard English to communicate effectively. Using incorrect punctuation, grammar and spelling can change the meaning of sentences whether spoken or written.
  • Children need to use accurate SPAG to progress in life and build careers.


What does the National Curriculum say about SPAG?


Reading is divided into two parts, word reading and comprehension.

SPAG is featured in the comprehension part as it is related to understanding of texts and reading as a whole.


Writing is divided into two parts, transcription (spelling and handwriting) and composition, (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing).

“Pupils should be taught to use the elements of spelling, grammar, punctuation and ‘language about language’ listed.” “Throughout the programmes of study, teachers should teach pupils the vocabulary they need to discuss their reading, writing and spoken language. It is important that pupils learn the correct grammatical terms in English and that these terms are integrated within teaching.”


SPAG Terminology

Suffix: A suffix is an ‘ending’, used at the end of one word to turn it into another word, e.g. teacher.

Prefix: A prefix is added at the beginning of a word in order to turn it into another word, e.g. disappear.

Conjunction: A conjunction links two words or phrases together, e.g. when, and, but, because.

Connectives: Words/phrases that stitch meaning together between clauses, sentences, paragraphs, e.g. however, first, next, then

Clause: A clause is a mini sentence, a string of words that hangs together on the verb. Clauses may be main or subordinate, e.g. It was raining.

Preposition: When or where something happens, e.g. to, at, outside

Noun: Nouns can be used after determiners, such as ‘the’ and ‘a’, e.g. the book. Nouns may be classified as common (e.g. boy, day) or proper (e.g. Ivan, Wednesday).

Pronouns: Used instead of the specific names, e.g. he, she

Adjective: Used before a noun, to make the noun’s meaning more specific (i.e. to modify the noun), or after the verb be, as its complement.

Adverb: They can modify a verb, an adjective, another adverb or even a whole clause.

Verb: They can usually have a tense, either present or past (see also future). They usually name states or feelings rather than actions, e.g. He likes cake.

Comma: A comma marks a slight break between different parts of a sentence or a list.

Apostrophe: Used to show the place of missing letters (e.g. I’m for I am) and marking possessives (e.g. Hannah’s mother).

Homophone: Two different words that sound the same but are spelt differently, e.g. hear, here.

Near homophones: Two words that are spelt the same but have different meanings.

Types of sentence

Statement: This type of sentence tells you about something, it is stating a fact! It ends with a full stop.

Exclamation: This type of sentence shows a strong feeling. It ends with an exclamation mark.

Command: This type of sentence tells you to do something. It ends with a full stop.

Question: This type of sentence asks something. It ends with a question mark.


In English, tense is the choice between present and past verbs, which is special because it is signalled by inflections and normally indicates differences of time.


Full stop – Used to end a sentence.

Question Mark – Used when a direct question is asked.

Exclamation Mark – Used to indicate strong feelings or a raised voice in speech.

Inverted Commas – (not speech marks) “ ” or ‘ ’

Commas – Used at the end of speech and in lists

Apostrophes – Used to show possession or when a letter is missing.