Use of Grammatical Structures

Once pupils have a basic understanding of a grammatical process or a word ending, then they can work on using it expressively. The table below shows how some of the grammatical elements emerge and become used in a pupil’s communication. A pupil must understand these structures before they use them.

For a pupil using a non-verbal system of communication, use of grammatical structures is not the priority. In these instances, it is important to focus on the use of functional communication; getting the key message across effectively.

Joining words

In the beginning ‘and’ will be used to connect nouns, e.g. ‘bucket and spade’. A simple pair association game or an opposite jigsaw will help to develop this early stage.

When a pupil can cope with this basic level, you can introduce ‘and’ between phrases, e.g. ‘the boy is standing and the girl is swinging’.

Again take opportunities throughout the school day to encourage development of joining words as comprehension tasks, then as tasks to develop expressive communication.

 Stage 1Stage 2Stage 3Stage 4
Remember, if the pupil cannot produce the “s” sound he will not be able to use plurals
’s’ ending
e.g. hats / balls
‘es’ ending
e.g. buses,
‘ves’ ending
e.g. knives,
e.g. mice, deer
Negativenonotcab’t don’t won’tdidn’t wouldn’t
PronounsI, me, you, ithe, she, him hewe they us them
his, her, their
yourself, itself etc
Prepositionsin, onunder, behindin front, next to,
between, through
Question wordswhatwho, wherewhen, howwhy
Basic time conceptsagain, nowtoday, afteryesterday, always, beforeomorrow, sometimes, never
Tensessit go runed endingsirregular ‘past’future tense
Joining words‘and’ with nouns‘and’ in phrasesbecause, butso, or, until

N.B. Be aware that the above stages are developmental. This means that the pupil will need to understand consistently at Stage 1 before working on their expressive communication using the structure. Only then can they move onto Stage 2 concepts etc.

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Last updated: 28 October 2015

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