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Hyphens Story Starters Year 6 Grammar Worksheets

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This teaching sequence has been designed to help children revisit and recall a key grammatical concept from the National Curriculum programme of study for Year 6.

The session provides a motivating and memorable image to stimulate discussion, before introducing the grammar element, which is ‘hyphens’.

Children have time to practise using this feature, before undertaking a short writing task to apply what they have learnt in the context of creative writing.

This primary resource includes:

  • Grammar challenge
    Hyphens avoid ambiguity in sentences. Here children are given a picture of ‘man eating shark’ (don’t worry, it’s just a child’s toy) and then have to draw a ‘man-eating shark’
  • Writing challenge
    Think of another example of a phrase where a hyphen is important for making its meaning clear. You could invent one of your own or use one of the examples given (such as ‘Ruby’s great-aunt’ / ‘Ruby’s great aunt’) and write and illustrate the two versions of your phrase
  • Teacher’s notes

What is a hyphen?

A hyphen is a punctuation mark that’s used to join words, or parts of words, together. This then becomes a hyphenated word.

What is a hyphenated word?

Use a hyphen to join words or separate syllables of a single word. Hyphenated words show the reader that two or more elements in a sentence are linked.

When to hyphenate words

Hyphenate two or more words when they:

  • come before a noun they modify.
  • act as a single idea.

Hyphens can be used to avoid ambiguity (eg ‘man eating shark’ versus ‘man-eating shark’, or ‘recover’ versus ‘re-cover’).

    Hyphenated words list of examples

    check-in, empty-handed, get-together, in-depth, know-it-all, one-sided, runner-up, warm-up

    National Curriculum English programme of study links

    Using hyphens to avoid ambiguity

    • teacher notes
    • activity sheets
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