This curriculum policy replaces The Ontario Curriculum, Grades 1–8: Language, 2006. Beginning in September 2023, all language programs for Grades 1 to 8 will be based on the expectations outlined in this curriculum policy.


Language (2023)

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Appendix B: Language Conventions Continuum for Reading and Writing, Grades 1–9, Overall Expectation B3

Appendix B provides an at-a-glance chart of the mandatory learning that appears under Overall Expectation B3 in Grades 1 to 9. 

The chart that follows shows the language conventions associated with syntax and sentence structure, grammar, and capitalization and punctuation that students are expected to learn and apply through oral communication, reading, and writing. The chart indicates a continuum of learning – that is, initial development, consolidation, and refinement – stretching from Grade 1 to Grade 9. This continuum of learning refers to the approximate windows of time when students are initially developing, consolidating, and refining the use of these conventions in their own writing. While the chart indicates the windows when students are using the given structures in their writing, they will likely be adeptly using and understanding these conventions in oral language much earlier.

These language conventions need to be introduced and developed within the contexts of writing, reading, and oral communication, rather than in isolation, so that students can learn to use them to communicate and comprehend in meaningful ways. Emphasis should be placed on the function and role of a structure within a sentence, instead of simply its name. Although learning is embedded in context, instruction should still follow a thoughtful, purposeful sequence, systematically teaching conventions from simple to complex. Instruction should focus on supporting students in understanding the function of these conventions in well-crafted sentences, and in using them to build correct, sophisticated sentences that effectively communicate meaning.


Initial Development (I)
  • Initial Development of Learning: Introduce the concept in a contextualized way according to students’ needs
  • Students build on their grammatical knowledge during writing and reading activities
Consolidation (C)
  • Consolidation of Learning: Consolidate the concept within planned learning in a contextualized way according to students’ needs
  • Students identify, formulate, verify, and apply their grammatical knowledge during writing and reading activities
Refinement (R)
  • Refinement of Learning: Refine students’ understanding by providing opportunities for them to apply the concept to new contextualized learning
  • Students refine their grammatical knowledge and apply it with proficiency during writing and reading activities

Language conventions by grade

B3.1 Syntax and Sentence Structure 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
simple sentences: declarative (e.g., The dog barks loudly all day.) I C C R          
simple sentences: imperative (e.g., Please turn on the water.) I C C R          
simple sentences: interrogative (e.g., Where is the library book on structures?) I C C R          
simple sentences: exclamatory (e.g., I am excited and happy to see my friend!) I C C R          
compound sentences (e.g., Sherice sings in a band and sometimes she plays drums.) I C C C C C C C R
complex sentences (e.g., It is freezing outside because it is winter.)     I C C C C C C
complex sentences with adverbial clauses (e.g., While Aamer is a big fan of soccer, he prefers cricket.)     I C C C C C C
independent clauses (e.g., Swati reads articles, and Hong enjoys novels.)       I C C C C R
dependent clauses (e.g., After Nagamo wrote her first novel last year, she decided to write a second novel.)       I C C C C R
compound-complex sentences (e.g., Since Mykola is allergic to wheat, he could not have the rolls he made, but he could have the soup.)         I C C C C
sentence fragments and run-on sentences         I C C C R
complex sentences with adjective or relative clauses (e.g., The crowd, who looked happy, danced across the street.)           I C C C
complex sentences with prepositional clauses (e.g., While we were playing football, the ball thrown by my friend went into the lake.)             I C R
B3.2 Grammar 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
common nouns (e.g., firefighter, drum, park) I C R            
singular nouns (e.g., teacher, eraser, notebook) I C R            
plural nouns (e.g., students, desks, berries) I C R            
using the pronoun “I” I C R            
verb tense: past (e.g., Hiro walked home from school.) I C C C C C R    
verb tense: present (e.g., Maham draws hearts on all her homework.) I C C C C C R    
verb tense: future (e.g., Chi will write the email after lunch.) I C C C C C R    
common adjectives (e.g., bumpy, brown, delicious, brilliant) I C C R          
common conjunctions (e.g., when, so what, whether, unless) I C C C C C C C R
abstract nouns (e.g., peace, joy, imagination, reconciliation)   I C C R        
collective nouns (e.g., fleet, bunch, cluster, batch)   I C C R        
personal pronouns: subject (e.g., you, he, she, it, they, we)   I C C C R      
personal pronouns: object (e.g., you, her, him, it, them, us)   I C C C R      
personal pronouns: possessive (e.g., my, mine; your, yours; their, theirs; our, ours)   I C C C R      
forms of the verb “to be” (e.g., am, are, be, was, being)   I C C C C C C R
comparative adjectives (e.g., She is younger than her brother.)   I C C C R      
superlative adjectives (e.g., They use the smallest bag to carry their groceries.)   I C C C R      
coordinating conjunctions (e.g., Karim can be a plumber, or he can be a welder.)   I C C C C C C R
subordinating conjunctions (e.g., You need to walk slowly because you may fall on the ice.)   I C C C C C C R
recognition of the words that adverbs modify (e.g., The principal spoke calmly during the meeting.)   I C C C C C R  
possessive nouns (e.g., women’s, man’s, students’)     I C C R      
linking verbs (e.g., to be, to become, to seem)     I C C C C C R
progressive tense (e.g., He was writing an email when the phone rang.)     I C R        
interrogative adjectives (e.g., what, which, whose)     I C C R      
prepositions (e.g., in, at, on, in front of, next to)     I C C C C R  
interjections (e.g., wow, hey, ouch)     I C C R      
relative pronouns (e.g., The woman who called earlier did not leave a message.)       I C C C C C
perfect tense (e.g., You have shopped in that store.)       I C C C C R
interrogative verbs (e.g., Did you break my favourite toy?)       I C C C C C
imperative verbs (e.g., Place your order in the next five minutes.)       I C C C C C
pronouns as adjectives (e.g., Neither group came at the time of the meeting.)       I C R      
direct objects for nouns (e.g., They promised the children new bicycles.)         I C C C C
intensive pronouns (e.g., He himself was responsible for his success in sports.)         I C C C C
reflexive pronouns (e.g., She bought herself a mango.)         I C C C C
proper adjectives (e.g., There are ten Canadian provinces and three territories.)         I C C R  
correlative conjunctions (e.g., Either we walk to school, or we ride our bicycles.)         I C C C R
gerunds as nouns (e.g., Running is my favourite summer activity.)           I C C C
distinguish and convert between active voice for verbs (e.g., The cat chases the mouse.) and passive voice for verbs (e.g., My first day of school is one that will always be remembered.)           I C C C
prepositional phrases (e.g., Look to your right and you will see the garage.)           I C C C
indirect objects (e.g., They gave me a pencil.)             I C C
predicate nouns (e.g., My favourite hobby is camping.)             I C C
predicate adjectives (e.g., That music sounds wonderful.)             I C C
participles (e.g., The boys sitting on the bench were talking.)             I C C
adverbial phrases (e.g., The person was cheering very loudly.)             I C C
B3.3 Capitalization and Punctuation 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
capital letters at the beginning of sentences (e.g., We walked to the park this morning.) I C R            
appropriate punctuation mark at the end of sentences (e.g., The weather is cloudy.) I C R            
capital letters for proper nouns (e.g., My family travelled from Brantford to Toronto by train.)   I C R          
commas to separate items in lists (e.g., I like to skate, sled, and snowshoe in the winter.)   I C R          
apostrophes for possessives (e.g., Ira’s sister was late to meet him for lunch.)   I C C R        
quotation marks for direct speech (e.g., Maia said, “I am busy now.”)   I C C C R      
capital letters in dialogue (e.g., The woman exclaimed, “We are so happy that you enjoyed your day.”)     I C C C C C R
capitals for words in titles (e.g., The book was called The Journey across Canada.)     I C C R      
commas and quotation marks to mark direct speech and direct quotations from texts (e.g., “Free bus passes for all students,” said Mr. Bond.)     I C C C C R  
apostrophes for contractions (e.g., It’s a nice day outside.)     I C C R      
capital letters for proper adjectives (e.g., They like to eat Indian, Korean, and Japanese food.)       I C C C C R
commas to set off nouns of direct address (e.g., Dad, where is my baseball bat?)       I C C C R  
quotation marks to indicate the title of a short work (e.g., “The Peaceful Day” is a short story.)       I C C R    
commas to set off advanced phrases or clauses, such as appositives and participles (e.g., The store owner, who sells fruit and vegetables, has one child.)         I C C C C
colons for introducing a list after a complete sentence (e.g., There were many colours in the painting: red, purple, and green.)         I C C R  
colons in formal letters and memo salutations (e.g., To whom it may concern:)           I C C R
colons to indicate new speakers in script dialogue (e.g., Narrator: The curtain opens to a large sunny window.)           I C C R
commas after transitional words or phrases (e.g., Lastly, you place the taco on the plate.)           I C C R
colons to introduce a quotation after a complete sentence (e.g., This phrase recurs throughout the film: “Pass the rice.”)             I C R
semicolons to separate two independent clauses (e.g., I went to the market; I forgot to buy corn soup.)             I C C
commas to set off conjunctive adverbs (e.g., Your dog got into the neighbour’s yard; in addition, he dug up the flowers.)             I C C
ellipses or dashes to indicate an admission, a pause, or a break (e.g., Yesterday he art instead of music.)             I C C

The chart is available in PDF.