How to Pass JAMB Use of English Lexis and structure

How to Pass JAMB Use of English Lexis and structure. I want to reveal the basic skills required to pass Use of English Lexis and structure in UTME. The Joint Admission and Matriculation Board JAMB have concluded the plan to conduct this year exam in the first quarter.  JAMB has recorded a record-breaking 1.7 million applicants. Now Use of English language is very important subject in UTME examination. that is why we are giving out basic grammatical rules you should know before you write your English Exam.

In Nigeria, English is not our mother language. we learn it and make it our official language. We also have our own version of the English Language which we called (pigin). All these have an impact on the way we speak and write the English Language in an exam. Now let’s dive into how to Pass JAMB Use of English Lexis and structure.

How to Pass JAMB Use of English Lexis and structure

What is Lexis?

Lexis is a part of the English language where sentences are determined on a system of the relationship between words. So simply Lexis is the set of all words and phrases in language, and those words or phrases are called Lexical items, you know in the use of English language as a subject we don’t really need a definition


The structure is referring to as the set of established rules of a language, for the combination of words to be meaningful in that language. So basically, Structure is used to arrange or put words together in orderly ways by combining the words (lexical items) together with the rules. On this post, we are going to focus more on grammatical rules that governed structure in the English Language.

Now JAMB will test your skill information of sentence. The rules you can apply in joining words together to form a simple and correct sentence. You have to learn the rules in joining each element of a sentence. This rule is called concord in English language subject. Concord in the use of English language means the agreement between the subject and the verb or agreement between a verb and other elements of clause structure. JAMB 2017: Basic Grammatical rules you should know

We examine some of the rules:

JAMB Basic Grammatical rules

RULE 1. Subject and verb concord

This rule state that When the subject in a sentence is singular, the verb should also be singular.
For example,
She (singular subject) goes (singular verb), not: She go ( plural verb). Also, when the subject is plural, the verb should also be plural‘
The girls (plural subject) go (plural verb), not The girls (plural subject) goes (Singular verb). There are will be questions from this rule just apply the rule to choose the correct answer.

How to Pass JAMB 2018 Use of English Lexis and structure

RULE 2. Subject and Object concord

When everybody, everyone etc. are used, the object must be singular not plural.
For example: Everybody knows his or her name, not : Everybody knows their name

RULE 3. The Principle of proximity

This principle states that when there is a list of nouns or pronouns at the level of the subject, it is the nearest noun or pronoun to the position of the verb that will determine the choice of the verb.
E.g If James fails his examination, his teachers, his parents, his friends or John ( ) to be blame.
The correct option to fill that blank is, is not  because, at the subject level, we have his teachers, his friends, his parents and John ( four different people)
In order to choose the correct verb, we will need to choose the nearest subject to the gap as the subject which is John

Note: what makes us consider the only one noun or pronoun used in this sentence is because of the use of or, but if the conjunction used is and, all the nouns or pronouns used in the sentence will be considered as the subject. I’ll explain better when I get to the type of such concord.
Back to James.
But if the question comes in this manner, the answer will be different,
E.g If James fails his examination, his teachers, his parents, his friends or I ( ) to blame. The correct answer here is, am, because, I is the nearest subject to the gap, so if is the subject, the verb that goes with it, is am

Read Also: Has JAMB started sending out exam date and center? Check this

How to Pass JAMB 2018 Use of English Lexis and structure

RULE 4. Mandative subjunctive concord

When prayer, suggestion, wish, demand, recommendation or resolution is used in a sentence, the verb that follows must be plural, whether the subject is singular or plural.
For example;

  1. It has been suggested that he go not away   
  2. The board has recommended that the manager resign not
  3. pray that God help me on my upcoming examination not God

RULE 5. Many – a concord

When many – a is used, the verb and the noun that follows must be Singular
E.g Many a candidate (not candidates) speaks ( not speak) bad English expressions.
Many a girl (not girls) is (not are) here. The real meaning of statement 1 and 2 are many candidates and many girls

How to Pass JAMB 2018 Use of English Lexis and structure

RULE 6. A pair of concord

When a pair of …….. is used, the verb must be singular.
E.g 1) A pair of trousers (not trouser) lies(not lie) on the bed.
2) A pair of scissors lies (not lie) on the table.

Read Also: JAMB releases UTME 2017 mock exam result: You can check here

RULE 7. Parenthesis

Parenthesis statement is an additional statement to what has already been said before.
Note A parenthetical statement should not be considered in choosing the verb that will follow.
E.g 1) The teacher, not her students is in the class.
The correct answer is, is because ( not her students) is just parenthesis, and parenthesis has nothing to do with choosing the verb.
2) The manager, not many of his workers, is (not are) here now. not many of his workers is just a parenthesis, therefore, the parenthesis should be totally ignored. The manager is a singular noun, hence a singular verb

How to Pass JAMB 2018 Use of English Lexis and structure

RULE 8. Accompaniment Concord

When any of these following words are used, the subject of the clause would be the one that comes before the marker of accompaniment. Words like as much as, alongside, as well as, together with, no less than, in association with, including, like, with, and in collaboration with, etc
Example 1
Mary, as well as her friends is ( not are) beautiful.
The answer is, is because mary is the noun that comes before as well as, hence mary is the subject and it is a singular noun hence a singular verb.
Example 2
The little kids alongside their parents are (not is) here.
The answer is are not is because the little kids comes before alongside. The subject is plural hence a plural verb

RULE 9. More than concord

When more than is used, the word or number that comes after more than will determine the next verb.
For example
1) More than two apples are ( not is) here.
2) More than one oranges is (not are) here.
In the first statement, the answer is are not because two attracts are but in the second statement, the correct option is, is not because one attracts is.
Note : Do not think because more than one means at least two, That you will use a plural verb after, no you will use a singular verb

How to Pass JAMB 2018 Use of English Lexis and structure

RULE 10. Pluralia tantums

Pluralia tantum are nouns that come in plural forms.
Some of these words have finals, while some do not. However, whenever any of the following forms appear, it must be followed by a singular verb.

  1. a)School Subject: Mathematics, Economics, Civics, Physics, Statistics you can see that all of them end with s but it does not show plurality.
  2. b)Games: Darts, Snakes and Ladders, Draughts, Billiards, Bowls and Skittles etc, all end withs but do not show plurality.
  3. c)Diseases: Measles, Tuberculosis, Shingles, Mumps etc, all end withs but do not show plurality.
  4. d)Others: titles, news, series means e.g
    1) The series of incidents makes (not make) me shudder.
    2) The means of transport hastens (not hasten) travelling.

Note: There are some nouns that do not appear as singular at all but as plurals and they often attract plural verbs.

Such words are : Funds (money), annals, spirits, surroundings, guts, earnings, arms (weapons), auspices, the middle ages, entrails, bowels, quarters ( headquarters), banns, means, holidays, stars, suds, wages, thanks, riches, writs, savings, remains, ashes, goods ( product), arrears, outskirts, pains, particulars, fireworks etc.

All these nouns not verbs cannot appear without s and, hence they attract plural verbs

1) His manners are (not is) good

2) The remains (corpse) of the boy have ( not has) been buried.

You cannot escape some if not all of the rules in JAMB. You need to learn everything very well before you write your JAMB examination. Also, get more on these from A-Z in English for JAMB.


Omotimehin Nelson is a Nigerian award-winning content writer. He derives passion for creative writing. Join me

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