Grammatical Analysis of Errors found among Students in the Secondary School level

Grammatical Analysis of Errors found among Students in the Secondary School level in particular reference to state College Secondary School

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This research was carried out at State College Secondary School, Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State using a sample population of two hundred (200) students in the senior secondary category. The major aim of the work was to draw the attention of the secondary school students to some of the grammatical errors found among them and mostly on the major English parts of speech and other areas in the English language.

However, findings from the study indicated that most of these grammatical errors occur as a wrong use of the noun, the verb, the adjective the adverb, the omission/ the wrong use of the determiners and the wrong insertion of the punctuation marks/capitalization in sentences. Above all, the study discovered that the learning environment and the quality of teachers employed to teach the English language contribute immensely to the poor learning and writing of the English language. Also, during the study, most of the students were seen not paying adequate attention when English language was taught owing to over-crowding in each of the classes and as such, affect the effective writing of the English language.


Grammatical Analysis of Errors found among Students in the Secondary School level



1.1  Background to the Study

The study of English grammar is considered an important aspect in the learning of English in Nigeria and in the world as a whole. One of the aims of the English language syllabus by the ministry of education is to enable pupils, students and the undergraduates to speak, write and make presentations internationally acceptable grammatically correct and appropriate for the audience. Teacher’s knowledge of grammar and how it functions is acknowledge to contribute to effective language use (Ibid: 6).

However, Corder (1967) in his writing highlighted the important of considering errors in the language learning process. There has been a shift in emphasis towards an understanding of the problems learner face in their study of language. Errors are indispensable to learners since the making of errors can be regarded as ‘a device they use in order to learn’ (Selinker 1992: 150).

Indeed, as carter (1997:35) notes, knowing more about how grammar works is to understand more about how grammar is used and misused. There is need for students to recognize the significance of errors which occur in their writing to fully grasp and understand the nature of the errors made.

Rightly or not, it should however be noted that society in general judges on the basis of how words are being used, if one has written and even speak English in a standard way. People who write or speak the standard or polite English are generally respected and taken more seriously than those who use the informal English in every situation in which they find themselves. To this end, knowing the Standard English usage enriches our understanding of the way words work and constructed, thus enabling us to vary the ways we can employ language either writers.

In the same vein, writers who intend to use non-standard English cause their readers to stop and wonder what they are much more often than those who know and use the Standard English. It should however be noted that a text with a lot of errors is full of verbal ‘road bumps’. Everyone makes a usage mistake now and then but a text with many usage errors will be much less ambiguous than the one that has few or no usage errors.

In this regard, the research work shall however, distinguish ‘mistakes’ from ‘errors’ where the former refers to unsystematic errors of learners from which we are able to reconstruct the knowledge of the language to do (corder, 1978). The underlying assumption is that students’ errors made in grammar are systematic and classifiable.

Grammatical Analysis of Errors found among Students in the Secondary School level

1.2  Statement of the Problem

It is sometimes very embarrassing that the majority of our dear students in various schools find it difficult to construct simple sentences. As such, they write the way they speak. This error in writing may emanate from the mother tongue interference, use of determiners, definite and indefinite articles are strongly neglected by the students while composing their letters and other essays. In some of the compositions written by students, some of the sentences are mere fragment that is lacking the major ingredients of a sentence which is the subject and at times, a predicate. Some of the participles/modifiers in sentences tend to be dangling.

Wrong choice of words are not left out of this problem. Here, students tend to impress themselves rather than the examiner and the reader. They lack the idea and the understanding that not all the similar words may be appropriate. These are some of the problems the students have when writing especially the students of state College Secondary School, Ikot Ekpene L.G.A, Akwa Ibom State where this research work was carried out.

In this regard, it is a sin to an academic carrier for a student to graduate with these flaws in grammatical expressions knowing that he or she is going out to face the outside world in one way or the other. These problems mentioned above are the ugly feelings of the researcher which has compelled her to conduct a study on why students commit the blunders in their daily English expressions.


1.3  Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to find out the major causes of the grammatical mistakes and errors found among students mostly in secondary school level in particular reference to students of State College, Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State. This research is also conducted in order to find a panacea to some of the causes of these mistakes and errors especially when writing the English language.


1.4  Significance of the Study

This study is significance in the sense that it will expose and point out the grammatical errors which some of our students make in their daily written compositions. It is also important in the sense that students after discovering where the errors and the mistakes come in various writings and other English expressions, will be able to correct some of the grammatical flaws they make when writing.

Apart from this, the study will be of great importance to both the researcher, educationists and to the public in general. This study will at the same time serve as a reference material to the future researchers.

Grammatical Analysis of Errors found among Students in the Secondary School level

1.5 Research Questions

Some of the research questions underlying the study are;

  1. Does the wrong use of the parts of speech in sentences affect or alter the meaning of sentences while writing?
  2. Does the wrong use of nouns in a sentence affect the meaning?
  3. Does the mother-tongue interference affect the students when writing the English language?
  4. Does the learning environment contribute to the poor learning of the English language?


1.6  Delimitation of the Study

The researcher concentrated the study on State College Ikot Ekpene Akwa Ibom State with a look at the grammatical analysis of errors students make in the school. However, the research work centre ultimately on the extent to which the rules of grammar are violated by the students in the secondary school.

1.8  Scope/Limitation of the Study

In the research work, the researcher encountered some short falls that affected the study. Some of these short falls were: financial constraint, poor responses by the respondents.


1.9 Definition of Terms

Grammar: This has to do with the rules in a language for changing the form of words and joining them into sentences.

Error: An error is a deviation from accepted rules of a language made by a learner of a second language.

Mistake: Mistakes occur due to carelessness, wrong pattering and misunderstanding of the person which can be avoided.

Differences between error and mistake: In linguistics, it is considered important to distinguish errors from mistakes. A distinction is always made between errors and mistakes. In other word, an error is a deviation from accepted rules of language made by a learner of a second language. Such errors result from the learner’s lack of knowledge of correct rules of the target language.

However, mistakes occur due to carelessness, maltention and misunderstanding of the person which can be avoided. It is seen as a failure to utilize a known system correctly. Mistakes can be self-corrected with or without being pointed out to the speaker but errors cannot be self-corrected.

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