Classification and Explanatory Analysis of Student Errors in Advanced English Composition II, 1979/80

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Addis Ababa University


In this study, errors in the compositions of 89 3rd and 4th year students were identified and classified. The errors were based on 157 essays written for the cdurse, Advanced Composition II. A ., total of 56,426 words were used in these essays. Of these, j204 were errors of one kind or the other and their average frequency of occurrence was about 6 errors in a 100-word essay. These 3204 errors were classified into,six major categories, namely, grammar, style, spelling, punctuation, handwriting and unclasoifiable errors. Specifically, it was found out: that 1525 errors or 3% of the total words or 48% of the total errors were made in grammar; that 753 errors or 1% of the total words or 24% of the total errors were made in style; that 526 errors or Oe9% of all the words used or 16% of the total errors were committed in spelling; that 303 errors or 0.5% of the total words used or 9% of the total errors were made in punctuation; and that 35 errors or 0.06% of all words used or 1.1% of the total errors were in handwriting. On the subcategory level, it was also found out: that diction accounted for 507 errors or 0.9% of the total words or 16% of all the errors; that both agreement and tense were responsible for 770 errors or 1.4% of the total words or 24% of all errors; and that prepositions & particles accounted for 341 errors or 0.6% of the total words used or 10.6% of all errors. On the basis of these findings, it was recommended that ILS students should be taught spelling formally. It was also recommended that diction or vocabulary, tense, agreement, prepositions & particles and punctuation be taught formally and intensively.



Advanced English Composition