Test On Writing Skills Data Analysis Articles English Language Essay

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The data shows that the article an is used before words begin with vowels and a before words beginning with consonant without considering the quality of letter or phoneme which begins in a word. It is evident that 'an' is used before the consonant 'h' which is silent or mute in the beginning of word, and 'an' is used before the vowels which have sound quality of consonant. The reason for the wrong substitution is that the 'strong pressures of the continuously drilled rules that an is used before nouns begin with vowel (Agnihotari, 1992) and vice versa due to such habit formation, the students extent these rules as

Above samples indicate that the definite and indefinite articles are indiscriminately used before noun phrases / nouns and are unnecessarily omitted where they are required. The article 'the' has not been used where it is necessarily required in the place of cataphorical reference. These types of errors have appeared due to the ignorance of the grammatical features of articles, influence of L1 and simplification strategy.

Further it is found that 'a' is predominantly used by the students rather than 'an' and 'the'. This may be because of the fact that 'a' is simple as well as first learned element. The students however find certain situations at which article of some kind is required; whenever they encounter such context or such gap, it is generally filled with 'a'.

60% of the students have committed errors in articles. Of the 60%, 25% of them have wrongly substituted the articles and remaining 35% of the students unnecessarily have added the articles where it is not required and have omitted where it is necessarily required.

2. Preposition

Preposition as 'a word' or group of words' (e.g. in, from, to, on behalf of) is often

placed before a noun or pronoun to indicate place, direction, source, method etc.,

Further, it connects a noun or pronoun with some other words in a sentence and

makes clear the relationship between the two.

Errors pertaining to the use of prepositions found in the students' performance are classified into four categories as stated below.

i) Wrong selection of preposition


Incorrect selection ------ Correct selection

1. I am going on holiday on May ------ in

2. I can't sleep in night ------ at

3. Good bye! See you in Friday ------ on

4. I always feel good on the morning ------ in

5. Sirisha stayed with us in three days ------ for

6. We are going for Delhi next day ------ to

The wrong selection of prepositions may be because of the semantic multiplicity of prepositions; for example, the preposition 'of' has sixty three meanings listed in the Oxford dictionary, and other prepositions have almost as many meanings as 'of' has.

In addition to the semantic multiplicity of the target language, the L1 too interferes due to the dissimilarities found between L1 and L2.

ii) Extension of the preposition 'on'

1. I went Hyderabad on yesterday.

2. On tomorrow if I became a doctor I will help the poor people by studying

3. I went a Vizag on last month.

In English, the preposition 'on' is used before the days like 'on Monday' 'on Sunday' etc. So, this rule tends the learner to extend the use of preposition where it is not possible in English, like 'on yesterday', 'on tomorrow', on last month'.

iv) Addition of preposition

1. There were lots of peoples without food or in education

2. I will help the poor people by in studying

In English certain verbs co-occur with prepositions while certain other verbs do not. The verbs, which do not occur with preposition, can occur with article in the same slot (I bought a book, I went to Hyderabad). The students under study could not distinguish and differentiate these two types of verbs and have used them identically. Consequently in many a context, they have deleted preposition.

It is identified from the data that the students tend to learn certain co-occurring elements as an unit, this has resulted in using two prepositions in their writing. However, one can attribute improper learning, and semantic multiplicities are as the reasons for not performing well in the aspect of preposition.

63% of the students under study have used the preposition wrongly. Within 63%, 35% of the students have wrongly selected the prepositions, and 11% of the students have over generalized the preposition as given in the sample 1, and remaining 17% of the students have unnecessarily added and dropped the prepositions.

3. Pronoun

Pronoun is a word that could be used in sentence in the place of a noun. Pronouns can be classified as subject, object, genitive and reflective pronouns. Pronouns agree with the subject and object in number, since pronouns are used as substitutes of nouns. They must bear the same number, gender and person as the nouns for which they stand.


First person

Second person

Third person































your self





i) Wrong usage of pronouns


1. My happy everyday at morning time language news paper reading.

2. My bought to by cycle

3. Library will be very useful myself

4. My going is to school

The students have wrongly substituted 'my' instead of I and 'myself' instead of 'me'. The reason is the lack of practice and ignorance of their linguistic features and meanings. Further, it is to be mentioned that the third person pronouns (he/she/it) are used almost properly by the students, and they find no problem in using them. The reason is that the students follow the strategy of positive transfer from L1.

4. Adjectives

Adjectives are typically described as words or phrases that modify nouns. The adjectives usually appear between the determiners and the nouns. Nouns are not only modified by the prototypical adjectives but also words from many grammatical classes like verbal participles and noun heads. The use of adjectives has been found to be very limited in students' writings; however, some wrong usages of adjectives as found in data are given as follows.

i) Using noun instead of adjectives


1. It is nature place.

2. We arranged a tour bus.

3. The industries should be shifted to nonresident area.

Errors of this type rarely occur in the writings of the students under review. It is because of the fact that both in English and Telugu languages, noun + noun combination and adjective + noun combination are relatively identical in the semantic aspect. This gives room for using N+N instead of Adj+N. It may also be claimed that this error is found to exist as the students follow the positive transfer of their first language structure.

5. Nouns

Nouns or noun phrases typically function as subjects, direct objects, indirect objects and subject complements (NPS also function as the object of preposition) A noun that denotes a single person or thing is said to be in singular form and that which denotes more than one person or thing is said to be in plural form. Plural nouns are formed by the addition of the suffixes which are otherwise called as plural morphemes (like '-s' '-es' '-en' '-ren' etc) to the singular form of the noun.

Formation of plural nouns

Singular form

Addition of plural morpheme

Plural form


Elsewhere at the end












-es after - s/sh/ch/x














Singular form

Addition of plural morpheme

Plural form




























Irregular plural forms



Root modification
















In learning to use a noun, one needs to pay attention to a variety of grammatical factors. In particular, one needs to know whether a noun is countable or uncountable and if countable what will be the plural form. So it is quite complex and difficult to the learners in processing all the nuances of noun simultaneously and to select a particular noun to use in a particular context.

6. Verb

The verb (phrase) is the heart of the sentence. Most of the English sentences contain at least one verb. Verbs carry a great deal of information; they describe actions, events, and states and place these in a time frame. They state whether actions or events, have been completed or going on and they say whether a state is current or regulative. They help to command, request, speculate, wish and predict.

The students have not properly handled the verbs also. Most of the sentences produced by the students have lost their meanings and functions due to inappropriate use of the verb forms. Such types of erroneous sentences are as follows.

i) Use of double past in negative sentences

1. I did not forgot the summer holidays

2. I did not thinked such an examination is going to held in our school.

ii) Double past in interrogative sentence

1. When did you completed examination?

2. When did your father came Amalapuram?

3. Did you returned to home yesterday?

4. Did you wrote examination?

5. Did they came yesterday?

The samples 1 and 2 show that the use of double past; a peculiar type of error, found in the student's writing. This type of error occurs because of the fact that in Telugu, tense is expressed in main verbs without splitting the verbs whatever may be the sentence type. But in negative or interrogative sentence of English, the tense is expressed with the help of both auxiliary and main verb (did + pronoun + verb or did + not + verb). The learners know the rule of using tense in auxiliary. However, by the influence of Telugu language, the learners are satisfied only when tense is expressed through main verbs. Thus, they use double tense in their writing, especially while writing interrogative and negative sentences.

iii) Use of past form where the past participle required

1. I had saw an accident yesterday

2. I and my family had went Hyderabad

3. Has he did the work

4. Had he ate the fruit

This type of error has appeared in the writings of the students understudy because of the fact that in English, some verbs have certain identical forms for the categories of past tense and past-participle. (work-worked - worked) most of the verbs have this pattern. Learners extent this rule to all types of the verbs and consequently, 'a past tense' form is substituted for past participle form of irregular type also (see-saw-seen).

iv) Wrong lexical selection

1. I bought the book from library and then study in my house (borrow)

2. Air pollution attacking our body (affects)

In any language, certain linguistic elements share commonness semantically, that is to say that all languages have synonymous, but there will not be any complete synonyms in any language. So certain words can be used in certain contexts. The students understudy have also wrongly substituted a word for another. This will happen only in the initial period of learning. Thus, it is considered as developmental error.

v) Overgeneralization of the irregular verb forms

Sample -- Correct form

becomed - became

binded - bound

bited - bit

Sample -- Correct form

thinked - thought

cutted - cut

seeked - sought

writed - wrote

finded - found

buyed - bought

seed - saw

sayed - said

Learners tend to over generalize the verb forms due to the irregularity found in the formation of the past tense. Some English verbs do not follow the regular morphological process. Instead of taking-'ed' as past tense marker they internally get changed or they take zero morpheme of the formation of past form. Because of this deviant morphological process, the learners tend to over generalize already learned rule of affixing -ed with the present verb form to make past form. It is found that 65% of the students have committed errors in verbs. Out of 65%, 30% of them have used the past form where the past participle is required and remaining 20% of the students have wrongly selected the verbs and over generalized the irregular verb forms in addition to the use of double past.

7. Adverb

Adverbs specify the mode of action of the verbs. In English, many adverbs are signalled by the 'ly' ending. An adverb is 'a word used to add something to the meaning of the verb'. The function of an adverb in a sentence is significant because of its impact on the verb it qualifies. The effectiveness and vitality of the action reflected by the sentences is denoted by the use of adverbs. Sometimes adverbs qualify the adjectives also. The errors in the use of adverbs are given below.

i) Over generalization of - ly ending


1. He drived tour bus fastly

2. He drove bus very speedly

3. He went fastly

ii) Adjectives used as adverb

1. Today I came to school quick

2. She sing beautiful.

These types of errors may be considered as developmental errors.

The above data establish a fact that the students have got some confusion with regard to the grammatical categories viz. adverb and adjective. The students have to be properly taught the functional distribution of the above two categories. 20% of the students have over generalized- ly- ending and 21% of the students have used the adjectives as adverb in their writings.

8. Auxiliary Verbs

Auxiliary verb is subordinate to main verb. It helps to make distinctions in mood, tense, aspect, voice etc. It is used to frame questions especially tag questions. Normally a verb phrase consists of a main verb preceded by one or more auxiliary verbs. In a sentence, the appropriate selection of the auxiliary verb form is important for maintaining subject verb agreement. Students have difficulty in using the auxiliary forms also. The errors found in the students writing are classified and presented below.

i) Addition of auxiliary verb ----- Addition

1. I am went to the school ----- am

2. I am saw the boys in the ground ----- am

3. I am saw you are in the shop ----- am

The students under study have unnecessarily added the auxiliary verb 'am' in between the subject 'I' and verb (past form). The student's intention was to convey the past event or action. She has conveyed the sense what she has done in the past, but 'am' is wrongly used with 'I'. This is due to the fact that the copula verb 'am' functions as a main verb in certain contexts (I am a student). Because of the impact of this structure, learners unconsciously use 'am' whenever they have to use 'I' in a subject position.

ii) Deletion of auxiliary verb --- Deletion

1. When - you go to home? --- 'do'

2. When - you come from Hyderabad? --- 'did'

3. How - you come from Hyderabad? --- 'did'

4. When - you see Amalapuram? --- 'did'

The sample shows that the students have deleted the auxiliary verbs in the interrogative sentences (when + sub+ verb+ noun). This deviant structure is unacceptable. The reason for the deletion of auxiliary verb in interrogative sentences is the mother tongue interference.

ii) Wrong substitution of auxiliary verb

Given instruction: Fill in the blanks with suitable auxiliary verbs.

Sample ---------- Correct form

1. I am working when she arrived. ----- 'was'

2. Now he was writing a letter to his friend. ----- 'is'

3. They were going to a meeting tomorrow evening. ----- 'are'

4. Six people are injured in the accident yesterday 'were'

The wrong substitution of auxiliary verbs 'am' instead of 'was', 'are' instead of 'were' and vice versa is due to the 'ignorance of the linguistic features of auxiliary verb and failure in understanding the meaning of the given sentences. As soon as the students see the verb in the 'ing' form, they tend to use auxiliary without considering the tense which is implied by the adverb. It is found that there are 52% of the students wrongly used the auxiliary verbs. Of the 52%, 32% of the students have wrongly added and deleted the auxiliaries, and remaining 20% of them have wrongly substituted the auxiliaries.

9. Concord

Concord is the grammatical agreement between words in number, gender, subject, verb etc. In English, number is a feature associated with nouns, demonstratives, personal pronouns and verbs. Nouns have singular or plural numbers and present tense verbs when they come with 3rd person singular will occur in agreement with the subject (noun). Errors identified in the students' writing are classified and presented as follows.

i) Demonstrative adjectives and noun agreement


1. This gases causes holes in ozone layer.

2. The scientists said that due to this holes world will be destroyed with in 200 billion years.

3. Especially industries favors these air pollution.

4. Therefore in order to these types of pollution the government should take act regarding pollution

The errors in the aspect of agreement between the demonstrative adjective and noun may be because of the ignorance of the functions of the demonstrative adjectives and interference of first language.

Subject and verb agreement

1. Petrol powered vehicles causes most serious problem

2. Especially industries favours these air pollution

3. This gases causes holes in ozone layer

4. Preventive measures against air pollution saves our country

The above sentences show the agreemental problem between verb and noun. The students have used the third person singular marker 's' (es) without considering the noun which proceeds the verb. The words like 'vehicles,' 'Industries' 'gases' and 'preventive measures' are in plural forms which require plural verb form but students have predominantly used the singular verbs form. So, the third person singular marker is over generalized where it is not required.

It has been found that there are 67% of the students committed errors in concord. Of 67%, 29% of the students have committed errors in the agreement between demonstrative adjective and noun. 28% of students have committed errors in agreement between subject and verb and remaining 6% of the students have committed all types of errors.

10. Syntax

Syntax includes the ways words are combined into larger structures including sentences. The distinction between the subject and predicate is the basic division within the sentence. The generative grammar of the 1970s exploited tree diagrams in which the subject (called the NP for noun phrase) branches left and the predicate (called VP for verb phrase) branches right. S stands for sentence.

Order change in question 

1. Where he was going?

2. When you will come from Bombay?

3. Why you didn't come yesterday?

4. Why you didn't told the reason for master?

The sample shows that the interrogative sentences have been used in the reverse order as where + sub + aux + verb (where he was going) instead of where + aux + sub + verb (where was he going). This is due to the influence of spoken form on writing. The deviant word order of question found in the learners' performance is least acceptable in the spoken mode of Indian English and it is also expressed through intonation using the similar pattern. But previous one is unacceptable order in the written mode.

(iii) a) Incomplete sentences

1. My bought to the by cycle

2. I am decide to the bag

3. Meena is told the Malathi

4. She decide the meeting

5. I ran to the people

b) Discourse with full of incomplete sentences


My life ambis a teacher I can't be any life or vizetion so I cannot be teacher of life so happy the childrens life the teacher life I am like the childrens I am hat reati reavs the life of teachers my life is the last time of teacher the childrens the tomorrow do yesterday so was doind my life tomorrow the ......

Reason for the projection of the incomplete sentences is that some L2 learner at the beginning stage just memorizes the passage or linguistic elements for the examination purpose then they try to project it completely in the examinations, but it seems to them impossible to project completely what they have memorized. Then, they import the linguistic elements improperly whatever it comes from their memory as shown in the above sample. This type of error may be considered as error due to linguistic vomiting or it is an outcome of rote learning.

61% of the students have committed errors in the sentence level. Of the 61%, 30% of the students have changed the orders in the interrogative sentence, 21% of the students have committed errors due to the influence of L1, and remaining 10% of the students have just vomited the linguistic elements in an illogical fashion.

11 Spelling

Spelling plays an important role in the formation of words. Meaning of a word depends on the graphemes or letters which occupy in it. Graphemes also distinguish and differentiate the meaning of words. The spelling rules of the language enable both the encoder and decoder to comprehend appropriately in the written mode. The spelling rules of English are quite complex, and there are some regularities and irregularities and exceptional nature in the rules. Further, one or more than one letters correspond to one sound. In addition to the first language system, the complexity of the spelling rules too tends the students or learners to produce misspelt words. If the letters used in the words are changed or altered, the meanings of the words will be lost. Alternations or dropping of letters in words lead to confusion. Sometimes, misspelt words will make one comprehend some other meanings.

Influence of spoken form on spelling

The students have transferred their incorrect speech habits to writing as follows:

Sample ----- Correct form

arrived ----- arrived

butefull ----- beautiful

butifull ----- beautiful

survices ----- service

Sample Correct form

parasonal personal

witch which

scientests scientists

papper paper

docter doctor

iii) Words showing dropping letters

Sample ----- Correct form ----- Dropping<br /> arrived ----- arrived ----- 'r'

betiful ----- beautiful ----- 'au'

droped ----- dropped ----- 'p'

equalent ----- equivalent ----- iv

impretive ----- imperative ----- e

iv) Words showing addition of letters

Sample ----- Correct form ----- Addition

unblievable ----- unblivable ----- 'e'

playying ----- playing ----- 'y'

dailiy ----- daily ----- 'i'

becomeing ----- becoming ----- 'e'

secound ----- second ----- u

v) Words showing modification of letters

Sample ----- Correct form ----- Transfer

heppy ----- happy ----- a-e

parrants ----- parents ----- e-a

haleday ----- holiday ----- i-e

impretive ----- imperative ----- a-e

famile ----- family ----- y-e

discriped ----- described ----- e-i

The analyzed and classified data show that both the interference of L1 and learner's incorrect speech habits have paved the way for the spelling errors in the place of consonant clusters. Only the incorrect speech habits mirror in their spelling in the place of vowels and vowel clusters. It is identified in the students' data that 71% of the students have committed orthographical errors in their writings.