Grammatical Errors in the Compositions of the Second Year Students of The English Department of FKIP-UKI Jakarta

Abstract

This study was carried out to analyze grammatical errors committed by the fourthsemester students of the English Department of FKIP-UKI Jakarta in their composition. To achieve the objective, 25 paragraphs written by 25 students attending the class of Writing I in the 2005/2006 Academic Year were taken as the corpus of the study. These paragraphs were thoroughly examined to identify any morphological and syntactical errors made in them. Using Politzer and Ramirez‟s Linguistic Category Taxonomy, each error was then analyzed to determine its type and cause. The results of the analysis revealed 306 grammatical errors identified in 114 sentences. Based on the data analysis and calculation, it was found that the greatest number of all error types was Noun Phrase (NP) errors. The amount of this type of errors was 148 (48 %). The second major type of error was those included in Verb Phrase (VP) errors (76 items or 25 %). It was then followed by Word Order (WO) errors (22 items or 7 %) in the third place and Verb-and-Verb Construction (VVC) errors (14 or 5 %) in the fourth. Successively, these four major types of errors were followed by Past Participle Incorrect (PPI) errors (12 or 4 %); Some Transformation (ST) errors (12 or 4 %), Possessive Case Incorrect (PCI) errors (6 or 2 %); Simple Past Tense Incorrect (SPTI) errors (5 or 2 %); Indefinite Article Incorrect (IAI) errors (4 or 1 %); Comparative Adjective/Adverb Incorrect (CAI) errors (4 or 1 %); and Third Person Singular Verb Incorrect (TPSV) errors (3 or 1 %). The errors were caused by two factors, i.e. inference from Indonesian and intralingual transfer within English. These findings indicated that the students‟ competence to write grammatically correct sentences in English was quite low. Therefore, lecturers of writing need to focus activities in writing classes to improve students‟ skill in writing grammatical sentences.

Key Words: grammar, writing, errors, error-analysis, error taxonomy

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