Error Analysis and Its Relevance to Teaching ESL Composition

Monika Ciesielkiewicz, Elena Marquez


The present paper attempts to establish the most common types of errors that Spanish students of 1st and 2nd year of Bachillerato make in ESL compositions, as well as to identify those that are produced due to the interference from Spanish into English. Once the data was collected, the errors were classified according to the following categories: spelling, vocabulary, grammar-syntax and punctuation. Next, the quantification of errors was also undertaken. The results of this study show that the  Spanish students of Bachillerato produced the following mistakes most frequently: (1) spelling, (2) the incorrect use of commas, (3) the use of prepositions, (4) the incorrect use of words according to their lexical meaning, (5) the articles in English, (6) the number of nouns, (7) subject-verb agreement, (8) the use of adverbs, (9) word order and (10) the use of verb tenses. This paper can help teachers to be more aware of the most typical errors made by Spanish-speaking students in order offer activities that could assist them to master concepts in English that they find most difficult and problematic.

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