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A Case of The Second Grade Students of SMU Negeri 8 Semarang
in The Academic Year of 2004/2005
Submitted in Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements
For the Degree of Sarjana Pendidikan in English
Lenny Agustina Indrawati
.. I never learn anything talking. I only learn things when I ask questions
(Lou Holtz).
.. The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn t being
said. (Peter F. Drucker)
.. Nothing but heart can change the heart. (Carroll O Connor)
.. The best of all things is to learn. Money can be lost or stolen, health and
strength may fail, but what you have committed to your mind is yours
forever. (Louis L Amour)
To my beloved family: father, mother,
sister, and brothers.
First, I would like to express my deepest thank to God for giving me
opportunity to finish this final project. I worked hard to make my dream come
true, but this cannot be real without His great blessing.
Then, I would like to say thank to Drs. Januarius Mujiyanto, M. Hum. and
Drs. H. Suprapto, M. Hum., as my advisers who gave me continuous guidance as
well as encouragement, and great patience in leading me to finish this report.
My thanks also go to all lecturers of the English Department of UNNES
who have taught, motivated, and guided me since the first day of my study at
Furthermore, I would like to thank all my friends of C and D classes of
2001, especially for Sumire, Tri-M, Wiwid, and Umi who have helped me for
about 4 years.
I realize that this final project is still far from being perfect. I have a grea
expectation that this final project will be beneficial and useful for both teach
and students of English.
Semarang, February 2006
The writer
The objective of this final project is to describe types of difficulties faced
by the second grade students of SMU Negeri 8 Semarang in the academic year of
2004/2005 when they write paragraphs.
Before doing the field project, I tried to find out the meaning of writing
and paragraph. I also looked at the curriculum about kinds of paragraphs taught
Senior High School grade 2. Based on that information I prepared an instrument
which was appropriate. Here, the students have to produce their own sentences.
They could write their ideas on the form of paragraphs. It would show their real
difficulty in writing.
When the data had been collected, I then analyzed each sentences. I found
many errors and classified those errors into grammatical and semantic errors.
On grammatical errors, I divided it into 5 kinds of errors. Those were
errors in noun, verb, adjective, pronoun, and article. While on semantic errors
tried to analyze the meaning of students sentences. These errors could be divided
into sentence errors and inter-sentence errors. Besides grammatical and semantic
errors, I also found the other errors which could not be classified into one of
In my opinion, the students errors in sentences occurred because they
only transferred rules from their mother tongue, and they did not really underst
their target language. So, to minimize those errors, it is suggested that Englis
teachers give clear explanation. They also have to give a lot of practices to us
those rules in writing sentences and paragraphs.
1.1 General Background ... 1
1.2 Reasons for Choosing the Topic . 3
1.3 Statements of the Problem ... 4
1.4 Objectives of the Study 4
1.5 Significance of the Study . 4
1.6 Outline of the Study ..... 5
2.1 Writing .. 6
2.2 Paragraphs for the Second Grade of Senior High School . 7
2.3 Error Analysis ... 9
2.4 Mistake and Error . 10
2.4.1 Interlingual Errors . 11
2.4.2 Intralingual Errors . 13 Overgeneralization . 13 Ignorance of Rule Restriction 14 Incomplete Application of Rules ... 14 False Concept Hypothesized .. 14
2.5 Theoretical Framework . 14
3.1 Population and Sample . 16
3.2 Choice of the Population .. 17
3.3 Technique of Sampling . 17
3.4 Instrument for Collecting Data . 18
3.5 Preparation of the Test ......................................... 19
3.6 Data Collection ... . 19
3.7 Method of Data Analysis ... .. 19
4.1 Grammatical Errors .. ..... 21
4.1.1 Noun .. 21
4.1.2 Verb ...23
4.1.3 Adjective ... 24
4.1.4 Pronoun . 25
4.1.5 Article ... 26
4.2 Semantic Errors . 27
4.2.1 Sentence Errors . 27
4.2.2 Intersentence Errors .. 30
4.3 Other Errors .. 31
5.1 Conclusions ... 50
5.2 Suggestions ... 51
1.1 Background of the Study
As social being people need a means of communication to express feeling,
thoughts and desires, which is called language. This language must be understood
by the members of the group. Each group has its own characteristics of language,
such as accent and stress.
Some experts try to define what the meaning of language is. Hornby in the
Oxford Advanced Learner s Dictionary of Current English (1989:699) states that
language is a system of sounds, words, patterns, etc. used by human to
communicate thoughts and feelings. In tone with it, Wardhaugh in Brown (1987:
4) says that language is a system of arbitrary vocal symbols used for human
communication. Furthermore, Brown in Webster s Third New International
Dictionary of English Language (1987:4) says that language is a systematic
means of communicating ideas or feelings by the use of conventionalized signs,
sounds, gestures, or marks having understood meaning. From those three
definitions of language, I can say that language is a system of arbitrary vocal
symbols to communicate thoughts, ideas, or feelings by the use of
conventionalized signs, sounds, gestures, or marks having understood meaning.
There are two forms of language, spoken and written form. The spoken
form comes first. It can exist freely without writing, whereas the written form
never been known to exist without speech. We start learning how to use spoken
language since we were still a kid. At that time, we just listened to other pers
speech and tried to imitate them. By doing it everyday it becomes easier to
communicate using the spoken language. On the contrary, written language is
more difficult to be learned. In writing, we need to pay attention to a lot of t
Some of those things are vocabulary, grammar and the arrangement of sentences
we make.
Since we use language as a means of communication, we need to find the
right words to send a message. Some words cannot be used in any context. For
example, the word add in I can add my knowledge. is not appropriate. Though
add means put something together with something else so as to increase the size,
number, amount, etc. (Hornby, 1989:13), but it doesn t mean that the word can be
used in that sentence. It is better to use enrich in the sentence.
The way we choose the right words is not enough to send a message to
other people. We also need the right structure of words. It is known as Grammar.
By looking at its definition we will get the figure of what grammar is and how i
According to Hornby in Oxford advanced Learner s Dictionary
(1989:542), grammar is defined as rules for forming words and combining them
into sentences. While Harman in Ulfa (2000:4) says that grammar is the study of
words and their function. Moreover, Robert in Aswadi (2002:11) states that
grammar is an analytical and analogical study of sentences. Still in Aswadi,
Robert says that grammar is the total set of signals by which a given language
expresses its meaning or the total structure of a language. So I can say that
grammar is an analytical and analogical study for forming words and combining
them into sentences to express its meaning or the total structure of a language.
Verb as part of tenses in grammar is important. It contains some
information. It tells an event and the time it happens, whether it happened in t
past, at present or in the future. Willis (1981:6) says that a verb gives an ind
of the time of occurrence of the action or state of being. For example, we canno
say now I continued my study in SMA . By looking at its adverb of time, we
know that the process of study in SMA is still happening. So, it is more
appropriate to say now I continue my study in SMA .
When we use the right verbs, it doesn t mean that the sentences we write
will be good sentences. The verbs should be combined in a good order with other
words in the sentences. For example, it is better to write the benefit of doing i
t is
to make my body healthy rather than the benefit of doing it is make health my
So, we can see that the way we find the right words to send messages are
not an easy job. Some students who have been learning English as a second
language for years still make errors. To analyze those errors, I decided to do a
research in the second year students of SMU N 8 Semarang. Here, the students
ability to produce good sentences is tested.
1.2 Reasons for Choosing the Topic
The reasons for choosing the topic can be illustrated as follows:
1. Learning language is a difficult activity because each language has its own
system that is different from that in the students native language. The
differences in the system of the language can bring about learning
problems for the foreign language learners. So, the teacher is expected to
pay attention to the difficulties which may be encountered by the students.
2. By analyzing the students learning problems, it is hoped that everyone
will pay more attention and try to solve this writing problem, so it can be
1.3 Statements of the Problem
In this paper, I intend to solve the following problems:
1. What kinds of error do the students make in writing paragraphs?
a. What grammatical errors do they make?
b. What semantic errors do they make?
2. Why do they make such errors?
1.4 Objectives of the Study
The objectives of the study are:
1. To describe the grammatical errors made by students in writing
2. To describe semantic errors made by students in writing paragraphs.
3. To provide reasons for the occurrence of such errors.
1.5 Significance of the Study
The result of the study will hopefully be useful both for teachers and
1. It gives information about the student s difficulty in writing paragraphs.
2. The students will realize that there are a lot of difficulties, so they will
more attention to some difficult parts of the English lesson.
1.6 Outline of the Study
The outline of the report is:
Chapter I : The Introduction involves background of the study, reason for
choosing the topic, statement of the problem, objectives of the
study, significance of the study, and the outline of the study.
Chapter II : The Review of Related Literature involves theoretical
background of the study, previous research from some journals,
and the last is theoretical framework.
Chapter III : The Method of Research involves the object of the study, role
of the researcher, types of data, Procedures of collecting data,
procedures of analysing the data, and trianggulation.
Chapter IV : The Result of Analysis involves the general findings, results,
and discussion.
Chapter V : Conclusion and Some Suggestions.
This chapter will give the definition and the explanation of each parts of
the title. Those parts are writing, paragraphs for second grade of senior high
school, error and mistake, and error analysis.
2.1 Writing
It is difficult to find the definition of writing. Some experts usually define
it by looking at its characteristics. One of writing characteristics is its rela
tion to
speaking. Tidyman (1959:257) says that writing is closely related to speaking, n
only in such items as content, organization of ideas, and vocabulary, but also i
the use of pauses and the modulation of the voice to show the devision and the
relationship of ideas.
The other characteristic is said by Nilson (1984:134). He says that writing
is not something which is natural to humans. It is the most complex skill to be
developed. In tone with it Finochiaro (1974:86) states that writing skill needs
some practices done step by step. It means that to really able to write is not a
easy job, it takes time. The practices will be worthless if they do not have a
motivation to write, as Tidyman (1959:66) says that the important thing in writi
is attitude-willingness to write.
The purpose of writing is to give some information to other people by
write it down. That is why writing is so important in the society. Nilson
(1984:134) says that writing is a skill which has been developed in civilized
society to pass on knowledge or messages. Furthermore he (1996:134) says that
writing as one of the language skills has given an important contribution to
From those characteristics of writing I conclude that writing is the most
complex skill to show the relationship of ideas which needs the willingness to
write and some practices done step by step to pass on knowledge or messages. So,
writing is one way to speak what is on our mind. It involves more than just
producing words and sentences. To produce a piece of writing, we should be able
to write a connected series of words and sentences which are grammatically and
logically linked. If we choose the right words and in our sentences then the kin
of purpose we have in our mind will suit the intended readers.
2.2 Paragraphs for the Second Grade of Senior High School
According to Hornby (1989:895), paragraph is distinct section of a written
or printed text, usually consisting of several sentences dealing with a single t
and starting on a new line. In tone with it, Tidyman (1987:10) says that a
paragraph is a group of sentences that develop a point on an idea. Further he
explains that the important feature of paragraph is that it has unity when all o
f its
sentences are related to the main point. So, a paragraph is a group of sentences
dealing with a single theme that develop the main point on an idea.
The form of paragraph can be written into 12 kinds of genre. Those genres
are recount, report, discussion, explanation, analytical exposition, hortatory
exposition, news item, anecdote, narrative, procedure, description, and review.
Each of them has different social function and characteristics.
As second grade students of senior high school they have to be able to
write 10 kinds of genres. They have learned narrative, descriptive, anecdote,
recount, review, and procedure in junior high school. Then in grade one of senio
high school they learned narrative, procedure, recount, report, and news item.
And in second grade they will learn narrative, descriptive, anecdote, analytical
exposition, and hortatory exposition.
First genre for second grade students of senior high school is narrative. It
is used to amuse, entertain and to deal with actual or vicarious experience in
different ways. Narrative text starts with orientation. Here, the writer sets th
scene and introduces the participants. Then there will be complication in which
crisis arises. After that resolution comes. It shows how to solve the crisis.
The second genre is descriptive. This kind of text is used to describe a
particular person, place or thing. Before describing parts, qualities and
characteristics of something the writer should identify phenomenon to be
described. Descriptive text usually uses simple present tense.
The third genre to be learned by second grade students is anecdote.
Different from descriptive and narrative, the function of anecdote is to share w
others an account of an unusual or amusing incident. It starts with signals the
retelling of an unusual incident or we call it abstract. Then orientation comes.
Here the writer sets the scene. After that is crisis. It provides details of the
incident. Then, there will be reaction to crisis. And the last part of anecdote
coda. It is reflection on or evaluation of the incident.
The next genre is analytical exposition. It is used to persuade the reader or
listener that something is the case. It starts with thesis which introduces topi
c and
indicates the writer s position. It also outlines the main arguments to be present
Then, arguments come. It restates main argument outlined before. The writer can
develop and support each point or argument. And the text ends with reiteration.
Here the writer restates his position.
The last genre is almost the same with analytical exposition, we call it
hortatory exposition. It is used to persuade the reader that something should or
should not be the case. The generic structure of hortatory exposition starts wit
announcement of issue of concern. Then there must be reasons for concern which
leading to recommendation. In the end of the text the writer will give statement
what ought or ought not to happen.
2.3 Error analysis
According to James (1998:7) error analysis is a methodology for dealing
with data rather than a theory of acquisition. The data can be taken by conducti
a test with the students as the respondents. Further he (1998:1) says that the
process of determining the incidence, nature, causes, and consequences of
unsuccessful language learning. While Brown (1980:166) states that error analysi
is the fact that learner do make errors and that these errors can be observed,
analyzed, and classified to reveal something of the system operating within the
learners. The purpose is to show some problems faced by the students. It is a ke
to understand the process of foreign language acquisition.
From those explanations I conclude that error analysis is a methodology
for dealing with data which can be observed, analyzed and classified to reveal o
determine the incidence, nature, causes and consequences of unsuccessful
language learning within the learners.
2.4 Mistake and Error
Mistake and Error are two different words with different meaning. They
come within learning process. To learn something we need more than
understanding the concept of what we have learned. If we cannot get the main or
important point, we will never know how to use it, then we make mistakes and
even errors.
A mistake refers to a performance error that is either random on a slip of
the tongue, in that it is failure to utilize a known system correctly (Brown,
1980:165). Along this line, Huber (1983:134) says that when committing
mistakes, the speaker is normally capable of recognizing and correcting them.
When students make mistakes, they can correct them by themselves. But
when students make errors they cannot correct it. The teacher has to explain the
causes to make them understand. It is related to their interlanguage.
Errors are typically produced by people who do not yet fully command
some institutionalized language systems (Conder, 1971:79). In tone with it,
Norrish (1983:7) says that error is systematic deviation, when a learner has not
learnt something and consistently get it wrong. Moreover Brown (1980:165)
believed that the term error refers to noticeable deviation from the adult gramm
of a native speaker, which reflects the interlanguage communication of the
learners. Usually learners do not recognize and cannot correct it.
From those explanations I conclude that error is systematic and noticeable
deviation caused by lack of knowledge, ignorance of appropriate rule and do not
yet fully command some institutionalized language systems reflecting the
interlanguage competence of the learner, interference of the learners mother
tongue and the general characteristics of the rule learning. Another conclusion
can draw is that if the students are unable to improve the mistakes they make ar
called errors, whereas if they are able to improve the mistakes are called mista
There are some reasons for this condition. Brown (1980:156) states that
errors are caused by lack of knowledge about the target language. While Richards
(1974:174) says that the source of errors in studying a language might be derive
from the interference of the learners mother tongue and the general
characteristics of the rule learning. Furthermore, Corder (1970:62) says that er
are caused by ignorance of appropriate rule on structure in foreign language.
Essentially these are problems of knowledge, either of knowledge about some
elements of the language, or of knowledge how to use some language features.
In general, the sources of error are:
2.4.1 Interlingual Errors
According to Brown (1980:173) the beginning stages of learning a second
language are characterized by a good deal of interlingual transfer from the nati
Richard (1974:35) says that interlingual errors are errors due to transfering
rules from the mother tongue. Therefore, interlingual errors are errors which ar
caused by interference from native language to the target language they learn. S
before someone really master the concept of their target language they will alwa
use the concept of their native language. When it happens all the time and they
not realize it, it can be called interlingual errors.
According to Brown (1987:156), there are hierarchy of difficulty. It will
explain some reasons why interlingual errors appear. It is divided into 5 levels
Level 0-Transfer
There is no difference or contrast present between the two languages. The
learner can simply transfer a sound, structure, or lexical item from the native
language to the target language.
Level 1-Coalescence
Here, two items in the native language become coalesced into essentially
one item in the target language. For example, in Indonesia we have kami and kita

but in English we only use we for those two words.

Level 2- Underdifferentiation.
It refers to items in the native language which are absent in the target languag
e. It
is better if the learner avoids those items. For example, the learners often sup
the unnecessary structural items as in we will discuss about it .
Level 3-Reinterpretation
In this level, an item that exists in the native language is given a new shape
or distribution.
Level 4-Overdifferentiation
The learner must learn an entirely new item, which is little similar to the
native language. It is something to do with the forms and meanings. For example,
it was her who received the message . Her and she is the form of pronoun with
the same meaning.
Level 5-Split
The learner makes new distinction because one item in the native language
becomes two or more in the target language. Split is part of coalescence. For
example, the word dia can be translated into he or she because Indonesian
does not consider the distinction among masculine and feminine.
2.4.2 Intralingual Errors
After learning second language for some time, learners previous
experience and their existing subsumes begin to include structures within the
target language itself. According to James (1998:183), the less the learner know
about the target language, the more he is forced to draw upon any other prior
knowledge he possesses. While Brown (1980:173) says that it is clear that
intralingual errors or intralingual interference-the negative transfer of items
the target language, or put another way, the incorrect generalization of rules
within the target language is a major factor in second language learning.
Intralingual errors can be divided into 4 items: Overgeneralization
It is a negative intralingual errors deal with items that are contrasted in
grammar of the language. It leads to the overindulgence of one member of a set o
forms and the underuse of others in the set. For example the usage of much
instead of many or a lot of in I have much best friends . Ignorance of rule restriction
Here the learner fails to observe the restrictions of existing structures. For
example, I would enjoy to learn about English language . It is better to change
to learn about with the word learning Incomplete application of rules
This kind of intralingual error is converse of overgeneralization and
represents the degree of development of the rule required to produce acceptable
sentences. For example, my mother working in P Mangkang . V-ing cannot
stand by itself. It needs to be to make that sentence an acceptable sentence. False concepts hypothesized
This is one that is sometimes called as a semantic error. It derives from
incorrect comprehending of distinction in the target language. These particular
errors are the result of poor gradation of teaching items.
2.5 Theoretical Framework
As the most complex skill to learn, writing needs a lot of practices. It does
not only write down what is on our mind. We need rules to produce good
sentences. Since we have to write sentences in English, we have to understand
English rules well.
It is difficult to apply English rules in sentences. Sometimes we make
mistakes, or even errors. This error can be seen clearly when we write paragraph
There are 12 genres of paragraphs.
When we are on the second grade of Senior High School, we have already
learned 10 genres. We also have mastered general English rules in writing. But,
errors still occur.
There are 2 reasons of errors. First is interlingual error. Here, we transfer
rules from our mother tongue. The other source of errors is intralingual. It is
because we do not know much about English as our target language.
In writing this paper, I decided to do two activities. Those are library
activity and field activity. The results of library activity is presented in cha
pter II,
while in this chapter I report the results of the field activity since it was he
ld at
school. Arikunto says that field research can be carried out at school, factory,
family, hospital, society, etc (1993:10). The school that I have chosen is SMU N
3.1 Population and Sample
In doing this research I need population. According to Koentjaraningrat
(1986:89) population is all the subject involved in research as a direct target
or as
the sources of information. In line with it, Arikunto (1996:102) says that
population is a set of all elements possessing one or more attributes of interes
t. So,
based on those two statements I can say that my population is all of the second
year students of SMU N 8 Semarang in academic year of 2004-2005. There are 7
classes. Each class has 45 up to 48 students.
By looking at the number of students, my population is too large. I need
some samples which represent the total population. Koentjaraningrat (1986:89)
states that a sample is the sum of subjects that represents the population. The
sample which is taken in a study should be representative. It means that the
sample must be able to represent the whole population. From that explanation, I
took 45 students out of the population as the sample of my research.
3.2 Choice of the Population
I chose the second grade students of SMU N 8 Semarang in the academic
year of 2004/2005 as the population of this research. It was based on some
considerations as follows:
1. The location of SMU N 8 Semarang is near my house. So, it was easier to
consult with the English teacher about the condition of her students.
2. In their level now, they should have learned at least 10 genres. This test
will show whether they are really able to write one kind of those genre or
3. I considered the population to be homogenous for my research because all
of them are almost in the same grade, the same age, and have been
studying English for the same amount of time too.
4. The total number of the population is 322 students. Because of limitation
of time, I cannot take the whole population as sample.
3.3 Technique of Sampling
To determine the size of sample, Arikunto (1996:115) says that if the
population is 100 people or less, it is better to take the whole population as
sample, if the population is more than 100 people it is better to take 10-15% of
population, 20-25% of the population or more than 25% of the population based
on the capacity of the researcher. Based on Arikunto s explanation above I took
45 students written work (10%) out of the population as samples. Those 45
students are from the same class.
I took this class as my sample because they have average ability in
English. It can be seen from their score, not too good but not bad either. I use
students registered number as their written work identity. By doing this
technique, I hoped that the samples would be representative.
3.4 Instrument for Collecting Data
An instrument plays an important role in research. It influences the data
which are collected. The instrument that I use in this research was to measure t
students ability in producing sentences.
Those sentences must be written in a specific form. Harris in Puryanto
(1999:26) says that principally there are two kinds of test instruments namely
objective and essay test. I could not use objective test since it would only giv
e the
students chance to recognize words and sentences, not to produce it. So, in my
research essay test would be more appropriate.
The essay was in the form of paragraphs. In those paragraphs the students
could write everything they wanted, but it must be about 150 words.
The subject matter of this research was what was inside the students
written work, not what kind of written work whey have made. By giving them
freedom to write, it would show their real ability to write. Furthermore, it wou
tell us which kind of paragraphs they have mastered.
3.5 Preparation of the Test
Before administering the test, I consulted with the English teacher on
SMU N 8 about the material. She had given three kinds of paragraph. Those were
narrative, descriptive, and anecdote. She also has asked her students to write
paragraphs using those three kinds of paragraph.
Based on that information, I could do what I have prepared. Though
students were asked to write free paragraphs, they could use the form of narrati
descriptive, and anecdote, and also the other kinds of paragraph they want to.
3.6 Data Collection
The test was done on Mei 2005 in class II.7. The total respondents were 45
students. They were asked to write paragraphs in a piece of paper. The paragraph
were about 150 words. It could be done in 90 minutes.
After the students written work as data were collected, the next step was
to analyse the data.
3.7 Method of Data Analysis
To analyze the students written work I started with reading all of their
paragraphs. It helped me find some errors. Then I made columns for nouns, verbs,
adjectives, adverbs, article, pronoun, conjunction, preposition, and for sentenc
which had no or strange meaning. These columns could be used for the
classification of grammatical and semantic errors. Every time I found error, I
wrote it on its classification column.
Finished doing it, then I looked closer to each column. I tried to explain
why those sentences were called error sentences. From that explanation I could
classify error sentences into its type of error, whether it belongs to omission,
addition, misformation, misordering, or blends.
After giving explanation and writing its type of errors, I tried to find
source of those errors from books.
In processing the data, I classified students errors based on my problem
statements. Those were grammatical and semantic errors. For grammatical errors,
divided it into 5 kinds of errors. Those were errors in noun, pronoun, verb, adj
and article. While for semantic errors I looked through the meaning of each sent
to find strange meaning. I divided it into 2 errors; sentence errors and interse
errors (cohesion).
4.1 Grammatical Errors
As I said before, there were 5 kinds of grammatical errors. It was based on its
function on sentences.
4.1.1 Noun
There were 2 kinds of noun errors found in students written work. First was
noun-verb agreement. Here, the verb must agree with the subject in number. If th
quantity is only one, we should use singular form. On the other hand, if the qua
is more than one we use plural form.
It was difficult for the students to apply the noun-verb agreement. For
(1) My hobby are tarawitan.
(2) The benefits of doing it is healthy.
(3) My hobby is play football and play playstation.
(4) I have two best friend is Ambar and Mujiati.
In sentences number (1) and (2) the quantity was only one (only have one hobby),
they should use is as verb and did not need to add s ending on the word benefit.
While in sentences (3) and (4), we used are as verb and added s/-es in its subjec
(my hobbies and 2 best friends).
The second kind of noun errors was countable and noncountable nouns.
Similar to noun-verb agreement, countable and uncountable nouns were still relat
to plural and singular form. There were some error sentences made by students:
(5) My father have three worker.
(6) I have two brother, two sister, and one younger sister.
In those sentences, the quantity was more than one. We should add a final s on
words worker, brother, and sister.
The students also have difficulty in using much and many in their sentences.
For example:
(7) I am in SMA have best friends very much.
(8) I have many friend, they are my best friend.
(9) I often to use watching TV eksept if many homework.
The word many is used to express the quantity of plural count noun. The rule is
+ noun (-s/-es). On the other hand, much is used to express the quantity of plur
al noncount
noun. Best friends or friends were something that can be counted (plural count
noun), so in sentence (7) we should use many and in sentence (8) we should add s
ending for the words friend and best friend. While in sentence (9), homework was
uncountable noun. We could not use many. We could use much or change the
sentence into I often watch TV if I have no homework to do .
According to Baker (1987:87), such kind of errors occur because of the
students mother tongue only has a grammatical category of number, similar but not
necessarily identical to that of English.
4.1.2 Verb
Almost all students wrote about themselves. It meant they had to use Present
tense. But the way they used present tense was inconsistent. For example:
(10) I watching Tv and listend in the radio, clean my house, etc.
(11) I continued my study in SMA N 8.
(12) My father work as driver and my mother work as tailor.
In sentences (10), (11), (12), they have to use V1 (-s/-es). Watch TV, listen to
radio and clean their house were their habitual activity. While continue their s
and their parents work were still exist now and would exist in the future.
The other example of verb errors made by the students were:
(13) I usually listening music and sleeping.
(14) I always sharing with Wulan.
(15) My father is work a mechanic.
In sentences (13) and (14), though students used the words always and usually in
their sentences, it referred to present time. They still have to use V1. While i
sentence (15), there were 2 verbs (is and work). It needed only one verb to make
right sentence. We could use the word work(s).
The students also omitted the usage of verb in their sentences. For example
they omitted be am as a verb in this sentence:
(16) I single son.
Omission occurred since the students mother tongue did not have identical rules t
that of English.
It was clear that the students made all of verb errors (except sentence (12))
because they did not know what kind of verbs (tenses) they had to use. According
Richards (1985:5), sometimes this type of error results from poor gradation of
teaching items. While in sentence (12), error appeared when the students
overgeneralize that the simple present only uses V1 with no s/-es ending for the
third person singular.
4.1.3 Adjective
Most derivational suffixes form adjective. They merely serve as part of speech
indicators. Such suffixes are usually added to nouns or verbs. This kind of chan
gave another difficulty for the students. For example, they preferred to write i
enjoy, and confidence in their sentence.
(17) I like them because they are very interest.
(18) I like English lissent because my teacher very enjoy.
(19) She smart and confidence.
Interest was not an adjective. It can be as adjective if we change the form. In
sentence, interest represented the original subject. According to Frank (1972:12
1), the
-ing form often represents the original subject of a simple sentence. So, to be
adjective, the word interest should become interesting.
In sentence (18), enjoy was a verb. It could be changed into an adjective if we
added the suffix able. A general rule is to add able to an already existing word l
enjoyable, drinkable, comfortable, etc (Frank, 1972:121).
Furthermore, Frank (1972: 113) says that the position of adjectives in relation
to verb is used after the linking verbs be, seem, appear, and look. In sentence
adjectives came after linking verb be (is). Smart is an adjectives, but confiden
ce is
not. The adjective form of confidence is confident.
These kind of errors occurred since the students overgeneralize the use of
words they know. They only knew words like interest, enjoy, and confidence, so t
used it. Beside that, Richards (1985:51) says that this type of error results fr
om poor
gradation of teaching items. They do not know the rules of adjective making. It
called semantic errors which may derive from faulty interpretation or comprehens
of the target language.
4.1.4 Pronoun
There are some forms of pronoun. One of them is possessive pronoun.
Though in students native language they have the similar form of possessive
pronoun, still they made errors. For example:
(20) This name is Shanti.
(21) Her name is Artika and Dini.
(22) I have the best friend. It is Shenyo.
As we know, the word this in sentence (20) was used to explained someone s name.
But generally this refers to what is near at head. The students should have used
word her.
Her as possessive pronoun always refers to a single person (female). While in
sentence (21), her refers to her 2 best friends, Artika and Dini. They should us
e the
word their. In sentence (22), it refers to his best friend named Shenyo. In fact
, the
word it is only used to explain something which is inanimate. It was better if t
hey use
his name is or he is .
These errors indicated that they haven t understood what possessive pronoun
is and how to use it in sentences. Brown (1987:171) says that an entirely new it
bearing little if any similarity to the native language item must be learned. It
that it may have something to do with form and meaning.
4.1.5 Article
It is difficult for the students to use article in their sentences. It can be se
en in
these sentences:
(23) I don t have a much money.
(24) Everything can happened in a years ago.
(25) I have the best friend.
As an article a is used with a singular count noun. It is not used in general st
with non-count and plural nouns. The usage of a indicates that the object is
something new. Different with a, the occurs with names for familiar objects in t
manmade environment of the home and the community.
In sentence (23), much money was non count noun. It did not need any article.
While in sentence (24), years ago was plural noun, we could add the word many bu
could not use any article. In sentence (25), the as an article is used to introd
uce a new
object called best friend. They should have used a.
Beside have difficulty to use a and the as article, the students also have
difficulty to apply the rule that they have to place an article in front of a no
(26) My mother is (a) housewife and father works in (a) factory.
Words in the bracket were the words which were omitted.
These errors appear when students fail to observe the restrictions of existing
structures (ignorance of rule restriction). They ignore the usage of the and a r
4.2 Semantic Errors
Semantic errors are errors that affect text larger than the word. I divided it i
2 groups of errors. These errors involved 5 types of errors since their sentence
s were
complicated and did not have clear meaning.
4.2.1 Sentence errors
Sentence errors involved the selection and combination of clauses into larger
units. Usually the idea of the sentence was not clear. The structure was totally
It was difficult for us to make those error sentences right. We did not know wha
t was
the meaning of each sentence. These were some of those errors:
(27) I to use my this when holiday.
(28) I most like the subject Biologi because biologi most to amuse, can
knew various animal reproduction system man.
(29) I like geograpgy very much because I like geography about the
countrys because we can know the left country and situated the country.
(30) I play guitar everyday and benefits is I am to be playing music are
very good and only to song.
Besides those errors, the students also wrote complicated sentences.
(31) My father is work in DLLAJR but father is dead 14 years old and my
mother now to sell in the market.
(32) She smart and confidence but I can t to name.
(33) I very like study Biologi, because study it many practec.
(34) My mother work workman and my father marhum late.
Questions like did her father really die on age 14 or her father die when her age
14? And was her mother a seller? arose when analyzed sentence (31). We could
make it into 2 simple separated sentences, My father worked in DLLAJR but he had
died when I was 14 years old. Since that time my mother works as a seller in the
traditional market .
In sentence (32), the meaning of the second clause was not clear. If her
meaning was that she could not tell her friend s name, then we could change the
sentence into she is smart and confidence, but I cannot tell her name .
For sentence (33), it was better if we did not use the same 2 verbs (study) in
one sentence. The meaning could be clearer by changing the sentence into I like t
study biology because I can have a lot of experiment .
In sentence (34), we did not know the real meaning of workman, but we could
make the second clause right. We changed it into but my father had died .
To explain something, sometimes the students used strange word and wrote
unnecessary phrase/clause. For example:
(35) My life always nomaden or to go abroad.
(36) I like study is biology because I have feeling become a doctor.
(37) My hobbies is reading, listening to music, travelling and everything I
like to do.
Go abroad meant go out of one s country. In sentence (35) did she really mean it?
not, she could write I always move from one to another place . While in sentence
(36), the reason did not make sense. What she felt may be something like desire.
want to be a doctor was more acceptable.
In sentence (37), it was not appropriate to write everything . The definition of
hobby is the things we like to do in our spare time. We could mention all the th
we would like to do.
This error occurred when students just translate their native language into
English without realizing that English has its own rules. They used word-to-word
4.2.2 Intersentence errors (cohesion)
It means errors between sentences in a text. Sometimes the students wrote
unnecessary sentences. These errors occurred since the students only used word-t
translation. For example:
(38) There is I have many friend. All my friend. My friend the best very
much is all.
(39) Everyone I look women is beautiful. She is someone arrougant.
(40) My hobby is play a gitar. The benefits of doing it can I happy and have
talent to play a gitar.
In sentence (38), the way he told the idea of his sentence was complicated. He c
say all of my friends are my best friends . It meant that he had many friends and h
friends were his best friends.
In sentence (39) and (40) the ideas were not clear, so we could not make any
Those errors occurred since the students have difficulty in transferring rules
and ideas from their mother tongue.
4.3 Other Errors
Besides grammatical and semantic errors, I also found other errors on the
students written work. These errors could not be classified into one of the
grammatical or semantic errors. It is spelling errors. It happened when the stud
used their native language as English words. Here, the students thought that suc
words exist in English. For example:
(41) Fisika
(42) Wiraswasta
Ziahosseiny and Oller in James (1998:58) say that such kind of errors in learnin
g to
spell an L2 that has a Roman Script is harder if one s L1 also uses a Roman Script
The learners expect the script to have the same spelling conventions in L2 as in
L1, so
they transfer it from L1.
Students also wrote some words based on the way they pronounce it. For
(43) Manick name
(44) Lissent
(45) Listend
According to James (1998:151) if the pronunciation is correct, the speller have
access and activate LT phonographic or sound-to-symbol rules to represent the
pronunciation of each phoneme. Those errors occurred when students could not
represent the pronunciation of each phoneme.
To make the reader understand clearly about all of these analyses and its
explanation, I drew a table which represents the real errors made by the student
s. The
first column of the table was number of error sentences. The second was error
sentences. It showed the error sentences made by the students. The third was typ
e of
errors. It explained what kind of errors they had made. Is it omission, addition
misformation, misordering, or blend. The fourth column was analysis. And the las
one was source of errors.
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