Saudi Students’ Argumentative Essays from the Perspective of Theme-Rheme: An Analysis of the Misuse of Theme and Rheme

Mohammed Al-Otaibe


In this paper, I intended to analyze 14 Saudi students’ argumentative essays using the Theme-Rheme system. The system of Theme-Rheme is considered useful and has been utilized in analyzing students’ problems in L2 writing in many studies (Krisnawati, 2013; Wang, 2007; Setiawati, Hapsari, and Priyatmojo, 2017). This paper using the system of Theme-Rheme unraveled many problems Saudi students committed in their writing due to their misuse of the Theme and Rheme. Those problems were as follow: the problem of brand-new Theme, the problem of empty Theme, the problem of confusing selection of textual Theme and the problem of empty Rheme. However, not only are those problems, but also the researcher claims that the analysis revealed problems that were not found in other studies, to the best knowledge of the researcher; these problems were termed as follow: the problem of incomplete Theme due to either thematic equative or the misuse of nominalization, the problem of empty exemplificative device, the problem of double Theme and the problem of arranging Rheme. The analysis did not locate any problems in terms of constant thematic pattern and in terms of the problem of double Rheme. All the problems were found in the students’ essays have been illustrated along with discussions.        


Analysis, Argumentative essays, Problems of Theme and Rheme

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