A Syntactic Errors Analysis in the Malaysian ESL Learners' Written Composition

Annie Gedion, Johan Severinus Tati, Jacinta Caroline Peter


This study aims to examine the English syntactic errors occurred persistently in the Malaysian ESL learners' written composition in the Politeknik Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia. The subjects were 50 multilingual students who speak their own dialect, Malay as their second language and English as their third or foreign language. Data were collected from the written discourse in the form of descriptive essays. The subjects were asked to write in the classroom within 45 minutes. Fifty-one categories of errors were classified to find out the causes of syntactic error, types of frequent errors, weakness areas and problems tend to occur in written composition. The findings of the study showed that the syntactic errors were due to learners' mother tongue interference, lack of grammatical knowledge, lack of vocabulary knowledge, repetition, redundant lexical choice, bad sentence formation and developmental errors.


errors analysis, syntactic analysis, English as a second language, ESL writing

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