Comparative Analysis Of Concord Errors In Essays Writing Among Students In Nigeria


Comparative Analysis Of Concord Errors In Essays Writing Among Students In Nigeria


Background of Study  

English Language in Nigeria serves as the official language, second language as well as the medium of instruction and communication in educational institutions. Its  invaluable  position is attested to by the requirements set by various examination bodies that English has to be passed at credit level before a candidate is admitted to most Nigerian tertiary institutions. The English language in Nigeria has varieties as studied by many scholars like Brosnahan (1958) four varieties, Banjo (1971) four varieties, Bamgbose (1982) two varieties, Odumu (1987) three varieties and Jowitt (1991) three varieties.
These varieties of English have great impact on the Nigerian students because, they listen to news on television and radio, read books, journals, newspapers and magazines written by authors who have used the Nigerian Standard English. It is also pertinent to note that the English Language has what we call formal and informal varieties that are, the written and the spoken form. In the written form, formal rules are applied strictly while the spoken form which is largely informal, these rules are not obligatory. The Nigerian English does not differentiate between formal and informal usage in speech; but keeps strictly to the formal in writing.
From the various varieties of English discussed above, the Nigerian student who is a second language learner is confused or ignorant on which to use. The student might choose to use that variety which he/she is exposed to or that which is commonly used. The student may even use that which his/her teacher uses even when it is sometimes incorrect. These
students have their individual Languages (L1) which have great impact on their English especially when expressing themselves in essays. As a result of students not being able to use English appropriately in the written form; there have been cries over the proficiency and performance of these students in the subject at the Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (SSCE) level.
Therefore, the need to improve proficiency in English has led many studies on the use of English among students. Various scholars like Ofuokwu (1982), Anasiudu (1983), Banjo (1969), Olaofe (1986) among others studied the grammatical errors made in the written and spoken English of users of English in Nigeria. They all agree that errors vary in complexity  and source. Many researchers carried out studies in the use of English among University students e.g. Ofuokwu (1982) and Olaofe (1986) in Ahmadu Bello University Zaria. While Olagoke (1981) and Anasiudu (1983) investigated the English of students of University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Likewise other researchers mainly in the field of linguistics pedagogue,  have for sometime dwelt extensively on providing possible solutions to the problems militating against the smooth learning of the English language especially by second language learners. Areas of Syntax, Phonology, Morphology, Semantics and Literature in English (language) have continued to receive attention. In this effort, myriad problems relating to the wrong use of tenses, unacceptable operations in lexical constructions, poor pronunciation etc. are found among non-native speakers of English. These researches substantiate various assertions involving the low performance in English among Nigerian students. The various problems have also influenced the present study on the effects of concord errors in the essays of SSII students in Kaduna metropolis.
The desire to improve the use of concord in the spoken and written English of Senior Secondary II students in Kaduna metropolis is the motivation behind this research. The SSII
is the class in which students write a lot of essays and have already been taught concord.
It is also the class in which students write their qualifying examinations for promotion to the SSIII. The Kaduna State Education Resource Centre organizes external examinations for its students that is, those of the Government and Private schools. It is also observed that the Military and Command Unity Schools also organize similar examinations for their SSII students. Therefore, during marking, chief examiners and assistant examiners  have observed the various errors in concord in the essays of these students. These errors have posed concern on the minds of teachers because they are committed by students who are supposed to have been exposed to the category (concord).
Concord as a grammatical category confuses a lot of people who lack proper mastery of grammatical rules. Maclean (1981:42) says “carelessness” on the part of the writer or speaker as the major factor affecting a speaker’s speech or a writer’s article. As a result of the foregoing there arises a need to correct the misuse of concord among learners of English language.


  • Background of Study …1

  • Need for the Study …3

  • Statement of the Problem …4

  • Basic Assumption …5

  • Aim & Objectives of the Study …5

  • Scope & Delimitation of the Study …6

  • Significance of the Study …7


  • Preamble …9

  • Syntax …9

  • Essay Writing …10

  • Definition of Terms …13

  • Error …15

  • Concept of Concord in Grammar …15

  • Types of Concord …16

  • Subject-Verb Concord by Number …17

  • Notional Concord …18

  • Noun Subject-Verb Concord …18

  • Compound Subject-Verb Concord …24

  • Pronoun Subject-Verb Concord …26

  • Subject-Verb Concord by Person …29

  • Pronoun-Antecedent Concord …30

  • Proximity Concord …33

  • Reflexive Pronoun-Antecedent Concord …33

  • Relative Pronoun-Antecedent Concord …34

  • Pronoun-Antecedent Concord by Person Number & Case …34

  • Tense Concord …36

  • Tense Consistency …39

  • Voice …41

  • Number …41

  • 2.6.1 Journals on Concord …42

  • Theoretical Framework …54

  • Choice of Model …70


  • Preamble …71

  • Sources of Data …71

  • Method of Data Analysis …73

  • List of Essay Topics …73

  • Choice of Schools …73

  • Method of Data Analysis …74


  • Preamble …75

  • Presentation of Data …75

  • Data Analysis …83

  • Syntactic Analysis …84

  • Findings …104


  • Summary, Implication to Study & Conclusion …107

  • Summary …107

  • Implication to Study …108

  • Conclusion …109

  • References …110

  • Appendix



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