This Research Work focused on the tense errors in the English essays of Secondary Schools Students. The research was conducted on essays written by thirty (30) Students of the above school. The analysis of the essays revealed the deficiencies of some of the Students in using English tense. In the use of the present tense, for instance, Students had more difficulties in the use of present tense compare to the use of other tense. It has also been observed that students commit these errors as a result of their mother tongue interference. It was also found out that the errors were as a result of poor teaching methods, lack of adequate textbooks and qualified English teachers. To minimize these problems, we suggest that the government should provide adequate textbooks on English grammar and qualified English teachers. So that student in the lower classes should be exposed to the various situations in which tenses should be used.


CONTENTS                PAGE

Title Page - - - - - - - - - i

Declaration - - - - - - - - - ii

Approval Page - - - - - - - - iii

Dedication - - - - - - - - - iv

Acknowledgement - - - - - - - - v

Abstract - - - - - - - - - vi

Table of Contents - - - - - - - - vii


1.0 Background of the Study - - - - - - 1

1.1 Statement of Problem - - - - - - - 1

1.2 Aim and Objectives - - - - - - - 2

1.3 Significance of the Study - - - - - - 2

1.4 Scope and Delimitation - - - - - - 2

1.5 Justification of The Study - - - - - - 3

1.6 Methodology - - - - - - - - 3


2.0 Meaning of Tense - - - - - - - 4

2.1 Types of English Tenses - - - - - - 5

2.2 Error Analysis - - - - - - - - 8

2.3 Types of Errors - - - - - - - 10


3.0 Introduction - - - - - - - - 15

3.1 Sources of Data - - - - - - - 15

3.2 Method of Data Presentation And Analysis - - - - 15


4.1 Introduction - - - - - - - - 17

4.2 Data Presentation - - - - - - - 18

4.3 Data Analysis and Interpretation - - - - - 26


5.0 Introduction - - - - - - - - 27

5.1 Summary - - - - - - - - 27

5.2 Conclusion - - - - - - - - 28

5.3 Recommendations - - - - - - - 29

Works Cited - - - - - - - - 30


1.1 Background of the Study 

This research work deals with tense errors in English essays of Secondary School. The research is to find out the type of tense errors committed by the students who have sat for their J.S.S.C.E examination. 

1.2 Statement of Problem 

It has been discovered that second language learners of English face some difficulties while learning the language. This is because most second language learners find it difficult to speak or write good English. 

With the above in mind, this research work focuses on Tense Errors in English Essays of Secondary Schools Students This is to find out the tense errors the students make, the causes and possible suggestion of how to reduce the problems. 

The work addresses the following questions:

1. What are the errors students made? 

2. What are the types of errors? 

3. What are the causes of the errors?

4. What are the possible solutions to these errors?

1.3 Aim and Objectives 

The aim of this research is to study Tense Errors in English Essays of Secondary Schools Students 

The specific objectives are; 

1. To identify the errors in the essays of the students. 

2. To classify the errors identified into types 

3. To find out and explain the possible causes of the errors. 

4. To provide solutions to the causes of the errors. 

1.4 Significance of the Study 

The falling standard of education generally could be attributed to poor comprehension of the English language lessons by students. 

This is due to the fact that, English language serves as a bed rock for understanding other disciplines of learning S.S.C.E holders cannot fully communicate in the national language (English) and it is on this basis that this work focuses on the tenses in the students written essays. 

1.5 Scope and Delimitation 

This study is limited to the analysis of thirty scripts of S.S II Students of Maimuna Gwarzo in Kaduna South local government. The research is limited to found out tense errors made by students in the schools so as to provide the lasting solutions to aid teachers and students on how to guard against such problems. 

1.6 Justification of the Study 

This study is important as, it attempts to highlight the major tense errors committed by the students in their speaking and writing, and to provide the lasting solution on how to correct the errors. 

1.7 Methodology 

This section deals with how data is collected for the research work. The study covers the use of tense errors in English essays of secondary school students of some selected secondary schools in Kaduna South Local Government. The data for this work is the essay papers of thirty students of the schools. 


2.1 Meaning of Tense 

Adejare and Adejare, states that tense is the linguistic feature of handling time relations in speech and it differs from language to language. To them, tense is a linguistic feature usually characterized by abstraction with language specific rather than universal. According to them, traditional Grammar assumes that since there exists three time frames, there must be three tenses referring to the three time frames, thus, the past, the present and the future tense. 

Tense is the form that a verb takes to show time, or an aspect expressing time relation. Hornby, (78) defines tense as “a verb form or series of verb forms used to express time relation. By time, we mean a universal non- linguistic concept which has three dimensions, the present the past and the future and time is a continuous process that is from a day to the next. 

In expressing time relation, tense system is used to indicate the different time at which an action is viewed as happening. 

Contributing in the same vein, Palmer, defines tense as a linguistic reference to time. This definition differs from language as it is believed that some languages have an elaborate indicator to time while others don’t. 

Orji, (30) states that “traditionally, there are up to 16 tenses in English, today, however linguistics have seen through the traditional flaw, which is that traditional grammarians equated “tense” with “time.”

Every race or every generation has three (3) times namely; the present, the past and the future, so time is a universal concept.

Thus palmer’s idea of 3 forms of tense is considered the theoretical framework within which this study is made. However, other tenses as in Orji,  are incorporated as generated from the three basic tenses mentioned above. 

According to Quirk and Greenbaum, (24 – 25) “that there is a choice of the past, present and future and that choice may be repeated and each new choice taking the place of the previous one at its departure.”

Leach and Svartvik, (81), state that most tenses in English have several uses, because the present tense, past tense and future tense can be used to indicate different times. To this effect therefore, students find it difficult to differentiate the term reference or verbs forms. 

REFERENCESHornby, Albert, Sidney. Guide to Pattern and Usage in English. London: Oxford University Press, 1975.James, Svartvik. On Voice in English Verb. London: Longman, 1966.Leech, Geoffrey and Svartvik, James. A Communicative Grammar of English. London: Longman, 1974.Michael, Halliday. Language Structure and Language Function in Lyons New Horizons in Linguistics. Penguin (p. 140 – 165), 1970.Orji, Njokwo. English Grammar for Advanced Students. Obasi: Pacific College Press, 1988.




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