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Cover Page – – – – – – – – – i
Declaration Page- – – – – – – – – ii
Approval Page – – – – – – – – – iii
Dedication Page – – – – – – – – iv
Acknowledgements – – – – – – – – v
Abstract – – – – – – – – – – v
Table of Contents – – – – – – – – viii

1.1 Background of the Study – – – – – – – 1
1.2 Statement of the Problem – – – – – – 5
1.3 Purpose of the Study – – – – – – – 5
1.4. Research Questions – – – – – – – 6
1.5 The Significance of the Research – – – – – 6
1.6 The Scope of the Research – – – – – – 6
1.7 Definition of Key Terms – – – – – – – 7

2.1 The Concept of Error – – – – – – – 8
2.1.1 Classification of Errors – – – – – – – 11
2.2 Sources and Causes of Error – – – – – – 15
2.3. The Concept of Tenses – – – – – – – 17
2.4. Simple Present Tense – – – – – – – 19
2.5 Form of Simple Present Tense – – – – – – 20
2.5.1 Present Tense of Verb Be – – – – – – 20
2.5.2 Present Tense of Verb – – – – – – – 21
2.6 Structures an Examples of Present Tense – – – – 23
2.7 Common Errors in the Use of Present Tenses – – – – 24
2.8. Error Analysis – – – – – – – – 26

3.0. Introduction – – – – – – – – 29
3.1. Research Design – – – – – – – – 29
3.2. Population of the Study – – – – – – – 29
3.3. Area of Study – – – – – – – – 30
3.4. Sample of the Study – – – – – – – 30
3.5. Sampling Techniques – – – – – – – 30
3.6. Instrument for Data Collection – – – – – – 30
3.7. Validity and Reliability of the Instrument – – – – 30
3.8. Procedure for Data Collection – – – – – – 31
3.9. Method for Data Analysis – – – – – – 31

4.0. Introduction – – – – – – – 32
4.1 Mode of Presentation of Results – – – – – – 32
4.4. Discussion of Findings – – – – – – – 37

5.1 Summary of Findings – – – – – – – 39
5.2. Conclusion – – – – – – – – 39
5.3 Recommendations – – – – – – – 40
5.4 Suggestion for Further Study – – – – – – 41
References – – – – – – – – 42
Appendixes – – – – – – – – 45







The research was carried out in order to determine errors in present tense in students’ written essays in selected senior secondary schools in Pankshin local government area of Plateau state. The study employed a survey research design. The population for the study consisted of all the S S 2 students in secondary schools. The sample of this study consists of four selected secondary schools and the respondents were one hundred (100). The instrument used for the collection of data was the test. The method of data analysis was simple percentage. The findings reveal the simple present tense errors committed by senior secondary two (S.S. 2) students in Pankshin Local Government Area. It exposes the areas that pose challenges to the students as well as their frequencies, this ranges from mis-formation (55.50%) or 111 items, error in omission (21.00%) or 42 items, error in addition (12.00%) or 24 items, and error in mis-ordering (11.50%) or 23 items. Then, based on Communicative Effect Taxonomy, global error (13.50%) or 27 items and local error (86.50%) or 173 items. In the light of the findings, the study recommends that: in order to raise learners’ awareness to correct themselves, teachers could use these errors in class and revise the teaching activities, especially in their recount writing, in order to minimize the students’ errors, the teacher should improve the students’ knowledge of English grammar by teaching how to form or construct the sentences appropriately and meaningfully, and by telling the functions of the language area themselves, the teacher has to set the first priority to the errors which mostly occurred (mis-formation and local error).

1.1 Background of the Study
Language is a tool for communication used by people to relate with one another. With language, it will be easy for people to express ideas, feelings, opinions etc. There are many languages all over the world. English is one of the languages that is used as an international language. Many people learn English in order to be able to communicate well and with good mastery of the English language, one is at liberty to go places. In Nigeria, English is considered as a foreign language and taught from elementary school up to the university level.
The English language is used and studied as a second language in Nigeria. This implies that it is neither the mother tongue nor the first language of any of the over four hundred and fifty ethnic groups in Nigeria. According to Uzoezie (2002), the English language is indigenous to Britain and the first contact by Nigerians with the English language dates back to the coming of the British to the West African coast in the 18th century as traders.
The Europeans discovered that their main purpose of coming which was mainly for the commercial exploitation of the region was made a little difficult because of the absence of a language of communication with the natives. This was because they considered the indigenous languages as primitive and had no interest in learning any of them. Baldeh (2000) records that they taught the coastal middle men the type of English related to buying and selling. The language progressed with the Europeans coming as colonial masters and making Lagos a colony of Britain in 1862. According to Uzoezi (2002) English later assumed an important position in Nigeria as the official language and the language of wider communication. In the absence of a national language, the English language was accepted as the language of government, education, commerce, mass media and, above all, a language for international interaction and communication. Other aspects of the relevance of English such as the language for national development, educational advancement, social mobility, technological acquisition, etc, have also been highlighted by many writers.
The study of English becomes more important as its roles and relevance expand. In the language, efforts have been made to improve the students’ mastery of it, especially in the area of the basic language skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing. Among these four skills, achieving the goal of effective writing competence seems to be far from being realized. Evidence of this abounds in the type of errors committed by students in their written works. In Opata (2003), samples of undergraduates answer scripts were published. The scripts not only manifest the students’ errors, but they also reflect the level of incompetence. Ibileye (2007) also exposes some letters badly written by first year students of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, as he laments over the inadequate knowledge of the use of English by the students. As offensive as the errors may be, what is more important and beneficial to the students is how these errors should be corrected and be avoided in future and how to get communicative ability of students enhanced.
In the Nigerian school system, the English language is both a teaching subject and a language of instruction at the primary and post primary levels. In the university, an English language course is usually organized by the General Studies Unit. The course is mandatory for every first year student in all the departments of the university. One of the aims of this course, according to Ibileye (2007), is to impart the necessary language skills which the students need throughout the duration of their courses in the university. It is also the expectation of the universities and the Nigerian society that a graduate should be able to perform in the English language with competence and even teach others.
There are four basic skills which should be mastered in English, they are: listening, speaking, reading and writing. Listening is part of the transaction of communication process; the receiver’s responses have a direct impact on the direction of conversation. Speaking is the expression of ideas, opinions, or feeling to the other by using words or sounds of articulation in order to inform, to persuade and to entertain; these can be learned through teaching and learning process. Reading is the process of constructing meaning from the written text. Writing is the language skill that should be constantly improved upon from time to time. It means that this skill requires clear thinking of what to write. Students should be taught how to express their ideas through written form of language with regular practice. Writing can be bored and outrageous to students who learn English as a second language, because they did not enjoy it or they have inadequate vocabularies with which to develop ideas when they write. Principally, the main purpose of writing is for communication. By writing, the students will be able to explain their thoughts. Writing is not an easy task. As Tanko (2000:26) puts it “Writing is a complex activity that requires much more than good knowledge of language”.
According to Frank (1972:66), simple present tense is used to express a habitual action with adverbs like usually, always, or often. Some students will often write ‘She love me every time’’, instead of ‘She loves me every time’. Actually we have to add suffix –s or –es to the third singular person (he, she, and it) (Tyem, 2018). In fact, the students have problems to write their ideas, feelings, opinions, etc especially in writing simple present tense. They made errors because they do not know the structure, rules in making a sentence, especially to write simple present tense.
The errors and mistakes committed by foreign language learners in the course of writing are a universal concern of linguists and teachers of foreign languages (Duan, 2011). Writing is a difficult process even in the first language. It is even more complicated to write in a foreign language. Many studies have indicated that for beginners English Foreign Language (EFL) students, there tends to be interference from their first language in the process of writing in English (Huang, 2003). Writing in a foreign language like English often presents the greatest challenge to the students at all stages, particularly essay writing because in this activity, writing is usually extended and therefore it becomes more demanding than in the case of writing a short paragraph.
According to Corder (1973:257), errors are breaking the rule, due to a lack of competence such as knowledge of language, which may or may not be conscious. It means that errors are breaking rule, because the students had limited knowledge. The errors occur unconsciously when the students write simple present tense. Dulay et.al in Ellis (1994:56) divided errors into the following categories: (1) omissions, (2) additions, (3) misformation, and (4) misordering.
Based on the above reasons, the writer is interested in conducting a research which will determine the errors in the use of present tense by senior secondary school students in Pankshin local government with an aim of finding a lasting solution to these identified problems.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The importance given to English language in Nigeria in the 21st century has become a global phenomenon. Even though there are four(4) language skills, writing is the least skill which attention is given to but one of the most important. According to Jimwan and Jindem (2018) to speak flawlessly, is not to write proficiently. Therefore it is not out of place to say that errors in writing among students are bound to be found. These errors in their writing range from grammatical errors, spelling errors, tense errors, etc.
Tense error is one of the dominant errors committed by students when writing. These errors include errors in the use of present tense which is of the primary interest of this research. Therefore, in respect to the above discussion, the study has interest in investigating the errors committed in the use of present tense by senior secondary school students in the course of their composition writing.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study is to investigate the effect of present tense errors in written essays of students in Pankshin Local Government Area of Plateau State.
Other specific objectives of this study are:
a. To find out the dominant types of errors in writing simple present tense among students.
b. To examine how these errors in present tense affect the communication of students.
c. To proffer possible solutions to the effect of present tense errors in students’ writing
1.4. Research Questions
The research is guided by the following research questions:
1. What are the dominant types of errors in writing simple present tense among students?
2. What are the types of present tense errors based on communicative effect?
3. What are possible solutions to the effect of present tense errors in students’ writing?
1.5 The Significance of the Research
The significance of this study cannot be overemphasized. This research is expected to give theoretical and practical significance. It will be of importance to the government, teachers, curriculum planners and students who are at the centre of this research.
Practically, the result of this research is expected to provide further information for English teachers in developing the quality of teaching and learning process.
The government will benefit from this study because they are the purse string of education. Therefore, they will provide the necessary finances that will aid in the purchase of instructional materials and adequate textbooks for the teaching and learning of tenses.
To the curriculum planners, they will benefit from this study because they will see where the students are lacking in the use of present tense therefore, they will structure learning experiences that will cater for the lapses.
1.6 The Scope of the Research
The study covers the errors in present tense and their effects on the writing performance of students in secondary schools. The study is limited to 5 selected senior secondary schools in Pankshin Local Government Area of Plateau State. However, it is pertinent to note that despite the fact that the study is limited to the selected local government are and schools, its findings will be generic – it can be generalized to other parts of the country.
1.7 Definition of Key Terms
1. Errors: Errors are systematic deviation when a student has not mastered something and constantly gets is wrong.
2. Error Analysis: It is the study of students’ error which can be observed, analyzed, and classified to reveal something of the system operating within the learners.
3. Writing: It is an activity to express ideas, feelings, opinion and information in printed symbols.
4. Simple present tense: This is the tense that usually express habitual actions.

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