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  • Background to the Study

The English Language was introduced in 1842 by the first batch of missionaries who arrived in Badagry for education and evangelization (Nnaji, 2009). In order to bridge ethno-linguistic barrier. The colonialists implanted the English Language in Nigeria. Today, it is absolutely an essential medium of interaction amongst the different ethnic groups in Nigeria that have no known national language. It is a compulsory subject at both primary and post primary school levels in Nigeria. The study and use of the English language are taken serious amongst students and school authorities of various higher institutions of learning through the Use of English Unit –General Studies. Examination bodies such as WAEC, NECO, and JAMB recognize the great importance of the English Language for their candidates and make it compulsory in their examinations.

It is pertinent to state here that a good mastery of any language is measured by the standard of the language: both spoken and written form. According to Nnaji (2009), without oral and written English Language skills, students hardly learn and demonstrate the knowledge of mathematical reasoning, science skills, social studies concepts and so forth. Students who lack proficiency in English are at a decided disadvantage in school. The WAEC Chief Examiner’s Reports of May/June (2020/2021) claims that English proficiency among candidates was low and that overall, their work did not impress. Insufficient exposure to writing skills, unfamiliarity with required formats, construction of loose sentences, transliteration from mother tongue, and abuse of basic rules of grammar were the main weaknesses observed in the students’ scripts, according to this report. The report also suggested candidates spend time reading novels, high-quality periodicals, and scholarly journals.

            Writing is the language skill that should be constantly improved from time to time. It means that this skill requires clear thinking about what to write. Students should be taught how to express their ideas through written form of language. Writing can be boring and outrageous to students who learn English as the target language, because they did not enjoy or they have no ideas to develop when they write. By writing, the students will be able to explain their thought or their purpose.

Writing is foundational to success in academics, in the work place and in the global economy. In an increasingly demanding world of literacy, the importance of ensuring students’ proficiency in writing can never be overemphasized. The ability to write well, hitherto a luxury, is now a dire necessity (Gallagher, 2006). Writing is vital to students’ development of literacy skills. In light of this, teaching learners to write well should be top priority of a worthwhile education system. Gallagher (2006) observes that a school that “teaches its children the curriculum without concurrently teaching them how to write well is a school that has failed” (p. 170).

To Yiljep (2018), writing skill is the fourth and last of all the language skills. It is generally termed as the most difficult and complicated skill to master. The first two skills tend to come naturally especially in L1 situation. It is an expressive skill. It is a viable medium of communication to readers whatever the writer wants to convey. He further defines writing as an assemblage of sentences in such a way as to produce a meaningful account of an object or an event. Unlike speaking which is learned informally, naturally and unconsciously from the beginning, writing requires conscious and formal effort to learn. Due to the technicality of writing, it is pertinent to note that any error in spelling, syntactic structure, diction and punctuation, may distort the meaning of the message entirely.

For learners to develop proper grammar skills, the knowledge of conjunction is very important. And grammar is the most important part of language for anyone as it contains the levels of language study such as syntax, semantics, pragmatics, morphology, phonology, phonetics, semiotics, stylistics, and phoronym (Bishop, 2022). Grammar should be first understood before being able to construct sentences. Rules based on the grammar of language are used to express a certain idea represented in a sentence. By understanding the grammatical rules, the sentences can be arranged to produce the desired meaning.

Conjunctions perform two main functions in a text: grammatical and semantic. By their grammatical function, they create structural ties between elements of a clause such as the participants, processes, circumstances, attributes, etc. By their semantic function, they serve as cohesive ties by establishing cohesive relationships between propositions, clause elements, clauses, or paragraphs by indicating the way in which what is being said now relates or contributes to the meaning of what was said before the current information (Halliday & Hasan, 1976). Readers who fail to note such cohesive ties may misinterpret the propositions and fail to comprehend fully the message of the author. Similarly, authors who fail to make judicious use of conjunctions leave their audience guessing about the connections between the ideas they have presented. Single clauses may be clear, the whole paragraph or text, however, may be vague because there are fewer clues to the logical relationships between them. As clause linkers, conjunctions act as clues drawing attention to and making explicit the logical relationship between propositions inherent in the preceding and the new clause or paragraph. Aidinlou and Reshadi, (2014), defines conjunctions as a semantic connection between clauses.

The essence of conjunctions does not only lie in their connection of ideas but also in the fact that they can introduce a certain shift, contrast or opposition, emphasis or agreement, purpose, result, or conclusion, etc in the line of argument or exposition. In view of this importance of conjunctions, it is thus imperative for every writer to manipulate them effectively. Writers are offered choices to facilitate this sort of manipulation and to break monotony. Repetition of the same word at the beginning of almost every clause or paragraph underscores a writer’s failure to see the various choices available to them. This style makes the writing insipid and mind-numbing since different themes of an essay may require their own expressions, including conjunctive ties that would reflect different perspectives on the various themes or a particular circumstance. By employing diverse choices and subtle variety of conjunctive ties or a class of words in a piece of writing, texture is enhanced and readers easily follow the inherent logic. Very good writers employ different conjunctions to link propositions in successive clauses and to express diverse layers of semantic relations, which enhance readability of the text.

Hudson (2016) states that no two persons speak the same way. This means that people (even twins) do not make the same linguistic choices even, if they are using language for the same purpose. It will therefore be surprising if a set of students (being of the same school or class, or studying the same course) makes the same or very similar choices in their use of conjunctions, amidst the vast range of options available to them.

According to Eze (2018) in spite of the unlimited number of conjunctive expressions, the researcher has observed in his former school that his students were using certain conjunctive expressions more frequently in their essays than others. In his current school, he has observed a similar situation. It seems that students at this level of education in Pankshin Local Government Area have a peculiar way of using conjunctions. This style makes their use of conjunctive expressions monotonous and the reading of their essays becomes boring since a few and almost the same conjunctive expressions run through almost every essay very often. The situation is more worrisome because in writing, different themes may require different conjunctive expressions. Individual writers employing diverse choices in their use of conjunctions bring variety and break the monotony of the conjunctive expressions. Good writers can utilize several conjunctive relations in a single paragraph to accomplish the purpose of that paragraph. For instance, if the purpose of a paragraph is to present two ideas or subjects for comparison and contrast, then several conjunctions need to be carefully selected for readers to clearly understand this intention. This is because they are words that function as connectives between words or sentences. They connect two different or similar ideas. The conjunctions include and, but, while, yet, etc.

In the light of the above discussion, this study will make an assessment of conjunction errors in composition writing of Senior Secondary School two (2) students in Pankshin Local Government Area

  • Statement of the Problem

This study investigates types of errors made by senior secondary schools in the use of conjunction. The researcher has noticed in her teaching practice that both students and teachers express concerns over using conjunctions in English. Students make many errors in this regard and sometimes the teacher feels that he/she is unable to find the solutions for this problem. Researchers like Alabi (2007) have stressed that these errors emanate from the fact that the system of conjunction in Nigerian languages differ from the conjunction system in English. Teachers need to apply certain strategies to overcome this challenge. For this reason, conjunctions are very important functional words. Therefore, it is not out of place to notice students making numerous errors in their use of conjunctions which include omission and addition. Therefore, the researcher has seen this grave problem and has decided to carry out an assessment of conjunction errors in composition writing of Senior Secondary School two (2) students in Pankshin Local Government Area.

  • Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to make assessment of conjunction errors in composition writing of Senior Secondary School two (2) students in Pankshin Local Government Area. Other specific objectives of the study include:

  1. To determine how conjunctions are mostly misused.
  2. To determine which conjunctions are correctly used by learners.
  3. To determine the conjunctions hardly used by students.
  4. To address why they are hardly used.
    • Research Questions

The following research questions will guide this study with the aim of providing answers for them at the end of the research:

  1. How conjunctions are mostly used students in essay writing?
  2. What are the conjunctions that are mostly misused by students in essay writing?
  3. Which conjunctions are hardly used students in essay writing?
  4. Why are the conjunctions hardly used?
    • Significance of the Study

            The benefits of this study cannot be underemphasized. The study will be beneficial to the students, teachers and other researchers who would want to venture into similar topic in the future.

            This study is therefore beneficial to the secondary school students as it points out their errors in the misuse of conjunctions and teaches them the rules and syntactic arrangement of words in their written essays. It will majorly teach the learners how to use the conjunctions correctly in their written essays.

            The study is also beneficial to the teacher as it guides him on ways on how to develop and improve the students writing skills in using conjunctions.

            To other researchers, it will serve as a source of material in conducting similar studies. It is expected that this study contributes as reference point for other researchers so as to enrich their resources.

1.7       Scope and Delimitation of the study

            This study covers assessment of errors in conjunction usage among senior secondary school students. The study is limited to some selected secondary schools in Pankshin Local Government Area of Plateau State. However, the findings of the study will be generalised to other parts of the state and country at large.


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