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Title page – – – – – – – – – i
Declaration – – – – – – – – – ii
Approval page – – – – – – – – – iii
Dedication – – – – – – – – – iv
Acknowledgment – – – – – – – – v
Table of content – – – – – – – – vi-viii
Abstract – – – – – – – – – ix

1.1 Background to the study – – – – – – – 1
1.2 Statement of the problem – – – – – – 2
1.3 Purpose of the study – – – – – – – 3
1.4 Research Questions – – – – – – – 4
1.5 Hypothesis – – – – – – – – 4
1.6 Significance of the study – – – – – – – 4
1.7 Scope of the study – – – – – – – 5
1.8 Operational Definition of terms – – – – – – 6

2.1 The concept of tenses – – – – – – – 7
2.2 The concept of error in Second language Teaching and Learning – 13
2.3 Classification of Errors – – – – – – – 15
2.4 Sources and causes of Errors – – – – – – 18
2.5 Common Errors in the use of tenses – – – – – 22
2.6 Types of Errors – – – – – – – – 26
2.7 Stages of Error Analysis – – – – – – – 27
2.8 Writing – – – – – – – – – – 28
2.9 Summary of literature Review – – – – – – 32

3.1 Research design – – – – – – – – 34
3.2 Population of the Study – – – – – – – 34
3.3 Sample of the population – – – – – – – 35
3.4 Sampling techniques – – – – – – – 35
3.5 Instrument for Data collection – – – – – – 36
3.6 Validity and Reliability of the Instrument – – – – 36
3.7 Procedure for data collection – – – – – – 36
3.8 Method of Data Analysis – – – – – – 37

4.1 Introduction – – – – – – – – 38
4.2 Data Presentation and Discussion – – – – – – 38
4.2 Testing of Hypothesis – – – – – – – 44

5.1 Summary of findings – – – – – – – 47
5.2 Conclusion – – – – – – – – 48
5.3 Recommendations – – – – – – – – 49
5.4 Suggestion for further study – – – – – 50
5.5 limitation of the study – – – – – – 50
References – – – – – – – 51-52
Appendices – – – – – – – – 53-60

This research work is on tense errors of S.S three students writing performance from five selected schools in Bassa local government Area of plateau state. The aim is to get feedback that will be of immense value for better performance of the students. The students supplied the data for this study through written essays. The errors identified after making the essay were classified into error types and were analyzed. The analysis included the explanation of different types of errors made by students as it relate to different sources. The result of this work was amazing and showed that this category of student, though already in S.S three still lack some fundamental knowledge of the English language for effective communication, which they seriously need for their academic excellence in their various field of study. On the basis of the findings, the researcher made some recommendation which if effected, will go a long way to remedy the problem of poor expression in English tenses.

1.1 Background to the Study
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 (450) ethnic group in Nigeria according to CIA word fact book. Uzoezie (1992) state that the English language is indigenous to Britain and the first contact by Nigeria with 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 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 the considered the indigenous languages as primitive and had no interest in learning any of them.Baldeh (1990) record that the taught the coastal middlemen the type of English related to buying and selling. The language progress with the Europeans coming as colonial masters and making Lagos a colony of Britain in 1862.
English later assume an important position in Nigeria as the official language and the language for 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 communication. Other aspects of the relevance of English such as the language for national development, educational advancement, social mobility, technical acquisition etc. have also been highlighted by many writers.
The study of English becomes more important as its roles and relevance expand. Efforts have been made to improve students’ mastery of it, especially in the area of basic skills in achieving the goals of effective writing Competence seems to be far from being realized. Evidence abounds in the types of errors committed by students in their written English in S.S C E. as offensive as tense error may be, what is more important and beneficial to the student is how these errors should be corrected and avoided in future and how to enhance the writing ability of the student.
In the Nigerian school system, the English language is both a school subject and a language of instruction at the primary and post primary levels. The consistence in tense errors becomes imperative that something need to be done to help solve the problem of student’s poor writing performance. This situation promote the survey on the impact of tense error on the senior secondary school student written English in Bassa local government area. The result of the research is to provide valuable information to solve the problem.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
It is a fact that there are many student who find their way into secondary school with poor background in English, inherent in these student is the problem of poor expression in the language. This is evident in the incessant error committed by the senior secondary school work. It is very disgusting and disheartening that S.S three student cannot communicate their thought well in writing. These situation calls for mental focus because these are prospective graduates who will be expose to a higher level of learning and its requires the transfer of knowledge they have gained at the senior secondary school.
A learner needs to learn certain structures to produce correct language. Tense error is a common problem among learners. Educators are highly critical about tense errors in learners writing.
It has been found that students regularly commit errors of this kind (tenses). This study is to investigate the problem of tense errors in the written English of S.S. three students in Bassa local government area of plateau state.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The aim of this research is to study tense error in English writing of senior secondary school students.
The specific objectives are;
1. To identify and systematically analyses the errors in tense usage in the writing of senior secondary school students.
2. To determine the negative impact of tense errors on the performance of S.S.S students.
3. To propose workable strategies for dealing with the errors.
1.4 Research Questions
The aim of the study will be to investigate through the following questions to make problems more specific
1. What are the common sources of tense error in students’ English essay?
2. How does poor foundation of English tense contribute to the poor performance of students’
3. What are the causes of student incomprehensibility of English tenses and how does it affect the students writing?
1.5 Hypothesis
This hypothesis will give a plausible explanation that will be tested:
H0 tense errors have no significant different on the performance of the S.S.S students written English
H1 tense errors have a significant different on the performance of the S.S.S. students written English.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The fallen standard of education generally could be attributed to poor comprehension of the English language lessons by the students. This is due to the fact that English language serves as a bed rock for understanding other discipline of learning, student communicate mostly through writing in the official language and it is on the basis that this work focuses on the student written essay.
An investigation into the phenomenon of errors committed by this category of student is relevant because it will provide a feedback to the student on the language performance. Awareness of these errors will eventually empower them in making serious effort to learn the correct usage.
The study will give the teachers an insight into the areas of difficulties that obstruct the students’ progress and guide them in adjusting their teaching strategies for better result, since an error analysis expresses areas of weaknesses of the student, it will be a source of information for the teachers on the places to lay emphasis on, in the cause of student study.
Textbooks writers will find the research useful because it will help them to identify areas of problems for students and focus attention on these areas of problems for students in their publications.
It is strongly expected that students, teacher, curriculum designers and textbook writers will benefit immensely from the findings and recommendations of this work. This will go a long way to enhance good writing and correct expression in students writing.
1.7 Scope of the Study
This study is limited to the analysis of essay of S.S. three students of the following secondary schools in Bassa Local Government Area of Plateau State. G. S.S Kwall, G.S.S Mista Ali, G.S.S Fuskarmata, G.S.S Miango, G.S.S. Jebumiango respectively. Bassa as a local government is in the north of plateau state bordering Kaduna and Bauchi state. According to plateau state educational board Bassa local government has eighteen (18) government secondary schools. The research has been narrowed to government schools because the private school provide a good academic achievement. James (1981) states the small classroom size in private schools helps to motivate students learning and that enhances the learners’ easy comprehensibility. He also states that “better teachers, better equipment, small classes these things combine together equals better scores “.
The research has been narrowed to the above mention schools. The research is limited to find out the tense errors made by students in schools especially the senior secondary students.
1.8 Operational Definition of Terms
It is necessary to define or explain some terms that may be unfamiliar to the reader, that are used in a specialized way in the study
1. Language: A language is a set of communication with its own set of convention or special words.
2. Second Language: It refers to any language learned in addition to a person’s first language
3. First Language: Is a language a person has been exposed to from birth.
Mother Tongue: The first language that you learn when you are a baby, rather than a language learned at school as an adult.

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