Grammar Errors in the Writing of Iraqi English Language Learners

Yasir Bdaiwi Jasim Al-Shujairi, Helen Tan


Several studies have been conducted to investigate the grammatical errors of Iraqi postgraduates and undergraduates in their academic writing. However, few studies have focused on the writing challenges that Iraqi pre-university students face. This research aims at examining the written discourse of Iraqi high school students and the common grammatical errors they make in their writing. The study had a mixed methods design. Through convenience sampling method, 112 compositions were collected from Iraqi pre-university students. For purpose of triangulation, an interview was conducted. The data was analyzed using Corder’s (1967) error analysis model and James’ (1998) framework of grammatical errors. Furthermore, Brown’s (2000) taxonomy was adopted to classify the types of errors. The result showed that Iraqi high school students have serious problems with the usage of verb tenses, articles, and prepositions. Moreover, the most frequent types of errors were Omission and Addition. Furthermore, it was found that intralanguage was the dominant source of errors. These findings may enlighten Iraqi students on the importance of correct grammar use for writing efficacy. 


grammar; errors, EFL, writing

Full Text:



Abi Samra, Nada. (2003). An Analysis of Errors in Arabic Speakers’ English Writings.

Abushihab, I., El-Omari, A. H., & Tobat, M. (2011). An analysis of written grammatical errors of Arab learners of English as a foreign language at Alzaytoonah Private University of Jordan. European Journal of Social Sciences, 20(4), 543-552.

Al-Bayati, W.A.W.T. (2013). Errors Made By Iraqi EFL Undergraduate in the Use of Prepositions. Bulletin of the Transilvania University of Brasov Series IV: Philology and Cultural Studies.

Al Murshidi, G. (2014). UAE University Male Students’ Interests Impact on Reading and Writing Performance and Improvement. English Language Teaching, 7(9), p57.

Al-Zoubi, D. M., & Abu-Eid, M. A. (2014). The Influence of the First Language (Arabic) on Learning English as a Second Language in Jordanian Schools, and Its Relation to Educational Policy: Structural Errors. Sino-US English Teaching, 11(5), 355-372.

Bacha, N.N. (2002). Developing Learners’ Academic Writing Skills in Higher Education: A Study for Educational Reform. Language & Education, vol.16, no.3: 161-177.

Braganza, Michael. 1998. Common Errors in English. New Delhi India: Goodwill Publishing House

Brown, H.D. (2000). Principles of Language Learning and Teaching. White Plains, NY: Longman.

Çakır, İ., & Kafa, S. (2013). English Language Teachers’ Preferences in Presenting Target Language Grammar. Journal of Language and Literature, 8, 39-51.

Cedar, P. S. (2004). Transferability and translatability of idioms by Thai-speaking learners of English. Dissertation Abstracts International, 64(08), 2570. (UMI No. 3101068).

Chen, C. Y., & Huang, H. Y. (2003). L2 acquisition of subject-prominence by EFL students in Taiwan. English Teaching & Learning, 27(4), 99-122.

Corder, S. P. (1967). The significance of learners' errors. International Review of Applied Linguistics, 5(4), 161-169.

Crystal, D. (2006). The Fight for English: How language pundits ate, shot, and left. Oxford University Press.

Gass, S. M., & Selinker, L. (Eds.). (1992). Language transfer in language learning: Revised edition (Vol. 5). John Benjamins Publishing.‏

Diab, N. (2014). The transfer of Arabic in the English writings of Lebanese students. The ESPecialist. Pesquisa em Línguas para Fins Específicos. Descrição, Ensino e Aprendizagem. ISSN 2318-7115, 18(1).

Hourani, T. M. Y. (2008). An Analysis of the Common Grammatical Errors in the English Writing made by 3rd Secondary Male Students in the Eastern Coast of the UAE.

James, C. (1998). Errors in language learning use: Exploring error analysis. Harlow, Essex: Addison Wesley Longman Limited.

Khalil, A. (2000). Syntactic devices for marking information structure in English and Arabic.

Lightbown, P. M., & Spada, N. (2006). How languages are learned (3rd ed.). China: Oxford University Press.

Mohammed, M. S., & Abdalhussein, H. F. (2015). Grammatical Error Analysis of Iraqi Postgraduate Students’ Academic Writing: The Case of Iraqi Students in UKM.

Oyedepo, S. M (1987). Lexical Difficulties in the Written English of Second Language Learners: A Study Conducted Among Secondary School Pupils in Nigeria. PhD Thesis, University of Wales.

Rababah.G. (2003).Communication Problems facing Arab learners of English: A personal perspective. TEFL Web Journal Vol. 2, No.1:15-30.

Richards, J.C. (1971). A noncontrastive approach to error analysis. English Language Teaching Journal. 25, 204-219

Richards, J. C., & Schmidt, R. (2002). Longman dictionary of applied linguistics and language teaching. Harlow, UK: Longman.‏

Ridha, N. (2012). The effect of EFL learners' mother tongue on their writings in English. An error analysis study. Journal of the College of Arts, University of Basrah, 60, 22-45.

Sawalmeh, M. H. M. (2013). Error Analysis of Written English Essays: The case of Students of the Preparatory Year Program in Saudi Arabia. English for Specific Purposes World, 14, 1-17.

Selinker, L. (1972). Interlanguage. IRAL-International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching, 10(1-4), 209-232.

Selinker, L. (1992). Rediscovering interlanguage. New York: Longman.

Tahaineh, Y. S. (2010). Arab EFL university students' errors in the use of repositions. Modern Journal of Applied Linguistics, 1(6), 76-112.

Zawahreh, F. A. S. (2012). Applied Error Analysis of Written Production of English Essays of Tenth Grade Students in Ajloun Schools, Jordan. International Journal of Learning and Development, 2(2), 280-299.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2013-2023 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD.

International Journal of Education and Literacy Studies  

You may require to add the '' domain to your e-mail 'safe list’ If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox'. Otherwise, you may check your 'Spam mail' or 'junk mail' folders.