The Ineffectiveness of the Provision of Input on the Problematic Grammatical Feature of Articles

Gareth Morgan


This study examined the value of giving specific input on the use of articles on an undergraduate English for Academic Purposes (EAP) course. This topic was chosen as previous cohorts had generated a noticeable amount of errors in their use of articles, and developing written grammatical accuracy was one of the course’s aims. Participants were provided with input on the definite, indefinite and zero articles. This involved providing images of authentic article errors, and catering for the interpersonal learner, with emphasis on student: student interaction. Also, a newspaper article was incorporated to illustrate how grammar works at a textual level, and because research has shown that accuracy in the use of the definite article increases during contextualized tasks exploiting authentic materials learners can relate to. However, the lack of effectiveness of highlighting this grammatical feature is illustrated by the students’ post-input writing, which generated more errors than the pre-input task, pro rata. In the post-input essay, there was one error for every 25 of the noun phrases, the equivalent of an error every 131 words. In comparison, the rate of errors in the pre-input work was one in every 28 of the noun phrases, or an error every 153 words. Therefore, due to the 16.7% increase in post-input errors, in future, I will not focus on this grammatical feature when attempting to improve written accuracy.


Articles, countability, demonstratives, determiners, possessive pronouns, problematic grammatical issues, quantifying determiners, written accuracy

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