An Error Analysis of Writing Skills Among English Foreign Language Learners at University Utara Malaysia

  • Ahmed Basher
  • Fadil Elmenfi
  • Ahmed Gaibani


The focus of this study was to identify and analyse the writing errors that the undergraduate students of University Utara, Malaysia, make while writing essays, provided the significance of essay form be as English composition is the basis for each degree programme in the institution. Moreover, narrowing down, the study also attempted to examine the impact of the learners’ L1 on their essay writing skills, and the relevant errors that appeared in their work. The participants of the study were the students enrolled in Intensive English Course (IEC) programmes. Each participant was engaged in writing two essays, each a 150-word composition, on two different topics: The Future Goals and a Memorable Event. To analyse the forms and reasons of the writing errors, each participant’s work was evaluated against the valid and adapted checklists. For a full-length analysis of the L1 interference errors, the grammatical structure of the erratic English sentences in the produced work was compared to the grammatical structure of the participants’ L1, i.e. Arabic. The results showed that the participants committed errors of all the categories indicated in the checklists. Furthermore, the L1 interference produced in the participants’ English work the errors of the articles, missing words, incorrect words, punctuation, capitalization and prepositions.


Errors analysis Writing skill Grammatical errors L1 interference and EFL learners 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ahmed Basher
    • 2
  • Fadil Elmenfi
    • 1
  • Ahmed Gaibani
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Department of EnglishOmar Al-Mukhtar UniversityDernaLibya
  2. 2.School of Education & Modern LanguagesUniversity Utara MalaysiaChanglunMalaysia

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