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Wrong Placement of Modifiers in English among Learners of English as a Second Language

| Format: Ms Word | 1-5 Chapters | Table of Content|

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Misplaced Modifiers - Dangling Modifiers - Grammar Video - Flocabulary

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1     Background to the Study

In brief, modifiers are words or phrases that provide additional information about other elements in a sentence, such as adjectives, adverbs, and phrases. In English, the placement of modifiers can significantly impact the meaning and clarity of a sentence. For learners of English as a second language, understanding and correctly placing modifiers can be challenging due to differences in grammatical structures between their native language and English. (Al-khresheh, 2023).

Moreover, according to Khan (2022) modifiers play a crucial role in English grammar. Thus, as they provide additional information about nouns, verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs. However, learners of English as a second language often encounter difficulties in correctly placing modifiers within sentences, leading to grammatical errors and misunderstandings.

However, understanding Modifiers in English Grammar In English grammar, modifiers are words or phrases that provide additional information about other elements in a sentence. They can modify nouns (e.g., “the tall building”), verbs (e.g., “quickly ran”). Adjectives (e.g., “extremely hot”), or other adverbs (e.g., “very quickly”). Modifiers serve to enhance the meaning of the words they modify. Thus, are essential for conveying precise and nuanced information in communication (Larsen-Freeman and Anderson (2013).

One of the problems in making a good sentence is a misplaced modifier and dangling modifier. A misplaced modifier is incorrect modifier placement in a sentence. Meanwhile, Bovee (2016) says that dangling modifiers is a phrase or clause that has no connection to the subject of the sentence. It creates confusion by placing modifiers close to the wrong nouns or verbs.

Learning grammar is essential to learning a foreign language, especially if you plan to write in that language. However, achieving this competence is challenging when the grammatical structures of the first and second languages are different (Al-Khresheh, 2010, 2011). This paper focuses on one aspect of English grammar, the linear ordering of adjectives. Several researchers have discovered that most EFL students face many grammatical difficulties when learning English, which is visible in their essays, assignments, and exam papers (Alhaysony, 2012; Toba et al., 2019).

As a result, these students will likely face a wide range of difficulties related to syntax, phonology, morphology, and semantics. One of those topics covered in this study is syntax, specifically nominal-premodifications and, more specifically, the linear order of adjectives (e.g., in that nice new red car). They have always been a challenge for students of the studied disciplines and those from various linguistic backgrounds (Alhaysony, 2012; Al-Khresheh, 2015).

 

Mastering English premodifications structures is difficult for all language learners. This may be explained by the fact that the order and quantity of these premodifications vary depending on the norms and patterns of the language to which they belong. Participants in the study, whose mother tongue is Arabic, were found to have difficulty ordering such premodifications (Khatter, 2019).

Emphatically, this study involves examining the specific challenges that learners of English as a second language encounter when it comes to the placement of modifiers. This includes investigating how the grammatical rules governing modifier placement in English differ from those in the learners’ native languages. Additionally, researchers may explore common errors made by learners in this area and identify potential factors contributing to these errors. Thus, such as interference from their first language or incomplete understanding of English grammar rules.

 

1.2     Statement of the Problem

Modifiers, including adjectives, adverbs, and phrases, play a crucial role in providing additional information about nouns and verbs in a sentence. However, incorrect placement of modifiers can lead to ambiguity, confusion, and misinterpretation of the intended message. This problem is particularly prevalent among non-native English speakers who are still developing their proficiency in the language. Understanding the causes and implications of this issue is essential for educators and language learners to address it effectively.

It has been observed that one of the primary challenges faced by learners of English as a second language is the proper placement of adjectives. In English, adjectives generally precede the noun they modify. However, learners from different linguistic backgrounds may have different conventions for adjective placement in their native languages.

As a result, they may struggle with determining the appropriate order and position of adjectives in English sentences. This can lead to sentences that sound awkward or unclear to native speakers.

 

It has also been observed that, the correct placement of adverbs presents difficulties for non-native English speakers. Adverbs are used to modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs, and their placement within a sentence can significantly alter the meaning or emphasis of the statement. Misplacement of adverbs can result in sentences that convey unintended meanings or fail to effectively communicate the intended message.

Therefore, the problem of wrong placement of modifiers among learners of English as a second language is not only limited to written communication but also affects spoken language proficiency. Incorrectly placed modifiers can impact oral fluency and coherence. Hence, hindering effective communication in various contexts such as academic settings, professional environments, and social interactions. Thus, this study aimed to examine wrong placement of modifiers among learners of English as a second language.

 

1.3     Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study aimed to examine wrong placement of modifiers among learners of English as a second language in secondary schools. Specifically, the study aimed to:

  1. examine the extent students wrongly place modifiers in their sentences in secondary schools.
  2. examine the possible causes of wrong placement of modifiers in the sentences of secondary school students.
  3. Suggest possible solutions to the problem of wrong placement of modifiers in English in secondary schools.

 

1.4     Significance of the Study

  • This study will contributes to a deeper understanding of language acquisition processes.
  • This study will shed light on how misplacement affects the clarity and coherence of learners’ written and spoken communication.
  • This study will help English language learners, educators can develop targeted instructional strategies to improve students’ proficiency in this area.

 

  • The findings from the study can inform the development of instructional materials and teaching approaches tailored to address specific difficulties related to modifier placement in English language classrooms.
  • This study will provide insights into the cognitive processes involved in language production and comprehension among second language learners.
  • In addition, educators and language instructors can benefit from the study by gaining a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by learners in mastering modifier placement, leading to improved professional development opportunities.

 

1.5     Research Questions

The following research questions guided the study:

  1. To what extent do students wrongly place modifiers in their sentences in secondary schools?
  2. What are the possible causes of wrong placement of modifiers in the sentences of secondary school students?
  3. What are possible solutions to the problem of wrong placement of modifiers in English in secondary schools?

 

1.6 Limitation of the Study

Some of the challenges encountered while conducting the research include lack of sufficient funds and short duration assigned for the study.

Definition of Terms

Wrong placement: The incorrect positioning or usage of words, phrases, or grammatical elements within a sentence or discourse.

Modifiers: Modifiers are words, phrases, or clauses that provide additional information about other elements in a sentence. They can modify various parts of speech, including nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs.

English Language: The English language is a West Germanic language that originated in England and is the third most spoken language in the world. It is an official language in numerous countries and is widely used as a second language in many others.

Learners: Learners can be defined as individuals who engage in the process of acquiring knowledge, skills, and understanding through various educational experiences.

Second language: A second language is a language that a person learns in addition to their native language.