Although English is the second language of most Hong Kong students and it is the compulsory subject in primary and secondary schools, Chinese students always are confused with the English grammar rule. It is not uncommon to see they make grammatical errors in their writing. The present study analyzes the errors in the English writing of Chinese secondary school students. It is a specific study consisting of one sample of language use: composition collected from 20 second language learners. The focus of the study is to find out the common errors L2 learners have and explain why they make such errors.
Up to now, different scholars have agreed the importance of error analysis and have done many researches on this topic. Wong (1999) says that error analysis is important as it can help explain and describe the errors made by L2 learners effectively. Richards (1971) also claims the analysis of errors and interference between languages has been a central aspect of the study of bilingualism. According to George (1972) and Corder (1973), students cannot correct many of their errors by themselves when they proofread their writing. George suggests, therefore, those students need some guidance in recognizing deviant forms
Compound sentence is a good example. and structures in their written work. There are totally 350 errors found in the compositions and the percentages of relative error frequencies of occurrence are calculated in Table 2. Burt (1975) reports most teachers training programs fail to handle the variety of errors that occur inevitably in students"tm speech and writing. For example "25105;23563;26085;21516;23478;22992;39135;39151;" and "25105;20381;23478;21516;23478;22992;39135;39151;". In this present study, students mainly make errors on verb tense, word order and determiners. Although two or more successive verbs are grammatical in Chinese, it is not acceptable in English. If we translate the above examples into English, "I go meet my grandfather" and "My sister goes have meal watch film", these are ungrammatical. In English, however, copula no matter is followed by a noun phrase or only an adjective should be used in the sentence. Teachers sometimes find it uneasy to decide when learners"tm errors should be corrected. That is why Hong Kong ESL students always have tense errors in their written work. Holley and King (1971) advise educators to be keenly aware of how they correct students"tm errors and to avoid using correction strategies that can affect children adversely or that may cause them embarrassment. To make it simpler, all deviations from the standard written English are regarded as errors in this study. For instance, "25105;21435;35211;25105;30340;31062;29238;"and"22992;22992;21435;39135;39151;30475;25138;".