The Ineffectiveness of Overt Input on the Problematic Grammatical Features of Tense Usage and Verb Conjugation for Native Arabic Speaking Learners of English for Academic Purposes (EAP)

Gareth Morgan


ThisstudyexaminestheeffectivenessoftheprovisionofspecificinputontheuseofverbconjugationandtensestopreparatorystudentsatImamAbdulrahmanBinFaisalUniversity,Dammam,SaudiArabia.Thisisawell-documentedgrammaticalissuefornativeArabicspeakers, and was undertaken due to this factor, as well as the students under instruction having made numerous errors in their initial written work. Consequently, it was focussed on in the classroom, with the students’ post-input formal writing compared with the production of students fromanotherclass,atthesamelevel,who,incontrast,hadnotreceivedspecificinputonthisgrammatical feature. The results conclude that such overt input has no discernible effect, due to the errors produced by both groups being extremely similar with reference to both quantity andcause,withverbconjugationandmissingverbsfeaturingprominentlyforbothgroups,particularly the inability to use third person ‘s’. As a result, despite language acquisition being a gradual process, I will desist from focusing on this grammatical feature due to the lack of effect of the input, but, will continue to germane errors when providing feedback on student writing in order to provide a less explicit and time consuming focus on this issue, while attempting to improve grammatical accuracy.


Aspect, Tense, Verb Conjugation, Verb Patterns, Accuracy

Full Text:



Abdul-Halim, M., Shamsan, A., and Attayib, A. M. (2015). Inflectional morphology in Arabic and English: a contrastive study. International Journal of English Linguistics. 5, pp. 139-150.

Abdulkareem, M.N. (2013). An Investigation Study of Academic Writing Problems Faced by Arab Postgraduate Students at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM). Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 3(9), pp. 1552-1557.

Abu-Joudeh, M., Assasfeh, S. Al-Shaboul, Y and Alshboul. S. (2013). Translating Arabic perfect verbs into English by Jordanian undergraduates. Journal of Language and Literature, 4 (2) pp. 44-53.

Albalawi, F.S. (2016). Investigating the effect of grammatical differences between English (L2) and Arabic (L1) on Saudi female students’ writing of English. European Scientific Journal, 12(14) pp. 185-197.

Al-Buainain, H. (2007). Researching types and causes of errors in Arabic speakers’ writing. In Midraj, S. Jedli, A. & Sellami, A. (Eds). Research in ELT Context, pp. 195-224.

Alhaysony, M. (2012). An Analysis of Article Errors among Saudi Female EFL Students: A Case Study. Asian Social Science, 8(2) pp. 55-66.

Ali, N.A. (2007). Some linguistic problems facing Arab learners of English. Adab Al-Rafidayn, 48. Retrieved January 10, 2018 from

Al-Jarf, R. (2000). Grammatical Agreement Errors in L1/L2 translations. International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching, 38(1), pp. 1-16.

Allen, R., and Rochecouste, J. (1997). Intervention in the tertiary writing process. TESOL in Context, 7(2), pp. 9-13.

Al-Khatib, H., Malak, M.A., Sleiman, R., and Zadorian, H. (2012). Difficulties that Arab students face in learning English research project, pp, 1-27. Retrieved January 10, 2018 from

Al-Quran, M. (2010). Concept-based grammatical errors of Arab EFL learners. Journal of Instructional Psychology, 37(1). Retrieved January 6, 2018 from

Aoun, J.E., Benmamoun, E.J., and Choueiri, L. (2010). The Syntax of Arabic. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Barson, M., Bedford, M.W., Foreman, C.J., McPherson, G., Smyth, C.J., Thompson, L.J. and Woodgate, D.M. (1986). Driving in My Car [Recorded by Madness]. On Utter Madness. London: Stiff Records.

British Council. (n.d.). Holistic approach. Retrieved February 4, 2018 from

Brown, H. D. (2001). Teaching by principles: An interactive approach to language pedagogy (2nd ed.). New York: Addison Wesley Longman.

Brozo, W.G. (2005). Connecting with students who are disinterested and inexperienced. Thinking Classroom, 6(3), pp. 42-43.

Buckley, R. (2004). Modern literary Arabic: a reference grammar. Beirut: Librairie du Liban Publishers.

Chodorow, M., Gamon, M., and Tetreault, J. (2010). The utility of article and preposition error correction systems for English language learners: Feedback and assessment. Language Testing, 27(3), pp. 419-436.

Cowan, R. (2008). The teacher’s grammar of English: A course book and reference guide. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Dirou, E. (2016). Tips for teaching English to Arabic speakers. Voices. Retrieved January 6, 2018 from

Du Pont De Brie, N. (2004) Ant egg soup: The adventures of a food tourist in Laos. London: Hodder and Stoughton.

Ellis, R. (2009). Corrective feedback and teacher development. L2 Journal, (1)1, pp. 3-18.

Ellis, R. (1999). Learning a second language through interaction. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Ezza, E-S. (2010). Arab EFL Learners’ Writing Dilemma at Tertiary Level. English Language Teaching 3(4). Retrieved January 7, 2018 from EXPLORING-THE-MOST-COMMON-TYPES-OF-WRITING-PROBLEMS.pdf

Folse, K. (2009). Keys to teaching grammar to English language learners: A practical handbook. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Foreman, C. and Smyth, C.J. (1982). Our House [Recorded by Madness]. On The Rise and Fall. London: Stiff Records.

Halliday, M. (1985). An introduction to functional grammar. London: Arnold.

Hewson, P.D. (1987). I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For. [Recorded by U2]. On The Joshua Tree. Santa Monica: Universal Music.

Hunston, S. Francis, G. and Manning, E. (1997). Grammar and vocabulary: showing the connections. ELT Journal , 51(3), pp. 208-216.

Kambal, M.O.A. (1980). An analysis of syntactic errors committed by students of English language class in the written composition of Mutah University: A case study. In H. Ngangbam, European Journal of English Language, Linguistics and Literature 2016 3(1) 1-13. Retrieved January 10, 2018 from

Kelin, W. (1994). Time in Language. London: Routledge.

Mahmoud, A. (2002). Interlingual transfer of idioms by Arab learners of English. The Internet TESL Journal, 8 (12). Retrieved January 6, 2018 from

Master, P. (1997). The English article system: Acquisition, function and pedagogy. System, 25(2), pp. 215-232.

McVeigh, J. and Bixby, J. (2016). Q: Skills for success: Reading and writing 2. Special edition.

Morgan, G. (2014). The effect of overt prepositional input on students’ written accuracy. Advances in Language and Literary Studies, 5(5), pp. 202-212.

Morgan, G. (2017). The ineffectiveness in the provision of input on the problematic grammatical feature of articles. Advances in Language and Literary Studies, 8(1), pp. 79-87.

Muftah, M. and Rafik-Galea, S. (2013). Error analysis of present simple tense in the interlanguage of adult Arab English language learners. English Language Teaching, 6(2), pp. 146-154.

Mukkatash, L. (1978). A pilot project in common grammatical errors in Jordanian English. Interlanguage Studies Bulletin, 3(2), pp. 250-291.

Nassaji, H., and Fotos, S. (2004). Current developments in research on the teaching of grammar. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 24(06), pp. 126-145.

Nunan, D. (1998). Teaching grammar in context. ELT Journal, 52(2), pp. 101-112.

Robinson, P. (ed) (2011). Second language task complexity: researching the cognition hypothesis of language learning and performance. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Sabbah, S.S. (2015). Negative transfer: Arabic language interference to learning English. Arab World English Journal, 4, Special issue on translation.

Shehdeh, F. (2014) Macrolinguistic errors in Arab EFL learners’ essays. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 141, 923-933. Retrieved January 7, 2018 from

Sinha, T.S. (2014). Acquisition of the non-generic uses of English definite article by the adult ESL learners. Language in India, 14(2), pp. 224-245.

Storch, N., and Tapper, J. (2009). The impact of an EAP course on postgraduate writing. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 8, pp. 207–223.

Swain, M. and Lapkin, S. (1995). Problems in output and the cognitive processes they generate: A step toward language learning. Applied Linguistics, 16, pp. 371-391.

Swales, J.M. and Feak, C.B. (2004). Academic writing for graduate students: Essential skills and tasks. 3rd edition. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Retrieved January 6, 2018 from:

Tomlinson, B. ed. (1998). Introduction. In B. Tomlinson (ed.), Materials development in language teaching (pp.1-24). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Tomlinson, B. ed. (2013). Developing materials for language teaching. Second edition. London: Bloomsbury Press.

Touchie, H.Y. (1986). Second language learning errors: Their types, causes, and treatment. JALT Journal, 8(1), 75-80.

Tucker, M.A. (2010). The morphosyntax of the Arabic verb: Toward a unified syntax prosody. Retrieved January 6, 2018 from

Ward, C.S. and Gramer, M.F. (2016). Q: Skills for success: Reading and writing 3. Special edition.

Wenner, J.S. (2005). Bono: The Rolling Stone Interview. Retrieved February 09, 2018 from



  • There are currently no refbacks.

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

2010-2020 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD.

Advances in Language and Literary 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.