Variation of Sentence Structures in Senior Secondary School Students’ Essay Writings in Imo State

Author: Ahizih Chukwunyere Festus
Department: English Language and Literature
Affiliation: Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka

This investigation is a frequency count of the variation of structures in students’ composition writing, using of samples of Nigerian Senior Secondary School Students in Imo State. The focus of this investigation is on variation of sentence structures and not on sentence complexity. Therefore part of the conclusion in this regard is that while maturity determines the complexity of sentence structures in students’ essays, it does not influence student’s choice of sentence structures. The sample population was investigated through the application of five research questions. One thousand senior secondary school students in the five education zones of Imo State were selected for the study. The instruments used are the choice-oriented and the compulsory essay-types. Data are analysed through the application of simple percentage. The main highlights of the results may be summarized thus: One, all the nine sub-sets of the sample sentence-type, and all the four sub-sets of the complex sentence-structure are present in students’ essays. Two, students wrote varied sentence-structures. Three, form/class is not a significant factor in students’ choice of sentence in essays. Four, sex (male/female) does not determine the sentence structure in students’ essay. Five, location of school does not determine the sentence structure in essay writing. Six, the topic of the written essay is not a significant factor in the sentence structure of students. The investigation concludes, first of all that competence in language influences students’ choice of sentence structure in L2 situation. The study further notes that varied sentence structures are written by senior secondary school students in line with WAEC and NECO SSCE English language syllabus. It also notes that all the varied sentence structures are not written with the same amount of frequency. A major implication of this investigation is that L2 learners of the English language especially at the secondary school level need more emphasis on those sentence structures which are less often in use by the students.

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