Common syntactic errors in the writing skills of the 3rd year students at Van Lang University




syntax, error, sentence structure, argumentative essay


This study aimed to analyze common syntactic errors found in the argumentative essays of third-year English major students at the Faculty of Foreign Languages, Van Lang University, Vietnam. Quantitative and qualitative methods were used to obtain data in this study. The quantitative approach involved counting and calculating the frequency, percentage, and ranking of syntactic errors, while the qualitative method was adopted to explain these errors. The instrument for collecting data was argumentative essays written by 37 third-year English majors enrolling in Writing-5 at Van Lang University. Microsoft Word was used to collect and analyze syntactic errors and sentence structures, while Microsoft Excel was employed to calculate the frequency and rank of these errors and structures. The results found that the five most frequent errors in their essays were at the noun phrase and sentence levels. These errors included run-on sentences, preposition errors, article errors, sentence fragments, and pronoun errors. Through error analysis, it was indicated that the majority of errors made by students were due to the negative transfer from their first language and the literal translation. Based on the findings, language teachers and syllabus designers could use these results as guidance to design appropriate teaching methods and materials.

Author Biographies

  • Pham Quynh Nhu, Faculty of Foreign Languages, Van Lang University, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
    Pham Quynh Nhu is currently a graduate at Van Lang University, Vietnam. She has been studying English Language at the Faculty of Foreign Languages at VLU since 2019. Her main interests include Morphology and Syntax, literature, and translation.
  • Pham Vu Phi Ho, Faculty of Foreign Languages, Van Lang University, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
    Assoc. Prof. Pham Vu Phi Ho, Ph.D., is an associate dean of the Faculty of Foreign Languages, Van Lang University, Vietnam. He used to be a Vice-President of Ba Ria – Vung Tau University and Vice-President at Van Hien University, Vietnam. Pham has published 64 research articles in both local and International Journals (ISI/Scopus-indexed), and 9 books and course-books, 3-course books were used for both the undergraduate and graduate levels at Van Lang University, HCMC Open University, Vietnam, and Lourdes College, Higher Education Department, Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines. He has international experience in teaching English at Suranaree University of Technology, Thailand, and Gyeongju University, South Korea. He is the Vice President for Administrative Affairs of AsiaCALL and the managing editor of its Online Journal. He is now the Editor-in-chief of the International Journal of TESOL & Education. He is an editorial staff for the Asian Journal of Applied Linguistics (Scopus-Q2), and a peer reviewer for some international Journals indexed in ISI/Scopus such as Computer Assisted Language Learning, Open Sage... His main interests include Academic Writing, peer responses, translation, Teaching methodologies, and Technology-enhanced learning.


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Research Article

How to Cite

Pham, Q. N., & Pham, V. P. H. (2024). Common syntactic errors in the writing skills of the 3rd year students at Van Lang University. International Journal of TESOL & Education, 4(2), 118-144.

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