Ambrose Ochigbo Adaje, Patience Ochanya Onekutu


Knowledge of basic elements of English grammar facilitates communicative competence. Grammatical structure, therefore, constitutes a main component of English language study at all school levels in Nigeria. The purpose of the study is to evaluate the grammatical competence of senior secondary school three students as candidates of senior school certificate examination (SSCE). The study subjects were some one hundred regular senior secondary school certificate examination (SSCE) candidates in Makurdi town in central Nigeria. The test instrument comprises of thirty structural items adopted from a particular past SSCE English language paper 2 of West African Examination Council (WAEC). The data were analyzed with percentage and frequency statistics. The results of the data analysis show that the students are particularly weak in question tags, phrasal verbs, subject-verb concord, modal meanings, subjunctive mood, tense backshift, personal pronoun objective case, correlative conjunction and compound noun plurals. These deficiencies affect their communication in English and invariably their performance in senior school certificate English examination. It is therefore recommended that students at this level should be taught basic elements of grammar to aid their proficiency in communication.


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competence, grammatical structures, Nigerian ESL students

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