An Error Analysis of the Use of Lexical Collocations in the Academic Writing of Libyan EFL University Students


  • Aisha Ali Dukali Huddersfield University


verb-noun collocations, adjective-noun collocations, erroneous collocations, acceptable collocations, collocational errors


The main aim of this paper is to explore the difficulties Libyan undergraduate university English major students have in the use of verb-noun and adjective-noun collocations by looking at their performance in free production. Furthermore, twelve verbs and twelve adjectives[1] identified in this research were investigated in depth as part of their combinations. To achieve the main aim, a 250-word academic writing task was used to collect data from fourth-year university students at Tripoli University (the Department of English). The data was analysed using AntConc 3.2.1w (Anthony, 2007). After extracting the learners’ collocations, four methods were used to determine and judge the acceptability of learners’ collocations in terms of conforming to native-like use. They are: (1) the OCD (2009), (2) the online British National Corpus (3) consultations with two native speakers, and (4) the acceptability-of-collocations survey was used to triangulate the above three methods

Findings from the academic writing data reveal that: (1) three broad categories of errors were identified in the erroneously produced verb-noun and adjective-noun collocations in the LLC: (i) grammatical errors, (ii) lexical errors and (iii) errors related to usage; and (2)  Furthermore, these categories were classified into sixteen and twelve error types in verb-noun and adjective-noun collocations respectively such as wrong choice of verb, wrong choice of adjective, wrong choice of noun, determiner errors, preposition errors, number errors, wrong word order errors, word form errors, usage category errors, intensifier errors and wrong register errors.

[1] The twelve verbs are do, provide, acquire, gain, enhance, make, offer, take, give, get, have and require. The twelve adjectives are good, academic, high, higher, modern, current, practical, specific, basic, general, great and special.