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AN ANALYSIS OF THE STUDENTS’ ERRORS IN WRITING PARAGRAPHS


CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the Study
As social being people need a means of communication to express feeling, thoughts and desires, which is called language. This language must be understood by the members of the group. Each group has its own characteristics of language, such as accent and stress. Some experts try to define what the meaning of language is.
Hornby in the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English (1989:699) states that language is a system of sounds, words, patterns, etc. used by human to communicate thoughts and feelings. In tone with it, Wardhaugh in Brown (1987: 4) says that language is a system of  arbitrary vocal symbols used for human communication. Furthermore, Brown in  Webster’s Third New International Dictionary of English Language (1987:4) says that language is a systematic means of communicating ideas or feelings by the use of conventionalized signs, sounds, gestures, or marks having understood meaning. From those three definitions of language, I can say that language is a system of arbitrary vocal symbols to communicate thoughts, ideas, or feelings by the use of conventionalized signs, sounds, gestures, or marks having understood meaning.
There are two forms of language, spoken and written form. The spoken form comes first. It can exist freely without writing, whereas the written form has never been known to exist without speech. We start learning how to use spoken language since we were still a kid. At that time, we just listened to other persons’ speech and tried to imitate them. By doing it everyday it becomes easier to communicate using the spoken language. On the contrary, written language is more difficult to be learned.  In writing, we need to pay attention to a lot of things.
Some of those things are vocabulary, grammar and the arrangement of sentences we make. Since we use language as a means of communication, we need to find the right words to send a message. Some words cannot be used in any context. For example, the word  add in “I can add my knowledge.” is not appropriate. Though add means put something together with something else so as to increase the size, number, amount, etc. (Hornby, 1989:13), but it doesn’t mean that the word can be used in that sentence.  It is better to use enrich in the sentence.
The way we choose the right words is not enough to send a message to other people. We also need the right structure of words. It is known as Grammar. By looking at its definition we will get the figure of what grammar is and how it works. According to Hornby in  Oxford advanced Learner’s Dictionary (1989:542), grammar is defined as rules  for forming words and combining them into sentences. While Harman in Ulfa (2000:4) says that grammar is the study of words and their function. Moreover, Robert in Aswadi (2002:11) states that grammar is an analytical and analogical study of sentences. Still in Aswadi, Robert says that grammar is the total  set of signals by which a given language expresses its meaning or the total structure of a language. So I can say that grammar is an analytical and analogical study for forming words and combining them into sentences to express its meaning or the total structure of a language.
Verb as part of tenses in grammar is important. It contains some information. It tells an event and the time it happens, whether it happened in the past, at present or in the future. Willis (1981:6) says that a verb gives an indication of the time of occurrence of the action or state of being. For example, we cannot say “now I  continued  my study in SMA”. By looking at its adverb of time, we know that the process of study in SMA is still happening. So, it is more appropriate to say “now I continue my study in SMA”.  When we use the right verbs, it doesn’t mean that the sentences we write will be good sentences. The verbs should be combined in a good order with other words in the sentences. For example, it is better to write “the benefit of doing it is to make????????????????

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