Due to the variety and complexity of verb tenses in English, English as a Second Language (ESL) / English as a Foreign Language (EFL) learners often experience difficulty in mastering English verb tense system. This corpus-based study was conducted to ascertain the most frequently used verb tenses by English native speakers (NSs), specifically in their academic writing in a history course. As this study aimed to examine the naturally-occurring language produced by NSs, specifically in their academic writing, an original corpus of 101,713 words was assembled. The corpus consisted of 130 research papers written by 65 students. The corpus was analyzed, targeting certain linguistic items: the twelve verb tenses, modals, perfect modals, and imperatives. These targets were highlighted using a code-coloring method. Then, the items were calculated using Microsoft Excel. Excel calculations revealed the number of occurrences of each of the verb tenses, modals, perfect modals, and imperatives that was utilized in the corpus. The results revealed that the simple past tense was predominant, followed by the simple present tenses. Modals came third, as they occurred more frequently than any of the other verb tenses. The remaining targets had percentages ranging between 1.62% and zero. These findings could contribute in developing the methodology of teaching verb tenses to ESL/EFL learners in a way that reinforces their comprehension of the most important and most common items. In addition, this information is very important for materials designers and curriculum professionals.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Qahtani, Bushra, "The Frequency of the Twelve Verb Tenses in History Papers Written by University Native Writers" (2017). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 6097.