Grammatical & Syntactic Competencies in L2 Writing

A Checklist for Designing Instruction

Jill Kerper Mora, Ed.D.

Grammatical Category & Usage

Description of Errors or Misusage

Word Derivations Noun, verb, adjective, and adverb form confusion/misuse
Articles Incorrect choice; unnecessarily used; omitted when needed
Nouns Singular/plural or count/non-count confusion; failure to use proper unit expression with non-count noun
Pronouns Lack of agreement with antecedent, ambiguous antecedent, no antecedent; unnecessarily used, not used when called for, incorrect form
Auxiliaries and Modals (Aux-words) Incorrect choice; omitted when needed; unnecessarily used
Verb Forms Incorrect form (based, d-t-n, -ing, +s, past) incorrect verb choice; unnecessarily used; omitted when needed; incorrect use of two word verbs
Verb/Auxiliary Agreement with Subject +s/no –s confusion; ignorance of true nucleus of noun phrase
Verb/Auxiliary Agreement with Time Lack of agreement with general context, with time signal, with other verbs, in complex sentences, and/or with compound noun clauses
Modifiers Incorrect form (ing/d-t-n, adjective/adverb, etc.); incorrect order; incorrect position in sentence
Comparatives & Superlatives Inappropriate comparison; incorrect comparative formation; incorrect superlative formation
Basic Sentence Structure Incorrect syntax (word order); incorrect shifter; omitted object with transitive verb
Expletives there or it (Dummy Subjects) Unnecessarily used; omitted when needed; followed incorrect form of verb-aux-word
Sentence Complexity Simple; compound; complex; conditionality; use of subordinate clauses
Incomplete Sentences (Fragments) Omission of subject; omission of verb; prepositional phrase used alone; subordinate clause used alone; noun phrase used alone; half sentence used alone
Coordination (Compounding) Run-on sentences; comma splice; faulty parallelism; incorrect conjunction choice; incorrect compounding method; unnecessary repetition
Subordinate Clauses Incorrect clause formation; poor relationship to main sentence; incorrect subordinator
Relative Clauses Incorrect clause formation; poor relation to modified noun; incorrect relative pronoun
Half-Sentences (Participial Phrases, Absolute Phrases) Incorrect formation; poor relationship to main sentence; different subjects
Nominal Clauses or Phrases Incorrect clause formation; incorrect introducer of substitution; poor relationship; -ing/to + base form misuse/confusion
Passive Transformation Used inappropriately; incorrect formation
Indirect Object Transformation Used inappropriately; incorrect formation
Transition Words Not used when called for; used inappropriately; poor or incorrect choice
Variety in Writing Insufficient variety of basic sentence patterns; insufficient variety of combining methods
Commas Incorrect use with shifters; comma splice; incorrect use with relative clauses; incorrect use with half-sentences; incorrect use with (non-restrictive) added information
Vocabulary Too limited; incorrect word choice
Prepositions Incorrect choice; omitted when needed; unnecessarily used
Other Problems