Compound Prepositions Used by Iraqi EFL University Students

Ahmed Mohammed Ali Abu Humeid


There is no logical reason why one compound preposition is right in a certain context, whereas another one is wrong. To use compound prepositions correctly is difficult because most of them have several functions. In addition, different prepositions have sometimes similar uses. Such prepositions cause difficulty to Iraqi EFL university students because syllabus designers and teachers do not concentrate on such sort of prepositions. This study aims at identifying and analyzing the errors Iraqi EFL university students encounter in using such prepositions and finding the reasons behind students’ errors. A diagnostic test is designed and applied to a sample of 100 Iraqi EFL university students at their third year. In the light of the students’ responses, it can be concluded that the majority of Iraqi EFL university students fail to recognize and produce such propositions. Moreover, they do not realize the function of such prepositions because they do not discern their meanings and most books of grammar do not list their meanings or uses. As such, the researcher uses Hornby (2006) to clarify their meanings. The subjects’ errors are attributed to the following factors: (i) interlingual transfer, (ii) intralingual transfer, (iii) context of learning, and (iv) communication strategies.

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International Journal of English Linguistics   ISSN 1923-869X (Print)   ISSN 1923-8703 (Online)

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