Research Article

Surface Structure Taxonomy on Journal Texts: The Case of Filipino ESL Learners



Errors in the subject-verb agreement are the most common problems among elementary learners in an English as Second Language (ESL) class. Thus, this study aimed to investigate the types of errors committed by the twelve (12) Grade 6 pupils in Hadiyyah International School, Marawi City, Philippines, and the most prevalent errors of the participants. The study employed a descriptive research design that explored the subject-verb agreement errors in the participants’ two-month written journal. Using Dulay, Burt, and Krashen’s Surface Strategy Taxonomy, these errors were categorized as Omission, Addition, Misordering, and Misformation. Findings show that 198 errors were found and that four types of errors were identified: Omission (12.5%), Addition (11.5%), Misordering (3%), and Misformation (73%). The study reveals that the most prevalent error committed by the participants is misformation. Moreover, the researcher discovered simpler sub-types of these errors. This study concludes that it is possible for the learners to commit multiple errors in a sentence, as reflected in the current study. These results suggest a call for language teachers to systematically diagnose their learners and revisit their teaching approach that corresponds to the learner’s needs. Effective methods in teaching grammar, especially at the elementary level, should be practised by language teachers to prevent fossilization and the difficulty of un-learning the learner’s prior wrong perception of the grammatical rules.

Article information


International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation

Volume (Issue)

5 (4)





How to Cite

Pandapatan, S. A. (2022). Surface Structure Taxonomy on Journal Texts: The Case of Filipino ESL Learners. International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation, 5(4), 56–65.



Error analysis, Subject-verb agreement, Surface Structure Taxonomy, Journal Texts, Grammatical rules