Date of Award

Winter 1993

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Applied Linguistics

Committee Director

Charles Ruhl

Committee Member

Carole P. Hines


This study explores reasons for the improper use of English pronouns by Spanish speaking ESL students, as evidenced in the Free Writing Placement Tests given at The Adult Learning Center in Virginia Beach and Old Dominion University.

The database includes 84 examples of prepositional errors (Appendix B) that were translated into Spanish for comparison and analysis. Some errors can be attributed to first language interference (Chapter 2, Contrastive Analysis). Some can be attributed to interlanguage (Chapter 3, Error Analysis). Other chapters show additional complications such as variation in native speaker preposition use and the effects of some prepositional contexts. Although the study started with the goal of developing an effective way to teach prepositions, the discussion here shows that the problem is highly complex.

Included, also, is a study of current pedagogy with summaries and a grammar book bibliography which can be used as a source of materials for teaching or supplementing preposition lessons.