As punctuation is relevant to and necessary to grammar (as above quotation states), a significant cause of EFL learner and Arab EFL writer low punctuation proficiency is the incorrect application of rules (Al-Jarf, 2001). He points out, the incorrect application of rules caused by: 1) failure to master the operational or transformational component of a rule; and 2) failure to learn a rules domain of applicability (p.16). According to Mohammed (2006), EFL learners who are unable to write in complete sentence, and constantly appear to have difficulty with understanding the concept of a sentence; their writing contains unconventional punctuation as a result.
Mann (2003) believes that one should be familiar with sentence boundaries in order to punctuate correctly; moreover, he points out that to begin and end sentences is one of some difficulties learners face when they start to write. As the construction of sentence varies from one language to another, such variations may result in writing in incomplete sentence and then inappropriate use of punctuation.
A simple sentence is “an independent clause expressing one idea” (Al-Khresheh 2010, p. 106), “a syntactic unit which contains a finite verb” (Fischer 1984, p. 15, cited in Polio 1997, p. 107), comprised of one subject-verb combination, though the subject may be compound and thus making up a clause with “more than one constituent” (Al-Khresheh 2010, p. 106). These features describe the English s...
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...O’Grady, et al. 1996, cited in Al-Khresheh 2010, p. 106).
Othman (2007) posits the differences in Arabic subordinate clauses at the helm of the differences and the cause of the impact to punctuating in English writing. Othman (2007) has conducted a study in which he has attempted to find out how subordination and coordination are commonly used in Arabic and English texts. He concludes: subordination is seen as a sign of maturity and sophistication in English writing, whereas coordination is more commonly used in Arabic writing. As Mohamed and Omer (1999) also conclude, these differences, like those in coordination efforts, manifest in several ways: Arabic subordinate clauses are semantically subordinate, but are syntactically capable equal to their main clauses, just like their main independent clauses, of acting independently as separate sentences” (p. 293).
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