Punctuation Errors in Writing: A Comparative Study of Students’ Performance from Different Pakistani Universities
The study aimed at exploring the different types of punctuation errors made by students in their writings, the reasons behind these errors, and the reasons behind the differences in the frequency of punctuation errors made by students from two different sets of universities, with one set belonging to backward areas and the other set to well-developed areas. The universities selected from the backward areas were Kohat University of Science and Technology (KUST) Kohat, University of Malakand (UoM), Shaheed Benazir Bhutto University (SBBU), Sheringal University (SU) and Khushal Khan Khattak University (KKKU), Karak and the universities selected from developed areas were National University of Modern Languages, (NUML) Islamabad, International Islamic University (IIU), Islamabad, University of Sargodha (UoS) and Gomal University(GU), Dera Ismail Khan. The study used Corder (1975)’s Error Analysis approach for analysing the errors. The study used mixed-method research design. The sample included a total of 200 students, out of which 25 students were selected from each university through simple random sampling technique. Test and interviews were used as instruments for data collection. For the identification of punctuation errors, the students were made to take a punctuation test. A probe was made into the possible reasons behind the punctuation errors by interviewing the students. The data collected was analysed by using content analysis technique. The study revealed that the most frequent errors were errors related to comma, apostrophe, and capitalization. The analysis of the interviews showed that the lack of practice on punctuation marks, lack of teaching punctuation within context, lack of checking of punctuation errors and lack of error corrective feedback on the punctuation errors were the major reasons behind the differences in the frequency of punctuation errors.