Substitution and Ellipsis in the First Year University Students’ English Essay Writing

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The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
Without doubt, cohesion plays a significant role in writing, and therefore a considerable amount of research has been done on cohesive devices in students’ writing. All these studies have had a common finding that substitution and ellipsis, two grammatical cohesive devices, are the least employed cohesive items in ESL/EFL students’ written work. However, much of this research investigated substitution and ellipsis along with other cohesive devices. As a result, studies done on substitution and ellipsis independently of other cohesive devices are very rare. This stresses the need for further research to delve into these two grammatical cohesive devices. The current study is done to address this need and investigates the use of substitution and ellipsis in the first year university students’ essay writing. The mixed methods study done on five participants from a university in the UAE administers a written test to collect data and performs a textual analysis to identify different types of substitution and ellipsis and their respective functions in students’ essays. A frequency count is also performed to measure the frequency of different kinds of substitution and ellipsis in comparison to personal pronouns used as reference in students’ writing.
Cohesion, cohesive devices, substitution, ellipsis, textual analysis, frequency counts