A Syntactic Analysis Of The Use Of Auxiliary Verbs In Office Documents

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A Syntactic Analysis Of The Use Of Auxiliary Verbs In Office Documents


This study is specifically concerned with the syntactic analysis of the use of auxiliary verbs in office documents by writers of office documents using Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB) University,Lapai Niger State and the interpersonal meanings, and the various interpretations deduced from the use of the English auxiliary verbs in the office documents using as a case study from selected departments in Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University, Lapai,Niger State.The study aimed at identifying which auxiliary verbs are more wrongly used by writers of office documents in IBB University, Lapai and also highlighting the context to which writers of office documents misuse auxiliary verbs.

The extent to which some office documents in IBB University, Lapai convey wrong information due to wrong use of auxiliary verbs were analysed in the office documents at IBB University, Lapai. The data used for this study were collected; thirty samples of office documents were obtained from the university Library, office of the Registrar, Student Affairs department as well as the following departments: Chemistry, Biology, Political Science, Public Administration, and Counselling Psychology provide the data for the study. The analytical procedure adopted for this study was based on the adoption of the systemic functional grammar and traditional grammar as the theoretical framework, those expressions that contain the use of auxiliary verbs from the office documents were analysed, and interpretations of the auxiliary verbs used to give insights into the difficulties faced by the writers in their use of auxiliary verbs in writing office documents.

Their level of understanding of the interpersonal meaning of auxiliary verbs, most especially the non-modal and modal auxiliary verbs was also focused on for analysis. Eight and seven columns were provided to show non-modal and modal auxiliary verbs in the analysis table contained the serial numbers, the text for the analysis, the modality, the verb used, the verb intended, the interpersonal meaning, the writer‟s intention and reference in relation to the data for analysis. The data were analysed using the relevant aspects of eclectic theoretical framework of analysis, specifically, Halliday (1985) and Quirk et al (1972, 1982, 1985) interpersonal meaning of auxiliary verbs. In the course of the analysis of data, the study arrived at the following findings: The writers of office documents used for analysis seem to be selective in the application of English auxiliary verbs (modal verbs) such that they limit their choices to only those they are familiar with. There are exhibitions of indiscriminate use of some English auxiliary verbs like „has‟ and „have‟, will‟ and „would‟ and „can‟ and „could‟. The writers of the office documents use them as if they all have one meaning.The English auxiliary verbs „may‟, „might‟, ‟shall‟ and „should‟ have been scantily used by the writers of office documents in their writing. The writers of office documents experience difficulty in the application of English auxiliary verbs in their documents.

The results of the analysis presented leads to the conclusion that all types of auxiliary verbs in English are problematic to some writers of office documents, but the modal auxiliary verbs that pose more problems to the writers of office documents than the primary auxiliary verbs. That is, they have limited knowledge on the uses and proper application of the rules guiding the auxiliary verbs usage. This study recommends that seminars, conferences and workshops should always be organized by the University for writers of office documents. Through attendance of such programmes writers of office documents could also gain more knowledge and even be exposed to those things which they do not know. In addition, writers of office documents should be encouraged to read widely so as to increase their knowledge in English language. That is, they should engage themselves with other educative materials outside their place of work, as these will improve their spoken and written English.

Chapter One


1.1 Background to the Study

Language is very important to human beings. If life is to be lived to the fullest, language must be acquired, taught, learnt and studied well because life without language in modern civilization will be disastrous since each community is formed by the activity of a language (Bloomfield, 1945:13). Therefore, this research considers writing skills in the learning of language to be very essential. The ability to read and write is regarded as very important compared to the ability to speak (Stevense, 1974: 65) and writing is regarded as the most difficult of the language skills. Without writing, the human mind or thought could hardly be read or represented (Ong, 1993: 78)
The use of auxiliary verbs by the writers of office documents is what this study is concerned with. Auxiliary verbs are of two kinds: non-modal and modal auxiliary verbs.

Nesbitt, (2001) Non-modal verbs are different frommodal auxiliary verbs in the sense that the former can be used as lexical verbs. This means that they sometimes exist on their own, apart from functioning as helping verbs, while the latter cannot; they only perform the function of helping verbs in a sentence where they occur, which shows that they are as important as the lexical verbs. Therefore, any misuse or misinterpretation of the auxiliary verbs can bring about distortion of the meaning meant to be conveyedin office documents. It is interesting to note that proper use of these auxiliary verbs helps to make our writing faultless and to convey meaningful information.

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