Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Language, Literature, Culture and Education 2016

Confusables as Revealed in the Essays of Student Writers

Joel Vallejo Araya

Mindanao State University


The study investigated the essays of 94 purposively selected Writing students for common mistakes in spelling which were further validated in a spelling test and through an item analysis. The essays were developed using the narrative-descriptive discourse on the topic “My Childhood” in a one-shot writing exercise. Besides revealing the confusability of certain words, the essays showed evidence that misspellings which were caused by overgeneralization and/or ignorance of spelling rule could be a meaning-bridging communication strategy among writers with a developing structural knowledge of the target language. Meanwhile, a 50-item spelling test constructed based on the misspelled words taken from the sample essays divulged that the students’ test score performance Mean was High at 38.84 points. Furthermore, item analysis revealed that the words: EMBARRASSING, UNFORGETTABLE, CHIRPING, and REGRETTING were the most confusable words in terms of spelling orthography. As a conclusion, besides near- homonyms, words that contain double letters such as unforgeTTable and embaRRaSS were mostly confusable to student writers. Thus, the study recommends (1) to complement formal instruction and to support the use of authentic materials in the classroom, spelling test items have to be based on students’ actual compositions, (2) for novice writers to familiarize with the structure of words, spelling tests should be preferably given in its written form rather than in its oral form for assimilation or accommodation of formally acquired structural knowledge into their future writings, (3) and confusable words that affect diction should be explored in future studies.


Confusable words, spelling test, item analysis, misspelling as meaning- bringing strategy

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