Lexical Collocation Errors in Essay Writing: A Study into Vietnamese EFL Students and Their Perceptions





lexical collocation errors, EFL learners’ perceptions, essay writing, collocation perceptions


Writing requires practicing language by combining words, not using them separately. Accordingly, EFL learners commit errors in lexical usage or lexical collocations. Previous studies have highlighted the significance of collocations in writing and identifying lexical collocation errors, but few researchers have looked into this field in the Vietnamese context. Therefore, this paper investigates lexical collocation errors of Vietnamese EFL learners in their writing essays and their perceptions. 104 English majors at a private university in Vietnam participated in the study. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected, and essays and semi-structured interviews were research tools. The results show that Verb + Noun and Adjective + Noun are the two most common lexical collocation errors, which are attributed to learners’ lack of competence, negative transfer, synonym strategy, and approximation. The interview results suggest EFL learners do not understand collocations adequately, so there should be guidelines and instructions from teachers for better collocation practice.

Author Biographies

Do Ngoc Hoang My, Faculty of Foreign Languages, Van Lang University, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Do Ngoc Hoang My is an undergraduate student majoring in Translation-Interpretation at the Faculty of Foreign Languages, Van Lang University, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. One of her fields of interest is conducting studies related to EFL learners’ problems in learning English.

Le Quang Thao, Faculty of Foreign Languages, Van Lang University, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Le Quang Thao is currently a full-time lecturer at the Faculty of Foreign Languages, Van Lang University, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. He has taught English to university students for over ten years. His research interests include but are not limited to linguistics and English teaching and learning.


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How to Cite

Do, N. H. M., & Le, Q. T. (2023). Lexical Collocation Errors in Essay Writing: A Study into Vietnamese EFL Students and Their Perceptions. International Journal of Language Instruction, 2(2), 1–20. https://doi.org/10.54855/ijli.23221



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