Errors of inflection in the writing of normal and poor readers.

Karen M. Smith-Lock*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)


    This study investigated the speech and writing of 18 normal and 11 poor readers in second grade in order to determine whether children make morphological errors in writing that they do not make in speech. Ten sentences with complex syntactic structures were elicited, both orally and in writing (e.g., "Who do you think eats fries?" "Point to the dog that licks babies"). Each sentence provided opportunities for the children to erroneously omit, add, or substitute an inflection. In the spoken task, virtually no inflectional errors were observed in either group. In contrast, in the written task, good readers omitted an average of 0.4 inflections out of a possible 20 whereas the poor readers omitted an average of 7.6 inflections each, a highly significant difference. This suggests that poor readers have adequate grammatical knowledge, but poor explicit awareness of morphological structure.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)341-350
    Number of pages10
    JournalLanguage and speech
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1991


    • inflections
    • morphological awareness
    • reading ability
    • writing


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