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ISSN : 1226-3206(Print)
Studies in Modern Grammar Vol.102 pp.245-269

The V-ing Construction in L2 Written English

Hyeson Park**
* An earlier version of this paper was presented at the Korean Association of Language Studies spring conference held at Jeju National University on June 30, 2018.
** Professor, Keimyung University


This study explores the distribution of the multi-functional V-ing construction in Korean college freshmen’s written English, focusing on its use across different proficiency levels and text types. A small corpus (75,000 words) consisting of narrative and argumentative essays was analyzed, producing the following results: 1) The overall frequency of the V-ing construction exhibited a relation, though non-linear, with L2 proficiency. 2) The V-ing construction was more common as the gerund than the participle, a pattern consistent with what was observed in previous NS studies. 3) In argumentative essays, gerunds as sentential subjects were as common as the prepositional object function in contrast to the overwhelming number of prepositional objects in NS data. 4) The adverbial participle clause emerged ahead of the nominal modifier, and the subordinate participle clauses tended to precede the matrix clauses in the narrative essays and in the argumentative essays of the lower level learners. Influence of the essay prompts, learners’ insufficient knowledge of the lexico-discourse features of the gerund and the participle clauses were conjectured to have attributed to the pattern incongruent with that of NS usage. Pedagogical implications are suggested to enhance L2 learners’ knowledge of the target construction.