The Use of Modal Auxiliary Verbs in Composition Writing among Standard Six Pupils of Diverse Language Backgrounds in Nakuru County, Kenya


Jane Ngoirinjuguna


The study focused on the use of English modal auxiliary verbs by class six pupils from diverse language backgrounds in Kenyan primary schools. Modal auxiliary verbs are difficult as their use entails syntactic and semantic appropriateness. As such, most pupils often find themselves unable to use this complex linguistic feature in written English. In spite of this, there is no known documentation that focuses on modal auxiliary verbs among children. It is this gap that the current study sought to fill. The rationale of the study was therefore to describe the use of this linguistic feature at this foundation level of learning so that appropriate measures can be taken by the stakeholders so as to alleviate further difficulties that students might encounter in their progressive learning of English. The main objective of the study was thus to describe appropriateness of modal auxiliary verbs in class six written English. Forty pupils were randomly selected from four primary schools in Nakuru County. Data was elicited by means of written composition and grammar exercises. Further, it was analyzed both quantitatively and qualitatively and presented in form of graphs and tables. The Representational Theory of the Mind was used to explain the research findings. The findings revealed that modal auxiliary verbs are indeed difficult and their appropriate use present difficulties in pupils' written work.