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Volume 19 Number 2, Summer 2022, Pages 398-739   

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Investigating MAKE Patterns in Learner English Writing: What can Frequency Tell?

    ZHI Yuying

This paper presents the uses of MAKE patterns in writing of Chinese English learners of different proficiency levels. MAKE patterns, such as “make decisions”, “make them have” or “make me happy”, are frequently used in EFL learners' writing. Previous studies have examined MAKE patterns used by EFL learners, but it is still unclear what the differences are on the uses of MAKE patterns among learners at different proficiency levels. Thus, the present study investigated the different uses of MAKE patterns from a frequency perspective. The study compared MAKE patterns in writings of Chinese English learners at intermediate and upper intermediate levels. Corpus data were extracted from the Language teaching and Testing Center (LTTC) English Learner Corpus. Findings indicate that learners at the intermediate level use MAKE-VP/ADJ more frequently, while those at the upper intermediate level, use the causative function frequently and the support verb function of MAKE. The choice of verbs in the MAKE-VP structure reflects the learners' lexical and grammatical control while writing. This study promotes the understanding of MAKE patterns used by different English proficiency level learners, which shed light on the developmental process of general-purpose verbs and other lexicons.

Keywords: MAKE patterns, EFL writing, frequency, proficiency levels