Date of Award

May 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Computer Science

First Advisor

Susan McRoy

Committee Members

Amol Mali, Ethan Munson


Arabian Typical Mistakes, Grammar Checking for Arabian Students, Learning English for Arabs


In Arabic speaking countries like Saudi Arabia, English is considered as the most important second language to be taught and used. Unfortunately, a sizeable percentage of students there appear to still have significant difficulty learning English, possibly due to the difficulty in finding sufficiently qualified teachers. This type of problem is self-perpetuating since the taught students might become weak teachers in the future also. This thesis aims to address the problem of helping Arabic students to improve their writing in English and to help them learn so that they will make fewer mistakes in the future and possibly become better teachers themselves. It focuses on creating methods to find the most typical mistakes made by those Arabian students in their writing, mistakes which were determined by the author from both self-observation and a review of related research findings (The author also saw these mistakes in the sentences used by subjects who tried pilot versions of the software). The result of this work is usable software that is able to detect, correct, and provide grammatical rules related to the most common mistakes found in the written sentences of the target Arabian students, when the sentences are in the present tense. These types are errors related to the following rules: (1) letters capitalization rules, (2) adj-noun ordering in the sentence, (3) proper use of the verb to be, (4) punctuation placement rules, (5) the use of the articles “a” and “an” within a sentence, and (6) rules for the possessive case.

The software was evaluated using the author’s observation on the use of the software by 22 Arabian students and by letting them afterwards to complete a usability and usefulness survey. The results of the evaluation suggest that Arabs will mostly like how the software treats punctuation placing errors. Students also advised the author that it would be beneficial for the software to address a broader range of typical mistakes.

This work is the first to create software specifically for Arabic students of English to help them to find their grammatical errors, provide suggested correction, and teach the student the grammatical rules needed to correct his/her sentence. (5 kB)