Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts




Teaching English as a Second Language/Applied Linguistics

First Advisor

Bethany Gray


Drawing on previous research pointing towards the importance of stance marking in ESL academic writing, this study investigated the effect of two main variables on the linguistic marking of stance in students’ writing responses in a local placement test, namely, (1) essay task type and (2) placement level. Using a local corpus (i.e., EPT) that includes 991 summary and 991 argumentative essays, the study investigated the grammatical stance markers in Biber’s (2006a) stance framework. The study particularly focused on how these stance markers and their semantic associations varied across the two task types (i.e., summary and argumentative) and five placement levels (i.e., B, C, Pass Undergraduate, D, and Pass Graduate). Results showed that stance markers used by ESL students varied greatly both in terms of frequency of occurrences and functions across the summary and argumentative essay task types. Variation across levels was much less marked, indicating that students in different levels marked their stance linguistically in similar ways. Differences were mainly observed in the way students expressed more nuanced meanings with the stance markers they used in higher placement levels. Overall findings indicated that students marked their stance using a limited range of stance markers recycled frequently. The study pointed towards important implications for ESL/EAP writing assessment and pedagogy.

Copyright Owner

Nergis Danis



File Format


File Size

118 pages

Included in

Linguistics Commons