I'm working on a research concerning error analysis. I want to ask whether these errors would affect what meaning a native speaker will interpret these sentences as conveying?

  1. In magic realism it’s the element of magic realism that shows the real world. It’s mean that the real setting, the real life, show, showed that it is the realism, the word realism.

  2. Defocalization use in magic realism narrative text because this style has it owns way to see the perspective of narrator toward the story.

If possible would you give some explanations?

2 Answers 2


I am having trouble parsing both of those sentences. Even if I make the change from "It's mean" to "It means", example one is still is not grammatical. "show, showed" and "the realism, the word realism" double up the verb and direct object of the subordinate clause in a non-standard way. The only way I can make sense of this is in oral speech where the speaker changed their phrasing mid-sentence.

The second example is even less clear. I tried to read it as "use" and "uses" and to change "has it owns" to "has its own" and "of narrator" to "of the narrator", but the sentence is still lacking something, probably a direct object for "uses".

To answer your actual question, the meaning is altered because it is not clear what point the author is trying to make and the whole of communication is altered because you end up going over it several times to try to get the intent.

I somehow think (without any particular evidence) that when discussing an abstract topic, it is more important to get the grammar right than when discussing concrete topics because it is harder for the listener or reader to make the leap to what the speaker or author is really trying to convey. If a non-native speaker was talking about, say, a dog rather than the qualities of a genre of literature, you could use general knowledge to fill in some of the gaps and understand the intent better.

  • Thank you very much. You're right. Those sentences are utterances produced by students during presentations in class. The students (Participants of my research) tend say "it's mean" instead of correct form "it means". Do you think this confuse you as a native speaker? Because the meanings are different, right? However, the students successfully produce the same form with subject "I", "I mean"
    – Jalal
    Commented Jul 8, 2014 at 11:08
  • 1
    "Meaning" is a complex concept, and depends much on context. If the effect of an error is that most readers will go "The words don't make sense, but I'm sure it must have been intended to say xxx", then in a sense it does mean xxx. In another sense it hasn't got a meaning at all.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Jul 8, 2014 at 12:00
  • @ColinFine Thank you for the answer. I agree that meaning depends on context. What I want to find out here is errors that generally alter meaning and hinder communication. Are you familiar with Dulay's Communicative Effect Taxonomy?
    – Jalal
    Commented Jul 8, 2014 at 16:40

They're both ungrammatical, but it's clear that what's happened is misplacing the final {-Z}.
It's mean should be It means, and it owns should be its own.

It could easily happen in a transcript of spoken material, or it could happen during speech by a learner.

Personally, I find those little intrusive {-Z} morphemes in English, like English articles and auxiliaries and pronouns and empty prepositions, to be a mine field of possible mistakes and misunderstandings. Lucky for me I learned it before I went to school.

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