Volume 1, Issue 2
  • ISSN 2542-3835
  • E-ISSN: 2542-3843
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This study investigated Chinese EFL learners’ use of and , three challenging words each being a member in a synonym set: in the set, in the set, and in the set. Via an expert rating and a close examination of all the uses of the three words in Wen, Wang, and Liang’s (2005) Spoken and Written English Corpus of Chinese Learners, the study has uncovered various inappropriate usages as well as successfully acquired usages involving the three words. The results reveal a failure by many Chinese EFL learners to understand the three words’ semantic usage differences with their respective synonyms. The study has also identified L1 interference, inadequate descriptions of these words in dictionaries, and insufficient instructional attention to the semantic usage differences among synonyms as likely reasons for the learners’ inappropriate usages. Pedagogical and research implications are also discussed.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): (near)-synonym; L1 interference; learner corpus; vocabulary learning
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