eCite Digital Repository

Adults' spelling and understanding of possession and plurality: an intervention study


Hokanson, L and Kemp, N, Adults' spelling and understanding of possession and plurality: an intervention study, Reading and Writing, 26, (2) pp. 241-261. ISSN 1573-0905 (2013) [Refereed Article]

PDF (2013 Print version)
Not available

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2012 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

DOI: doi:10.1007/s11145-012-9366-7


In English, some words sound the same but are distinguished by silent written markers of their morphological status, as in plurals (e.g., cities), singular possessives (e.g., city’s) and plural possessives (e.g., cities’). We examined undergraduates’ ability to correctly omit or position apostrophes in these three word types before and after a 3-week intervention that focused on the conceptual bases for plurality and possession, as well as their associated spelling rules. Pre-test spelling was imperfect for plurals and poor for possessives, especially plural possessives. Abstract understanding of plurality and possession, measured in a morphological awareness task, was also relatively poor. The intervention resulted in significant but imperfect improvement on all tasks, with post-test morphological awareness predicting post-test spelling of plurals and possessives, even after controls for general spelling ability. Control participants showed no change. We suggest that adults’ difficulty in spelling possessives stems from a shaky grasp of the underlying morphological concepts, and we discuss possibilities for future intervention.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Psychology
Research Group:Applied and developmental psychology
Research Field:Educational psychology
Objective Division:Education and Training
Objective Group:Learner and learning
Objective Field:Learner and learning not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Hokanson, L (Miss Lesli Hokanson)
UTAS Author:Kemp, N (Associate Professor Nenagh Kemp)
ID Code:77428
Year Published:2013
Web of Science® Times Cited:2
Deposited By:Psychology
Deposited On:2012-04-12
Last Modified:2014-12-21
Downloads:2 View Download Statistics

Repository Staff Only: item control page