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Creating a piece of writing is an arduous task that presents challenges to both native and non-native speakers of English. Although there is enough material to help learners structure and organize their essays, English language learners (ELL) face surface level and sentence level issues. The purpose of this paper is to investigate two such issues, specifically orthographic and tense agreement mistakes produced by college-bound Somali students. The analyses reveal that phonological L1 transfers can affect orthography, while L1 syntactic structures interfere with tense agreements in complex sentences.



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