Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development

First Advisor

Dr. Arthur Smith


This study examined the development of students’ ability at the seventh, ninth and eleventh grade levels to detect underlying structural ambiguity. Gerund-participle ambiguity sentences and sentence fragments were constructed by the researcher to measure the detection abilities of the subjects. The findings showed that there were no developmental trends in the detection of the ambiguity. However, the incidental findings showed that the paraphrase task was performed more successfully than the completion task. Also, the subjects recognized the gerund-type ambiguity more successfully than the participle-type ambiguity. These findings led the researcher to conclude that the subjects' detection abilities were affected more by the type of task they were asked to perform and the type of structure involved in the task, than by the grade the subjects were in. Further research was suggested in the area of the effect of instruction on the ability to detect structural ambiguity when control is exercised for types of tasks and structures.