This study investigated the effect of focused direct written corrective feedback (CF) with metalinguistic explanations on EFL college students' use of English articles, adopting a quasi-experimental, pretest-posttest-delayed posttest design. Different from previous research, this study expanded the treatment scope to all primary functions of English articles in noun phrases and adopted a research design of more ecological validity. The participants came from two high-intermediate level classes in a freshman English course, with one serving as the experimental group and the other as the control group. The results demonstrate that although the control group performed significantly better than the experimental group on the pretest, no significant differences were found between the two groups on the immediate and delayed posttests. Furthermore, the experimental group exhibited a tendency to make progress over time and their improvement from pretest to delayed posttest reached a marginal significant level. In contrast, the control group's performance fluctuated over time. The CF treatment appeared to help enhance the experimental group's accuracy in using English articles, thereby closing down the initial performance gap between the two groups. The findings suggest potential benefits of focused written CF plus metalinguistic comments in improving EFL learners' accurate use of English articles.
- focused written corrective feedback
- EFL learners
- English articles