### Abstract:

We give a counterexample of an anisotropic triangulation on which the exact solution has a second-order error of linear interpolation, while the computed solution obtained using linear finite elements is only first-order pointwise accurate. Our example is given in the context of a singularly perturbed reaction-diffusion equation, whose exact solution exhibits a sharp boundary layer. Furthermore, we give a theoretical justification of the observed numerical phenomena using a finite-difference representation of the considered finite element methods. Both standard and lumped-mass cases are addressed.