Communicative English 1
Reading is the cognitive process of decoding symbols to derive meaning from them. It is the ability to understand text, decode its meaning and compare with what the reader already knows.
Knowledge of grammar and vocabulary are very essential to be a good reader. Attention span, the ability to understand the meaning of a word from context, the ability to co-relate thoughts and ideas, the ability to follow the flow of words, and the ability to identify various literary devices are the fundamental skills required for efficient reading.
We should make our pupil an efficient reader. An efficient reader is like a bus driver who knows when to go slow, when to accelerate speed, how to negotiate hair-pin bends on ghat roads etc. An efficient reader knows there are different levels of comprehension too as these are different reading materials. To become an efficient reader, one should be able to employ different study techniques Reading is an act of communication between writer and reader. It is an act in which the reader grasps the information the writer passes on to him.
Comprehension is the correct association of meanings with word symbols. It is the selection of the correct meaning suggested by the text It is a thinking process. It is thinking through reading. Students should lead and get complete meaning. There are two situations that arise while reading a passage. The pupils may find a reading comprehension passage difficult for them. The teacher should know about the difficulties beforehand and prevent their occurrence.
Some common difficulties are:
- Students are not able to concentrate on what they read.
- They are not able to recognize words. Noisy surroundings, inadequate lighting and uncomfortable seating arrangements.
- Unfamiliarity of the subject matter (eg) a child from a city may not understand a passage on farming and a village child about road signal systems.
- In effective questioning and answering techniques.
- Lack of appropriate guidance by the teacher Steps for the comprehension skills. These are various steps followed for the construction of comprehension.
Features of Reading Comprehension
Reading for the main idea:
One should develop skills to identify the main idea or the central idea in what they read. This skill is necessary to get the main idea, identify the theme and get the implied meanings of the paragraph.
Activities to identify the main idea:
- Underlining key words.
- Selecting the topic sentence.
- Writing the title.
- Turning the sub heads or subtitles into a question (The answer to the question may give the main idea of the paragraph)
- Locating the function words that tie the sentence together. e.g then, therefore, but, etc.
Reading for details:
Along with reading for and stating the main idea the one must learn to read for details.
Below are some activities which facilitate reading for details:
- Look at a picture and then describe what they see at the picture.
- Note the details in a paragraph after stating the main idea.
- Identify irrelevant sentences.
- Analyse the paragraph to make a formal outline.
- Carryout simple directions on how to do something.
- Respond to directions.
- Elicit answers concerning the details, develop chart, diagram or map of the sequence of events.
Reading for organization:
Good readers will understand the organisation of what is being read. They arrange the ideas in logical order. The key helps to recall the information is organization. Reading the content areas depends upon proficiency in organisation skills. A Good reader knows how paragraphs are organized.
Activities that help one learn in a logical order what they are reading:
- Organizing information about a given subject (eg) characteristics of animals)
- Grouping a series of details about a main idea.
- Developing an outline for a story with heading and subheadings.
- Arranging records, directions or ideas in sequential orders.
- Arranging various bits of information about a selected topic and grouping them into an information story.
Reading for summarising and outline:
Summaries help to pressure the essential facts and ideas in capsule form. They retain important information. So one should develop summarizing skill. Outlining is another way of organisation. It is closely related to summarising activities to develop summarizing skills. Summarise a message to be sent as a telegram. Selecting the main idea from the choices you give them. Do exercise for writing an outline. Read a small poem and select the best summary from the choices you give them.
Improving Reading Comprehension Skills
Reading comprehension is a skill, and like other skills it can be improved over time. With reading comprehension, practice is the mantra, the more you read the better you'll be at understanding a text. Below are the seven main strategies which will help you hone your comprehension skills:
- Improve your vocabulary
- Come up with questions about the text you are reading
- Use context clues
- Look for the main idea
- Write a summary of what you read
- Break up the reading into smaller sections
- Pace yourself
1. Improve your vocabulary
The basic unit of a sentence is a word. Therefore, it is necessary to first understand the meaning of words in order to understand the meaning of sentences and ultimately the subtle meanings within the text. To improve your vocabulary, you can:
- Take an online vocabulary quiz to assess your current level of vocabulary understanding
- Use flashcards to quiz yourself on words you don’t know once or twice a week
- Make a point to use newly learned words in verbal and written communication
- Read as much as possible to improve your ability to guess what a word means in a certain context
- Make a list of unfamiliar words as you read and look them up in the dictionary
2. Come up with questions about the text you are reading
If you ask yourself questions while reading a text, it will help you get more invested and allow you to get a deeper understanding of the text. It will also allow you to explore themes, motifs and other components of text that you otherwise wouldn’t inquire about. The following are examples of questions you could pose as you read:
- Why was that location chosen to start the book by the author?
- What kind of relationships do characters share with each other?
- What do we know about the main character up to this point in the book?
- What are the themes consistently recurring throughout the book? What do they mean?
The more specific your questions, the more likely you will gain further insight into the text and its meaning.
3. Use context clues
Using context clues is a great way to understand what you are reading even if you don’t know all the vocabulary being used. Context clues can be found in the words and sentences surrounding the word that you aren’t familiar with. To use context clues, you can focus on the key phrases or ideas in a sentence and deduce the main idea of a sentence or paragraph based on this information. You can also look for nearby words that are synonyms or antonyms of the word you don’t know.
4. Look for the main idea
Identifying the main idea of a paragraph or article can help you determine the importance of the article. Understanding why the author has written what he has written will help you develop a deeper understanding of the text. While reading, pause after every paragraph and try to decipher the central idea behind the paragraph. Then, try to use your own words and describe the paragraph for further understanding.
5. Write a summary of what you read
Summarisation is a great way to increase your knowledge of what you have read. Summarizing requires you to decide what is important in the text and then put it in your own words. Summarizing allows you to determine if you truly understand what you have read and better remember what you have read in the long term
6. Break up the reading into smaller sections
Breaking up a text into small sections is a great way of understanding the text more easily if the text is complicated. For example, you could read two paragraphs at a time and then pause to quickly summarize what you just read in your mind. Breaking up what you are reading can help you feel less overwhelmed and give you a better chance of truly comprehending the information in the text.
7. Pace yourself
Set realistic goals for yourself while reading by pacing yourself and allowing yourself some room to breathe. Literary texts require a deep understanding of the subject matter and pacing will be especially helpful for understanding literary texts. Set a goal for yourself that you know you can meet each day. For example, instead of trying to read a full hefty book in two days, try reading 4 chapters in one day. This allows you to reach your goals and also provides adequate time for you to process what you are reading between each session.
Tips to make the most of your reading comprehension practice
Reading is a fundamental part everyday life. These tips can help you make the most of your time when practicing your reading skills.
- Eliminate distractions: When you are distracted, your ability to comprehend what you are reading is negatively impacted. When reading—even if it’s a simple email—the focus should be solely on the text as concentration is an essential element of the cognitive process. This will help you learn to hold your attention on what you read and enable you to know whether you understand what you are reading.
b. Read a book below your reading level: Starting with books below your reading level will allow you to develop a baseline of your reading comprehension and build on that. Instead of starting with books that contain complicated subjects, read something that interests you, is comfortable and that you can easily comprehend. You can take online quizzes to determine your current reading level.
c. Re-read text to ensure understanding: If you finish a sentence or paragraph and realize that you don’t understand what it was trying to convey, take the time to re-read it until you do. Try to read more slowly the second time around and look up definitions for any words you don’t know the meaning of.
d. Read aloud: Reading aloud comprises of both visual and audio cognitive processes which helps you with your reading comprehension practice. It also forces you to slow down and gives you more time to process what you are reading.
Example for Reading comprehension:
Read the following comprehensions and answer the questions:
In the 16th century, an age of great marine and terrestrial searching, Ferdinand Magellan led the first journey to sail around the world. As a young Portuguese noble, he worked for the king of Portugal, but he became involved in the quagmire of political conspiracy at court and lost the king’s good deed. After he was removed from service by the king of Portugal, he started to serve the future Emperor Charles V of Spain.
A papal decree of 1493 had allocated all land in the New World west of 50 degrees W longitude to Spain and all the land east of that line to Portugal. Magellan afforded to provide evidence that the East Indies fell under Spanish power. On September 20, 1519, Magellan set sail from Spain with five ships. More than a year later, one of these ships was searching the landscape of South America looking for a water route across the continent. This ship sank, but the outstanding four ships searched along the southern peninsula of South America. Lastly they found the passage they wanted near 50 degrees S latitude. Magellan called this passage the Strait of All Saints, but today it is recognized as the Strait of Magellan.
One ship abandoned while in this passage and came back to Spain, so fewer sailors were advantaged to look at that first panorama of the Pacific Ocean. Those who stayed back crossed the meridian now identified as the International Date Line in the early spring of 1521 after 98 days on the Pacific Ocean. During those long days at sea, many of Magellan’s men died of hunger and disease.
Later, Magellan became worried in an insular disagreement in the Philippines and was murdered in a tribal battle. Only one ship and 17 sailors under the authority of the Basque navigator Elcano survived to finish the westward voyage to Spain and thus show once and for all that the world is round, with no cliff at the border.
1. The 16th century was an age of large ______ exploration.
- Common man
- None of the above
2. Magellan lost the favour of the king of Portugal when he became involved in a political ________.
- None of the above
3. The Pope separated New World lands between Spain and Portugal along with their location on one side or the other of a made-up physical line 50 degrees west of Greenwich that extends in a _________ direction.
- North and south
- South east
- North and west
4. One of Magellan’s ships searched the _________ of South America for a passage across the continent.
- Mountain range
- Physical features
- None of the above
5. Four of the ships sought after a passageway along a southern ______.
- Body of land with water on three sides
- Answer not available
6. The passage was found near 50 degrees of ________.
- The equator
7. In the spring of 1521, the ships crossed the _______ now called the International Date Line.
- Imaginary circle passing through the poles
- Imaginary line parallel to the equator
- Land mass
- Answer not available
Skimming is the process of rapidly reading a text in order to get a general overview of the content. Skimming helps comprehend the general information within a text or a particular section of the text.
Before skimming, one should prepare oneself to read rapidly through the pages. One should not read every word; but special attention must be paid to typographical cues-headings, boldface and italic type, indenting, bulleted and numbered lists.
One should be alert for the names of people and places, key words and phrases, dates, nouns, and unfamiliar words.
Importance of Skimming
Skimming is a speed-reading technique which enables the reader to cover a vast amount of material very rapidly. It is a process of reading over text with the purpose of getting only the main ideas or the over-all impression of the content. Readers skim to get the information they need quickly without wasting time. They do not need to read everything which is what increases their speed-reading range. Your skimming skill lies in knowing what specific information to read.
It is very useful to pay attention to the organization of the text. Main ideas are found in the first sentence of each paragraph and in the first and last paragraphs. In skimming, to get an over-all impression, ignore the details and look for the main ideas. Be active all the time when you’re reading. You have to work at constructing the meaning of the text in what you’re reading.
In most academic writing, the paragraphs are organized internally. It is a coherent unit, which must connect to the previous and next paragraphs. Skimming a text using first lines of paragraphs is an effective way to find general information of your reading material. Always remember that reading is an interactive process.
You may also find that in some reading materials, the text is organized through the use of headings and sub-headings. This should help you get a feeling for the organization of the text and its content. You will find that familiar texts are easier to read when you are skimming a text using section headings.
Purposes of Skimming
Below are the various purposes skimming is used for:
- To find out what is in the newspaper of web articles
- To look through a text and decide if you should read further
- To look through the calendar, guide or program schedule to plan your daily activities
- To see through a catalogue to choose an offer
- To skim through the options after searching something on Google
Steps for Skimming
Skimming involves the following steps:
1. First the table of content or the chapter overview must be read to get the structural overview of the text.
2. Main headings of each chapter must be glanced through. All headings of charts and tables must be read.
3. After glancing through headings, the whole introductory paragraph must be read followed by the first and last lines of each succeeding paragraph. For each paragraph, only the first few words of each sentence must be read to locate the central idea.
4. Words indicated with boldface or italics must always be read.
5.When something significant is found, the whole sentence containing it should be given priority. One should not waste time reading extraneous details while skimming.
6.All chapter summaries must be read at the end if provided.
Skimming may help understand the text at the most basic level but to get the complete idea of a topic it should always be read completely. Skimming is useful for reading news articles, finding source material for research papers, previewing and reviewing or getting a general idea from a long selection of texts.
Although skimming can save hours of work, it is not advisable to skim often. This is because while skimming one may miss important points or finer shades of meaning.
Scanning, like skimming, also uses keywords and organizational cues, but while the objective of skimming is a big picture view of the text, the objective of scanning is to locate and collect particular facts.
It is necessary to skim the text first to decide if it is likely to contain the facts you need. While skimming one should concentrate on table of contents, summaries, indexes, headings, and typographical cues. If after skimming it is established that the text has relevant information, it can be scanned.
Purposes of Scanning
Below are the important purposes of scanning:
- To search for a word in a dictionary or an index
- To find a phone number or an address in a directory
- To check the time or schedule of a program in an agenda
- To find out the price of a specific item in a catalogue
- To acquire particular information from a text
Rules for Scanning
Following are some rules to be kept in mind while scanning:
1. It is essential to know what one is looking for. If there is a keyword or a phrase attached to the topic, one should start with that word or phrase and begin the scanning process.
1. Only one keyword should be used during one scan. If there is a need for multiple keywords than multiple scans should be conducted.
2. The eyes should rapidly float around the page until the required keyword or phrase is found.
3. After finding the desired keyword, the text surrounding that keyword should be read carefully.
The Process of Scanning
The process of scanning could be tiring as it requires a lot of concentration. One should not let their attention wander while scanning as they might lose track of the keyword or phrase. Scanning is very useful during research projects to find particular facts or fact-heavy topics.
Before beginning to scan a text for a particular information, you know must find out some fundamental things about that text. You won't be able to scan a text efficiently if you do not have a basic idea regarding the contents of the text. You should skim it first to get some ideas about that text in case the text is completely unknown. This will help you to guess the section or part of the text where you might find the information you need.
Notice how the information is arranged. It can be arranged either alphabetically or numerically. However, some texts are not arranged at all. In those cases, you have to guess a section and scan it through to get your information.
Scanning a random unknown page of a text may prove to be difficult. It may consume more time than it typically should. Therefore, it is advisable that you move your eyes vertically and diagonally keeping in mind the exact letters or numbers you are looking for.
Steps for Scanning:
- State the specific information you are looking for.
- Try to anticipate how the answer will appear and what clues you might use to help you locate the answer. For example, if you were looking for a certain date, you would quickly read the paragraph looking only for numbers.
- Use headings and any other aids that will help you identify which sections might contain the information you are looking for.
- Selectively read and skip through sections of the passage.
Inference in reading is the ability to grasp the meaning of a passage of text without all the data being spelled out. From context clues within a passage, the author gives information about plot, characters, setting, period and other elements of story by the items he or she infers. Word choice and word order give clues about the premise as it unravels before the readers. Readers take the given clues and draw conclusions based on their own perception and experiences.
The cloze technique for teaching inferences relies on the psychological theory of closure. According to the online professional learning community, Thinkfinity, the cloze theory supports the concept that an individual attempts to finish any pattern that's not complete. Activities using the cloze theory can teach readers to infer the meaning behind text by recognizing and completing patterns within the reading. In one such activity, readers choose a passage of about 250 words in a book of an appropriate reading level. From this selection readers should include the first and second sentences completely. Readers then delete every fifth word after the first two sentences from the passage and replace these with blank lines. Readers exchange papers and try to fill in the blanks from their peers’ reading selection, looking for patterns or meanings from the words that remain to help them fill in the blanks. Readers then compare the words they have chosen to the original text to see how close their choices are to the original meaning.
The concept of general sense helps readers infer the meaning of words or passages of text based on context clues. According to Cuesta College, general sense activities help readers understand implied word meanings despite the fact that the words themselves could also be new or unfamiliar. One way to teach this is to give readers a sentence with a new vocabulary word that then lists the meaning of the word within the remaining text. For example, in the sentence “Murderers are usually incarcerated for longer periods of time than robbers,” readers may not be accustomed to the word “incarcerated”, but they will most likely know the word “robbers.” Readers know that robbers who are caught usually spend time in jail for their crimes. Thus, they can infer that the word “incarcerated” means “to spend time in custody for crimes committed.”
Using examples that mean identical because the word a reader is trying to understand may be a way to infer meaning. According to literary coach, Catherine M. Wishart, inference helps readers use their own background knowledge to find out what they do not know. Using examples from personal experiences in the following sentence helps readers infer the meaning of the word “gregarious.” Ex: Those who enjoy belonging to clubs, going to parties and frequently inviting friends to their homes for dinner are gregarious. Because readers associate certain personality traits in those who enjoy social gatherings and having others in their homes, they can infer that gregarious is a word used to describe this type of person.
Opposites and Contrasts
Opposites and contrasts help readers take information they already know to infer meaning to other words. According to Cuestra University, when the meaning of a word isn't implied by context or a general sense, it may be inferred by employing a word that's opposite or in stark contrast to the meaning of the word in question. For example, if one person is "fearless" and the other is "timorous" in a sentence, it may be inferred that "timorous" means "frightened, afraid or timid" since the sentence is attempting to indicate the difference between the two.
A paragraph is a group of related sentences that support one central idea. Generally, the paragraphs have three parts: the topic sentence, the body sentences, and the conclusion or sentence of the bridge to the next paragraph or paragraph. Paragraphs indicate where the division of a research book begins and ends, and, thus, helps the reader to see the order of the text and to understand its main points.
Business documents - such as letters, emails, reminders and reports - use categories to distinguish different types of information, ideas, and ideas. The sections written in the business format are organized in an orderly, professional and well-organized manner. When writing a business document, we have to look at how the paragraph will appear on the page, the organization of the section and its placement throughout the article. We have to agree on the way our categories are organized. We should use short language and simple style to keep the reader focused on our message.
Structure and Writing Style
Most of the subsections in the book revolve around the formation of three general sections of each section of the research paper, and, by extension, a comprehensive research paper, with an introduction, a body of facts and analysis, and a conclusion. You can see this structure in stages as it relates, describes, compares, compares or analyzes information. Each section of the paragraph plays an important role in conveying the meaning you desire to the reader.
Introduction (The Topic Sentence):
Writers don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. The first sentence or topic sentence of the paragraph will give readers a first impression of the argument, the writing style, and the overall quality of the work. A vague, random presentation, full of errors, a wall, or a developing introduction may create a negative impression. On the other hand, a short, fun, and well-written introduction will start readers not thinking too much about writer's analytical skills, writing, and the paper.
Introduction is an important road map throughout the paper. It conveys a wealth of information to readers. Can let them know what the topic is, why it's important, and how it is planned to continue the discussion. In most academic disciplines, introduction should contain a thesis that will enhance the main argument.
Introduction should also give the reader a sense of the types of information to use to make that argument with the general organization of the paragraphs and pages to follow. After reading introduction, readers should not have any major surprises in store when reading the main body of the paper.
Ideally, introduction will make readers want to read the paper. The introduction should spark the interest of readers, making them want to read the rest of the paper. Opening up with a compelling story, an interesting question, or a clear example can get readers to see why the topic is important and serves as an invitation for them to join you in informative discussions (remember, however, that these strategies will not be appropriate for all papers and advice).
The body: follows the introduction; discusses regulatory logic, uses facts, arguments, analyses, examples, and other information.
Conclusion: final stage; it summarizes the connection between the information discussed in the body of the paragraph and the governing concept of the paragraph. For longer paragraphs, you may want to include a bridge sentence introducing the next section or section of the paper. In some cases, the sentence of the bridge may be written in the form of a question. However, use this smart device a bit, otherwise, completing most sections with a question to lead to the next level sounds a bit daunting.
NOTE: This standard layout does not mean you should not be creative in your writing. Editing when each element fits into a category can make the paper engaging for the reader. However, don't get too creative in trying out the narrative flow of stages. Doing so may jeopardize the central issues of your research and limit the quality of your academic writing.
Construction of a Paragraph
Each section has to deal with one main idea. Introduce the main idea to a common statement in the first paragraph of a paragraph. Follow this topic sentence with a few sentences that support the main idea. This may contain informative information or debate to defend your view. Wrap up the paragraph with a summary sentence. If the class is running too long, you risk losing the student's attention. Instead, arrange the long section into two or more sections.
A business document, such as a report or letter, begins with a paragraph that informs the title of the book. This is followed by one or more sections that develop the lesson. The concluding paragraph summarizes the information you provided or asked the student to take some action. For example, a letter outlining the reasons for an ad campaign may begin with an introductory paragraph introducing the campaign, followed by three sections each explaining the unique purpose of the campaign and a concluding paragraph asking the reader to approve the campaign. If the document is long, use headers to separate large sections.
The style of writing a paragraph can be formal or informal depending upon the context in which the paragraph is to be written. For example, while writing a fictional paragraph, an informal style would suffice. Here the tone may be friendly, the text may be personal or impersonal. While writing paragraphs for articles, the reader may be directly addressed. Business texts are written in formal style. Your writing may be read by third parties and kept by the company for many years, so avoid personal comments. Keep your writing up to date using gender-neutral language, as well as grammar and spelling. Keep your sentences short and to the point. Avoid clichés, contraction and slang.
Types of Paragraphs
There are four main types of paragraphs that are used in fiction as well as nonfiction writing, they are:
1. Descriptive Paragraph
A descriptive paragraph is one a type of paragraph which is describing a person, place, thing, animal, theme or idea to the reader. Descriptive paragraphs consist of sentences that make use of the five senses: how something feels, smells, sounds, tastes or looks. The more descriptive your paragraph can get, the more vivid picture you’re providing your reader. A good descriptive paragraph will make them desire they were there experiencing everything you’re talking about. Descriptive paragraphs are powerful tools for fiction writers, as these paragraphs are useful for setting the stage and telling the story.
2. Narrative Paragraph
A narrative paragraph is a type of paragraph which helps the writer in telling a story or keeping a story moving. Narrative paragraphs typically include sentences containing action, events and stream of consciousness that are written in exciting descriptive words. These paragraphs help keep the reader interested in the story. Narrative paragraphs are almost like descriptive paragraphs (and a paragraph may very well be both at once), but a narrative paragraph tends to supply the reader more background information, such as past events that initiate to or cause events within the story. These are also vital paragraphs for fiction writers, as they assist the reader to visualize the complete picture.
3. Persuasive Paragraphs
A persuasive paragraph is one in which the author is truly giving his own opinion on a particular subject or topic. Persuasive paragraphs must include facts and data that help to enforce the writer’s opinion. These paragraphs often show up in speeches or editorial essays and other kinds of writing where the primary goal is persuasion. In fiction, use these paragraphs to convince the reader to feel a particular way toward a character, place or event, perhaps a unique way than they may have felt earlier in the story.
4. Explanatory Paragraph
An explanatory paragraph offers the reader information on a specific subject. These paragraphs may contain directions or might describe a process in an exceedingly logical, linear manner. Explanatory paragraphs should also be factual in nature and don't seem to be a typical tool for fiction writers.
Noun-Pronoun agreement refers to the correspondence of a pronoun with its antecedent in number (singular, plural), person (first, second, third), and gender (masculine, feminine, neuter).
Typically, one of the basic principles of pronoun concord (also known as noun-pronoun agreement or pronoun-antecedent agreement) is that a singular pronoun refers to a singular noun while a plural pronoun refers to a plural noun.
Below are the rules related to pronoun concord:
Singular Noun, Singular Pronoun:
When writing a sentence, using the same word more than once can be repetitive.
Example: Francine edited her paper because her paper was full of errors.
• Rather than repeating "paper" twice, it is possible to use a pronoun.
Revision: Francine edited her paper because it was full of errors.
• Since "paper" is singular (there is only one), use the singular pronoun ("it") to replace it.
Remember to find the exact subject of the sentence to find out whether a pronoun should be singular or plural. See our web page on subject-verb agreement for more on singular and plural subjects.
For example: Each student should find his or her own note taking strategy.
• Since the subject is singular ("each "), the pronoun ("his or her") must also be singular.
For example: Neither Bob and Alex do not believe he will win this award.
• Since the subject is singular ("neither"), the pronoun ("he") must also be singular.
For example: A community group of teachers is meeting tonight to see if it can find a way to help students improve their SAT scores.
• Since the subject is singular ("community group"), the pronoun ("it") must also be singular.
Recently, a number of popular and popular books have begun to accept the use of the word "them" as a singular pronoun, meaning that the authors use "they" to associate with the target topics in an attempt to avoid male pronouns. Although the pronoun "they" is a plural noun in some style references, APA encourages authors to use "they" as a singular pronoun for the purpose of accepting gender differences.
According to the APA-style blog, "when people come together and do not change their gender (including age, gender, and other communities) use their unity as their pronoun, the authors rightly use the singular when" writing about them ".
With this in mind, when authors write specifically about an individual or group of people who like singular "they," authors should also use the single "they."
When appropriate, we recommend authors explicitly explain that they have used the singular "they" to follow the identities of the people they are interviewing.
In addition, authors can often avoid the issue of gender-neutral pronouns by updating a sentence to make the subject plural:
Original sentence: A teacher should carefully choose opportunities for development that address their gaps in knowledge.
Plural Noun, Plural Pronoun:
When the subject of a sentence is plural, the pronoun in the sentence becomes plural as well.
For example: When students arrive on the first day of school, students need help finding the right classroom.
• Since " students " is a plural, use a plural pronoun to replace it.
Revision: When students arrive on the first day of school, they need help finding the right classroom.
Remember to find the exact subject of the sentence to find out whether a pronoun should be singular or plural. See our web page on subject- verb agreement for more on single-subject articles.
For example: When a manager or employee disagrees, they should discuss the situation.
• Since the subject has a plural ("a manager or employee"), the pronoun ("they") must also be plural.
Example: The professor hopes that students review their notes carefully.
• Since the subject is plural ("students "), the pronoun ("their") must also be plural.
For example: Both Smith (2016) and Taylor (2017) believe that their results will lead to social change.
• Since the subject is plural ("both"), the pronoun ("their") must also be plural.
Although pronouns are useful to help writers avoid repetition, they should be used sparingly to understand the meaning of the sentence. Look at this sentence:
For example: When Jeff and Brian joined the team members, they were shocked.
• The pronoun here ("they") is unclear - to whom? Was the team nervous? Were Jeff and Brian nervous? In this example, because the pronoun "they" makes sense, choosing a noun instead of a pronoun will help clarify it.
Content Words and Function Words
The English language is basically comprised of eight parts of speech that construct a complete sentence: noun, pronoun, verb, adjective, adverb, preposition, conjunction, and interjection. These parts of speech determine how a word functions in meaning as well as grammatically within the sentence.
Content words are words that describe the subject or the action that takes places in a sentence. They include:
Nouns, also called naming words, refer to any person, place, animal, thing or idea. Nouns can be singular or plural, concrete or abstract. There are two types of nouns:
- Proper noun- These nouns start with capital letters and refer to the name of a particular place or thing. Ex – Barack Obama, Himalaya mountains.
- Common noun- These nouns start with lower case letter and refer to the names of general places or things. Ex – man, teacher, letter
An adjective is a word that describes the quality or quantity possessed by a noun. It answers the questions like which one, what kind or how many. It is a word used to modify or describe the noun or a pronoun.
Ex - Young boy, Pretty girl, Huge elephant, One thousand sea shells.
An adverb is a word that modifies or describes a verb, an adjective, or another adverb, but never a noun. When, where, how, why, under what conditions, or to what degree are the types of questions that are answered by an adverb. Adverbs often end in -ly.
Ex- Very long letter, quickly disappear out of sight.
A verb is a word that expresses the state of being or work being done by the subject. There are main verbs and there are also helping verbs known as auxiliary verbs. Verbs can also be used to express tense.
Ex – She vanished in the darkness.
Function words are connecting words that connect the content words to form a structurally coherent and meaningful sentence. They include:
A pronoun is a word used in place of the noun.
A pronoun which substituted in place of a specific noun is called an antecedent. Pronouns can be further defined by their various types: personal pronouns describe specific persons or things; possessive pronouns imply ownership; relative pronouns introduce a subordinate clause; and demonstrative pronouns identify, point to, or refer to nouns.
Ex - Me, she, her, mine, theirs.
A conjunction is a word that joins words, phrases or clauses and establishes a relationship between them. And, but, or, nor, for, so, yet are some examples of conjunctions.
An interjection is a word which is used to express emotion. They are usually followed by exclamation points.
Ex. Oh dear! Wow! Oh my God!
Prepositions are words placed before a noun or a pronoun in order to modify the meaning of other words in a sentence. The prepositional phrase almost functions as an adjective or an adverb.
Ex- The boy received a number of sweets from the teacher.
Content and Functional Word List
Content Word List
Look forward to
Function Word List