Another post highlighting and analysing cohesive devices in academic writing, this time a summary of research looking into the facial expressions of animals.
These days a lot of people like to use smartphones and tablets. Those are popular because they can connect to the Internet.
OK so our writer is using those as a substitute for smartphones and tablets. However, it would have been better to use these: Continue reading
It has been argued that expenditure needed for applying a circular economy tends to be high (Kirchher et al., 2017). However, their claim is easy to counter given the many economic benefits offered by a circular economy.
This writer has used their as a substitute for a source – Kircher et al. However, since the source is in brackets and has not yet appeared in the body of the text, we have to assume that the reader has not yet seen it! Only use a pronoun as a substitute if the noun you are substituting has already been mentioned in the body of the text: Continue reading
A good way to avoid repetition in writing, and at the same time to cement (= stick) sentences together so that ideas flow smoothly, is to use what’s called referencing and substitution (many examples of referencing and substitution in previous posts).
In this post we focus again on using it and this as substitutes for themes and rhemes. If you’re not sure what is meant by theme and rheme, please read this before trying the activity below. Continue reading
English should be taught from an early age. English is highly valued when pursuing study abroad, getting a job, and connecting business people all over the world. They use English, furthermore, in their activities, such as education, business, politics, travel, and others.
The IELTS examiner will be wondering who they refers to. In IELTS terms, the plural they and the singular it refer to or act as substitutes for the subject of the previous sentence. Referencing and substitution is something that the IELTS examiner is evaluating in your writing, so it pays to use it correctly.
Let’s investigate what this writer is trying to say: Continue reading
The word ‘trend‘ is only used once, and even then it is used together with ‘downward‘! See this post for further discussion of ‘trend‘.
Although is used to contrast two trends at the same time. This is a good thing to do, if you can, in your IELTS Task 1 overview.
Indonesians notice the contrasted items are separated with a comma without ‘but’ (akan tetapi).
- Although female-dominated industries have suffered fewer job losses from globalisation and technological change, they also pay less.
Referencing and substitution
- This form of segregation.. (= men and women pursue different lines of work)
- ..those that have long employed women.. (those = ‘the fastest growing industries in America)
- This does not mean.. (This = slow growth of sectors dominated by men)
- ..they also pay less. (they = slow growth of sectors dominated by men)
- ..the figure (= % of American doctors and lawyers who are women)
- ..this process takes time (= changing male and female roles in the workplace)
- At this rate.. (= the rate at which full gender equality is to be achieved)
Vocabulary (Lexical Resource)
- pursue (v) + lines of work (n)
- segregation (n) – in this case male / female
- better off (adj) – comparative form of well-off (wealthy)
- capture (v) + jobs (n)
- mere (adj) – to emphasise a low figure
- gender (adj) + parity (n) – sophisticated synonym for gender equality
- the field – the work field (Make sure you establish a context before reducing a phrase like this!)
- Men and women often pursue different lines of work.
- ..many sectors…have grown much more slowly..
- ..the field will not achieve gender parity for another 200 years.
- In the 1960s, less than 10% of American doctors and lawyers were women.
- Today over 60% of chefs and cooks are men.
- ..a mere 10% of all nursing jobs.
- Today, women graduate from university at higher rates than men, putting them in a stronger position for many well-paid professional jobs that were once male-dominated.
Teachers should shift from individual learning to collaborative one.
Here an Indonesian student is translating ‘yang‘ as a substitute for a noun, but running into trouble because ‘learning‘ is uncountable.
This is easy to solve by converting ‘individual learning‘ into a countable noun:
- Teachers should shift from an individual learning style to a collaborative one.
Notice, too that the same kind of translation is possible with plural count nouns:
- Collaborative tasks are better than individual ones.
However, this is rather informal and is used more in speaking than in writing.
People who live in remote areas sometimes have limited access to the things they want to buy. Since it cannot be provided by retail shops, online shopping may be the solution.
To make your writing ‘flow’ so that pieces of information connect together well, use ‘it‘ only when ‘it‘ refers back to the subject of the previous sentence.
When you use ‘it’ then the subject will be either singular countable or uncountable:
- My watch was expensive. It is a gold watch. I love it.
- Beer is delicious. It is also expensive. I love it.
In the opening example the reader searches for but cannot find a subject to match ‘it‘. For a start, all of the nouns are plural!
After re-reading the text two or three times we see you are using ‘it‘ to refer to ‘the things people want to buy‘, which is rather confusing since ‘the things people want to buy‘ is not the subject of the previous sentence and it is neither singular countable nor uncountable.
This kind of mismatch interrupts the flow of information in the text and brings down your score for coherence and cohesion in IELTS writing, as well as your score for fluency in IELTS speaking.
In order to maintain ‘flow’ in the online shopping example, you need to do this:
- People who live in remote areas sometimes have limited access to the things they want to buy. Since the things that people who live in remote areas want to buy cannot be provided by retail shops, online shopping may be the solution.
And for even better flow you can remind your reader about the context of those retail shops. After all, you’re not talking about retail shops in the middle of a large city, are you?
- People who live in remote areas sometimes have limited access to the things they want to buy. Since the things that people who live in remote areas want to buy cannot be provided by retail shops in those areas, online shopping may be the solution.
Students often complain, “..but now there’s a lot of repetition!”
Perhaps, but your first priority is to communicate effectively. If the only way to achieve this is by repeating a few words, then you MUST repeat them.
And remember – ‘it‘ refers back to the subject of the previous sentence. Do not make the following mistake:
When people go to real shops, the goods are visible. They can try clothes on and know what materials were used.
A personal pronoun at the beginning of a sentence refers back to the subject of the previous sentence, and in this case the subject of the previous sentence is ‘the goods’. ‘When people go to real shops’ is an adverb phrase. So obviously that doesn’t make sense: The goods can try clothes on!?
If you want to use ‘They’ as a substitute for ‘the goods’, that’s tricky but not impossible:
- When people go to real shops, the goods are visible. They can be touched, and the material from which they were made can be seen and felt.
But that’s probably not what you wanted. You wanted ‘People’ as the subject of the second sentence, right? In that case you simply need to state the subject in the second sentence:
- When people go to real shops, the goods are visible. People can try clothes on and know what materials were used.
Now you have nice cohesion between the two sentences, with ‘people’ in both sentences. However, to make your writing more coherent you could be more specific about ‘people’:
- When people go to real shops, the goods are visible. People in real shops can try clothes on and know what materials were used.
And finally to avoid repetition you can do this:
- When people go to real shops, the goods are visible. Customers in real shops can try clothes on and know what materials were used.
So in fact you didn’t need to use pronoun substitution. Instead the two sentences are glued together (cohesive) thanks to the use of ‘people (who) go to real shops‘ in sentence 1 and ‘customers in real shops‘ in sentence 2.
You could probably also use a synonym for ‘real’ in sentence 2, but I can’t think of one. Can you? Comments below! 🙂
Before departing for Australia, students must prepare theirselves in order to avoid culture shock.
..selves. More than one ‘self’. OK, no complaints about that.
..theirselves. Now you’re being inconsistent with your object pronouns.
You guys have no problem producing the following:
- He loves her.
- She loves him.
- Their parents love them.
And you would never write:
- Their parents love their.
- Look at their!
- They say they love each other and I believe their.
So why the sudden switch to possessive ‘their’?! Please use the object pronoun (him, her, them) + ‘self/selves’:
- Before departing for Australia, students must prepare themselves in order to avoid culture shock.
And you might think about some collocation (prepare + s.o./s.th. + for + s.th.):
- Before departing for Australia, students must prepare themselves for culture shock.
Finally, we can assume that the students must prepare themselves and not other people, so strictly speaking themselves is redundant:
- Before departing for Australia, students must prepare for culture shock.
There is a kind of exception to the above rule. Does anybody know what it is? Comments below please!