Cementing ideas with ‘it’ and ‘this’

Posted by on February 12th, 2018 | 0 comments | coherence, cohesion, cohesive, IELTS, pronouns, referencing, speaking, substitution, theme and rheme, writing

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.

The average Briton thinks 356 times more of our nation’s land is concrete jungle than is the reality. This isn’t just a minor misconception. If the UK is viewed as a large football pitch, the people in a recent survey estimated that concrete would cover almost all the ground between the goal-line and the half-way line when, in reality, it would fit into the tiny arc marked for taking a corner. People’s mental image of the UK is not just their personal experience. It is also affected by what they see on television and other media. It is also constructed, I believe, from the narratives about our country that we grow up with. These tell a story of Britain’s treasured green landscapes being gobbled up by greedy industrialists and developers. It has its origins in the trauma of the Industrial Revolution, when rural life was rocked by the arrival of big cities. There are, of course, legitimate concerns about the threats to our landscape and natural resources. While less than 6% of UK land is built-on, the impact of this can be felt beyond its physical footprint.


In IELTS, Referencing and substitution is mentioned in the Writing Task 1 IELTS public band descriptors and Writing Task 2 IELTS public band descriptors under the criterion Coherence and Cohesion, and in the Speaking IELTS public band descriptors under the criterion Fluency and Coherence.

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