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Academic English workshop

(Health Care)
Session 3 –
Common ESL Errors II
(Pronoun Agreement and
Reference, Articles and Nouns)
Wience Lai
HHB 1630
Part A: Diagnostic Test

• Ten grammatical mistakes in the

given passage have been
underlined. Correct the mistakes
in the space between the lines.
Part B:
Grammatical principles -

Pronoun Agreement
Articles and Nouns
1.1 Pronoun agreement
A pronoun must agree in
person (first/second/third) and
number (singular/plural) and gender
(feminine/masculine/neuter) with the
noun it replaces/refers to.

1.1 Pronoun agreement
Circle the correct pronoun.
1. Neither of the potential buyers had really made up
(his or her, their) mind.
2. Not one of the new cashiers knows what (he or she,
they) should be doing.
3. Each of these computers has (its, their) drawbacks.
4. Anyone trying to reduce (his or her, their) salt intake
should avoid canned and processed foods.
5. If anybody calls when I’m out, tell (him or her, them)
I’ll return in an hour.
(Langan, 2008, p.358)
6. The group had (its, their) seminar last week.
1.1 Pronoun agreement
What’s the problem? Sexis in
• If a student wants to get an A in hismexam,person
you should study not only the notes but also
the textbook.
Use both masculine and feminine pronoun
If a student wants to get an A in his or her
exam, he or she should study not only the
notes but also the textbook.
Use the plural
If students want to get an A in their exam,
they should study not only the notes but also
the textbook.
If one wants to get theexam,
an A in an pronoun
should study not only the notes but also the
textbook. 8
1.2 Pronoun Reference

• A sentence may be confusing and

unclear if a pronoun may refer to
more than one word or does not refer
to any specific word.

1.2 Pronoun Reference
Rewrite each of the following sentences to make clear
the vague pronoun reference. Add, change, or omit
words as necessary.

1. Dad spent all day fishing but didn’t catch a single one.
1.Dad spent all day fishing but didn’t catch a
single fish.

2. At that fast-food restaurant, they give you free glasses

with your soft drinks.
2.At the fast-food restaurant, the waiters give you
free glasses with your soft drinks.

(Langan, 2008, p.359)

1.2 Pronoun Reference
3. Ruth told Denise that her bouts of depression were becoming
3. Ruth told Denise, “My bouts of depression are
becoming serious.”
Ruth told Denise, “Your bouts of depression are
becoming serious.”
4. Dipping her spoon into the pot of simmering spaghetti sauce,
Helen felt it slip out of her hand. . . .
4.Dipping her spoon into the pot of simmering spaghetti
sauce, Helen felt the spoon slip out of her hand.
5. Pete visited the tutoring center because they can help him
with his economics course.
5. Pete visited the tutoring center because its staff can
help him with his economics course.
(Langan, 2008, p.359)
2. Articles
• are used to mark nouns.
• can be classified into definite (the) and
indefinite articles (a/an).
– Use a or an for singular nonspecific count
– Use the with all specific nouns – specific
singular, plural, and noncount nouns;
– Omit articles with generic nouns – generic
plurals and noncount nouns.

2. Articles
Circle the correct form of the noun in parentheses.
1. Put (a M, an M) if you are male but (a F, an F) if you are female.
2. Has he graduated from (a university, an university) with
(a honours degree, an honours degree)?

Use a before a word that begins with a consonant

3. This and the
morning, usemailan before
carrier a word
brought me (abeginning with
letter, the letter)
a vowel
from sound.
my cousin. As I read (a letter, the letter), I began to laugh at
what my cousin wrote.

4. Children should treat their parents with (the respect, respect).

Use a with the first mention and use an with the
second mention.
Omit articles with abstract nouns (see Langan,
2008, p. 362 for other types of noncount nouns).
2.1 Articles
5. My son would like to eat (the spaghetti, spaghetti) at every meal.
Omit articles for foods , a kind of noncount
6. nouns).
(The accident, Accident) was caused by ice on the highway.

Use the with identity known from the general

7. My neighbor’s son attends college in (the Chicago, Chicago).
8. A hurricane crossed (Atlantic Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean) before it
hit the United States.

Skip the with cities but use the with seas or

5. oceans
haveLangan, 2008, to
been programmed pp.364-365 forchess)
play (the chess, the and
use of articles
can now beat most with
players. nouns).

6. Every night we have to do lots of (homework, homeworks).

Omit articles for general reference.

10/05/09 articles uncountable nouns. 14
For more uses of Articles,
see Langan, 2008, pp.362-

Part C: Concept Boosting
Exercise C1
The following are some ungrammatical sentences.
Identify (i) the mistake(s) and (ii) correct the
mistake(s). Some sentences may have more than
one error.
1. Either the servers or the manager must give their
permission for you to return that half-eaten dish.
2. It was easy quiz. However, because I have never been
good at Accounting, it still took me a long time to
complete the paper.
3. My brother’s son, in a way resembling many young kids,
believes in everything they come across in tabloids.
4. If you want to take leave during the Lunar New Year, they
had better indicate their wish as soon as possible.
5. Even with the most effective tattoo removal procedure, a
person’s skin can hardly be restored to their original condition.
Thus, a person should think twice before having tattoos.
6. The ideas put forth by Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud had no
doubt made its mark on twentieth-century life.
7. Ben is the most pessimistic person I have come across. He likes
to look on dark side of things. When he encounters problems,
he always dramatizes it. Indeed, these days I find him so
intolerable that his grumbles always madden me.
8. What did teacher say about your performance in recent test?
9. You can always understand a person by looking at company
they keep.
10. When people are in love, they tend to downplay problem
found in their partners. It is only when lovers are no longer so
much in love that minor problems escalate into major mistakes.

Part C: Concept Boosting
Exercise C2 Exercises
Add an appropriate article (a/an, the, or φ) in the blanks.
There can be more than one possible answer.
1. I didn't bring ____________ alcohol you asked for. I completely
forgot about it.
2. Did you tip _____________ magicians at your party? Their
performance suggested that they certainly didn't deserve our
3. Christina wanted to purchase ______________ gift for her
grandmother, but she ended up buying things for herself.
4. I know Galen’s character. He will not like to share ___________
problems with others. However, he wouldn't mind mentioning
his problems once they were resolved.
5. Would you like ______________ cold iced tea?
Part C: Concept Boosting
Exercise C3
Add appropriate personal pronouns (she, it, etc.) or articles
the) in the blanks.
1. Mary got a new car for ________ birthday. She is glad that her
parents gave ________ to her for _________ car will be much more
practical than other gifts.
2. The essay that Michele submitted received an F grade. For one,
______________ didn't include any of the components Dr. Killah had
explained when he assigned __________ essay. For the other, Dr
Killah retrieved _________ replica of Michele’s work in the Internet.
Part C: Concept Boosting
Exercise C4
Select one of the following topics and write a 100-word
in response to the chosen topic by applying the language
skills learnt
in these three sessions.
Question i
Friends are indispensible to our life. However, conflicts are
unavoidable even amid the best friends. In your opinions, how
can we maintain a harmonious relationship with others?
Question ii
"Teenage models like Chrissie Chau, Angelababy, Lavina etc
have caused heated discussion among the "netizens" or the
public these days. Do you think that these models have cast a
bad influence on youngsters? Why or why not?"
Draft an outline as follows before writing the paragraph:

Homework Practice 2:
Reflective Writing Practice I
(Comments on a
Newspaper/ Magazine Article)
In this task, you are required to
i) read and choose a newspaper/ magazine article
relevant to your study discipline (i.e. Health Care)
Attach a copy of the newspaper/ magazine article in
the given space.
ii)write a reflection paragraph of 100-150 words on
the article.
Due Date: In the Workshop of Week 5