Pronouns & Coherency

Coherency and coherence are 25% of your IELTS essay score.

In a previous lesson we looked at improving your coherency with transition words but another way to improve your coherency is with pronouns.

You should make use of these so that you do not keep repeating nouns or ideas.

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You can use personal pronouns:

I, you, he, she, it, we, they, one, them

Batteries are not bio-degradable, so people should not dispose of them in normal household waste.

Or demonstrative pronouns:

this, that, these, those

People dispose of batteries in their normal household waste. This causes environmental damage.

Pronouns refer back to a noun or noun phrase that you have mentioned before. Always make sure it is clear which noun it refers back to. It will usually be the last one you mentioned.

If another noun comes in between the noun you are referring to and the pronoun it may get confusing.



Pronouns in an Essay

Have a look at how they are used in this essay taken from the ‘model essay’ pages.

The word in red is the pronoun, and the word in brackets in green is the word or idea / phrase it refers to.

A growing number of people feel that animals should not be exploited by people and that they should have the same rights as humans, while others argue that humans must employ animals to satisfy their various needs, including uses for food and research.

Discuss both views and give your opinion.


Animal Rights Essay

Some people believe that animals should be treated in the same way humans are and have similar rights, whereas others think that it is more important to use them (animals) as we desire for food and medical research. This essay will discuss both points of view.

With regard to the exploitation of animals, people believe it is acceptable for several reasons. Firstly, they (people) think that humans are the most important beings on the planet, and everything must be done to ensure human survival. If this (ensuring human survival) means experimenting on animals so that we (humans)can fight and find cures for diseases, then this (experimenting on animals) takes priority over animal suffering. Furthermore, it is believed by some that animals do not feel pain or loss as humans do, so if we (humans) have to kill animals for food or other uses, then this (killing animals for food or other uses) is morally acceptable.

However, I do not believe these arguments (the previous arguments though this is made clear by the noun repeated after it in this case) stand up to scrutiny. To begin, it has been shown on numerous occasions by secret filming in laboratories via animal rights groups that animals feel as much pain as humans do, andthey (animals) suffer when they (animals) are kept in cages for long periods. In addition, a substantial amount of animal research is done for cosmetics, not to find cures for diseases, so this (animal research for cosmetics) is unnecessary. Finally, it has also been proven that humans can get all the nutrients and vitamins that they(humans) need from green vegetables and fruit. Therefore, again, having to kill animals for food is not an adequate argument.

To sum up, although some people argue killing animals for research and food is ethical, I would argue there is sufficient evidence to demonstrate that this (the arguments that killing animals for research and food is ethical) is not the case, and, therefore, steps must be taken to improve the rights of animals.


Repeating the noun again

You will have noticed that two words were in blue. This is just to highlight an important point.

You should not just mention the noun once at the beginning of the essay, and then not again. Get a balance of nouns and their pronouns, not too much of one or the other.

Have a look at the essay and you’ll see that sometimes the noun is used and sometimes the pronoun.

And you should always mention the noun again when it is a new paragraph or a new point you are making.

As you can see with the words highlighted in blue – nouns should be used here as they represent a new paragraph and new points. If you used pronouns it may not be clear which noun you are referring to.



Pronouns and Coherency Practice

Now practice with the paragraph below – choose the correct pronoun.

Preserving certain old buildings is important for several reasons. Firstly,structures provide an insight into the history of our countries, showing us how people many centuries ago lived their lives. Without


could only learn by books, and it would undoubtedly be sad if

became the only way to see

. Many of

buildings are also very beautiful. Take for example the many religious buildings such as churches and temples that

see around the world. Not only

, but on a more practical level, many of
buildings provide important income to a country as many tourists visit


Score =

Correct answers:

To learn more about replacing words, phrases or clauses with other words to improve your writing and avoid repeating yourself, also check out this lesson on substitution.

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