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Academic English

I. Nouns
A. Articles and Determiners
B. Subject-Verb Agreement
C. Nominalisation
D. Nominals
II. Verbs
A. Verb types (I/T/L/M)
B. The passive, The passive with verbs of reporting
C. The infinitive, the gerund and participles
III. Adjectives
A. Relative clauses and Reduced Relative clauses
B. Adjectivals
C. Conjunctions and adverbials
IV. Grammatical Range: How to write long sentences
A. More on Nominalisation and Paraphrasing
B. A summary on Nominals, Adjectivals and Adverbials
V. Academic writing: A style guide
A. Information Sequence
B. Punctuation


A) Articles and Determiners

The table below shows you the basics of using articles in English:
The Zero Determiner A/An

Singular Singular verb, mainly Normally unacceptable, Singular verb, normally

Countable specific except: specific
Noun E.g. The dog playing outside - at college E.g. I am raising a dog.
is mine.
- on Thursday Sometimes generic to
Sometimes generic (often + - night after night describe regular or
animal, machine or - from start to finish typical examples, or to
participants/roles): introduce something:
- by plane
The dog is the most common A dog always protects
carnivore. - As chairman, his or her owner.
Communication between the - Housewife Judy
doctor and the patient is - For example
- Written instruction

Plural Plural verb, specific Plural verb, generic

Countable E.g. I love the dogs that E.g. Dogs are man’s best
Noun (s) Tuan is raising. friends.

Uncountable Singular verb, specific Singular verb, generic

Noun E.g. The water is hot. E.g. Sugar is sweet.

Adjective Plural verb, generic

E.g. The rich are not always
The Vietnamese are very

Sometimes specific
E.g. The ambulance has
taken the injured to hospital.

The + Adjectives:
• Social/Economic: the rich, the poor, the strong, the weak, the hungry,
the (under)privileged, the disadvantaged, the unemployed, the homeless
• Physical/Health: the blind, the deaf, the sick, the disabled, the handicapped, the living, the
• Age: the young, the middle-aged, the elderly, the old

We often use the when an of-phrase follows the noun.
We came to the edge of a lake.
The roof of a house was blown off in the storm.
Steve heard the sound of an aircraft overhead.

But we can use a/an before a phrase of quantity with ‘of’.

Would you like a piece of toast?

Determiners in English
• Definite article : the
• Indefinite articles : a, an
• Demonstratives: this, that, these, those
• Pronouns and possessive determiners : my, your, his, her, its, our, their
• Quantifiers : a few, a little, much, many, a lot of, most, some, any, enough
• Numbers : one, ten, thirty
• Distributives : all, both, half, either, neither, each, every
• Difference words : other, another
• Pre-determiners : such, what, rather, quite

How to use a dictionary to study nouns

NOTE that there are nouns that can either be countable or uncountable:
an interesting experience (an event) BUT experience in the job (length of time doing it)
a property (a building) BUT some property (what someone owns)

Task 1.1 Examine these examples below to get a thorough understanding of the rules
1. Mobile phones are enormously popular.
2. The computer has revolutionised publishing.
3. Part of the problem stems from the fact that parents often expect too much of their
4. It is clear that there are six main stages as the salmon develops from egg to mature
5. The main issue is that there will obviously be more people of retirement age who will
be eligible to receive a pension.
6. Finally, if wealthy families were given a tax discount for sending their children to
private schools, we might have a situation where poorer people pay higher taxes than
the rich.
7. Many British people like to have a cup of tea when they get up in the morning.
8. A company owner will need well qualified and competent staff, and a well-funded
education system can provide such employees.
9. The jury delivers the verdict, and the judge decides the sentence.
10. Canadians are welcoming the government’s plan to cut down on greenhouse gas
11. Prevention is better than cure.

Task 1.2 Make sentences using the given words below:

1. heat, sun, cause, water, evaporate

2. teenager, spend, online conversation, computer game

3. sale, game, mobile phone, rise, 10 years, period

4. pay, tax, public service, not use

5. important, child, get, good, education

6. chemical, ban, damage, environment

7. study, show, working environment, pleasant, productivity, increase

8. favourite, insect, butterfly

Task 1.3 Decide whether the nouns in these sentences are generic or specific
1. A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.
2. He’s raising a deer in his farm.
3. A baby deer can stand as soon as it is born.
4. The tiger is endangered.
5. The tigers in this zoo are beautiful.
6. The mobile phone has made an enormous difference to communications.

Task 1.4 Are these sentences correct?

1. Child needs to feel secure.
2. A child needs to feel secure.
3. The elephant is a protected species.
4. An elephant is a protected species.
5. Elephants are a protected species.
6. Who invented a telephone?
7. I love the piano.
8. A picture is worth a thousand words.

Task 1.5 Change these expressions

1. Literature study
2. The history of art
3. The development of agriculture
4. Economic theory
5. Linguistic philosophy

Instead of a gerund, we often use other abstract nouns in this pattern.

E.g. the management of small businesses; the education of young children
Here management and education are more usual than managing and educating.

But sometimes we have to use a gerund because there is no abstract noun.

The CEO has been sacked, creating a culture of fear within the company.
The sacking of the CEO has created a culture of fear within the company.

Task 1.6 Fill in the blank with an appropriate article (a, an, the or zero article)

New rules for Everest climbers

Expeditions on _(1)_ Mount Everest will be more closely monitored than before from _(2)_
next year, according to _(3)_ BBC. _(4)_ Nepalese officials say that for _(5)_ first time,
_(6)_ government team will be located at _(7)_ base camp. They will monitor and help
_(8)_ expedition teams, coordinate _(9)_ rescues and protect _(10)_ environment. _(11)_
change follows _(12)_ embarrassing incidents on _(13)_ slopes of _(14)_ world's tallest
mountain, including _(15)_ fight between _(16)_ sherpas and _(17)_ mountaineers.
Purna Chandra Bhattarai, _(18)_ chief of _(19)_ tourism industry division that oversees
_(20)_ mountaineering, told _(21)_ BBC: "There is _(22)_ need for _(23)_ permanent
government mechanism at _(24)_ Everest base camp to regulate _(25)__ mountaineering
activities. _(26)_ Integrated Service Centre will also help _(27)_ climbers by offering them
_(28)_ communication and _(29)_ safety-related services."
Mr Bhattarai says that, starting from _(30)_ next year's spring climbing season, _(31)_ team
at _(32)_ base camp will represent _(33)_ government's administration on _(34)_ ground. It
was getting difficult to regulate _(35)_ mountaineering activities from _(36)_ capital,

_(1)_ bogeyman is _(2)_ imaginary being used by _(3)_ adults to frighten _(4)_ children
into _(5)_ good behaviour. _(6)_ bogeyman has no specific appearance, and _(7)_
conceptions about him can vary drastically from _(8)_ household to household within _(9)_
same community. In many cases, he has no set appearance in _(10)_ mind of _(11)_ adult or
child, but is simply _(12)_ non-specific embodiment of _(13)_ terror. _(14)_ P/parents may
tell their children that if they misbehave, _(15)_ bogeyman will get them. _(16)__
B/bogeymen may target _(17)_ specific mischief — for instance, _(18)_ bogeyman that
punishes _(19)_ children who suck their thumbs — or _(20)_ general misbehaviour.
In _(21)_ many countries, _(22)_ fictitious scary man similar to _(23)_ bogeyman is
portrayed as _(24)_ man with _(25)_ sack on his back who carries _(26)_ naughty children
away. This is true for _(27)_ many Latin countries and _(28)_ Eastern Europe, as well as
_(29)_ Haiti and some countries in _(30)_ Far East. In Spain, el hombre del saco is usually
depicted as _(31)_ impossibly ugly and skinny old man who eats _(32)_ misbehaving
children he collects. In Argentina, Chile and particularly in _(33)_ Southern and Austral
Zones, he is mostly known as "El Viejo del Saco" ("_(34)_ old man with _(35)_ bag") who
walks around _(36)_ neighbourhood every day around _(37)_ supper time.

B) Subject-Verb Agreement
Singular Verbs He, She, It
Singular Countable Nouns
Uncountable Nouns
To V-inf

Plural Verbs You, We, They

Plural Countable Nouns
Special case I

Task 1.7 Write a sentence using the given words

1. either, or, students, teacher, play, crucial, role, class

2. majority, worker, low, wage

3. attendance, school, fall, since last month

4. neither, candidate, explain, clear, economic issue

5. government, issue, rule, tackle, transport issue

6. bicycle, convenient, means, transport

7. one million, dollar, large, amount, money

8. using, bicycle, instead of, car, not, original idea

9. there, a swimming pool, two parking lots, campus

10. Vietnam, as well as, other developing countries, face, pollution

C) Nominalisation
Task 1.8 Rewrite the sentences below
1. The number of children doing athletics increased almost fivefold.
There was…….
2. Crime was increasing rapidly and the police were becoming concerned.
The rapid increase……
3. The temperature of the planet is rising as a result of global warming.
The rise of……

D) Nominals
Task 1.9 Explain the grammatical relations of each underlined part with the rest of the
1. The truth is that he never studies.
2. He realised that he would never see her again.
3. We learned that pineapples don’t grow on trees.
4. We have recommended that children not be left alone in parked cars.
5. Minh's favourite pastime is watching old sitcom reruns.
6. Her plan is to buy a new Mercedes.
7. She showed me how to do the task.
8. He doesn’t like it that she still smokes.
9. The vet tried to heal the sick dog.
10. I’m sorry about what I said.
11. Mark was surprised that you asked about him.
12. Marian was shocked by what she saw.
13. What we wanted was your approval.
14. Buying a new car can be a troubling experience.
15. After completing her novel, Marsha sent it to the publisher.

Task 1.10 Nominalisation Practice
Underline the verbs in these sentences below then try rewriting them using their
corresponding nouns.
1) Student numbers are increasing rapidly from year to year and the University is becoming
concerned that they may need to build more accommodation in order to house everyone.

2) The business report indicates that sales figures are down 10% on last month, which is

3) Mathematics and physics experts have produced a mathematical formula which explains
the modern phenomena of network science.

4) Scientists deduced that the vaccine was also having a positive effect on reducing the
spread of HIV, which caused sales to rise.

5) Germany invaded Poland in 1939. This was the immediate cause of the Second World
War breaking out.

Task 1.11 Correct the sentences below. Contemplate the generic/specific use of nouns.
1) We are frequently confronted with statement about the alarming rate of loss of language
2) One problem that has not yet been addressed is the existing infrastructure and facilities
fail to meet the demand posed by increased arrivals of tourists.
3) Cultural diversity can be viewed both positively and negatively. While some see it as a
barrier to effective communication or a cause of miscommunication, the others regard it as
an asset.
4) It is undeniable fact that the tourism industry has provided a substantial source of income
for many countries.
5) I believe that everything has its downside, and the spread of English as a global language
in the world is not exception.
6) Cross-cultural communication occurs between people living in same country but from
different cultural backgrounds.
7) Many donor countries believe that the main obstacle to third-world developments is lack
of capital and that giving poor countries cash to invest can spur rapid growth.
8) The continuing cultural invasion creates problems and troubles for social solidarity,
whether it is at the level of nation, community or family.
9) During last decade, there has been much discussion and controversy over the impact of
global economic integration.
10) Globalisation poses both opportunities and problems for every industry in a worldwide
11) Like tourism, telecommunications represent the fastest-growing and the most profitable
industry in many countries across the world.
12) The government and the local people have to preserve the original appearance of the
local cultures, customs and etiquettes, even though their purpose is meeting the expectation
of the tourists from all over the world.
13) If students pay full fees, it will increase enough finance for universities.
14) There has been a considerable opposition against making military service compulsory.
15) In many Western countries, students are exempt from tuition fee over the course of their
compulsory education.
16) As economic conditions improve, many people maintain that government spending
should be centred on large development, such as stadiums, theatres and museums.
17) It remains a problem that in countries such as India, public education in many areas are
not available for free due to budget constraint.
18) It has been argued that donor countries’ direct donation creates dependency and
corruption, and it has an adverse effect on local production.
19) Automobiles have been mass-produced and sold at a price average person could afford.
20) Unemployment in market economies is always a consequence of structural change,
which can further trace their root in technological change.

21) Advances in the technology have made our lives easier.
22) The dispose of unwanted by-products of industrialisation is one of the thorniest
problems in developing countries.
23) In hospitals or on aircrafts, mobile phone use is forbidden because of its possible
interference with communication or other electronic equipments.
24) It would be not denying that almost every country has its unique culture or art forms
that are different from other countries’.
25) New immigrants cannot fit into a new environment can happen very often.
26) Cities are investing heavily in public transport, including subway system, in a bid to cut
27) Having a social environment conducive to the creature and utilisation of knowledge is
believed to be the key to enhancing the competitiveness of a country and realising an
affluent and comfortable society.
28) Because of the rapid evolution of worker skills, training has become a more recurring
process than an one-time event.
29) The allure of computers stems mainly from the fact that it can be used for a wide range
of purposes.
30) It is not coincidence that we now take fewer vacations for shorter periods of time and
find the boundaries between work and play increasingly blurred.
31) Despite a growing rate of obesity in developed countries, undernutrition and
malnutrition remain the most common nutritional problem in developing nations.
32) At times of rapid change, the quest for latest knowledge is urgent.
33) One of the most important point is that online shopping enables people to go shopping
beyond normal business hours.
34) The value of the arts to society has been subjected to a lot of discussions over the years.
35) In some contexts, it is undeniably true that many other elements, rather than pursuit of
aesthetic values, concerns building designers.
36) The government, which is expected to serve the citizen around its country, have the
responsibility to reduce or eliminate citizens’ fear of violent crime by any available means.
37) In the view of the fact that it can negatively impact the audience’s behaviour, a detailed
description of violent crime in the media should be restricted.
38) These measures have been taken with the view to increasing the company's profits.
39) Many media are able to transfer information with high speed and accuracy.
40) People tend to believe that every character in the movie has real life counterpart.