Appendix 3: Strategy Coach Tips

50 Chapter 5: Strategy Coach Tips

5.1 Strategy Coach Tip

Pronoun reference

  1. When writers write about something or someone, they use a noun. They do not always repeat this noun. They often use a pronoun instead of the noun. Pronouns are words that are used in place of a noun.
  2. Read these examples:
    • Sandy is a workplace mentor. She is very helpful. The word “she” in the second sentence refers to Sandy. The word “she” is a pronoun.
    • The document is neatly formatted, and it is also well organized. The word “it” is a pronoun and refers to the word “document.”
  3. When you read, you need to be aware of pronouns and what they link to or refer to. Writers may use many nouns in a sentence or paragraph. You need to understand which noun each pronoun refers to. This will help you understand the reading.
  4. In this chapter, we will practise this new strategy of understanding to what or to whom a pronoun refers.
  5. There are many pronouns in English. Here are some:

5.2 Strategy Coach Tip

Reading the questions before listening

Reading the questions before you listen helps you to predict what the listening will be about. It also helps you identify what information to listen for and when to listen for the information.

For example, let us look at the following question:

CDN Malls have closed mall entrances on the west side. True or false?

We can identify and underline the important words in the question and pay attention to the information around these keywords. In this question, you might mark up the question something like this:


CDN Malls have closed mall entrances on the west side. True or false?

When you hear the phrases mall entrances and west side, you know you need to pay attention and focus your listening on whether or not they are closed.

5.3 Strategy Coach Tip

Paragraphs and simple past tense


A paragraph is a group of sentences. The sentences in a paragraph all relate to one controlling idea.

Indents are used to make paragraphs clear to the reader. Paragraphs are not always indented. However, it is a good idea to use an indent if you write your paragraphs by hand or if you type a single paragraph.

Topic sentence

  • This is the most important sentence in the paragraph and is usually the first sentence.
  • It states the controlling idea of the paragraph.
  • It is the most general sentence in the paragraph.
  • The topic sentence is often indented to clearly mark the beginning of the paragraph, especially when the paragraph is handwritten.

Supporting sentences

  • All supporting sentences must relate clearly to the controlling idea.
  • They add details to the controlling idea.
  • They give facts, details, and examples.
  • They must be organized in a logical way.

Supporting sentences can be organized in many ways. Below are two ways to organize them with examples of signal words you can use:

Type of organization Signal words
According to the time order of the events or process first, then, next, after that, finally, before, after, during
According to the order of importance most important, first, next, then, finally, furthermore, moreover, another

Signal words are also called transition words or sequence words. These words are like bridges. They take the reader easily and smoothly from one sentence to the next and from one idea to the next.

Concluding sentence

A concluding sentence can restate the topic sentence or summarize the paragraph. A concluding sentence could also give a final comment or observation on the controlling idea of the paragraph. It finishes and completes the paragraph. A concluding sentence is not always necessary, but it is good practice when you are writing just one paragraph.

Some basics before you write a paragraph:

  • Think about the topic you want to write about, and write down the topic.
  • Then think about a few points (at least four) about the topic. Write them down.
  • Organize the points in the order you want to write them.

Some basics after you write the paragraph:

  • Check whether your topic sentence clearly expresses the main idea of the paragraph.
  • Check whether all the supporting sentences are clearly related to your topic sentence.
  • Check whether there are enough details to explain your main idea clearly.
  • Check that you have the correct signal words.
  • Check your grammar.
  • Check your spelling and punctuation.

Simple past tense

The simple past tense is used to talk about completed actions in the past. To use the simple past correctly, you need to know the simple past tense of verbs. There are two types—regular and irregular. The simple past tense of regular verbs ends with “-d” or “-ed”. The simple past tense of irregular verbs can vary and has to be learned. Here are examples of the simple past tense of some regular and irregular verbs:

Regular verbs Irregular verbs
watch watched

wash washed

act acted

achieve achieved

see saw

come came

drive drove

go went

If you want to make a verb negative, you will need to use a helping verb, also called an auxiliary verb. The above words will become:

Regular verbs Irregular verbs
did not watch

did not wash

did not act

did not achieve

did not see

did not come

did not drive

did not go

The verb “be” is a little different. In the past tense, the verb “be” is used as follows:

I was; I was not you were; you were not
he was; he was not we were; we were not
she was; she was not they were; they were not
it was; it was not

Notice that you do not need the auxiliary verb when you want to make the verb “be” negative.

5.4 Strategy Coach Tip

Listening for thought groups

When people speak in sentences in English, they chunk, or group words together, in thought groups. If you listen carefully for pauses in speech, you can identify how the words are grouped together.






5.5 Strategy Coach Tip

Learning new vocabulary

Learning a language doesn’t only happen in a classroom. One of the best ways to learn how to use new words and expressions is to log, or record, how people use these words in daily life. Try to use the new words yourself, and keep track of how you use them. The more you use the new words, the easier they will be for you to remember and understand.

There are two kinds of language logs to help you develop your vocabulary:

1. Language Observer Log: In this log, you can record where you heard or read the word or phrase. Read this sample Language Observer Log and discuss it with your instructor or classmate.

2. Language User Log: In this log, you can record how and where you used the word or phrase. You can also analyze how you used it. Read this sample Language User Log and discuss it with your instructor or classmate.


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