Wits Instructional Design_Ongoing Assignment_Module 8 Practical_Academic English

Welcome to Academic English (COAE011)

Welcome to your Academic English module. We hope to help you perform at your best in the tertiary environment, by providing you with the knowledge and skills that you require to express yourself in the English language. 


Course Aim
The aim of this module is to provide you with opportunities to develop an understanding of the concepts and issues relating to English in an academic context, as well as with the practical skills to translate that understanding into the ability to write and communicate in English appropriately and effectively.

Course Description
Apart from learning how to use the English language in an academic context, the module will equip you with the language, reading, thinking and writing skills that form the foundation of all professional and vocational communication.

The module strives to reinforce your language and grammar skills; to develop your reading and thinking skills and to shape your ability to plan, research, process and present information professionally in the business environment. Consequently, the focus areas of the module are language, reading, comprehension and academic writing.


Learning Objectives:

In this course you will need to master the following learning objectives:


Module 1: Parts of Speech and Sentence Structure


In order to ensure that you write logically, coherently and correctly, you need to be able to distinguish between the different parts of speech, as well as to understand why we use the words we do and the way we use them in sentences. 

Broadly expressed, language can be regarded as “the method of communication, either spoken or written, consisting of the use of words in a structured and conventional way” (Concise Oxford English Dictionary, 2011).Language involves more than the use of words. It is part of being human; the means we use to “express inner thoughts and emotions; make sense of complex and abstract thought; learn to communicate with others; fulfil our wants and needs, as well as establish rules and maintain our culture”(Campbell & Mailman, 2014).

In this module we are going to explore the following parts of speech:

  • Nouns
  • Pronouns
  • Adjectives
  • Verbs
  • Adverbs
  • Prepositions 
  • Conjunctions, and
  • Articles



A noun is a word that is used to identify people, places or things or to name a particular person, place or thing (proper noun). Nouns can also identify ideas. Watch the following video that explains what nouns are and how to identify them:

Video 1: Introduction to Nouns (Khan Academy)

Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UejW-WQpujs 

Collective Nouns

Collective nouns are nouns that name a group of things and replace the phrases ‘a lot of’ and ‘lots of’.


Identifying collective nouns

Match the correct collective noun with the appropriate word.

  • An army of
  • A bouquet of
  • A pair of
  • A murder of
  • A pack of



Adjectives are parts of speech that describe (modifies) nouns: they say what something feels, looks, smells or tastes like, e.g. The angry crowd began to get out of control. The word ‘angry’ tells us more about the crowd. It describes the crowd.

The image below provides examples of a number of adjectives.

Image 1: Examples of Adjectives

Available from: http://mrswarnerarlington.weebly.com/adjectives.html 


Match the different parts of speech with the correct description

  • Pronouns
    Provide cohesive links in English sentences, which aids reading. There are many different types including interrogative, demonstrative, possessive and reflexive.
  • Gerunds
    Non-finite verbs that perform the function of a noun. They are sometimes referred to as “verbal nouns” and often end in ‘ing’.
  • Adverbs
    Describe or modify a verb, an adjective, another adverb, a clause or a sentence and often end in the suffix ‘ly’. They can be classified according to five categories: place, manner, time, frequency and degree.
  • Conjunctions
    Link two words, sentences, clauses or phrases and can either be coordinating or subordinating.
  • Participles
    Non-finite verbs that can form a tense, introduce phrases, and act as adjectives.
  • Prepositions
    Link nouns, pronouns and phrases to other words in a sentence and typically indicate location.

Identifying sentences

Identify the type of sentence.

After riding in the car, I felt sick.

  • declarative
  • exclamatory
  • imperative
  • interrogative

Direct and indirect questions

Change the indirect question in this statement into a direct question.

My mother asked if I could take her to work in the morning.

  • My mother asked, 'Could I take her to work in the morning?'
  • My mother asked 'I could take her to work in the morning?'
  • My mother asked, 'Can you take me to work in the morning?'
  • My mother asked, 'Can I take her to work in the morning?'

Match the correct tense with the correct example

  • Past perfect
    The sun had risen when they finally left.
  • Future continuous
    It will be raining when we land at the airport.
  • Simple present
    I speak Zulu and French.
  • Present perfect
    I have passed my exams.
  • Present continuous
    They are making fools of themselves.
  • Simple past
    Mr Radebe nearly choked on a pretzel.
  • Future perfect
    I will have passed my course when I apply.


Indicate if the statement is true or false.

  • Apostrophes are used to indicate plurals.