Cohesion: Shell Nouns Use shell nouns appropriately

About the quiz

shell nouns

Shell nouns, also called carrier nouns, signalling nouns, or anaphoric nouns, are abstract nouns which summarise the meaning of preceding or succeeding information. This summarising helps to generate cohesion. Examples are: approach, aspect, category, challenge, change, characteristics, class, difficulty, effect, event, fact, factor, feature, form, issue, manner, method, problem, process, purpose, reason, result, stage, subject, system, task, tendency, trend, and type. Shell nouns are often used with pronouns this, these, that or those, or with the definite article the. For example:

  • Virus transmission can be reduced via frequent washing of hands, use of face masks, and isolation of infected individuals. These methods, however, are not completely effective and transmission may still occur, especially among health workers who have close contact with infected individuals.
  • An increasing number of overseas students are attending university in the UK. This trend has led to increased support networks for overseas students.

This quiz focuses on the usage of different shell nouns.

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Learning Outcomes

By completing this quiz, you will:

  • improve cohesion in writing by selecting appropriate shell nouns.

Sheldon Smith

Author: Sheldon Smith    ‖    Last modified: 07 October 2020.

Sheldon Smith is the founder and editor of He has been teaching English for Academic Purposes since 2004. Find out more about him in the about section and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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