The Use of This + Noun by Korean EFL Writers: Focusing on Shell Nouns and Nominalization

Choongil Yoon 1 ,
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1Dongguk University Gyeongju Campus
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ⓒ Copyright 2017 Language Education Institute, Seoul National University. This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Received: Feb 23, 2017 ; Revised: Apr 02, 2017 ; Accepted: Apr 16, 2017

Published Online: Apr 30, 2017


The study investigated the use of this + noun as a textual device for creating cohesion and constructing stance in corpora of argumentative essays in English written by Korean university students and native speaker students. Focusing on the uses and distributions of shell nouns and nominalizations within the demonstrative construction, the study examined how they differed in the two corpora. In addition, the study identified major patterns of inappropriate use of this + noun by the Korean student writers. Results showed that while the Korean university students made much less use of this + noun for text reference, their use of shell nouns was less successful in creating cohesion and incorporating stance in ways valued in academic writing. Moreover, the limited range of general nouns used in the construction indicates the Korean writers’ use of shell nouns was often habitual rather than strategic. This paper concludes by discussing pedagogical implications of the findings.

Keywords: Demonstrative; Shell noun; Nominalization; Argumentative writing; Corpus linguistics