The Author

     Khalid Baghoussi is a secondary-school English teacher of twenty-three years of experience. He is currently teaching English at Hammou Othmane Secondary School, Mostaganem. He is also a part-time teacher at Mostaganem University where he has been teaching Written Expression to first-year students for about seven years.


     Throughout his career, Mr. Baghoussi has worked as a senior teacher for fifteen years. He has also been involved in primary school teachers’ development. He has taken an active part in many seminars, workshops, and in-service training for middle school and secondary school teachers. He contributed in the implementation of the Competency Based Approach assisted by ICT (Information & Communications Technology) within secondary school education. On December 2005, he presented a class demonstration to first-year pupils with the use of ICT and on February 2007, he worked in collaboration with a group of teachers and the general inspector of English on the preparation of a seminar on Project Pedagogy.


     Mr. Baghoussi holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Oran University. He is also an author of a book entitled Improving Writing Skills.


The Book

       Improving Writing Skills is designed for intermediate and upper-intermediate students; it can also be used both as a reference and practice book by more advanced students.

       The combination of simplified reference lessons and graded practice exercises makes this book suitable for a writing course.  These selected lessons provide the learners with the linguistic tools necessary for the writing process, and the graded tasks give them the opportunity to manipulate various grammatical structures effectively, thus allowing them to develop gradually their linguistic and communicative competences.

Improving Writing Skills


·       Selected and simplified grammar lessons with clear explanations help you move smoothly through the process of writing.


·       Graded practice exercises afford a gradual shift from simple to more complex language forms.


·       Additional review tests after each part offer extra practice of various language points.


·       Appendices deal with correction symbols with examples, commonly confused words, and contractions.


Inside the Book






PART 1   Parts of Speech


Words are the basic elements of any language. Thanks to them we can express our thoughts and feelings and communicate them to others. Words in English can be classified into eight basic types or classes. These word classes are called parts of speech.


1.  Nouns

·     They may name persons, places, things, animals, ideas, and qualities.


·     They may be divided into four categories:

a.  Common nouns: bird, car, girl, university, etc.

b.  Proper nouns: John, Mostaganem, Renault, Oxford, etc.

c.  Abstract nouns: love, fear, beauty, sorrow, etc.

d.  Collective nouns: group, team, herd, crowd, etc.


·     They are also under three genders:























male animal: he

female animal: she

unknown gender: it



A baby whose gender is unknown is referred to by the pronoun ‘it’.

    This baby is crying. Perhaps it is hungry.


Countries, ships, cars and other vehicles when regarded with respect or affection are considered feminine.

    Algeria is beautiful and her people are nice.

    The Titanic sank although she was considered unsinkable.


Nouns that indicate occupation have the same form.

    teacher, doctor, student, etc.

However, we can make the distinction by using either ‘female / male or woman’.

    There are twenty-three female students in my class.

    I was examined by a woman doctor.

·         They can be singular or plural:


a. Most nouns form their plurals by adding the letter s:

         cars, doors, markets,...

b. Nouns that end with s, x, ch require an es for the plural: buses, boxes, matches,...

c. Some words ending in f or fe form their plurals with  

   ves: wolf / wolves, knife / knives,...

d. Some words ending in y form their plurals with ies:

   city / cities, baby / babies, ...

e. Many nouns have irregular plural forms:

   child / children, mouse / mice, man / men,...

f.  Latin and Greek words: phenomenon / phenomena,

   crisis / crises, thesis / theses,...



·     They can be countable or uncountable:


a.       Countable nouns name anything (or anyone) that you  

       can count. When they are singular, they take the  

       singular form of the verb; when they are plural, they

       take the plural form.                                                       

           The table is broken, but the chairs are not.


b.       Non-countable nouns do not have plural forms and

       cannot be counted; they always take singular verbs.

           Water is essential to life and oxygen is too.


·     They can function as subjects, complements, direct /   

     indirect objects, objects of preposition, appositives,…

         Teachers offered the students some books.

                     S                                      IO                      DO



                                                                            Sample Exercises


EXERCISE 1. List the nouns in the following sentences. The number in parentheses indicates how many nouns are in the sentence.


1.     The audience gave the young ice skater a standing ovation for his performance. (4)

2.     Socrates, the philosopher, often argued with his followers about the nature of truth and beauty. (6)

3.     Algeria exports a large quantity of oil. (3)


EXERCISE 2. Fill in the gaps with nouns. More than one alternative is possible.


1.     Everybody admires his good………………

2.     ……………….are dangerous.

3.     .................... sold her old…………… her..................