The teaching of additive connectives: An evaluation of current English grammar textbooks in Hong Kong

Yu Hang Kwan


Learners’ faulty use of additive connectives may be attributed to the quality of English textbooks, yet there has been scant systematic and thorough scrutiny of the teaching of additive connectives in English textbooks. In view of this, this paper aims to critically evaluate the explanations, examples and practices of the use of additive connectives in four commercially-produced English grammar textbooks targeted at Grades 10 to 12 EFL students in Hong Kong. Findings from the present study show that the textbook explanations are simplistic as they overlook the pragmatic and stylistic functions of individual additive connectives and oversimplify their use in authentic texts. These textbooks give artificial sentence- or text-level examples to illustrate the semantic meanings of additive connectives, and the use of additive connectives in such examples tend to be either inappropriate or redundant. The language practices, which are mainly fill-in-the-blank or multiple choice items, merely involve learners’ low-level thinking, lack variety and lead to learners’ misconceptions about the use and pragmatic implications of individual additive connectives. Based on these findings, pedagogical implications are drawn suggesting how better instructional materials can be designed to enable learners to use additive connectives appropriately.


additive connectives; Chinese learners of English; linking adverbials; register; teaching material design; textbook evaluation; Hong Kong

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