My question is what the first and the second pronoun "it" mean in the 2nd paragraph below. I think that the first it means "to read English regularly" or "to read for pleasure," and the second it also means either one. I'm still debating in my mind. When I think out the question in my own language, both options seem possible. Give me your advice. By the way, I understand the functions of the pronoun "it." Thank you.

One of the ways to improve your English is to read in English regularly. Spend some time in bookstores, reading a page or two of books that look interesting. You can also borrow books from the library. These days, I'm reading lots of English mystery stories to improve my English skills.

The point is to read for pleasure. Don't use a dictionary, because then it becomes studying and you'll grow tired of it. If you come across a word ...... (omitted below) .

(from an English exercise book)

  • 1
    It means "reading" in both cases.
    – gotube
    Commented Jun 23, 2021 at 3:14
  • Don't use a dictionary, because then that becomes studying
    – Lambie
    Commented Nov 5, 2022 at 16:20

2 Answers 2


It refers to "reading". The reference isn't restricted to any particular type of reading. It means "if you read with a dictionary then that reading with a dictionary becomes studying.

This can be confirmed since "reading for pleasure becomes studying" is an oxymoron and "reading regularly becomes a chore" doesn't make sense (if it means that irregular reading with a dictionary would not be studying.)


The word "it" refers to the previous sentence:

The point is to read for pleasure.

But the "reading for pleasure" is the "regular reading" that they recommend, so it doesn't make any difference. "It" refers to the sort of reading that they are talking about.

  • "To read in English regularly" and "to read for pleasure" are different in meaning. Your advice sounds vague. I don't agree with your explanation. Suppose you are an English teacher for English as a Second Language. If your student asks you this question, I'm afraid your student will not satisfy your explanation. Please give me more satisfactory advice. Commented Dec 31, 2020 at 4:45
  • Maybe someone else will provide an answer more to your satisfaction. Good luck. Commented Dec 31, 2020 at 5:08
  • @user152425MH: I see nothing vague in Jack's answer. If you find it unsatisfactory, you should edit the question to explain why it is unsatisfactory. Simply labeling something as "unsatisfactory" is itself vague.
    – Kevin
    Commented Dec 31, 2020 at 5:39
  • @Jack and Kevin, Thank you very much for your advice. I’ve been studying English by myself, reading books. There is no native-speakers around me. This is the only way that can help. Every time I read books in English, I come across a lot of unclear points. This problem is one of them, many questions press me. Pent-up feelings triggered inappropriate language. Commented Dec 31, 2020 at 6:57
  • @user152425MH Don't worry, it's a stressful time for many in the world. Happy new year! Commented Dec 31, 2020 at 7:28

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