Chinese learners tend to use the pronoun “it” without clearly referring to an immediately preceding noun. In English we normally use “this” or a noun phrase instead.
In examples 1-3, “it” can only refer to an immediately preceding noun (“Victoria Harbour”, “pedestrian flow”). If we substitute “it” by “this”, we are referring to an issue raised in the previous sentence (“The exhaust gases are discharged over Victoria Harbour.” According to research, there will be 10% annual growth in pedestrian flow.”).
 

 

WRONG
RIGHT

1.

In addition to the continuous development of Victoria Harbour, the number of cars and cruise ships has been increasing. The exhaust gases are discharged over Victoria Harbour. It results in the lower visibility on the harbor, which can affect the development of tourism in Hong Kong.

In addition to the continuous development of Victoria Harbour, the number of cars and cruise ships has been increasing. The exhaust gases are discharged over Victoria Harbour. This results in the lower visibility
on the harbor, which can affect
the development of
tourism in Hong Kong.

2.

According to research, there will be 10% annual growth in pedestrian flow. It means the density of
people is really high and concentrated.

According to research, there will be 10% annual growth in pedestrian flow. This means the density of people is really high and concentrated.

3.

The Queen’s Pier was destroyed in 2007 due to reclamation. Many citizens protested and paraded. It affected the stability of the society.

The Queen’s Pier was destroyed in 2007 due to reclamation. Many citizens protested and paraded. This affected the stability of the society.

 

In examples 4-6, the problems with the use of the pronoun “it” show a different degree of seriousness. 
 
Example 4 is marginally wrong. “It” here obviously refers to “the harbour” mentioned in the previous sentence. As “the harbour” is the theme of the previous sentence, the “force” of the reference is relatively strong. However, the problem comes when two other nouns are mentioned after the harbour (“the Pearl of the Orient” and “Hong Kong”). Potentially, “it” could refer to any of these three nouns. So, it is better to use a full noun phrase (“the harbour”) instead of “it” to clearly indicate that you continue talking about the harbour and not about “The Pearl of the Orient” or “Hong Kong”.
 
In example 5, the use of “it” is clearly wrong because “it” does not refer back to any immediately preceding noun (“reclamation”, “the environment”, “the marine life” or “enjoyment”). Instead, the subject of “loses its appeal to tourists as well” should be “Hong Kong” in this context.
 
Example 6 could perhaps be an accident but it clearly illustrates the problems some people face keeping track of what they are referring to. The writer here has mistaken Singapore for Hong Kong and has used the pronoun “it” wrongly because there is no previous reference activated. 
 

 

WRONG
RIGHT

4.

The harbour, together with the charming night scene, earns the name of ‘The Pearl of the Orient’ for Hong Kong. Therefore it is universally acknowledged as one of the prodigious assetto all Hong Kong people which defines the image and lifestyle of it.

The harbour, together with the charming night scene, earns the name of ‘The Pearl of the Orient’ for Hong Kong. Therefore the harbour is universally acknowledged as one of the prodigious assetto all Hong Kong people which defines the image and lifestyle of the city.

5.

Reclamation not only jeopardizes the environment and the marine life, but also diminishes residents’ enjoyment and it loses its appeal to tourists as well.

Reclamation not only jeopardizes the environment and the marine life, but also diminishes residents’ enjoyment and Hong Kong loses its appeal to tourists as well.

6.

In contrast, compared with the harbour development in Singapore, it has done well on retaining the local heritage alongside the harbour.

In contrast, compared with the harbour city development in Hong Kong, Singapore has done well on retaining the local heritage alongside the harbour. 


See more
.

Raise your question