ESL Sentence Patterns:

[A] refers to [B]


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Something – refers to – something else

to mention or represent something; to make reference to something

to talk about or mention something

to call something a certain name


  • On this air conditioner, the number refers to the temperature, and the red light refers to the level.


  • It’s easy to read piano music; each note refers to a specific key.


  • “9-11” refers to the date that the US was attacked (September 11) and NOT the emergency telephone number (911).


  • My husband said that he is angry because I said something mean yesterday, but I don’t know what he is referring to.


  • The southern area of Boston is often referred to as “Southie.”


  • When you call the credit card company, please refer to your credit card number.


  • Some people refer to them as “terrorists,” while others refer to them as “freedom fighters.”


  • I prefer that you refer to me as “Taiwanese” rather than “Chinese,” because I am not from China.




Complete the sentences:


1. On a stoplight, red refers to _______________, green _________________, and yellow _______________.

2. I sometimes refer to my father as “___________________.”

3. If you forget my number, ________________________ the phone book.

4. The asterisk next to the word refers to ___________________________________.

5. If you forget the meaning of a word, you should refer to _______________________.


Answer the questions with complete sentences using “refer to.”

1. What do the letters “DOB” on your driver’s license refer to?



2.Does the word “Muslim” refer to a religion or to an ethnic group?



3. What does the “Table of Contents” in a book refer to?



4. What nickname to your friends refer to you as?




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