The sentence has many more obvious problems than the one you have highlighted. I'm not sure what it means, but I think you are correct to use 'it' rather than 'they' - you are referring to one thing (as suggested by the 'only word', and 'it' in the previous sentence.
What is it that you are talking about, what must stand before a noun? I find it difficult to correct your sentence as it isn't clear what the sentence is talking about.
Student or Learner