TOEFL Writing Tips
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Use these tips to proofread your TOEFL, IELTS or GRE writing.
- Absolute Statement: Avoid using absolute statement.
- ARTICLE ERROR: errors concerning a, an, the. This is a prominent issue for Chinese students. Make sure to add/remove/change articles considering a specific context.
- BE VERBS: BE verbs are dull and vague. Use concrete verbs to replace BE verbs whenever needed. I.E. commercials are beneficial to children. – Commercials benefit children.
- COHERENCE: To improve the natural flow from one sentence to the other, make the subject of a sentence echo the subject, or the object, of the last sentence.
- COORDINATING CONJUNCTION error: In formal writing, a comma is needed when the 7 coordinating words (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so – FANBOYS) are connecting sentences/clauses.
- Effectiveness: use verbs instead of BE+adjectives to improve effectiveness.
- Grammatical Errors: grammatical mistakes.
- It + Be + Verb: Wordy.
- Logical confusion. Although a sentence is grammatically correct, often it is logically/factually confusing. Having written a sentence, ask yourself if the sentence is logically complete, and/or factually true.
- Misplaced Adverbs: Misplaced adverbs can alter the intended meaning.
- NOT problem. Experienced writers often avoid using NOT in English writing. I.e. Jack was very upset because he had not passed the GRE test. – I.e. Jack was very upset because he had failed the GRE test.
- PASSIVE VOICE: In many cases, clarity suffers when using passive voice. In particular linguistic contexts, using passive voice is fine.
- Semicolon: Use a semicolon in front of an adverb/adverbial phrase.
- Subjunctive: Memorize the grammatical rules for subjunctive mood.
- There Be Sentence: Wordy
- Unclear Pronouns: A pronoun (it, this, that, they, them., etc) unclearly refers to the prior content. For example, the first sentence contains two singular nouns, so IT in the second sentence can refer either of them.
- Unparalleled Structure: use paralleled structures, including tense.
- VERBOSE: The sentence/phrase can be simplified.
- WEAK VERBS: an alternative verb may help improve sentence effectiveness and clarity. The Internet makes us know many things. – The Internet helps us (to) know many things.
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