Tips for the Toefl Exam
Structure and Written Expression
General TOEFL strategies
Use your time wisely.
Get familiar with the instructions before taking the
TOEFL so that you will not have to waste time reading
If you do not know the answer to a question, guess.
There is no penalty for guessing. Unmarked answers
will be counted as wrong.
Mark your answer sheet very carefully.
Do not write in your test booklet.
Structure and Written Expressions
Time: 25 minutes
40 questions in two subsections
Structure (15 questions). You choose gramatically
correct sentence completions for sentences with
Written Expressions (25 questions). You choose the
incorrect segments in complete sentences.
•A present participle is the -ing form of a verb . The
present participle can be (1) part of the verb or (2)
It is part of the verb when it is accompanied by
some form of the verb be. e.g. The woman was
intriguing against her husband
It is an adjective when it is not accompanied by
some form of the verb be. e.g. the intriguing woman
was a mistery.
•A past participle often ends in –ed but there are
also many irregular past participles. (played,
•The –ed form of the verb can be (1) the simple
past, (2) the past participle of a verb,or (3) an
adjective. e.g. the finished task is on the desk.
•Many sentences have more than one clause
(group of words containing subject and
verb). One way to connect two clauses is to
use: AND, BUT, OR, or SO between the
•When you analize a sentence, first identify
the verb, if there is no verb in the main
sentence, you have to choose the answer that
contains the correct form of the verb needed.
•Once you identify the verb, ask a
wh...question of the verb. This will locate the
•Subject-verb agreement.- the subject must agree with
the verb of a sentence in two ways: in number (singular
vs. plural) or in person ( first, second or third person).
•Be aware that some times there are prepositional
phrases (distractors) .
•Pronoun-noun agreement.- a pronoun needs to agree
with the noun in term of number and gender.
•Parallelism principle requieres that expressions of
similar content and function should be similar.
•Comparison.- make sure to compare the same things
•Be sure that the sentence has a subject and a verb
•Be careful of objects of prepositions because they can be
mistaken for the subject of the sentence. The object of the
preposition is a noun or a pronoun that comes after a
preposition such as: in, at, on, of, to, by, behind, etc, to
form a prepositional phrase.
•Be careful of appositives. An appositive is a noun that
comes before or after another noun and has the same
meaning. Appositives can be left out the phrase and it still
•Be careful of present participles: they can either be as part of
the verb or an adjective
•Be careful of past participles
•Use coordinate connectors correctly: and, but, so, or, yet
•Invert the subject and verb with question
•Invert the subject and verb with negatives
Subject verb agreement
Subject verb agreement