Don’t Worry, It’s Easy to Write Concise Sentences

9.21“Less is more” in writing English. When you construct sentences to create a paragraph, each sentence should be trimmed down to only what is necessary to clearly communicate your point.

Do you find yourself struggling to create a simple, clear way of writing your ideas in English? On the TOEFL exam writing section, especially on the independent task, eliminating wordiness can raise your score.

Here are four efficient tips to make your sentences concise.

  1. Do not repeat the same idea twice.
  • Many uneducated adults who never went to primary school vote for improving the school system.

Examples of wordy phrases and how to trim them down.

REDUNDANT CONCISE
A lot of many
In recent times now
There is no doubt that No doubt
Personally, I think I think
Each and every each
A total of 10 pets 10 pets
In a period of five days Five days
One and the same The same
Of particular interest Interest
In the event that If
At 12 noon At noon
A person who is smart A smart person
At 1AM in the morning At 1AM
New innovations innovations
In the field of business In business
He is a person who… He
In spite of the fact that… Even though
In the event that… if

 

  1. Delete phrases that do not add value to your writing
Delete unnecessary phrases
In other words,
Type of
Kind of
In the case of
By means of
In the event that
Have a tendency to
For the most part
As far as I’m concerned,
By virtue of the fact that
It seems that
Due to the fact that
For all intents and purposes
At the present time,
All things considered,
In light of the fact that
As a matter of fact,
…because of the fact that…
Which exists
For the purpose of
In a manner of speaking

 

  1. Avoid weak adverbs, choosing instead strong active verbs. The best effect is to use adverbs sparingly or only when necessary.
  • Really, very, mostly, severely

 

  1. Avoid there is/are or it is
  • There are 25 colleagues in the office. à 25 colleagues are in the office.
  • There is a mess. à A mess exists.

In short, concise writing does not equal short sentences. You can still go into detail in body paragraph development. Aim for clear ideas by deleting unneeded words and phrases.

If you enjoyed this blog, you’ll like Transitions and Structure Create a Smooth Flowing TOEFL Essay.

 

Is It Better to Agree or Disagree on the Independent Writing Task?

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Do you know how to structure and write an essay in which you must agree or disagree with a given topic? If you have ever taken a TOEFL exam, it is highly likely you encountered an agree/disagree question topic on the independent task of the writing section. The category of question “agree/disagree” on the writing section is the most common type of question which will arise on the exam day. It does not matter whether you agree or disagree on this writing task. The key is to choose one quickly and develop your reasons and examples on topic. Select whichever is easiest for you to give concrete details. Knowing a potential list of agree/disagree topics will make your life a whole lot easier when you come across one of these questions. Look over the topics in the list below, and you can begin to prepare yourself to respond with your opinion in an essay.

  • Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Parents are the best teachers. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

63 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Television has destroyed communication among friends and family. Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinions.

64 “When people succeed, it is because of hard work. Luck has nothing to do with success.” Do you agree or disagree with the quotation above? Use specific reasons and examples to explain your position.

65 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Universities should give the same amount of money to their students’ sports activities as they give to their university libraries. Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.

66 It is better for children to grow up in the countryside than in a big city. Do you agree or disagree? Use specific reasons and examples to develop your essay.

67 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? People should sometimes do things that they do not enjoy doing. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

68 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Television, newspapers, magazines, and other media pay too much attention to personal lives of famous people such as public figures and celebrities. Use specific reasons and details to explain your opinion.

69 Businesses should hire employees for their entire lives. Do you agree or disagree? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

70 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Attending a live performance (for example, a play, concert, or sport event) is more enjoyable than watching the same event on television. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

71 Do you agree or disagree that progress is always good? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

72 Learning about the past has no value for those of us living in the present. Do you agree or disagree? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

73 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? With the help of technology, students nowadays can learn more information and learn it more quickly.   Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

74 The expression “Never, never give up” means keep trying and never stop working for your goals. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

75 Some people think that human needs for farmland, housing, and industry are more important than saving land for endangered animals. Do you agree or disagree with this point of view? Why or why not? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

76 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Face-to-face communication is better than other types of communication, such as letters, e-mail, or telephone calls. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

77 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? The most important aspect of a job is the money a person earns. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

78 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? One should never judge a person by external appearances.  Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

79 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? A person should never make an important decision alone. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

80 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Businesses should do anything they can to make a profit. Use specific reasons and examples to support your position.

81 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Games are as important for children as they are for adults. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answers.

82 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Parents or other adult relatives should make important decisions for their older (15-18 year old) teenaged children. Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.

83 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Most experiences in our lives that seemed difficult at the time become valuable lessons for the future. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

84 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Classmates are a more important influence that parents on a child’s success in school. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

85 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Grades (marks) encourage students to learn. Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.

86 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? The best way to travel is in a group led by a tour guide. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

87 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Children should begin studying a foreign language as soon as they start school. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

88 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Boys and girls should attend separate schools. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

89 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Technology has made the world a better place to live. Use specific reasons and examples to support your statement.

90 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Advertising can tell you a lot about a country. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

91 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Modern technology is creating a single world culture. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

92 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Telephone and e-mail have made communications between people less personal. Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.

93 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Dancing plays an important role in a culture.  Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

94 Some people think governments should spend as much money as possible exploring outer space (for example, traveling to the moon and other planets). Other people disagree and think governments should spend this money for our basic needs on earth. Which of these two opinions do you agree with?  Use specific reasons and details to support your answer.

95 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Teachers should be paid according to how much their students learn. Give specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.

96 Schools should ask students to evaluate their teachers. Do you agree or disagree? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

97 Some people think that children should begin their formal education at a very early age and should spend most of their time on their school studies. Others believe that young children should spend most of their time playing. Compare these two views. Which view do you agree with? Why? (Discuss BOTH.)

98 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? People behave differently when they wear different clothes. Do you agree that different clothes influence the way people behave? Use specific examples to support your answer.

99 Decisions can be made quickly, or they can be made after careful thought. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? The decisions that people make quickly are always wrong. Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.

100 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? People are never satisfied with what they have; they always want something more or something different. Use specific reasons to support your answer.

101 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? People should read only those books that are about real events, real people, and established facts. Use specific examples and details to support your opinion.

102 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? It is more important for students to study history and literature than it is for them to study science and mathematics. Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.

103 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? All students should be required to study art and music in secondary school. Use specific reasons to support your answer.

104 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? There is nothing young people can teach older people. Use specific reasons and examples to support your position.

105 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Reading fiction (such as novels and short stories) is more enjoyable than watching movies. Use specific reasons and examples to explain your position.

106 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Only people who earn a lot of money are successful. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

107 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? A person’s childhood years (the time from birth to twelve years of age) are the most important years of a person’s life. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

108 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Children should be required to help with household tasks as soon as they are able to do so. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

109 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Playing a game is fun only when you win. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

110 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? High schools should allow students to study the courses that students want to study. Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.

111 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? It is better to be a member of a group than the leader of a group. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

112 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Playing games teaches us about life. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

113 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Watching television is bad for children. Use specific details and examples to support your answer.

114 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? A zoo has no useful purpose. Use specific reasons and examples to explain your answer.

115 It is sometimes said that borrowing money from a friend can harm or damage the friendship. Do you agree? Why or why not? Use specific reasons and specific examples to explain your answer.

116 Many people say that the internet is the most important invention ever. Do you agree or disagree with this and if not, what do you believe to be more important? Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.

117 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? People pay too much attention to the less important things in life and fail to see the larger issues. Use specific reasons and details to explain your opinion.

118 A job should mean a job for life. Do you agree or disagree? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

119 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? With the help of technology, life is easier today than in the past.   Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

120 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? A problem shared is a problem solved. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

198 Do you agree or disagree with this statement?  All university students should take basic science courses even if science is not a major field for them.

199 Do you agree or disagree with following statement? The most important characteristic of a leader and a politician is a good communication skill.

200 Do you agree or disagree that face-to-face communication is more effective to produce better work than e-mail communication?

201 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: the rules that societies require young people to follow and obey are too strict? OR Today, young people are expected to follow or obey rules that are too strict. Do you agree or disagree?

202 Do you agree or disagree movies and televisions have more negative effects than positive effects on young people?

203 Do you agree or disagree? Some people think that to go on field trips (such as a museum) is an important part of an education for a child. Others think that a child should spend time on classwork at school.

204 Providing internet access to people is as important as services such as building roads, so the government should provide internet access to all citizens at no cost. Do you agree or disagree?

205 Do you agree or disagree with using security cameras in public space in daily activities in the city/country to protect public safety?

206 Do you agree or disagree that using a lot of time to decide is a good quality for a person to have?

207 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? One of the best ways that parents can help their teenage children prepare for adult life is to encourage them to take a part-time job. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

208 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Young people nowadays do not give enough time to helping their communities.

209 Do you agree or disagree with starting classes at school earlier than normal time?

210 Do you agree or disagree with following statement? People will spend less time for cooking and preparing meals in twenty years than they do today.

211 Do you agree or disagree with the idea? Providing the Internet access to people is as important as services such as building roads, so the government should provide the Internet access to all the citizens at no cost.

212 Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? In today’s world it is more important to work quickly and risk making mistakes than to work slowly and make sure that everything is correct.

216 Agree or disagree? It is important for children in some way to take care of a pet animal.

217 Do you agree or disagree? Kids should be given a chance to do whatever they want to, like study and music, rather than adults force them to do school homework and organizational events like sports.

  • Do you agree or disagree? Kids should be given a chance to do whatever they want to, like study and music, rather than adults force them to do school homework and organizational events like sports.

If you like this blog, you will find Make an Argument Essay informative.

How to Make a Strong Argument Essay

essay tip fiveHave you ever needed to write an argument essay on the TOEFL writing section, the independent task? Various categories of topics exist on the independent writing, one being make an argument. Clearly, it is important to know each category of the topics in order to address the question more readily in a particular writing. Becoming familiar with the make an argument list of topics below will help you become prepared for a potential topic you may receive on the day of the exam. Once you know these argument topics, you will be apt to tackle the argumentative essay.

  1. If you could change one important thing about your hometown, what would you change? Use reasons and specific examples to support your answer.
  2. Some people believe that university students should be required to attend classes. Others believe that going to classes should be optional for students. Which point of view do you agree with? Use specific reasons and details to support your answer.
  3. Neighbors are the people who live near us. In your opinion, what are the qualities of a good neighbor? Use specific details and examples in your answer.
  4. What are some important qualities of a good supervisor (boss)? Use specific details and examples to explain why these qualities are important.
  5. Should governments spend more money on improving roads and highways, or should governments spend more money on improving public transportation (buses, trains, subways)? Why? Use specific reasons and details to develop your essay.
  6. In general, people living longer now. Discuss the causes of this phenomenon. Use specific reasons and details to develop your essay.
  7. We all work or will work in jobs with many different kinds of people. In your opinion, what are some important of a good co-worker (someone you work closely with)? Use reasons and specific examples to explain why these characteristics are important.
  8. In some countries, teenagers have jobs while they are still students. Do you think this is a good idea? Support your opinion by using specific reasons and details.
  9. Some people believe that the Earth is being harmed (damaged) by human activity. Others feel that human activity makes the Earth a better place to live. What is your opinion? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
  10. Is it better to enjoy your money when you earn it, or is it better to save your money for some time in the future? Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.
  11. What is a very important skill a person should learn in order to be successful in the world today? Choose one skill and use specific reasons and examples to support your choice.
  12. Why do you think some people are attracted to dangerous sports or other dangerous activities? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
  13. What change would make your hometown more appealing to people your age? Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.
  14. A company is going to give some money either to support the arts or to protect the environment. Which do you think the company should choose? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
  15. What do you want most in a friend–someone who is intelligent, or someone who has a sense of humor, or someone who is reliable? Which one of these characteristics is most important to you? Use reasons and specific examples to explain your choice.
  16. Should a city try to preserve its old, historic buildings or destroy them and replace them with modern buildings? Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.
  17. Many teachers assign homework to students every day. Do you think that daily homework is necessary for students? Use specific reasons and details to support your answer.
  18. If you could study a subject that you have never had the opportunity to study, what would you choose? Explain your choice, using specific reasons and details.
  19. Some people think that the automobile has improved modern life. Others think that the automobile has caused serious problems. What is your opinion? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
  20. Which would you choose–a high-paying job with long hours that would give you little time with family and friends or a lower-paying job with shorter hours that would give you more time with family and friends? Explain your choice, using specific reasons and details.
  21. Some people say that computers have made life easier and more convenient. Other people say that computers have made life more complex and stressful. What is your opinion? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
  22. Some universities require students to take classes in many subjects. Other universities require students to specialize in one subject. Which is better? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
  23. Is it more important to be able to work with a group of people on a team or to work independently? Use specific reasons and specific examples to support your answer.
  24. Some people think the Internet provides people with a lot of valuable information. Others think access to so much information creaste problems. Which view do you agree with? Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.
  25. A foreign visitor has only one day to spend in your country. Where should this visitor go on that day? Why? Use specific reasons and details to support your choice.
  26. If you could go back to some time and place in the past, when and where would you go? Why? Use specific reasons and details to support your choice.
  27. What discovery in the last 100 years has been most beneficial for people in your country? Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice.
  28. If you could travel back in time to meet a famous person from history, what person would you like to meet? Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice.
  29. If you could meet a famous entertainer or athlete, who would that be, and why? Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice.
  30. Many students have to live with a roommate while going to school or university. What are some of the important qualities of a good roommate? Use specific reasons and examples to explain why these qualities are important.
  31. People have different ways of escaping the stress of modern life. Some read, some exercise, others work in their gardens. What do you think are the best ways of reducing stress? Use specific details and examples in your answer.
  32. If you were asked to send one thing representing your country to an international exhibition, what would you choose? Why? Use specific reasons and details to explain your choice.
  33. In your opinion, what is the most important characteristic (for example, honesty, intelligence, a sense of humor) that a person can have to be successful in life? Use specific reasons and examples from your experience to explain your answer. When you write your answer, you are not limited to the examples listed in the question. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
  34. Some people believe that a college or university education should be available to all students. Others believe that higher education should be available to only good students. Discuss these views. Which view do you agree with? Explain why?
  35. The government has announced that it plans to build a new university. Some people think that your community should be a good place to locate the university. Compare the advantages and disadvantages of establishing a new university in your community. Use specific details in your discussion. (Discuss both.)
  36. Some people trust their first impressions about a person’s character because they believe these judgments are generally correct. Other people do not judge a person’s character quickly because they believe first impressions are often wrong. Compare these two attitudes. Which attitude do you agree with? Support your choice with specific examples. (Discuss BOTH ATTITUDES in the essay.)
  37. Some people say that physical exercise should be a required part of every school day. Other people believe that students should spend the whole school day on academic studies. Which opinion do you agree with? Give specific reasons and details to support your answer.
  38. A university plans to develop a new research center in your country. Some people want a center for business research. Other people want a center for research in agriculture (farming). Which of these two kinds of research centers do you recommend for your country? Use specific reasons in your recommendation.
  39. Some young children spend a great amount of their time practicing sports. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of this. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer. (Discuss both.)
  40. Some high schools required all students to wear school uniforms. Other high schools permit students to decide what to wear to school. Which of these two school policies do you think is better? Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.
  41. If you could make one important change in a school that you attended, what change would you make? Use reasons and examples to support your answer.
  42. A gift (such as a camera, soccer ball, or an animal) can contribute to a child’s development. What gift would you five to help a child develop? Why? Use reasons and specific examples to support your choice.
  43. Some people believe that students should be given one long vacation each year. Others believe that students should have several short vacations throughout the year. Which viewpoint do you agree with? Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice.
  44. Some people say that advertising encourages us to buy things that we really do not need. Others say that advertisements tell us about new products that may improve our lives. Which viewpoint do you agree with? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
  45. You school has received a gift of money. What do you think is the best way for your school to spend this money? Use specific reasons and details to support your choice.
  46. Imagine that you have received some land to use as you wish. How would you use this land? Use specific details to explain your answer.
  47. What is the most important animal in your country? Why is this animal important? Use reasons and specific details to explain your answer.
  48. Many parts of the world are losing important natural resources, such as forests, animals, or clean water. Choose one resource that is disappearing and explain why it needs to be saved. Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.
  49. In some countries people are no longer allowed to smoke in many public places and office buildings. Do you think this is a good rule or a bad rule? Use specific reasons and details to support your opinion.
  50. Plants can provide food, shelter, clothing, or medicine. What is one kind of plant that is important to you or the people in your country? Use specific reasons and details to support your choice.
  51. When famous people such as actors, athletes, and rock stars give their opinions, many people listen. Do you think we should pay attention to these opinions? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
  52. The twentieth century saw great change. In your opinion, what is one change that should be remembered about the twentieth century? Use specific reasons and details to explain your choice.
  53. Some famous athletes and entertainers earn millions of dollars every year. Do you think these people deserve such high salaries? Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.
  54. Is the ability to read and write more important today than in the past? Why or why not? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
  55. People recognize a difference between children and adults. What events (experience or ceremonies) make a person an adult? Use specific reasons and examples to explain your answer.
  56. Your school has enough money to purchase either computers for students or books for the library. Which should your school choose to buy–computers or books? Use specific reasons and examples to support your recommendation.
  57. Imagine you are preparing for a trip. You plan to be away from your home for a year. In addition to clothing and personal care items, you can take one additional thing. What would you take and why? Use specific reasons and details to support your choice.
  58. A friend of yours has received some money and plans to use all of it either to go on a vacation/to buy a car. Your friend has asked you for advice. Compare your friend’s two choices and explain which one you think your friend should choose. Use specific reasons and details to support your choice.
  59. In your country, is there more need for land to be left in its natural condition or is there more for land to be developed for housing and industry? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
  60. Many people have a close relationship with their pets. These people treat their birds, cats, or other animals as members of their family. In your opinion, are such relationships good? Why or why not? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
  61. You have enough money to purchase either a house or a business. Which would you choose to buy? Give specific reasons to explain your choice.
  62. Of three government environmental policies–protect nature’s forests, protect clean air, and protect clean water–which is the best policy? What should the government do in those three cases?

 

If you like this article, you may enjoy The TOEFL Independent Task Five-Paragraph Essay Structure.

Superior Essays Contain Examples

note pen pencil

Examples are vital to creating a superior essay on the second task, the independent essay, in the TOEFL writing section. To create strong writing, you need to insert quality content with solid reasons on the topic and clear examples. Each example may be different since the topics are varied. Use a particular example from one of these below depending on which question you encounter on the exam day. Here are some samples of what types of examples you may integrate into your body paragraphs to give stronger support to your argument.

Your own experience

The majority of independent essay arguments can come from your own experience since your viewpoint is something you can grasp readily when you are in a time crunch. For example, you may consider referring to your family, friend, neighbor, classmate, boss, peer, or elder. If you have an independent (task #2) question that asks about family, community, children, school, education, work, career, or life, you can easily draw from your own experience to respond to the question and stay on topic. It saves time in planning your argument, and it makes your development more personalized with your experience. For structure in your example, keep the same main subject throughout a body paragraph for consistency.

Sample preference question

  • Some people prefer to live in places that have the same weather or climate all year long. Others like to live in areas where the weather changes several times a year. Which do you prefer?

Subject knowledge

Of course, you will not need any previous expertise on the subject to answer an independent question on the TOEFL. However, if you know something about the topic that is listed in the question, they you can use your subject knowledge to help you develop your argument. If you have a question related to social issues or politics, for example, it is useful to use subject knowledge for those types of questions.

Sample agree/disagree question

  • Agree or disagree? Technology has made the world a better place to live.

Someone famous or a global situation

Aside from using your personal experience or knowledge, you can use a global example. For instance, consider what renowned person you could write about as an example. Some questions may be a topic about time, about history, or about a country.

Sample independent questions:

  • If you could go back to some time and place in the past, when and where would you go? Why?
  • If you were asked to send one thing representing your country to an international exhibition, what would you choose? Why?

When giving evidence in the body to substantiate your claim, it is quick and helpful to illustrate an example from your own experience or knowledge, or from a well-known person or situation. Using those types of examples is effective in the body paragraphs, depending on which topic the question asks you.

If you liked this post, try reading the article: The TOEFL Independent Task Five-Paragraph Essay Structure.

Transitions and Structure Create a Smooth Flowing TOEFL Essay

note pen

One of the essential keys to a well-written essay is integrating transitions into your essay, whether that be the integrated task or the independent task on the writing section of the TOEFL exam. Transitions and transitional phrases are words or groups of words that connect ideas between or within sentences. When you write a paragraph, you should present ideas that flow; consequently, connector words or phrases are useful to make the paragraph cohesive. By inserting smooth connections, ideas can relate more logically so that no gaps exist. If you are able to connect your thoughts in a manner which leads the reader through your essay, you will effectively paint a clearer argument. For this reason, though you may already have presented a strong argument and supporting details, your opinion, reasons, examples and support need to also connect with transitions in order to make your persuasion seem stronger to any reader. Proper selection of transitions makes your written passage much more enticing to read

Moreover, you will need to decide which transition word or phrase to use in a particular spot in your writing. So, examine your essay overall. Look at the organization. When you give ideas that build on one another in the same way, use ‘like meaning’ transitions. If you have presented ideas which are opposing, then you would insert transitional phrases that are contrasting meaning. Sequential words also help to delineate the organization of time in paragraphs and keep sentences in clear order.

Sample transitions

SEQUENTIAL WORDS–First, at first, initially, first of all, in the first place, second, secondly, in addition, as well, next, later, after that, now, recently, at the same time,

EXAMPLE WORDS: for instance, for example, to illustrate, to exemplify, to demonstrate, to show,

EMPHASIS WORDS–in particular, specifically, even, especially, in fact, no doubt, doubtless

LIKE WORDS–similarly, like, as, likewise, in the same way, in addition, plus

CONTRAST WORDS—but, yet, however, nevertheless, yet, still, on the other hand, despite, although, though, even though, while, whereas

CONCLUSION WORDS–In conclusion, in summary, lastly, consequently, finally, hence, therefore, thus

Sentences example without a transition and with transitions

  • I built a house. It was one story. [no transition]
  • For instance, I built a house; initially, it was one story. [two transitions for smooth flowing logic]

Not only are transitions vital to your writing on the TOEFL, but also a solid structure makes your essay more convincing to the reader. The structure of an essay commences with an introduction, an initial paragraph which starts off with catching the attention of the reader with a lead-on on the topic. For instance, you begin with a general statement or question on the topic to entice a reader. The introduction moves from general to more specific: at the end of the introductory paragraph, in the last sentence, you state your thesis statement. A thesis is the main idea of your essay. Whatever main purpose you have (your argument,) you would mention that viewpoint to control the thesis and add your reasons why.

To follow the introduction, you would have a body of a few paragraphs which explain the support of your reasons why. In this way, your reasons each have concrete examples and details, which become more and more detailed to make a convincing argument. Each body paragraph follows a similar structure. You begin with a transition to refer back to the previous paragraph or move forward to a new idea. Thus, your writing will not jump from one idea to the next without logical reasoning. The first topic sentence of each body paragraph contains a controlling idea and one reason, which refers back to one reason stated in the thesis in the introduction. After proposing your reason, you give an example or evidence to support the topic. Following an example, you can include numerous details, which become more concrete as you move through the body paragraph. Those ideas support the argument, reason and example. If you wish to conclude the body paragraph, you may want to rephrase the topic sentence in other words to emphasize the point you are making.

The final part of the structure of an essay is to restate your thesis and express why that is important. In that concluding paragraph, you would start with an ending transition such as “In conclusion,” or “In summary,” or “To sum up.” One of those transitions smooths your writing so that moving from the body to the conclusion is not jumpy. To follow would be a short summary of your opinion and the reasons paraphrased with new word choice. Your concluding line should end strong. It would be a recommendation or suggestion on topic or a universal call to action. Be sure not to introduce new ideas in the conclusion or that would weaken the ending.

Of course, by using both the proper transitions in the correct location within your writing and by organizing your essay structure according to the standard set above, you can impact the reader positively. He/she will be able to readily comprehend your argumentative viewpoint and capture supporting points clearly to give you a better TOEFL writing score.

If you liked this post, try reading the article Writing a TOEFL Independent Essay with a Story as an Example.

 

Presenting a Story as an Example Stimulates

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  • A Story as an Example in Writing

In the independent task essay of the TOEFL writing section, each reason to support the argument needs a strong example in each body paragraph. One way is to use a story as an example in the body paragraph(s) as a tool of persuasion in the argument and as a technique to develop a reason.

A story example is a connected set of events with a beginning, middle, and end. The story you tell is a journey that moves the reader (rater of your essay.) When the reader is reading your story, the reader feels differently than reading facts; consequently, the result is the reader feels persuaded by your story to understand your viewpoint.

When writing a story as an example in your body paragraph, remember that a story is not facts, figures, or lists. Yet, if you are able to integrate facts or figures as supporting details into your story example, these can stimulate the rater’s intellect and emotions to feel persuaded to your opinion, and ultimately it may lead to the rater give a certain score. Your story (the example and supporting details) can be short—140 characters (no spaces) such as in four short sentences–or if you write longer sentences about 140 words to develop the entire body paragraph.

Here are a few characteristics of an effective story as a solid example in the independent essay, task #2 of the TOEFL writing section.

  1. Objective: Why are you telling that story?

To support the reason

  1. Grab Attention: To catch the reader, the story must clearly exemplify support of the

                                            Reason in your topic sentence and main argument (your thesis)

  1. Engage: Why might the rater care about your story example?

For a high score, that example must develop the reason given in the first sentence of the                               body paragraph, and it needs to supply specific details

Keep these in mind when creating a story as an example in the body of your essay.

The TOEFL Independent Task Five-Paragraph Essay Structure

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Structure:

The typical structure for essays is the five-paragraph organization. The model is useful in the independent writing task since you have a limited time; you will have an advantage to know your structure in advance within a 30-minute time frame. Of course, it’s only one format, so you can optionally write a four-paragraph structural model instead. In either case, you would be organizing with an introductory paragraph, body paragraphs (2-3,) and a conclusion.

Introduction:

Start by getting the reader involved in your essay. You can write a general sentence about the question, but be sure to catch the reader’s attention by stating the topic. Since the introductory paragraph tells the reader what the essay is about, you can present your main points. For instance, you will need to answer the question and include a thesis statement (your main argument) with reasons. The last sentence of the first paragraph will have a related key word to lead into the first body paragraph so the connection is smooth.

Body:

The first body paragraph often has the strongest argument. Consequently, you should be sure to use the most significant reason to support the argument, the best example or illustration. The first sentence has a transition/reverse hook, which links back to the last sentence of the introduction.

  • In the first topic sentence, state the argument and first reason, which was in the thesis in the introduction.
  • Then, develop the reason with a supporting example and details which become more and more specific.
  • The last sentence can be either a concluding idea to restate the topic or a transition to lead into the second body paragraph.

Body:

The second body paragraph usually presents the second strongest point. So, use the next most convincing reason and direct example with underlying details in support. Again, the first topic sentence of this paragraph has a transitional hook such as a paraphrase of the previous reason relating back to the last paragraph (or the last sentence of the previous body paragraph.)

  • To start, write the topic reason (related to the introductory thesis,) followed by a clear example with supporting details.
  • To conclude, the final sentence can wrap up the paragraph by reiterating the topic reason in other words or lead into the next paragraph.

Body:

The third body paragraph will contain the weakest reasoning point, simplest example, and a follow up of that illustration with specific details. The beginning sentence will give a connecting transition or a clear link to the previous paragraph.

  • The first sentence will be the topic (related to the thesis in the introduction) with the least important reason, your weakest example to support that reason, and concrete details.
  • Finally, the last sentence should signal the reader that this is the concluding point in the essay.

Conclusion:

For the concluding paragraph, allude to the introduction by paraphrasing the thesis (echoing the idea but not copying the exact original words,) synthesize the three reasons from the body, and offer a universal call to action such as a recommendation or a suggestion of consequence for the reader or a provocative question on the topic.

When you present an orderly structure, the end result is a well-organized essay with ideas that flow coherently, leading to a higher score.