Toefl study group

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Here is another “tip of the day”. I see many TOEFL students try to make plurals out of words which are always (or almost always) singular. The following words are almost always singular - please add more to the list if you can think of any! If you want to make one of these plural, use “types of”, “pieces of” or something similar before the noun. I have written some examples below.

Always singular word …How to make it “plural”
research…“research projects”
education…“educational methods”
advice…“pieces of advice”
training…“training regimens”
insurance…“types of insurance”
knowledge…“pieces of knowledge”
work (except for “works of art”)…“types of work”
infrastructure…“types of infrastructure”
satisfaction…“methods of satisfaction”
immigration…“waves of immigration”
homework …“homework assignments”
information…“pieces of information”
equipment…“pieces of equipment”
fame…“types of fame”
schoolwork…“schoolwork assignments”
housework…“housework tasks”
understanding…“ways of understanding”

Hi, here is a very informative article about creating better thesis statements. The thesis is probably the most important part of TOEFL essays and provides a “roadmap” for the reader - in this case the grader. So make sure to give your grader a good map! One warning, the writer says you can put the thesis statement anywhere in the essay, but the TOEFL graders are looking for it at the end of the introduction, so make sure to put it there. … Thesis.htm

Hi luschen,
I raelly apperciate your help , thank you

Hi, I came across two good sources to practice your English reading:

National Geographic:

Scientific American:

These are both free and have very interesting articles. The reading level is challenging, but you will pick up some good vocabulary to use on your test. In addition, you may learn some valuable information and expand your horizons, both of which are always useful when writing essays.

Thank you, I’m reading it.

Hi, here’s my tip of the day.
Transitions are very important to show development of your ideas in your essays. Without them an essay becomes just a list of reasons and examples. Transitions for beginning each paragraph are pretty easy. My favorite group of them is

First, …
In addition …
Finally …
In conclusion …

This set will get you a long way. But transitions are also important within a paragraph to move the reader through your various reasons and examples. I saw this list on another website and thought I would post it here. Many of the transitions have examples to show you how they are used. There are two more lists I will post in the next couple days.


in addition
In addition, I would like to point out that my neighbor is disturbing me late at night.

and similarly
Your life will change forever and similarly, your whole family will feel the change.

Some people have little time for a hobby, and likewise have little will to get one.

as well as
Beauty, as well as intelligence, is a remarkable quality

We aren’t friends. Besides, I don’t feel it’s my place to set him straight.

Computers are getting faster and faster these days; furthermore, their cost is getting lower and lower.


I’ve wanting a change for a long time, moreover, I feel I deserve one.

and then too

not only … but also
Not only is this product good for your hair, but also for the whole body.


first(ly) initially
Initially, you should start putting a plan together.


to begin with
To begin with, you will need to commit a portion of your time to studying.


Later on there comes a stage when your skills are put to the test.

after this/that
following this/that


as a result
I studied well and as a result, I got a high score.


I was younger and therefore, less experienced.

it follows that

I upset my friend, thereby causing her pain.

then in that case

Admittedly, I was not the smartest person in the class.


The book is expensive, however it’s worth it.

on the other hand
She says she feels fine, on the other hand, her face is pale and she doesn’t look healthy.


in spite of
In spite of the difficulties, the task was completed.

He still insists, though he knows that won’t do any good.


on the contrary
The music didn’t lift her spirits, on the contrary, it made her feel weak and vulnerable again.


yet instead of
He felt unwelcome, yet instead of leaving, he stayed.

Eggs for breakfast is not a good idea; I would rather have some toast.

He was her true love, whereas for him she was just another girlfriend.

While they didn’t trust each other, nonetheless they worked together for many years.

even though
compared with
in contrast


It’s fantastic!
Thank you.

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Hi Guys,

I’m also having exam this month on April 20th.I really need help in writing section.I also want to be in this group.I’ll be posting essays here.plz help me.

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Hi Luschen,

I’m having toefl exam on April 20th.I really need help in writing section.I’ll be posting essays here.I’d appreciate your help.


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OK Siri, I will keep an eye out for them.

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Hi, here are more good transition phrases to use in your essays:


I was very disappointed, obviously because my expectations were too high.

I will certainly let her know your opinion.

You are plainly wrong

of course

She is undoubtedly very beautiful



I won’t be able to meet you, unless we schedule it in the morning.

Whether you like it or not, this is the truth.

provided that
I can guarantee a good result, provided that you study.

so that
I can send you the documents so that you would have proof.

depending on
We can have a picnic this weekend, depending on the weather.


in conclusion

in summary



to sum up
To sum up, I strongly support the efforts of our society to help the environment.

to conclude

to recapitulate

in short


for instance
There are many schools in many countries you could go to study to, for instance the schools in London or Birmingham.

one example
One example of how to get better in cooking would be to start reading recipes.

for example

just as
I wanted to be home already just as a thirsty man in the desert wants water.

in particular
I am referring to my exams, in particular, IELTS and TOEFL.

such as

My friends, namely Andy and Cindy, have told me about this new exhibition in the city.

to illustrate


Since you ask, I’d like to tell you my story

because (of)

due to
Due to illness of the teacher, this lecture is canceled.

owing to
the reason why
in other words

leads to
This assumption leads us to believe that …

The cause of this unfortunate accident was…



Since 2005 I have been working in …


Until now I wasn’t able to find anything like it.

Meanwhile, I would like to ask for your patience.

at the moment
At the moment I am experiencing financial difficulties.


Whenever I call him, he appears to be very busy.

as soon as

just as

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This is a great method of studying to improve writing , thumbs up :slight_smile:
I would like to ask Luschen : " There some sentences are used ‘are’ , but some sentences are used ‘is’ " ?

There are a lot of reasons.
There are many reasons.
There are numerous reasons.
There is a plenitude of reasons.
There is a plethora of reasons.
There are dozens of reasons.
There are various reasons.
There are innumerable reasons.
There are manifold reasons.
There are copious reasons.
There is an abundance of reasons.

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Hi Thein Vo - that is an excellent question - the problem is that I think I made a mistake saying “There are a lot of reasons.” We are talking about one singular lot, one group, so we should use “is”. In common speech, many people say “are” in this situation, but it is more correct to say “is”:

There is a lot of reasons.
There is a multitude of reasons
There is a plethora of reasons.
There is an abundance of reasons.

Notice though it is correct to say:

There are lots of reasons.
There are dozens of reasons.
There are reasons.

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Thank you , Luschen , for your answer . Sorry but I still got confuse !?!?

There is a lot of reasons .
There are lots of reasons .

Why the first sentence uses “is” and the second uses “are” meanwhile both sentences use reasons ( is a plural right!) ?

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The reason is that “lot” is singular, while “lots” is plural. The prepositional phrase “of reasons” does not really affect the subject, which is either lot or lots.

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Hi, I found this on another IELTS website and thought it was a very useful exercise.

Here’s the test. Read this essay. It’s pretty good, but every sentence contains one mistake. That means it’s not good enough to get a band 8. Your job is to find the mistakes.

[i] In today’s material world, we are inundated with variety forms of advertising. In my view, this can be dangerous as it encourages us spend without thinking and young people, in particular, need some protection from it.

The first point to make is that advertising does make us to spend money we do not need to. There are nowadays many diferent ways companies promote their products and services, ranging from television commercials to simple flyers. If, for example, you were watching a football match on television, you will see the logos of the tournament sponsors. Likewise, if you watch the latest blockbuster movie, very probably you will see a product placed in the film by advertising agency. The  volume of this advertising means that we, as consumers, tend to be profoundly influence by it and buy without thinking.

It is not easy to decide how regulating advertising. Clearly, governments ought to restrict advertisements for harmful products such as alcohol and tobacco. They do not have the power, however, to control other forms of the advertising. This means we need to use our commonsense when we go to the shops, and ask us whether we really need to make that purchase. Parents should, however, ensure that young people are protected about too much exposure to advertising. this can mean explaining that it is not in fact necessary to buy the newest Xbox.

My conclusion is that while we cannot escape advertising or its effects in the modern world, children should be being encouraged not to pay too much attention to it.[/i]

Can anyone find all the errors? I will post them in a few days.

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I have found two mistake so far :
_If, for example, you were watching a football match on television, you [will] {“would” is better choice} see the logos of the tournament sponsors. Likewise, if you watch the latest blockbuster movie, very probably you will see a product placed in the film by advertising agency

_My conclusion is that while we cannot escape advertising or its effects in the modern world, children should be {“being” should be omitted} encouraged not to pay too much attention to it.

If capital mistakes is also be counted, so I have another one.
_Parents should, however, ensure that young people are protected about too much exposure to advertising. this{This} can mean explaining that it is not in fact necessary to buy the newest Xbox.

This is a good excerise, Luschen, hopefully you post more tips. Can not wait to see them!!!

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I think I can find a few mistakes:

It kind of puts us in your shoes. Hehe.

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Wow, excellent job - you are hired! You did miss one and made a few corrections which were unnecessary. There is that one sentence where I can’t see any errors - I may have to go back to my source and look at the answer key.

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