About This Chapter
Grammar and Usage - Chapter Summary
Learn all the grammar and usage rules you'll need to write an effective essay by viewing engaging video lessons. These lessons are simple, quick and make learning grammar and usage conventions entertaining and easy. Lessons in this chapter cover:
- Subject-verb agreement
- Comma usage
- Sentence clarity
- Sentence agreement
- Pronoun usage
- Active and passive voice
- Transition sentences
The lessons found in this chapter contain essential grammar rules and usage concepts and are followed by quizzes that gauge your comprehension of these rules and methods. Grammar and usage rules are broken down into short, easily digestible videos to help you quickly understand these concepts.
TOEFL iBT Writing Objectives
The TOEFL iBT exam gauges non-native English speakers' comprehension of the English language and is required to gain admission to English-speaking colleges and universities. The writing portion represents a quarter of the exam. These video lessons teach you all the grammar and usage rules you'll need to write the two essays required in the writing section of the exam. Some of the objectives of these lessons include:
- Punctuation rules
- Style, tone and point of view
- Sentence subject identification
- Sentence fragments and run-on sentences
- Idioms and phrasal verbs
On the writing portion of the TOEFL iBT, you'll be asked to write an essay in response to a written and spoken passage. For your second essay, you'll formulate and state your opinion on an issue and then defend your position in writing.
1. How to Write Well: What Makes Writing Good?
From great ideas to great execution, learn what makes writing 'good' and how to transform your writing from 'okay' to accomplished through the use of specific examples, great ideas, and organization.
2. Verb Tense & Subject-Verb Agreement
Learn all about verb tense and subject-verb agreement in our first lesson on this tricky topic. We'll look at examples to help you understand this concept.
3. What Are Personal Pronouns?
Pronouns are great for making sure debaters don't have to keep repeating the other guy's name over and over again, but they have many other uses too! In fact, pronouns, you could say, make reading readable. In part one, we'll cover personal pronouns and how they're used before moving on to more esoteric varieties.
4. Commas: Correct Usage & Basic Rules
Think that you know commas? You may be surprised. Even the most experienced writers have problems remembering all the rules. Learn the basics of comma usage in this first of two lessons on the comma.
5. Punctuation: Using Colons, Semicolons & Periods
Periods, colons, and semicolons all have the ability to stop a sentence in its tracks, but for very different purposes. In this lesson, learn how and why we use them in our writing.
6. How to Write with Idioms or Phrasal Verbs
In this lesson, you will learn how to identify idioms and phrasal verbs. Once you can recognize these parts of speech, you will be able to use them yourself in your writing.
7. Sentence Clarity: How to Write Clear Sentences
Just because you know a good sentence when you read one doesn't mean that you think it's easy to put one together - forget about writing an essay's worth. Learn how to write clear sentences and turn rough ones into gems.
8. How to Write With Good Diction to Develop Style, Tone & Point-of-View
Developing a good writing style starts with developing good diction. You can't craft an essay or story the way you want without being able to choose the right words first. Here's how.
9. How to Identify the Subject of a Sentence
Don't pass over this lesson! You may think you know how to find subjects and verbs in a sentence, but picking them out can be harder than you think. Identifying subjects and verbs is the first step to unlocking nearly everything else about English composition.
10. What Is Brainstorming?
You may have been told that it's important to brainstorm before writing an essay. This video explains why it's well worth your time to make brainstorming part of your writing routine.
11. Techniques for Brainstorming Great Ideas
Great essays are made up of great ideas. Finding those great ideas is the first critical step on the road to writing a terrific essay. Learn some popular and effective brainstorming techniques that will work whether you have an hour or two weeks to write your paper.
12. Parallelism: How to Write and Identify Parallel Sentences
Sentences that aren't parallel sound funny, even if they look perfectly correct at first glance. Learn what makes a sentence parallel, how to revise a sentence to make it parallel, and how to write beautiful, balanced sentences of your own.
13. Sentence Fragments, Comma Splices and Run-on Sentences
Sentence fragments, comma splices, and run-on sentences are grammatical and stylistic bugs that can seriously derail an otherwise polished academic paper. Learn how to identify and eliminate these errors in your own writing here.
14. Subject-Verb Agreement: Using Uncommon Singular and Plural Nouns and Pronouns
Subject-verb agreement is a tricky beast. Learn which uncommon singular and plural nouns and pronouns are most likely to trip you up when trying to craft essays with good grammar.
15. Comma Usage: Avoid Confusion in Clauses & Contrasting Sentence Parts
Learn more about comma usage from the pros! There are just too many ways to use the comma (it's a basic punctuation mark, after all) to fit in one sentence. Watch here to learn about some of the more common traps students fall into when trying to put commas in the right place.
16. Sentence Agreement: Avoiding Faulty Collective Ownership
A common error occurs whenever a writer uses wording that suggests that a lot of people own or use just one thing, when really they all own or use their own separate things. This video will explain how to identify and fix this type of error.
17. Sentence Structure: Identify and Avoid 'Mixed Structure' Sentences
A mixed structure sentence is a common error that occurs when a writer starts a sentence with one structure but switches to a different structure in the middle of the sentence. This video will teach you how to spot and avoid this type of error.
18. Independent & Dependent Clauses: Subordination & Coordination
This lesson is about independent and dependent clauses, and how they make up a sentence. Dependent clauses, like the name suggests, rely on other elements in a sentence. Independent clauses, on the other hand, can stand alone. Learn more in this lesson.
19. Pronouns: Relative, Reflexive, Interrogative & Possessive
In this lesson, we'll look at relative, reflexive, interrogative and possessive pronouns. We'll do this by antagonizing our friend Gary with the whos, whats, whoms, and whichevers that make up these pronouns.
20. How to Write Logical Sentences and Avoid Faulty Comparisons
Your sentences may not always make as much sense as you think they do, especially if you're comparing two or more things. It's easy to let comparisons become illogical, incomplete, or ambiguous. Learn how to avoid making faulty comparisons on your way to writing a great essay.
21. What Are Misplaced Modifiers and Dangling Modifiers?
I have this recurring nightmare where all my modifiers are misplaced or dangling and everybody's laughing at me. Don't let this happen to you! Learn why modifiers are important and why putting them in the right place is even more so.
22. Active and Passive Voice
You may have heard your teachers toss around the terms 'passive voice' and 'active voice'. But if you've never really understood what it means to write actively or passively, stick with us -- and learn how to turn to awkward passive sentences into bright, active ones.
23. How to Write and Use Transition Sentences
Like a road map, transitions guide readers through your essay. This lesson examines the way writers transition between sentences, within paragraphs and between paragraphs to make for a smooth reading experience.
24. Complete Sentence: Examples & Definition
Although it seems simple, writing in complete sentences is a necessity that can trip up even seasoned writers. In this lesson, we will examine how to write in a complete sentence and why it is so important.
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Other chapters within the TOEFL iBT: Test Prep and Practice course