Description of Structure and Written Expression

The second section of the TOEFL, Structure and Written Expression, tests your understanding and knowledge of standard English grammar. This section has two parts.

In Part A, questions 1-15, you have to find the correct sentence structure from the four choices given. In Part B, questions 16-40, you must find the error in the sentence structure or usage. You should answer the 40 questions in 25 minutes.

Example Sentence, Part A

1     Mushrooms, ______ low in calories, are included in most diets.

A.     are

B.     which are

C.     have been

D.     which

The correct answer is (B). It has the relative pronoun which and the verb are for the adjective clause.


Example Sentence, Part B

Inca craftsmen are famous of using advanced techniques in their crafts.

A.    are

B.    of

C.    advanced

D.    their

The answer is (B). The correct word is the preposition for.

In the Structure and Written Expression section, you will not be asked to correct spelling or punctuation errors. The length of the sentences is varied. The more recent TOEFL tests have contained sentences with 10 to 27 words. Some sentences are simple, while others are connected with coordinating conjunctions such as AND, BUT, OR, NOR, FOR. Pay attention to the construction of the sentence to find out what will fit in the blank to make the sentence meaningful; that is, the structure will require either a verb, a subject, a preposition, a clause, an object, an adverb, or a modifier. After reading the sentence thoroughly, look at the four options. Then, choose the one that would be the most appropriate answer for the blank space. If you do not know the answer, simply guess.

In Part B of Structure and Written Expression, sentences may be joined by subordinating conjunctions such as BECAUSE, SINCE, ALTHOUGH, EVEN THOUGH, AFTER, BEFORE. In addition, paired conjunctions including NEITHER ... NOR, EITHER ... OR, NOT ONLY .... BUT ALSO can connect the sentences. Similar to Part A of Structure and Written Expression, the sentences can be short or long, up to 27 words.


Helpful Testing Hints