#TOEFL: grammar exercise

It’s been a while since we talked about #TOEFL. Has anybody been taking TOEFL lately? Don’t you think that the grammar part is confusing?

In a #TOEFL test, questions about grammar are found in “Structure and Written Expression” section. It consists of 2 parts: Part A and Part B.

Many people find the most confusing part is Part B, where you have to choose 1 out of 4 parts of a sentence that is incorrect.

Here’s an example:

[1] (On) May 20,1932 Amelia Earhart [2] (became) the first [3] (woman fly) solo [4] (across) the Atlantic Ocean.

Find the incorrect part, is it [1] (On), [2] (became), [3] (woman fly), or [4] (across)? This is where your grammar is challenged.

So who knows the answer for my previous grammar question? If you can, please also add a short explanation.

Answer by @bagoesyasha: [3] (woman fly), the correct answer is (woman to fly).

Admin: Correct answer! Good job!

Ready for more questions? I think you are!

The rule is simple:

  • Choose the incorrect part of the sentence.
  • Give short explanation.
  1. Gulls [A] (can often) be [B] (see) swooping [C] (over) large [D] (bodies) of water.
  2. The human [A] (body) [B] (relies) on [C] (certainty) nutrients for its [D] (survival).
  3. Many [A] (people who) live in New York City [B] (thinks) that [C] (life) in a large city [D] (offers) special advantages.
  4. [A] (At) birth, an infant [B] (exhibits) a [C] (remarkable) number of motor [D] (response).
  5. Soil science [A] (begun) [B] (with) the [C] (formulation) of [D] (the) theory of humus in 1808.
  6. A liquid is [A] (similar) to a gas because [B] (has) molecules are not fixed to [C] (each other) in any specific [D] (way).
  7. [A] (Pure) flint is [B] (too) hard and even-grained that [C] (it) chips in [D] (smooth) curved flakes.
  8. [A] (A emotion) is [B] (not necessarily) [C] (aroused) by something in [D] (the outside) world.
  9. As inevitably as [A] (human culture) has [B] (changed) with [C] (the passing) of time, so [D] (does) the environment.
  10. Studies [A] (of either) vision and physical optics [B] (began) almost [C] (as early as) civilization [D] (itself).


1. @OwLuck: B see (seen) *passive voice for modal can be + v3

Explanation from admin:

1) “Gulls can often be see..” is supposed to be “Gulls can often be seen..” (Camar sering terlihat..) because it uses the passive. The structure for the passive in this sentence: [S + modal (can) + be + V3]. Learn more about the passive: The Passive.

2. @alfiiiii_ (C) it should be “certain nutrients”

Explanation from admin:

2) The phrase “certainty nutrients” is supposed to be “certain nutrients” (nutrisi tertentu). certain = adjective; nutrients = noun. “certainty” (noun) = not the correct part of speech. Learn more in these two links: Parts of speech and Phrase.

3. @reginaresinta: (thinks) because many people are plural and “thinks” only refers to singular subject.

3) The clause “Many people .. thinks” is supposed to be “Many people .. think” because “think” is plural verb, whereas the Subject here is plural. The subject “Many people” is plural, thus must use plural verb. This is called “agreement”. Learn more: Agreement.

4.@MsMonicLauretta: [D] (response) , the correct answer is (responses)”

4) “response” in “a remarkable number of motor response” is supposed to be in plural form, “responses”, because the phrase “a remarkable number” (jumlah yang luar biasa/sangat besar) indicates the plurality of the noun “response”.

5.@fhwilastra: begun, its supposed to be verb 2: began”

5) “Soil science begun (V3)” is supposed to be “Soil science began (V2)” because the sentence is in Simple Past Tense, thus we use V2.

6. @rayhantyas: b. its

6) “has molecules” has to be changed to “its molecules” so the sentence will have meaning. its = possessive adjective for “A liquid”. Jika diartikan, “A liquid is similar to a gas because its molecules are..” = Benda cair mirip dengan benda gas karena molekul-molekulnya..

7. @ichachatengku: [B] (too) should be (so)

7) “Pure flint is too hard .. that..” is supposed to be “Pure flint is so hard .. that..” Learn more about “so + that + clause”: Very vs so.

8. @kharissa_: [A] (A emotion), the correct answer is (an emotion)

8) “A emotion” is supposed to be “An emotion” because “emotion” begins with vowel sound, so we use “an”. Read: The determines = the, a, an.

9. @capucinnolovr: so has the environment. It must have the same tense.

9) “human culture has changed .. so does the environment.” is supposed to be “human culture has changed .. so has the environment.” The 2 clauses have to be in the same tense and have the same auxiliary to be parallel. Read “parallelism”: Parallel Structure.

10. Admin: [A]. It should be “Studies of both…”

10) “Studies of either vision and physical optics..” is supposed to be “Studies of both vision and physical optics..” How to use “both”: [BOTH .. AND ..]; meanwhile how to use “either”: [EITHER .. OR ..]. So “either” is not the correct word.

Compiled by @NenoNeno at @EnglishTips4U on October 8, 2012

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