• It isn't a huge problem in the TOEFL essays I check for my students, but I see a few "order of adjective" errors every now and then. Today I read that a student "worked in a Japanese major bank." They should have said that they "worked in a major Japanese bank." Here's a quick guide about this grammar point. Be sure to... more

  • Here's a quick tip for you guys: Don't use "doing job-hunting" in your essays. Just treat "job-hunting" as a verb phrase. This means you should NOT write something like: "When I was doing job-hunting in my senior year I talked to Steve Jobs." or: "It is really important to wear nice clothes when doing job-hunting." Instead, you SHOULD use: "When I was... more

  • I've started putting some of the notes and questions from my conversation classes online. You can find the first set of these right here. You'll find an interesting video, discussion questions and related resources. Enjoy!... more

  • These days I see a lot of sentence fragments starting with "while." Check out this pair of sentences I found recently in an essay about the best place to raise children: "While children who live in cities can access a great number of museums, libraries and other academic facilities. Children in the countryside cannot easily visit places like these." The part in... more

  • A common mistake I see in TOEFL essays is the comparison of a gerund to an infinitive. This happens because questions often ask students to choose between two ways of acting. The error usually appears in the introduction (specifically the thesis statement). What are Gerunds and Infinitives? Before I describe the error, I want to define a few terms. Note that a... more

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