• 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

  • Hey guys, if you are interested in seeing what the essay evaluations look like, stop by the evaluation sign up page. I just updated the screenshots in the gallery to reflect my current method of checking essays. Previously they showed my old method, which wasn't so easy to follow.... more

  • The Deadly Subject-Verb Agreement Error When I check a student's writing for the first time, I am almost guaranteed to spot a few errors related to subject-verb agreement. Most of these errors are fairly easy for students to identify when proofreading their work, but one type of subject-verb agreement error is difficult for even advanced students to grasp. That type of error... more

  • I am often asked how long the TOEFL essays should be. The quick answer to this is that an independent essay should be between 380 and 400 words, while an integrated essay should be between 280 and 300 words. Let me explain where these numbers come from. It is true that when you are looking at the screen at the test center,... more

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