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Explanations for the TOEFL Structure/Written Expression, 1-15, (Grammar/Blanks), Test B from the 1998 Official TOEFL Kit


Here are the answers, corrections, and explanations for the Written Expression section section of Test B of the 1998 Kit that I (Erin Billy) have been working on for a while.

You will notice that some of the explanations have extra questions or vocab. That's because these are the questions that TestMagic students actually asked in class for that particular question or the things that I want my students to know for their future TOEFL tests.

If you don't have this Kit, TestMagic strongly recommends that you get it--it is one of the best products available right now.

Remember, if you want to ask a question, you can do so easily in the TestMagic Forum.






These explanations were written by Erin Billy.

1. A

Simple sentence: pine is source

We need the main complement here.


2. A

Simple sentence: computers are small

We need the main complement here.

If we choose (B), then we would need a noun after smaller than.

If we choose (C), we would need that + sentence.

If we want to choose (D), then we would need a noun after as small as.


3. B

Simple sentence: goal is to help students

We need a subject and a verb after the relative pronoun what.


4. D

Simple sentence: transparency makes it useful

Remember the TestMagic sentence: You make me happy. After make we can have an object and an adjective.

Student: What does transparency mean?

Erin Billy: If something is transparent, then we can see through it, like glass.

Student: Is that the opposite of opaque?

Erin Billy: Yes, it is. If something is opaque, we cannot see through it, like metal or wood.


5. A

Simple sentence: scientists achieved recognition

We need a main subject here.


6. B

Simple sentence: trees grow

We have an adjective clause here, so we need a subordinating conjunction, a subject, and a verb. In this case, which is a relative pronoun, meaning it is a subordinating conjunction and a noun at the same time.


7. D

Simple sentence: Barbara Pentland wrote symphonies, concertos, and opera

A prolific artist is an appositive; i.e., A prolific artist and Barbara Pentland are the same thing.

Student: Can we also say that it is a reduced adjective clause?

Erin Billy: By all means! The original clause would look like this:

Barbara Pentland, who was a prolific artist, wrote...

Erin Billy: What does prolific mean?

Student: That means it can produce a lot!

Erin Billy: Yes, just remember the word life and think that prolific  means creating lots of life.


8. B

Simple sentence: Chisos Mountains were created

Nothing is missing from the sentence the way it stands; we should therefore add something that is optional and complete. (B) is an adverb clause and it is complete.

(A) is impossible because occur is an intransitive verb and cannot take an object. If we want to use (A), then we would have to add in. For example, we could say that occurred in the area...


9. A

Simple sentence: design projects

A lot of people miss this one. They often choose (D). (D) is impossible simply because we already have a complete sentence before the blank and (D) does not add something that can be added to a complete sentence. Erin Billy calls this the "Blank Noun" pattern.

If we choose (A), then we are choosing a preposition, as. Then, some coins can become the object of the preposition. This one is a little confusing because we have two prepositions together, as and on. However, we can do this with as and like. For example:

I like to eat somewhere I feel comfortable, like at home.

We cannot choose (B) because we would need a verb after some coins since because is a subordinating conjunction.

We have the same problem with (C); that is a subordinating conjunction and requires a subject and verb after it.

Finally, similarly is an adverb and we still have the original problem--some coins is all alone in the sentence. If we want to choose (D), then we would have to say something like this: ...similarly, some coins have the same design.


10. D

Simple sentence: Alaska found years costly

We have a reduced adjective clause here. The original clause would be: services that were providedby...

Notice also the meaning of found here. Remember this sentence:

I found her helpful.

That means I thought she was helpful.

Erin Billy: What part of speech is costly?

Student: Is it an adverb?

Erin Billy: No, I'm afraid not. It looks like an adverb, but it's an adjective. Do you know what it means?

Student: It means expensive.

Erin Billy: You got it!!


11. C

Simple sentence: content decreases

We have a reduced adjective clause here. The original clause would be: decreases, which thereby makes them more fragile. This one is tricky because we keep thereby when we reduce the adjective clause.


12. C

Simple sentence: extent was not realized

This is Neg Intro. We need the question form in the mains subject and main verb after the Neg Intro form, Not until.


13. C

Simple sentence: explorer was Jedediah Strong Smith

This is a very common TOEFL question!! Remember the TestMagic sentence:

You are the first person to tell me I am funny.

After first we can use a noun and the infinitive form.


14. D

Simple sentence: play depicts life

So many people miss this question. First, we need an object for the preposition on. In this case, we should use stage because we are saying that the play is going to be performed on a stage.

This sentence is a little bit tricky because we have a reduced adjective clause here. The original clause would be: stage that is bare of scenery,

Erin Billy: What does bare mean?

Student: Naked?

Erin Billy: Right. So, what does it mean in this sentence?

Student: It means the stage doesn't have any scenery?

Erin Billy: Right.


15. B

Simple sentence: there are mines

We need a main subject and a main verb here.




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