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TOEFL Structure Explanations

All questions and explanation were written by Erin Billy and are copyright Erin Billy.

Original TestMagic Question

227. An overly detailed ______ of the characters and setting of a novel can sometimes distract from the narrative quality of a short story.
O describe
O descriptive
O describing
O description

D is the best answer.

TestMagic Explanation

This is a relatively simple word form question. This sentence needs a subject (i.e., a noun), and description will work just fine!

A is wrong because describe is a verb.

B is incorrect because descriptive is an adverb.

C is not so bad (because describing is a gerund, which is a noun), but it is still the wrong form of the word. Gerunds generally mean action, and here we are not talking about doing the action of the verb describe. Furthermore, gerunds are usually not countable and therefore usually cannot take a or an (of course, there are always exceptions!).


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