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The REAL Problem with TOEFL Writing

Students don't want to hear that grammar mistakes are keeping them from hitting their target writing score.

Yet, most of the time students know how to

  • answer the question (YAY!)

  • use correct academic structure (smarty pants!)

  • have time to write a powerful conclusion (impressive!)

So, what's the problem?

The two most common problems are

  • subject / verb agreement

  • use of articles (a, an, the, or no article).

And you want to know something REALLY interesting?

Often those common problems occur because the student may not realize what kind of noun they are dealing with.

You see, count nouns and noncount nouns are tricky to distinguish.

And sometimes there are nouns that can be both count and noncount depending on the situation.

Chicken as a count noun:

I see a chicken in the backyard.

Did you see the chicken that escaped the coop?

Chickens are interesting animals.

Chicken as a noncount noun:

Chicken makes a good meal.

The chicken we had last night was delicious.

Notice that the count or noncount noun will affect article usage of "a".

It will also determine if there is an "s" or not at the end of the noun. (Chicken or Chickens?)

It will also determine the verb. (Chickens are or Chicken makes)

Check out this video on commonly used noncount nouns for TOEFL writing. Remember these noncount nouns and you will be on your way to a much cleaner, higher-scoring essay!

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