TOEFL Reporting Verbs for Integrated Tasks

TOEFL reporting verbs during the integrated writing and speaking tasks help you to explain the most important points from the reading and listening passages.  TOEFL reporting verbs plus acknowledgement of the reading and listening passages will frame your writing task from the author’s and speaker’s points of view.  This will help you to create a formal summary tone. This is the most appropriate tone for TOEFL writing task 1.

TOEFL reporting verbs
TOEFL reporting verbs

TOEFL Reporting Verbs: What are reporting verbs?

A reporting verb is a word such as “suggest, “explain,” or “illustrate.”  These reporting verbs explain what someone is saying from his/her point of view. Reporting verbs are common in academic summaries such as TOEFL integrated speaking and writing tasks.

TOEFL Reporting Verbs: Why do I need to use them?

You should use TOEFL reporting verbs during TOEFL integrated speaking and writing tasks. These important verbs will help you to keep a neutral tone. Furthermore, TOEFL reporting verbs keep your writing framed from the author’s and speaker’s points of view and not yours. Notice the difference in tone from paragraph A and B. Paragraph A uses no reporting verbs. Nor does it acknowledge the author or speaker from the two sources.  Paragraph B uses reporting verbs, and it acknowledges the information from the reading and listening passage.

Paragraph A: A large part of any language is learned when the children imitate the sounds and words that they hear around them. To illustrate, there was a 2-year old who often repeated words that her mother spoke to her. However, children often don’t and can’t imitate what they hear in their language-rich environment. Instead, children learn a language by constructing its rules as they go along.  Therefore, most language is not learned through imitation. 

Paragraph B:  The author in the reading passage contends that a large part of any language is learned when the children imitate the sounds and words that they hear around them. To illustrate, the author gives the example of a 2-year old who often repeated words that her mother spoke to her. The speaker in the listening passage, in contrast, casts doubt on the validity of the imitation theory. He believes that children often don’t and can’t imitate what they hear in their language-rich environment. According to him, children learn a language by constructing its rules as they go along.  Therefore, most language, according to the speaker, is not learned through imitation. 

TOEFL Reporting Verbs: Reporting verbs and sentence variety

Generally, you should use a combination of simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex sentences. In addition, you should use mostly longer and medium length sentences, with a shorter sentence now and then.  Similarly,  you should place TOEFL reporting verbs with their accompanying voice markers in various parts of the sentence.

Beginning: The author in the reading passage asserts that employees should be required to read all documents in their entirety.

Middle:  Most employees do not need to write a document all at once, argues the speaker in the lecture, but they should be encouraged to write the essay in various stages: pre-writing/outlining, drafting, peer collaboration, and editing.

End:  Most developed countries have declining birth rates, explains the author in the reading passage.

TOEFL Reporting Verbs: Reporting verbs and verb tenses

For most situations, you should use simple present tense reporting verbs as you explain the main points of the reading and listening passages. If you switch from simple present to simple past reporting verbs throughout your response, you will lose consistency. Random shifts with your TOEFL reporting verbs will also create some problems with your organization. These inconsistencies and organizational problems will result in your essay scoring lower.

Paragraph with random TOEFL reporting verb shifts: The speaker in the listening passage explains several steps in glacial formation.  First of all, enough snow  had to accumulate on higher elevations, asserted the speaker.  Then, the snow begins to pile up year after year until it becomes really heavy.  According to the speaker, as the snow gets deeper and heavier, it pushes down on the lower layers causing them to compress. Eventually, the snow, described the lecturer, turned into a very condensed state called fern, an intermediate state between water and glacial ice.  Finally, the compressed snow began to move downhill due to gravitational forces.  Click Here to see Corrected Paragraph.

Paragraph with only simple present reporting verbs:  The author in the reading passage defines a concept called Doublespeak, and the speaker in the listening passage presents four examples to further illustrate the concept. According to the author, doublespeak refers to any type of communication that prevents, limits, or conceals thought. In fact, the author argues that the government and large corporations may even use double speak to avoid responsibility when something goes wrong. In addition, the speaker in the lecture gives four examples of doublespeak to further illustrate the concept: euphemism, jargon, gobbledygook, and inflated language.  Each type of doublespeak, warns the speaker, can be used to hide information from the general public.

The paragraph which uses simple present tense verbs has more consistency. In addition, the ideas in each sentence connect together well since every verb is in the simple present tense.

TOEFL Reporting Verbs: A list of reporting verbs

I would include a lengthy list of TOEFL reporting verbs here. However, many web sites already have such lists, so I will not be adding anything valuable to the Internet. To find a good list, use Google and type in “an extensive list of academic reporting verbs.”  Choose a web site that categorizes these TOEFL reporting verbs so you can see different types.  Make sure that you are comfortable using these TOEFL reporting verbs as you practice your integrated speaking and writing practice tests.

TOEFL Reporting Verbs: Model integrated essay

It is now important to see how TOEFL reporting verbs are used on the context of a complete TOEFL integrated essay.  Therefore, watch the following video. You will have a chance to read a passage and then listen to a lecture. The integrated writing model response is based on this reading and listening passage in this video.

The topic of the reading passage is the use of credit cards as a way of payment. While the reading passage discusses the advantages of credit cards, such as making the purchase easier, having a credit history, and getting protection, the listening passage analyzes the disadvantages of paying with credit cards.

The first point discussed in the reading passage is that credit cards offer an easier way of paying things since the buyer doesn´t need to carry a large amount of money in his or her pocket. In addition, the reading passage asserts that many companies just accept credit cards as a way of payment. The lecture opposes this idea in that, while a person believes that the payment is easy, he or she doesn´t realize at that moment that the payment will cost more because of the interest the company will charge for borrowing the money.

The second point the reading passage considers as an advantage is the development of a credit line, which will allow the buyer to get loans, rental applications, or even jobs. On the other hand, the listening passage refutes this point in that a damaged credit history may be developed because of late payments. Therefore, this irresponsible act may cost the buyer to be denied when applying for a house or a car.

The reading passage also mentions a third advantage of paying with credit cards. It emphasizes that this way of payment may protect a buyer when the original receipt is lost or stolen. The lecture points out that the buyer is no longer protected when he or she has to pay interests at the end of the month. As the lecture indicates, high interest rates, such as 20 to 25%, may lead the buyer to bankruptcy if he or she has not money to pay.

To sum up, the reading passage explains some advantages of paying with credit cards, which are refuted by the lecture that gives some examples of why credit card payments sometimes may be dangerous for buyers.

TOEFL Reporting Verbs: Are you ready to practice?

Hearing is good.  Seeing is better. Doing is best, right?  Now that you have read a powerful lesson on how you can effectively use TOEFL reporting verbs during your integrated speaking and writing tasks, it is time to practice what you have learned. For as little as $45 a month, you can begin sending me speaking and writing practice by e-mail. Using the TOEFL iBT speaking and writing rubrics, I will evaluate, score, and comment on your practice. Then I will send you an e-mail of my written and speaking feedback. Many of my students reach their subtotal scores of 26 and 24 on the speaking and writing sections of the TOEFL iBT exam.

Michael Buckhoff, mbuckhoff@aol.com

Join my course right now so that you can get the practice and the feedback you need to reach your speaking and writing subtotal target scores: http://onlinetoeflcourse.com

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