The longest TOEFL Sentence Ever Written

Is this sentence below the longest TOEFL sentence ever written?  The below sentence is 240 words long! This sentence has a Flesh-Kinkaid grade level of 97. WTF!

the longest TOEFL sentence

Even though the author in the reading passage believes that second language acquisition ability declines rapidly at the onset of puberty, a critical time in which the brain goes through chemical and biological changes, the listening passage contends that speakers, whether they are five, fifteen, twenty-five, forty-eight, or even past the age of sixty-five, are fully capable of acquiring a language so long as the learners are motivated, which is defined by the speaker as having either intrinsic or extrinsic desires to learn a target language, they have the necessary exposure in that they are regularly getting opportunities to speak, listen, and read the target language for several hours daily over an extended period of time, they have a positive attitude toward the culture of the target language inasmuch as the learners genuinely want to learn about and interact with the participants in the target culture, and they have the cognitive abilities, all of which are supported by an example that the speaker uses of an English-speaking man who at age 78 acquired Russian, Chinese, and Spanish at such a high level that many linguists all over the globe traveled to New York City, where the talented language learner lived, to interview the elderly man to see what remarkable mental and physical characteristics he possessed that made him such an extraordinary second, third, and fourth language learner, especially given the fact that the man was so mature in his age.

The longest TOEFL Sentence: Is this a good sentence for the integrated writing section?

  • E-Rater, ETS’s artificial intelligence scoring engine, would not be able to understand this sentence. What then? Maybe the computer housing the software to score this essay would explode!
  • How about the iBT human rater who would read this essay? TOEFL iBT human raters are trained well, but they seldom have more than a four-year degree since they are not paid competitive wages.
  • Therefore, because of their limited education and writing experience, they would also have difficulties understanding the sentence. Thus, they would likely have to re-read the sentence several times to understand the sentence structure. Generally, the longer a TOEFL iBT human rater has to read your writing, the lower your score will be. TOEFL iBT human raters would likely inaccurately conclude that the 240-word sentence was incorrectly written.
  • In the final analysis, whether E-Rater could not understand or whether the iBT human rater inaccurately scored the essay, you can reach the conclusion that you should NOT write excessively long sentences during the TOEFL exam. It is a risk that you do not want to take.

The longest TOEFL Sentence: How would you revise this sentence to make it friendlier to E-Rater and TOEFL iBT human raters?

This could well be the longest TOEFL sentence ever written. However, as I just discussed, writing a super long sentence will probably not give you the writing score you seek. Below is a revision of the sentence, this time breaking it into several smaller, more manageable ones. Instead of having a grade level of 97, Microsoft Word graded these sentences at 18, which is still academically high. Undergraduate level is 13.0.

Even though the author in the reading passage believes that second language acquisition ability declines rapidly at the onset of puberty, a critical time in which the brain goes through chemical and biological changes, the listening passage contends that speakers, whether they are five, fifteen, twenty-five, forty-eight, or even past the age of sixty-five, are fully capable of acquiring a language.

According to the speaker, so long as the learners are motivated, which is defined by the speaker as having either intrinsic or extrinsic desires to learn a target language, they must have the necessary exposure in that they are regularly getting opportunities to speak, listen, and read the target language for several hours daily over an extended period of time.

In addition, they should have a positive attitude toward the culture of the target language inasmuch as the learners genuinely want to learn about and interact with the participants in the target culture.

Moreover, they should have cognitive abilities. 

All these factors are supported by an example that the speaker uses of an English-speaking man who at age 78 acquired Russian, Chinese, and Spanish at such a high level.

In fact, many linguists all over the globe traveled to New York City, where the talented language learner lived.

These researchers interviewed the elderly man to see what remarkable mental and physical characteristics he possessed that made him such an extraordinary second, third, and fourth language learner, especially given the fact that the man was so mature in his age.

What are some general guidelines that I need to know about my sentence length and the TOEFL task 1-2 writing tasks?

Even though this could be the longest TOEFL sentence ever written in the history of the world, it does not mean this sentence is appropriate for academic writing and the TOEFL exam. Generally speaking, keep in mind the following suggestions:

  • The longer the sentence you write, the higher chance of sentence structure errors that E-Rater and TOEFL iBT human raters will find.
  • Too many sentences between 10-20 words will lower your writing level and can create a choppy sentence style.
  • Keep average sentence length between 20-30 words; E-Rater and TOEFL iBT human raters will like that.
  • Longer 20-30 word sentences played against a 10-20 word sentence every now and then will create a natural, academic rhythm to your writing.
  • Be careful of always placing your subject first in the sentences you wrote. You should use a variety of sentences, both long and short, many with different types of word orders and grammars.

Do you have any other suggestions to help me improve my academic writing and my TOEFL writing score?

Yes, I have a suggestion for those educated professionals who need to score between 110-120. If your current writing score is already 22/30 points or higher, I will help you to improve your writing so that you score between 28-30 points on the writing section of the TOEFL exam. Enroll in my TOEFL Writing Boot Camp Course so that you can get

    • A 1-hour error correction video of ONE TOEFL Task 1 writing practice test
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    • Complete, unlimited access to more than 700 TOEFL PDF/Video lessons
    • Access to face-to-face Zoom calls daily for the duration of your course (limited to 5-minute sessions each day)

Join my TOEFL Writing Boot Camp Course by clicking on the following link: 30-Day TOEFL Writing Boot Camp Course – Online TOEFL Course

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Michael Buckhoffmbuckhoff@aol.com

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