Word Choice for TOEFL Speaking

Do you have effective word choice for TOEFL speaking?  Choosing the most appropriate words will help you to score higher on the speaking section of the TOEFL iBT.Word Choice for TOEFL Speaking

Study the list of common words in this blog post so that you do not have problems with these during the speaking and writing sections of the TOEFL iBT.

Word Choice for TOEFL Speaking: Further vs. Farther

  • Further means more and can refer to metaphorical distances:  The further the professor got into his lecture, the more he talked about the unfairness of taxation.
  • Farther means physical distance:  As I drove farther down the street, I noticed an abandoned car with four flat tires.

Word Choice for TOEFL Speaking: Among vs. Between

  • Among is used with three or more nouns: The students discussed among themselves whether or not they should ask the professor to postpone the physics exam.
  • Between refers to two entities: The decision to postpone the exam was decided between the students and the professor.

Word Choice for TOEFL Speaking: Advice vs. Advise

  • Advice is used as a noun:  Jose appreciated the advice he received from his guidance counselor.
  • Advise functions as a verb: The guidance counselor advised Jose to drop one of his semester courses so that he would be able to focus more on his internship with an accounting firm.

Word Choice for TOEFL Speaking: Affect vs. Effect

  • Affect acts as a verb: Most students were greatly affected by the pandemic in that they had to postpone their studies due to the lockdowns.
  • In most cases, effect is used as a noun: The devastating effects of the pandemic bankrupted many businesses in California.

Fewer vs. Less

  • Fewer is used with plural count nouns.  There were fewer cars on the freeway this week since most people were not working.
  • Less occurs with noncount nouns: There was less traffic on Interstate 15 this week since most people were on vacation and did not have to work.

Principle vs. Principal

  • Principle means a fundamental truth or value: The most important principle by which I govern my life is honesty.
  • Principal means first in order of importance; primary: The principal value in my life is honesty.
  • In addition, principal refers to the head of an organization such as a school: The principal of the school decided to give all teachers a 15% pay raise due to the steadily rising cost of living.

Than vs. Then

  • Than is used to make a comparison: My neighborhood contains more residents than the last one in which I used to live.
  • Then conveys time, so the transition word shows that one event occurs after another:  My friends and I watched a movie in downtown Los Angeles. Then we drove back to our dorms at UCLA.

Who vs. Whom

  • Who is a subject pronoun that is used in relative clauses. This subordinating conjunction also functions as the subject of the dependent clause. Therefore, who is not accompanied by a subject noun:
  • Whom is an object relative pronoun used in relative clauses.  Whom only functions as a subordinating conjunction, so this connector is accompanied by a subject noun:

Allowed vs. Aloud

  • Allowed is a past tense verb: During the pandemic, Educational Testing Service allowed students to take the TOEFL Home Edition Test so long as they had a high-speed, reliable Internet connection.
  • Aloud is an adverb: Students must speak aloud as they complete the TOEFL independent and integrated speaking tasks.

Ensure vs. Insure

  • Ensure is a verb that means to make sure that something is the case; to make sure that a problem does not occur:
  • Insure is a verb which means to provide insurance for; to arrange compensation in case a property is damaged or lost.

Word Choice Quiz

1. As the lecture progressed, the professor delved____________into some of the most common conspiracy theories that influenced the 2020 presidential election in the United States.

A. further

B. farther

 

2. Deciding to visit his friend who was terminally ill with brain cancer, Loki drove__________down the street until he reached his comrade’s residence.

A. further

B. farther

 

3. Most students, as they had discussed____________themselves in their groups, believed that the professor should have postponed the exam.

A. among

B. between

 

4. The decision on what type of military aid should be sent was made_____________the United States and Ukraine.

A. among

B. between

 

5.  Telling me that most people only have five friends in their lives. my friend gave me some____________so that I could create, maintain and strengthen friendships.

A. advice

B. advise

 

6. Lara, having already majored in chemistry for more than two years, ______________other students to complete organic chemistry as soon they had decided their major.

A. advice

B. advised

 

7. Poor people are adversely__________when gas prices soar.

A. affected

B. effected

8. An 8.5 mega-earthquake had devastating___________on the buildings in downtown Anchorage.

A. effects

B. affects

 

9. _____________cars were on the San Bernardino freeways today compared to the number of cars driving on Los Angeles freeways.

A. less

B. fewer

 

10.  Drivers typically see________traffic on Saturdays than they observe during the workweek.

A. less

B. fewer

 

11. By what__________do you govern your decisions?

A. principal

B. principle

 

12. The____________of Mesquite Trails Elementary School in Hesperia, California hired several new teachers.

A. principal

B. principle

 

13. The population of San Bernardino is much larger_________that of Oak Hills, California.

A. than

B. then

 

 

14. My friend and I attended a concert in Victorville, California. ___________ we went to Olive Garden to have dinner.

A. Then

B. Than

 

15. My professor, ___________ helped me complete my dissertation, has taught at the university for more than 13 years.

A. who

B. whom

 

16. Professor Zehan, _________ my friend gives high teaching ratings, received the outstanding professor award for 2022.

A. who

B. whom

 

17. During the Covid19 mask mandate, university officials _____________ religious exemptions to those students who did not want to be masked.

A. allowed

B. aloud

 

18. To improve her pronunciation, Shoko used to read ____________ passages with a native speaker.

A. allowed

B. aloud

 

19. The worker anchored the patio columns into the concrete to ___________ that the structure would remain intact during high wind events.

A. ensure

B. insure

 

20.   Most lenders require homeowners to insure their homes against earthquakes, floods, and fire damage.

A. ensure

B. insure

Michael Buckhoffmbuckhoff@aol.com

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