Toefl Writing Tips: Adverb Clause 101

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We all know the TOEFL writing section can create some widespread anxiety and trigger various questions: Will my writing be good enough?  What exactly are the raters looking for?  How much will grammar and punctuation count for my total score?

In general, grammar and punctuation are important on both the integrated and independent essays. However, minor errors are certainly forgivable, and if you only have a few they won’t be counted towards your total score.  Likewise, a significant knowledge of grammar is crucial for obtaining a high score.  This post will focus on adverbial clauses, which if used correctly might just help your score higher than you think.

What is an Adverbial Clause?

Adverbial clauses are basically used to combine two ideas into one sentence.  They ultimately provide variety for the sentence and better transitions, particularly between paragraphs.  Here are some following adverbials, which will be very useful in a compare/contrast essay, which as you know, is the basis for the TOEFL integrated writing.

Contrast Adverbials:

· tough/although/even though


Though the test was tomorrow, the children failed to study.

Although the weather was cloudy, we continued to enjoy the outdoors.

Janice went to the theatre even though she heard the performances were lousy.

· while


While the food wasn’t up to par, the dancing and live music were enormously entertaining.

· despite the fact that


We thought the jazz band did a wonderful job despite the fact that the venue was too small.

Comparison Adverbials:

· in the same way that


In the same way that Communism effected the global order, so has Capitalism on the modern family.

· just as


Just as 50 million Americans don’t have health care, 20 million Asians don’t have access to hospitals.

In general, adverbial clauses can help you immensely on the TOEFL writing section and will leave the mark of an advanced writer if used correctly.  Remember – adverbial clauses can come in the beginning or in the middle of a sentence.

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