Grammar On Toefl Test

Grammar / structure is one of the most important parts in TOEFL test than listening or reading section. I will try to explain the structure part in the TOEFL test. After looking for a reference, I will discuss some of the few materials that are often out on the TOEFL test grammar/ structure as below :

A.   Preposition

Preposition is a word placed before a noun or pronoun to indicate a relationship with other parts of the sentence. A preposition links nouns, pronouns and phrases to other words in a sentence. The word or phrase that the preposition introduces is called the object of the preposition.

A prepositional phrase is made up of the preposition, its object and any associated adjectives or adeverbs. A prepositional phrase can function as a noun, an adjective, or an adverb. The most common prepositions are “about,” “above,” “across,” “after,” “against,” “along,” “among,” “around,” “at,” “before,” “behind,” “below,” “beneath,” “beside,” “between,” “beyond,” “but,” “by,” “despite,” “down,” “during,” “except,” “for,” “from,” “in,” “inside,” “into,” “like,” “near,” “of,” “off,” “on,” “onto,” “out,” “outside,” “over,” “past,” “since,” “through,” “throughout,” “till,” “to,” “toward,” “under,” “underneath,” “until,” “up,” “upon,” “with,” “within,” and “without.”

A preposition usually indicates the temporal, spatial or logical relationship of its object to the rest of the sentence as in the following examples:

–          The book is on the table.

–          The sky is above the earth.

–          She took a walk across the garden.

–          He come hear after me.

–          She told him about the accident.

 B.   Active and Passive Voice

Transitive verb has two voice is Active Voice and Passive Voice.

  1. Active Voice

In most English sentences with an action verb, the subject performs the action denoted by the verb.These examples show that the subject  is  doing the verb’s action.

–          Sinta mailed the letter to her friend.

Because the subject does or “acts upon” the verb in such sentences, the sentences are said to be in the active voice.

    2. Passive Voice

One can change the normal word order of many active sentences (those with a direct object) so that the subject is no longer active, but is, instead, being acted upon by the verb – or passive.Note in these examples how the subject-verb relationship has changed.

–          The letter is mailed by sinta.

Pattern of passive voice : to be + participle.

C.   Conditional Clause

Conditional (sentence presupposition) explains that an activity contrary to other activities. The most common conditional is Real and Unreal Conditonal Conditonal, sometimes called if-clauses.

Real Conditional (often also referred to as Conditional Type I) which describes if in accordance with the facts.Unreal Conditional (often also referred to as Conditional Type II) which describes the supposition that no real or imagined.

There is also a 3rd Conditional often called the Conditional Type III, is used as a regret that happened in the past and zero conditionals, used to express something that is definitely true.

Note: If the clause “if” is placed at the beginning of a sentence, we must use the “coma”. Conversely, if the clause “if” is behind, then there should be no comma.

Pattern of  Conditional Clause :

1.      Future Conditional (Conditional Type 1)

This assumption states that something might happen in the future or now, if the terms / certain conditions are met.

Type 1 Conditional formula:

  • Subject + present simple modals (will, can, may, must) +V1 – if  + subject+V1

example: He will come here if you call him

2.      Unreal Present (Conditional Type 2)

This assumption states something contrary to what exists or happens now.

+ If + subject + subject + simple past modals (would, could, might) V1 (SimpleForm)

example:     If I had time, I would go to the beach with you this weekend

(I do not have time so I could not go)

If the conditional type 2 can be removed is by using pattern inversion:

Were + subject + Adj / Noun + capital + subject (would, could, might) + V1

example: Were I John I would not forgive you.

(If only I was the john I will not forgive you, in fact I

not john so I forgive you / I’m not John so I forgive you).

He could hug me, if he were here. (She may hug me, if he’s here). The fact is: he cannot hug me, Because, he is not here.

3.      Unreal Past (Conditional Type 3)

This assumption states something contrary to what has happened (past).

Type 3 Conditional formula:

+ If + Subject + Past Perfect … subject modals (would, could, might) have + V3


1. If we had known that you were there, we would have written you a letter.

(If only we knew you were there, we had sent a letter to you;

which means that we do not send the letter because we do not know you’re there / Idid not know that you were there so I did not write you a letter.

D. Conjunction

In grammar, a conjunction (abbreviated CONJ or CNJ) is a part of speech that connects two words, sentences, phrases or clauses together. A discourse connective is a conjunction joining sentences. This definition may overlap with that of other parts of speech, so what constitutes a “conjunction” must be defined for each language.

Distribution  of conjunction :

  1. Coordinating conjunctions

Coordinating conjunctions, also called coordinators, are conjunctions that join, or coordinate, two or more items (such as words, main clauses, or sentences) of equal syntactic importance. The most common Coordinating conjunctions

in the English language include “both…and…”, “Either…or…”, “Neither…or…”, “Not only…but also…” and so on.

Example :

–        She not only a student, but a worker.

2.    Subordinating Conjunctions

Subordinating conjunctions, also callled subordinators are conjunctions that conjoin an independent clause and a dependent clause. The most common subordinating conjunctions in the English language include after, although, as, as far as, as if, as long as, as soon as, as though, because, before, if, in order that, since, so, so that, than, though, unless, until, when, whenever, where, where as, wherever, and while.

E.   Noun Clause

Noun clause is a clause (ie subject and verb) is used as a noun. Noun clause in the sentence is generally used as a subject and an object sentences.

Noun clause can be preceded by:

  • • Question word or relative pronoun question either single word or phrase:

Single question word (ie when, how, what, ect.).

Question word + determiner / noun / adjective / adverb.

Question word + infinitive.

So the pattern of the noun clause is:

Question word / conjunction / that + subject + verb + …

A. Noun clauses beginning with the words Question

How to Address Questions in’ve discussed about the use of the word good in making the information asked questions and in making embedded questions. Embedded questions are noun clause. In this section are given additional examples to refresh your memory.

1. Single question words.


1. Where she is now is still unknown.

2. When they arrive is still uncertain.

Noun clause can be placed at the beginning of the sentence (as subject) or as an object. If you want to change the position of the subject noun clause object sentence into a sentence, it is usually necessary pronoun or a slight modification of the word.

The above example becomes:

1. It is still unknown where she is now.

2. Do you know when they arrive?

3. Two Hollywood movies starred by Jennifer Love Hewitt are I know what you did last summer and I still know what you did last summer. Because the title of movies, noun clause what you did last summer does not need to be rotated position.


a) Clause question preceded by certain words (ie when, Whenever, where) can also function as an adverbial clause.


1. I was reading a book when the phone rang.

2. I went to where I and my ex-girlfriend had been last weekend.

3. Suddenly I get nausea Whenever I see his face. (Nausea = nausea / vomiting willing).

b). Clause is preceded by the words specific question (ie who, Whom, Whose + noun) can also function as an adjective clause. In this case, the question is actually a relative pronoun. Well, do not be too confused by the term. Important that you understand the pattern / structure of the sentence. But, if you are curious, please read the adjective clauses topic.


1. I think you Whom Mr. Dodi was looking for. (I guess you (people) who pack Dodi were looking for earlier).

2. Mr. Dodi, who is a teacher, was looking for you at school.

3. Rommy, Whose book was stolen last week, just bought another new book yesterday.

So, how to tell if the noun clause, adverbial clause, or adjective clause? The answer is simple. Noun clause can be replaced by the pronoun it, while the adverbial clause and adjective clause no. Noun clause answers the question what and who / Whom; adverbial clause answering questions when, where, how (including how much, how often, ect), and why. Adjective clause (ie in the form of an adjective clause) describes noun, and relative pronounnya (ie who, that, ect.) In Indonesian means “the”.

2. Question words + ever / soever

Except how, at the end of question words can be added ever or soever Whenever = whensoever, whatever = whatsoever, and so on. Meaning here ever or soever the same, ie only / no, stay combined with a question word in front of him. Meanwhile, how + ever be however (ie adverb or also called a transition word meaning yet / even if it is) is not included in this category.


1. We will accept whatever you want us to do. (We will accept / do whatever you want us to do).

2. Whoever can melt her feeling is a very lucky guy. (Melt = melt). Be careful: guy (pronounced gae) = men, while gay (read gei) = fag = fag.

3. She has agreed to wherever the man would bring her. (He has agreed to take him wherever he goes). Note: in speaking (informal), preposition (in this case to, etc.) Is usually placed at the end of the sentence. She has agreed wherever the man would bring her to.

3. Question nouns + words

Question words + nouns are often used, among others: what time (time), what day (what day), what time (time), what kind (what kind), what type (what type), Whose + nouns (ie Whose car, Whose book, ect.), and so on.


1. I can not remember what day we will take the exam.

2. As long as I am faithful, she does not care what type of family I come from. (Faithful = loyal).

3. Do you know what time it is?

4. I do not know Whose car is parked in front of my house.

4. Question adjectives + words

+ Question words are frequently used adjectives such as: how long (how long / long), how far (how much), how old (how old / Age), ect.


1. Man! She still looks young. Do you know how old she actually is?

2. I am lost. Could you tell me how far it is from here to the post office?

3. What a jerk. He did not even ask how long I had been waiting for him.

5. Question words + determiners.

Determiners + Question words often used is: how many (how many) and how much (how many). Remember: how many followed by plural nouns, whereas how much followed by uncountable nouns.


1. Is there any correlation between how good he or she is in English and how many books he or she has?

2. How much will improve your English skills is determined by how hard you practice.

6. Question words + adverbs.

+ Question words are frequently used adverbs are: how Often (how often), how many times (how many times) ect.


1. Often no matter how I practice, my English still sucks. (No matter how many times I practice, my english is bad). Suck (informal verb) = bad / not good; suck another meaning: suck.

2. I do not want my parents to know how many times I have left school early. (Leave school early = absent).

7. Question words + infinitives.

If the question words immediately followed by infinitives, the invinitives implies shouldatau can / could. Note that the subject after question words omitted.


1. She did not know what to do = She did not know what she should do. (He does not know what he should do).

2. Please tell me how to get the train station from here = Please tell me how I can get the train station from here.

3. We have not Decided when to go to the beach = We have not Decided when we should go to the beach.

4. Mary told us where to find her = Marry told us where we could find her.

B. Noun clauses beginning with Whether / if

Whether can be followed by OR / NOT can not; meaning of the sentence is usually the same although the OR / NOT is not mentioned (it depends on the context of the sentence).


1.       Whether I am not sure she is coming or not = I am not sure Whether or not she is coming = I am not sure Whether she is coming. (I’m not sure whether he will come or not).

2.       We can not decide Whether we should go out or stay home. = We can not decide Whether to go or (to) stay home. Note, infinitives can also be used after Whether.

3. Whether I am not sure I should take economics or law after I graduate from high school. (I’m not sure if I should take some Economic Law after graduating from high school or later).

C. Noun clauses beginning with that / the fact that

Here, that means that, while the fact that means the fact that. Whereas, that in adjective clauses mean that.


1. That she has had a PhD degree at the age of 20 surprises a lot of people = It surprises a lot of people that she has had a PhD degree at the age of 20.

2. It is the fact that the world is round = the fact that the world is round is well known.

3. It was obvious that she was very sick = The fact that she was very sick was obvious.

Example Problem:

1. The teacher heard who answered the question. (C)


• The first sentence “The teacher heard” is true because the subject teacher and heard verbnya. The second sentence “Who answered the phoned” is also true because who serves as a subject and answered as verbnya. Who at the same time also serves as connetor.

• So the above sentence is correct.

2. I do not understand it went wrong. (I)


• The first sentence “I do not understand” is correct because I do not understand the subject and verb. The second sentence “it went wrong” is wrong because there is no connector at once subject.

• correct sentence should be: I do not understand what went wrong.What subject and also serves as a connector, while his went as a verb.

3. Of the three movies, I can not decide is the best roomates. (C)


• In the first sentence, I can not decide as Subject and as a verb. In the second sentence, roomates as well as the subject and the connector is a verb.

4. She did not remember who in her class. (I)


5. No one is sure what did it happen in front of the building. (I)


• The first sentence is correct because No one is subject and is is a verb, but the second sentence is wrong because there was and it did. Seharusnay did and it deleted and verb “happen” into the past tense “happened”.

• So the correct sentence should be: ……. what happened in front of the building.


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