You know that a sentence in English should have a subject and a verb. The most common types of problems that you will encounter in the Structure section of the TOEFL test have to do with subjects and verbs; perhaps the sentence is missing either the subject or the verb or both, or perhaps the sentence has an extra subject or verb.

Example 1 :

…………. was backed up for miles on the freeway.

(a)    Yesterday

(b)   In the morning

(c)    Traffic

(d)   Cars


In this example you should notice immediately that there is a verb (was), but there is no subject. Answer (C) is the best answer because it is a singular subject that agrees with the singular verb was. Answer (A), yesterday, and answer (B),in the morning, are not subjects, so they are not correct. Although answer (D), Cars, could be a subject, it is not correct because cars is plural and it does not agree with the singular verb was.

 Example 2 :

Engineers ………. for work on the new space program.

(a)    Necessary

(b)   Are needed

(c)    Hopefully

(d)   Next month

Example 3 :

The boy ……….. going to the movies with a friend.

(a)    He is

(b)   He always was

(c)    Is relaxing

(d)   Will be


This sentence has a subject (boy) and has part of a verb ( going ) ; to be correct, some from of the verb be is needed to make the sentence complete. Answer (A) and (B) are incorrect because the sentence already has a subject (boy) and does not need the extra subject he.  Answer (C) is incorrect because relaxing is an extra verb part that is unnecessary because of going. Answer (D) is the best answer; will be together with going is a complete verb.

TOEFL EXERCISE skill 1 : underline the subjects once and the verb twice in each of the following sentence. Then indicate if the sentence are correct (C) or incorrect (I).

  1. —————–  Last week went fishing for trout at the nearby mountain lake.
  2. —————– A schedule of the day’s events can be obtained at the front desk.
  3. —————– A job on the day shift or the night shift at the plant available.
  4. —————– The new computer program has provides a variety of helpful applications.
  5. —————– The box can be opened only with a special screwdriver.
  6. —————– The assigned text for history class it contains more than twenty chapters.
  7. —————– The papers in the wastebasket should be emptied into the trash can outside.
  8. —————– Departure before dawn on a boat in the middle of the harbor.
  9. —————– Yesterday found an interesting article on pollution
  10. —————– The new machine is processes 50 percent more than the previous machine.

Answer exercise skill 1 :

  1. Incorrect
  2. Correct
  3. Incorrect
  4. Incorrect
  5. Correct
  6. Incorrect
  7. Correct
  8. Incorrect
  9. Incorrect
  10. Incorrect

Refrensi : ” Longman Preparation Course For The TOEFL TEST – THE PAPER TEST-, PHILIPPS”