Toefl Structure



  1. What Are Some Ways to Develop Supporting Ideas?
  • Supporting ideas help to convince your reader that your main idea is a good one. Here are some things that professional writers do:
  • Tell a story that clarifies the main idea.
  • Give examples of the man idea to explain what the paragraph is about.
  • Give reasons that support the thesis. These can be facts, logical arguments, or the opinion of experts.
  • Use details that are very specific so the reader can understand how this idea is different from others.
  • Tell what can be seen, heard, smelled, touched, felt, or experienced.
  • Try to see the idea from many different angles.
  • Tell how other events, people, or things might have an influence on the main idea.
  • Use metaphors or analogies to help the reader understand an idea by comparing it to something else.
  1. Have You Done Your Best to Support and Develop Your Ideas?

Think of your reader as a curious person. Assume that your reader wants to know everything that you can say about this subject. Here are some specific questions that are appropriate for certain types of writing

  1. If you are describing a problem or issue, you might was to complete the following
  • What type of problem or issue is it?
  • What are the signs that a problem or issue exists?
  • Who or what is affected by the problem or issue?
  • What is the history of the problem or issue-what or who caused it or contributed to it and what is the state of the problem now?
  • Why is the issue or problem significant? What makes this issue or problem important or less important?
  1. If you are arguing or trying to persuade your reader to agree with your opinion, consider the following:
  • What facts or statistics could you mention as support?
  • What ideas could you discuss to prove points?
  • What comparison could you make that would help your readers understand the issue?
  • What expert opinion would make your opinion more valid?
  • Could you support your point with some examples?
  • Could you describe the views of someone holding a different opinion?
  1. If you are analyzing literature or writing a review of a story or movie, consider these questions:
  • Can you summarize the story so that your reader knows what happens?
  • Can you give the details about the place or time so that your reader has a context for understanding the story?
  • What can you say about the main characters so that the reader can understand what makes them special or interesting?
  • Can you describe the point where the main character(s) is in a crisis and has to make an interesting choice?
  • Can you quote what characters say about each other or about what they are experiencing?
  • Does the story have a deeper theme that you could discuss?
  • Can you describe the style in which the story is told or the camera angles of the movie?
  • Are there interesting images or symbols?
  1. If you are describing something or providing a definition, consider the following
  • Can you tell what the thing looks like or what its parts are?
  • Can you say what it does or means?
  • If what it does or means has changed over time, can you describe what it used to mean or used to do and what it now means or does?
  • If what you are describing has a different name or meaning, can you tell the reader the different name or meaning?
  1. If you are telling how to do or make something, consider these points:
  • Have you started at the right place-the first step-and proceeded logically?
  • Have you defined any terms that might be unfamiliar to your reader?
  • Have you given an example that might help your reader understand what you mean?
  • Have you tried to explain your instructions clearly? Have you numbered these instructions so that the reader knows the order in which it is best to do them?



Examples #1:

Topic sentence: Smoking cigarettes can be an expensive habit.

Supporting sentence #1: Cigarettes cost about seventy-five cents.

Supporting sentence #2: The average smoker smokes two packs a day.

Supporting sentence #3: The annual expense for this smoker is $547.50.

Supporting sentence #4: The smoker must also pay for extra cleaning of carpets, furniture, and clothes.


Examples #2:

Topic sentence: Now, let’s look at his personality.

Supporting sentence #1: He is not a very outgoing person. In fact, he is rather shy.

Example: For example, he does not like to go to parties so he does not make friends very easily.

However, he has a couple of very close friends. I am lucky to be one of these.

Supporting sentence #2: Second, he is a very hard working student.

Explanation: He studies regularly and always has his homework ready on time. He is one of the top students in our class.

Supporting sentence #3: Finally, he is always willing to help his close friends with their studies. Example: For instance, when I do not understand something in my lessons, he helps me. It is good to know that there is a friend of mine who will help me whenever I need some help with my lesson.


  1. What Is a Conclusion?
  • The concluding paragraph is separate from the other paragraphs and brings closure to the essay.
  • It discusses the importance of your ides.
  • It restates the thesis with fresh working.
  • It sums up the main ideas of the paper.
  • It can also include an anecdote, quotation, statistics, or suggestion.
  1. Have You Done Your Best to Support and Develop Your Ideas?
  • You might consider some of the following approaches to writing concluding paragraphs:
  • Summarize main points.
  • Provide a summarizing story.
  • Include a provocative or memorable quotation.
  • Make a prediction or suggestion.
  • Leave the reader with something to think about.

Here are two different concluding paragraphs:

Good teaching requires flexibility, compassion, organization, knowledge, energy, and enthusiasm. A good teacher must decide when a student needs to be prodded and when that student needs mercy. Good teaching requires knowing when to listen and reflect and when to advise or correct. It requires a delicate balance of many skills, and often a different mix of approaches for different students and different situations. Is this profession demanding? Yes! Boring? Never! Exciting? Absolutely!

When I become a teacher, I want fourth graders like Miss Vela? We adored her and wanted to please her. But more importantly, I want to be a Miss Vela for my students. I want to challenge my students to become good citizens. When the river in our town flooded its banks and some classmates had to be evacuated, Miss Vela asked us to think about what we could do. We came up with three decisions. We packed lunches for our classmates, we shared our books and pencils in class, and we gave them clothing. Later when we studied civics, we realized that we were taking care of our classmates the way the local or federal governments does in a disaster. Miss Vela was helping her fourth graders become more civic minded. I’m hoping to help my students think like that when I’m a teacher.


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