Mastering Grammar for TOEFL: Essential Tips and Common Topics

The TOEFL test has undergone significant changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, shifting from traditional in-person formats to digital versions accessible online since 2020. Despite these adaptations, the demand for TOEFL scores remains high for educational and employment purposes worldwide. Among the test components, grammar assessment plays a crucial role in evaluating English language proficiency. This article delves into strategies for approaching grammar sections of the TOEFL and explores five commonly tested grammar topics.

Strategy for Tackling TOEFL Grammar

TOEFL ITP grammar sections often pose challenges for test-takers. Structure and written expression tests assess grammar proficiency in English. With approximately 40 questions to be answered within 30 minutes, this section demands swift and accurate responses. Here are some strategies to help you navigate these tasks effectively:

1. Identify Subject and Verb: Begin by identifying the subject and verb in each sentence. Understanding the basic sentence structure aids in comprehending the grammatical context. By recognizing the subject and verb, you can eliminate irrelevant options and pinpoint the correct answer more efficiently.

2. Pay Attention to Answer Choices: After identifying the subject and verb, focus on the answer choices provided. Evaluate each option to determine its grammatical suitability within the context of the sentence. Eliminate unlikely choices based on grammatical rules, narrowing down the possibilities to increase your chances of selecting the correct answer.

3. Utilize Elimination Techniques: Use the process of elimination to eliminate improbable answer choices, leaving behind a smaller pool of options. This method requires a solid understanding of grammar rules to identify errors or inconsistencies in the provided choices accurately. Pay close attention to grammar nuances to make informed decisions.

4. Address Underlined Words: In another type of question, you’ll be asked to identify the word or phrase that doesn’t fit grammatically within the sentence. Focus on identifying grammatical errors or inconsistencies, such as incorrect verb forms or word usage. Understanding grammar principles is crucial for accurately identifying misplaced words or phrases.

5. Consider Sentence Structure: Be mindful of the overall sentence structure while answering grammar questions. Sometimes, apparent errors may go unnoticed if you overlook structural inconsistencies. For instance, singular and plural forms should agree within a sentence to maintain grammatical coherence. Stay vigilant to ensure grammatical accuracy in your responses.

Commonly Tested Grammar Topics

TOEFL grammar sections frequently assess various grammar topics. Mastering these topics enhances your ability to tackle grammar-related questions effectively. Here are five commonly tested grammar areas:

1. Main Verb: Understanding main verbs is essential as they form the backbone of sentence structure. Familiarize yourself with different verb tenses—past, present, and future—and their corresponding forms to accurately convey actions and events in English sentences.

2. Infinitive: Infinitives are crucial in English grammar, often used to express purposes or intentions. Learn to recognize infinitive forms and their roles within sentences, such as “to + base form of the verb,” to convey specific meanings accurately.

3. Gerund: Gerunds, verb forms ending in “-ing,” serve various functions, including acting as nouns or indicating ongoing actions. Practice identifying gerunds in sentences and understanding their grammatical roles to enhance comprehension and accuracy.

4. Past Custom: Expressions of past habits or customs are common in English, often conveyed using “used to + base form of the verb.” Recognize the structure and usage of past custom expressions to convey past experiences accurately.

5. Conditional Sentences: Conditional sentences express hypothetical situations and their outcomes based on certain conditions. Understand the three main types of conditional sentences—future, present, and past—to accurately convey conditional relationships in English.


Mastering grammar is essential for achieving high scores in the TOEFL test, particularly in the structure and written expression section. By employing effective strategies and familiarizing yourself with commonly tested grammar topics, you can approach TOEFL grammar sections with confidence and precision. Remember to practice regularly and strengthen your grammar skills to excel in the test. With dedication and perseverance, you’ll be well-prepared to conquer the grammar challenges of the TOEFL and achieve your desired scores.