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TOEFL Reading Question Type - Insert a Sentence Question

Madison Oster July 25th, 2018

This is part of a series of TOEFL Reading Question Types. In today’s post, we will discuss a " Sentence Insertion (Insert a Sentence)" question. In a "Sentence Insertion" question, you will be asked to decide where a new sentence best fits into the reading passage. This question type tests your understanding of the logic in the passage. It also tests your ability to understand the grammatical connections from one sentence to another.

TOEFL Reading Tips & Strategies: How to Answer “Sentence Insertion” Questions

To answer this type of question, you need to understand the following three principles:

  1. Ideas in the paragraph are written in a general → specific formula, meaning that an idea is introduced with general details, and then more specific details will follow. Therefore, if the prompt sentence is the type of sentence containing specific details, then it must be inserted after the sentence which is more general. Vice versa, if the prompt sentence is the type of sentence containing general information, then it must be inserted in the place before the paragraph starts to contain specific details.
  2. Pronouns are often included in the prompt sentence. Therefore, when you see a word like “they”, “these”, “those”, or “this”, look for the sentence that contains the information that these pronouns refer to. Then, the prompt sentence must be inserted after that sentence.
  3. A transition word is often included in the prompt sentence. Transition words at the beginning of the sentence could give you an idea about its connection to the surrounding sentences. These would be words like “however”, “and”, “so”, “but”, or “therefore”. Here’s your big clue: if the transition words are “and”, “so”, “therefore”, or one similar to these, the sentence before the prompt will share the same ideas and opinions with the prompt sentence. If the transition words are “yet”, “but”, “however”, or a different contrast word, then the sentence before the prompt will contradict the ideas or opinions from the prompt sentence.

Let’s look at two Sentence Insertion questions.

TOEFL Reading Practice: Sentence Insertion Question

Question 1: Examine the four █ in the selection below and indicate at which block the following sentence could be inserted into the passage:

Seagrasses grow together in dense patches, or beds, with as many as 4,000 blades per square meter. 

Many areas of the shallow sea bottom are covered with a lush growth of aquatic flowering plants adapted to live submerged in seawater. █ [A]These plants are collectively called seagrasses. █ [B] Seagrass beds are strongly influenced by several physical factors. █ [C] The most significant is water motion: currents and waves. █ [D] Since seagrass systems exist in both sheltered and relatively open areas, they are subject to differing amounts of water motion. 

Choose the place where the sentence fits best.

[B] is the correct answer. Our prompt sentence contains specific information regarding seagrasses. Now we need to find the sentence that has general information and place this one after. Sentence [B] introduces seagrasses and defines the term. The next sentence discusses seagrass beds, a term used in our prompt sentence, so we need to place the prompt sentence between these two, making [B] the correct choice.

Question 2: Examine the four █ in the selection below and indicate at which block the following sentence could be inserted into the passage:

Thanks to radiocarbon dating and technological development in studying evidence, researchers can now give a more precise age on this type of art. 

█ [A]The age of rock art in Australia has been revised several times, with earlier dates suggested recently after new discoveries. █ [B] Accurate scientific proof has dated the first appearance of surface rock in Australia to approximately 30,000 to 50,000 years ago. █ [C]This lengthy and astounding history of rock art in Australia makes it the oldest art tradition known today in the world. █ [D] 

Choose the place where the sentence fits best.

[B] is the correct answer. Here, we need to match back “this type of art” to what it is referencing in order to correctly place the prompt sentence. It’s referencing rock art, named in the first sentence, making the correct answer [B].

Conclusion

If you want to practice more TOEFL reading sentence insertion questions, sign up for our TOEFL preparation course to access our 72 complete TOEFL reading practices and 13 extra sentence insertion questions in our TOEFL reading lessons.

 
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