toefl guide

TOEFL Writing Essential Words - Part 4 - advance and advancement

Madison Oster October 12th, 2021

In today’s post, you are going to learn the words advance and advancement. These two words are often used in TOEFL independent essays when the topics are related to the impact of technology.

The word advance can be a verb and a noun. The original meaning of the verb advance is “to go or move forward”. This can be used to describe actual physical movement, but is more often used to describe progress or improvement. Here is an example for each:

  • To advance = moving forward
  • Physical movement: The troops advance towards the capital.
  • Progress or Improvement: Technology advances so quickly, I can hardly keep track.

Advance can also be used as "to bring something forward,". In this case advance is a transitive verb, so there must be an object after it. We often use this to describe topics or skills we personally “make progress in” The following sentences are quite useful and often heard in daily conversations.

  1. I advanced my knowledge of English by studying abroad.
  2. I want to advance my career in banking.

Finally, advance can have a more timely focus as well. So, when something advances it could mean that it is progressing in time, or when we advance something we are bringing it forward in time. Let me give you two examples for a more time-focused use of “advance”

  1. As the twentieth century advanced, other forms of entertainment rapidly took over
  2. The bank advanced me 500USD today.

The latter means that the bank gave or lend you money before a due date. The bank basically brought the money forward in time. If you wanted to ask someone for an advance payment you could ask: “Could you advance me 500USD until Tuesday?” for example.


The noun advance has the same underlying meaning as “to advance”, so “an advance” is “a certain move forward” or “a specific improvement”. It is a countable noun and is normally used with the preposition ‘in’. Here are some example sentences

  1. Scientific advances in diagnostic tools make it possible to identify new diseases more quickly.
  2. Advances in technology led to the industrial revolution.
  3. Recent advances in technology now make the smartphone more popular than the desktop computer.
  4. Huge advances in the development of anti-depressants greatly help people who suffer from depression.

As I told you before “to advance” can be used for money as well. The same is true for the noun, so “an advance” can also be the money paid before its due date. In business, we often take “advance payments” for security reasons in international trade. The following examples can help you understand.

  1. She asked for an advance on her salary.=
  2. The bank will give you an advance of 95% of the purchase price.


Okay, moving on. Let's talk about advancement. Students are often confused about the difference between “advance” and “advancement”. Although they are very similar, it should be not too complicated to differentiate them with the right definition in your mind. The difference is that “advance” describes individual and tangible improvements,, while advancement refers to the overall process of improvement. Also, the "advancement" is more used with the preposition “of” whereas "advance" is used with the preposition "in". For example:

  • Our company has made significant advances in our mobile phone technology.


  • Advancement of technology is a crucial factor for national growth.
  • The advancement of modern medicine has lengthened many people's lives. (Note that advancement is normally used together with “of”)

Alright! This is the end of the post. I hope you enjoyed learning about the various usages of the word advance.



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