TOEFL® Writing Practice 84

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For this task, you will write an essay in response to a question that asks you to state, explain, and support your opinion on an issue. You'll have 30 minutes to write your essay.

Typically, an effective essay will contain a minimum of 350 words.

We recommend you practice organizing your essay for the first 5 minutes with a pen and paper like you will during your TOEFL exam.

Question: Some items (such as clothes or furniture) can be made by hand or by machine. Which do you prefer - items made by hand or items made by machine? Use reasons and specific examples to explain your choice.
Word Count: 0
 

Question: Some items (such as clothes or furniture) can be made by hand or by machine. Which do you prefer - items made by hand or items made by machine? Use reasons and specific examples to explain your choice.

Word Count: 0

Sample Essay

In our modern world, we have the option to buy factory-made items or handmade items. It used to be that everything was made by hand but now it seems almost everything is made by machines. I, myself, am more fascinated with items that are made by hand. For, handmade items are pieces of art. I love and celebrate art in all its forms and manifestations, as well as the creativity that goes into it. Machine-made products are not interesting or unique. Some machine-made items may be intriguing but overall, I much prefer handmade items. From clothes to any type of furniture, items made by hand are far superior.

To begin, let's consider handmade clothes. Clothing made my hand is far better because it showcases an individual's talent and the outcome of their creativity. In fact, anyone who is committed to learning the trade can turn their ideas into something creative and beautiful. Furniture that is handmade is an excellent display of craftsmanship and artistic skill. It is not only an art but a technical trade involving a lot of thought and planning. Such items are works of wonder by some specially-skilled person; not everyone is born with such talent nor takes the time to acquire such skills.

On the other hand, technological inventions are also important and machines sure make mass manufacturing, and life in general, much easier. But after its introduction, humans have become increasingly dependent upon it. It seems that everyone wants to take the easy, fast road; few people these days have the time to stop and appreciate a weaver or a potter making objects with their hands, creating items of necessity. Machine-made objects are just artificial items, meant for decoration - they are empty and meaningless.

In conclusion, I appreciate handmade items because they are more creative, authentic, and require much more skill. Next time when you are out and about, take some time to look at the things around you in a different way. Wondrous creativity can exist within a single piece of pottery.  

Learn How to Tackle TOEFL Independent Writing - Description or Explanation Essays
Tip 1: Follow a standard TOEFL essay structure
Introductory Paragraph 1. Provide background information about the essay topic. Here are a few techniques:
  1. Begin with two sides of opinions on the essay topic
  2. Begin with the general public's opinions
  3. Introduce a fact that raises a question about the essay topic
  4. Introduce a debate on the essay topic
  5. Mention the advantage or disadvantage of a subject as a way to contrast
  6. your main opinion on the subject.

2. Write a strong thesis statement

Lesson: How to write a high-scoring TOEFL introductory paragraph part 1
Lesson: How to write a high-scoring TOEFL introductory paragraph part 2
Body Paragraph A
Body Paragraph B
Body Paragraph C (Optional)
1. Include a transition word/phrase at the beginning
2. Write a topic sentence
3. Include supporting sentences

Lesson: How to write a high-scoring TOEFL body paragraph
Conclusion Paragraph 1. Include a restatement of the thesis statement you wrote in your introduction
2. Provide a brief summary of your main ideas

Lesson: How to write a high-scoring TOEFL conclusion paragraph

There's no maximum length for your essay, but a good response is usually at least 300 words.

Tip 2: Use transition words and phrases

You need to use transition words and phrases to connect your ideas in your essay. You should have 2 transition words/phrases every 4-5 sentences.

Type of connection Transition words
These words can help you show the order of ideas. First/Second/Third
Firstly (or "First of all")/Secondly/Thirdly (or "Lastly")
For one thing/For another thing/Finally (or "Lastly")
In the first place/in the second place/Finally (or "Lastly")

Instead of "First", "First of all" and "Firstly", we can use "To begin with", "To start with", or "For starters". We can also use "First and foremost" to state that the first key point is the most important one among all key points.

Likewise, instead of "Finally" and "Lastly", we can use "Last but not least" to state that the final key point is just as important as the others, despite it being mentioned last.

These words can help you add information In addition, furthermore, additionally, also, next, moreover, what's more, on top of that
These words can help you conclude or to summarize: To sum up, in summary, in conclusion, to conclude, all in all, all things considered ,overall, taking everything into consideration, in a nutshell
These words can help you demonstrate contrast Conversely, on the contrary, by contrast, by way of contrast, on one hand/on the other hand
These words can help you compare or demonstrate similarity Similarly, likewise, by the same token, along similar lines
These words can help you state a result. As a result, as a consequence, consequently, therefore
These words can help you state a generalization. Generally, on the whole, in most cases, in general
These words can help you clarify a point. That is, in other words, to put it simply, That is to say, just to reiterate
These words can help you give examples. For example, for instance, take something, for example, to give a clear example
These words can help you state an alternative. Alternatively, as another possibility
Tip 3: Vary your sentence structure

To achieve a higher score or a perfect 5 out of 5 on the TOEFL English language criteria, you must show that you can accurately and flexibly use a variety of structures.

Lesson: Achieving sentence variety part 1
Lesson: Achieving sentence variety part 2
Lesson: Achieving sentence variety part 3
Tip 5: Vary your vocabulary

You should avoid using the same vocabulary throughout your essay. Instead, you can use synonyms or phrases that have the same meaning of words.

Here are some ways you can improve on this area:

  1. Read our sample essays and pay attention to words you are not familiar with.
  2. Utilize our TOEFL Vocabulary system
  3. Utilize our TOEFL synonyms exercises
 
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