TOEFL® Writing Practice 91

close Filter

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: You have enough money to purchase either a house or a business. Which would you choose to buy? Give specific reasons to explain your choice.
Word Count: 0

Question: You have enough money to purchase either a house or a business. Which would you choose to buy? Give specific reasons to explain your choice.

Word Count: 0

Sample Essay

Some business moguls say that it is wiser to rent your house and to buy other properties to rent out because real estate is a good investment. Renting a house or apartment also allows mobility should money-making opportunities arise elsewhere. With this in mind, it is wiser to start or purchase a money-making business than to buy a house. Buying a house certainly has its benefits but it takes a long time to make money from such a purchase whereas a business is an opportunity to make more money for a longer period of time. As well, predicting the future value of a home is difficult, and houses require constant upkeep and maintenance, though they bring no consistent income. A business does require maintenance but it brings in profits and can be reworked to adjust to the changing market. Learning the skills of an entrepreneur ensures a lifetime of opportunity and earning. For these reasons, I would purchase a business rather than a house.

First of all, while one can make money through the sale of his house, it usually takes a long time to build equity, for the house to gain value, and to sell the house for a profit. Buying a house also means buying furniture, equipment, and paying for services to maintain and improve the property. While a business does require one to spend money to make money, the return on investment is more immediate and ongoing. A house is a big cost upfront and does not provide any real, long-term money-making potential. A business provides an entire career and an ongoing income.

Secondly, the value of a house can fluctuate as well as be difficult to predict. Depending on the development of the neighborhood, the surrounding houses and property, and other economic factors of the area, a house can vary greatly in value. Buying a profitable business is a guaranteed, long-term income. It is an investment that will see more return and will last longer; a business can be passed on from one generation to the next. Thus, it is an investment in one's own life and future generations. If a business is struggling, it is easier to rework the business to suit the market than it is to find ways to increase the property value of a house in a given area.

Finally, buying a business is not only an investment to make more money, it is an opportunity to become an entrepreneur and learn valuable skills. Through the operation of a business, one learns to be an entrepreneur which is invaluable as it guarantees the ability to make money for life. A business can be a family affair that involves everyone learning new skills and bettering themselves. Thus, it is not only a financial investment but an investment in one’s self, family, and future.

In conclusion, with the money, I would buy a business rather than a house. For, a house can be an unpredictable investment that takes time to see a return. A business, however, provides employment and income opportunity for a lifetime. The skills and capabilities one learns through operating a business are invaluable and can be used to generate an income. A business might require more work and some financial investments but it typically results in ongoing profits and the satisfaction of being self-employed. Thus, a business is a better investment than the purchase of a house.

Learn How to Tackle TOEFL Independent Writing - Preference 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
Hi, there!

Get 5 Ask Instructor questions as a reward
for singing up free today.

Start free today!