TOEFL iTP | Written Expression | Errors in Word Order

I can guarantee you this, there will be at least two questions involving word order where it’s in reversed form, whether it’s a noun trying to modify an adjective or a verb trying to modify a preposition. In this wonderful snippet, you’re going to understand the formulas, go over some sample items, and on my course, you’ll have additional exercises.

Arsenio’s ESL Podcast | Season 5 Episode 177 | Grammar | Verb Patterns

Two common verb patterns used in academic English are:

Verb + preposition + gerund

It works by adding particles to the cloud that attract water vapor.

Verbs that usually follow this pattern include admit to, believe in, benefit from, care about, concentrate on, cope with, decide against, depend on, disagree with, and object to.

Verb + object + to + base form

Chinese officials claim to have used the technique to trigger snowstorms in arid northern regions.

Verbs that usually follow this pattern include advise, allow, ask, encourage, expect, order, permit, persuade, remind, and warn.

Choose the correct form of the verbs to complete the sentences using the rules above.

  1. It’s essential that we allocate resources to support / supporting disaster victims.
  2. Limited people may be willing to make a change, but the whole of society will benefit from make / making these alterations.
  3. In general, governments don’t try to persuade people to make / making significant lifestyle changes.
  4. Due to a lack of empirical data, the government decided against building / build the proposed desalination plants.
  5. The company rules don’t permit / isn’t permitting employees to take their car to work.
  6. Controversially, the government decided against close / closing the nuclear power plant.


A nominal clause is a group of words that performance the same function as a noun. They can be the subject or object of a sentence; Example: Families are getting smaller (= subject) // The UN estimates that by 2030 the world will need 50% more food. (= object)

Nominal clauses include clauses which follow that, if/whether, and questions.

ARSENIO’S ESL PODCAST | SEASON 5 EPISODE 135 | Grammar | Impersonal Passive

We use the impersonal passive to present information in a more formal way. The structure is used with verbs of perception such as think, know, say, understood, expect, see, and conclude.

It is known that competition helps investment.

It can be seen that this method is the most successful.

The first part of the sentence is passive and the second part remains the same as the original base sentence.

It is expected that rock launches will increase.

Rocket launches will increase.


We’re back with a special review of something that I had already recovered in the previous season. There’s no harm in reviewing! So, with that being said, more emphasis can be placed on the result of unreal past conditionals using the following inverted construction; had + subject + (not) + past participle.

Had upbringing been taken into account, the importance given to genetics may have been lessened.

Had they not been raised in such an unstable environment, the twins may not have had such propensity for crime.

This can also be a useful structure for commenting on the results of someone else’s research;

The research suggests that had the group received a better education, they wouldn’t have gone on to exhibit criminal tendencies.

Use the prompts to write inverted conditional sentences.

  1. negative influence of her peers / might not develop criminal tendencies

I’d ague that _____________________________________________________________________.

2. Roberts not be labeled a criminal / he not go on to a life of crime

Lebert would argue that __________________________________________________________.

3. subjects raised in a more stable environment / they cause fewer problems at school.

It seems highly likely that _________________________________________________________.

4. they grow up in a more affluent area / far less likely to turn to crime.

This implies that __________________________________________________________________.

5. the study be conducted today / results may be different

Critics argue that __________________________________________________________________.


Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 4 – Episode 130 – Developing Vocabulary – Phrasal Verbs: Communication

We’re back with some phrasal verbs of communication! It’s time to match the phrasal verbs in bold with the explanations 1-10.

In a university staff meeting, Henry brought up the subject whether computers should replace traditional exams (pen and paper). He pointed out that nowadays most people don’t write everything down by hand. When Henry was finished speaking, Arsenio picked up on his point, mentioning that some of his students could hardly write anymore because they used computers for all their schoolwork. However, quire a few people spoke out in favor of the traditional-style tests, especially Lenita. But every time Lenita started saying something, Arsenio would cut in and add another point himself. Because the conversation was quite heated, it was difficult for most people to make out what Lenita and Arsenio were saying. Lenita got really angry with Arsenio’s tone. She felt that he was talking down to her, but he claimed he was just trying to spell out his thoughts. What became clear was that neither side could get through to the other, and so they all decided to turn to another important issue.

Gateway B2+
  1. change from one subject to another
  2. make someone understand what you’re trying to say
  3. tell someone something
  4. talk to someone as if you think they are not as clever or as important as you
  5. start discussing
  6. state your opinion firmly and publicly to protest against or defend something
  7. interrupt
  8. understand someone or something with difficulty
  9. explain something very clearly, often because someone has not understood
  10. talk in more detail about something that someone has mentioned.


Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 4 – Episode 106 – Grammar – Making Comparisons while Speaking

Yes! We’re back with making comparisons! Instead of doing the basic grammar stuff that I normally do, in this podcast (and blog) I’ll be talking about how you can make comparisons while speaking.


In spoken and written English, people often use the + comparative + the + comparative to mean, “if is more X, it will be more Y.”

Establishing the mass transit system is a good start for Bangkok. The sooner, the better. (it is best to start right away).

The longer I waited, the harder it was to change (as time passes, it became harder to change.)

Comparative forms of compound adjectives.

If the first word of the compound is an adjective (open minded, long lasting), use –er or more to make the comparative form. If the first word is not an adjectives (badly behaved), use more.

First, at the bottom, are the lower-level physiological needs.

I’d like a more expensive-looking watch.

A more culturally-driven approach is necessary.

Complete the sentences with more, the, or -er. If nothing is needed in a blank, write X.

  1. A problem for people is that ___________ messier their homes are, ______________ agitated they feel.
  2. Money can make you happy for a short time, but _____________ long ________-lasting happiness comes from friends and family.
  3. To use your time most wisely, experts advise us to do our _________________high____________-priority tasks earlier in the day, when we are more alert.
  4. According to a theory, ________________high______________a need is on the pyramid, ______________valuable it is.
  5. To overcome their problems, most people need the support of their family and friends. ______________more,_____________better.

Complete the sentences with your own ideas and opinions. Use comparative forms with The……the.

  1. In my opinion, the richer you are,……
  2. The older you are,…….
  3. The bigger your family is,……
  4. The more stressful your job is,….
  5. The more beautiful/handsome you are……

Complete the questions with the comparative form of the compound adjective in the parentheses.

  1. Would you do a ______________(low-paying) job if it was really interesting?
  2. If you could improve one thing about yourself, would you rather be ___________(good-looking) or _____________(well educated)?
  3. Are you _______________(open-minded) now than when you were a child?
  4. Which is a ________________(high-priority) need for you, your career or family?
  5. Which experience do you think is _____________(life-changing): starting university, starting a new career, or starting a family?


Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 4 – Episode 78 – Grammar – Advanced Future Forms

Advanced grammar for the future?! Oh, yes! You guys will be happy about this. This is the upper-intermediate version, so check out the rules, tune in and do some of these exercises down below!

Present continuous for future

We use the present continuous to talk about future arrangements; plans that have been confirmed.

Experts from around the world are meeting next month.

Present simple for future

We use the present simple to talk about the future when the action is part of a timetable or routine.

My train leaves at 9pm tomorrow.

Future continuous

We use the future continuous to talk about activities in progress at a particular time in the future. The activities are in progress and so they are unfinished.

At this time tomorrow, he’ll be flying to the US.

Future simple

We use the future perfect to talk about activities that will be finished by a certain time in the future.

I will have gone to bed by midnight.

We often use the preposition by with the future perfect. It means ‘some time before.’

Future perfect continuous

We use the future perfect continuous to talk about how long an activity will be in progress before a particular moment in the future.

By 8pm, I’ll have been revising history for five hours.

Be on the verge/point

We use be on the verge/point of to talk about something that is going to happen soon.

They are on the verge of winning the national championship.

Today’s podcast on Advanced Future Forms