TOEFL Vocabulary is important in all sections of the TOEFL exam. Therefore, make an effort of building your vocabulary base. Your goal should be to learn about 2000 college level words. Follow the link if you want to good list of 1,700 TOEFL words.
In this article, I will focus on small number of vocabulary words known as reporting verbs. During the TOEFL integrated speaking and writing tasks, you will be explaining information. This information will be coming from reading and listening passages. Using reporting verbs will help you to explain these important points from the perspective of the author or the speaker. Furthermore, explaining the points of the reading and listening passages from the writer’s and speakers points of view will mark your speaking and writing tasks as summaries. Summary writing, a neutral form of academic writing, is most appropriate for these writing tasks.
TOEFL Vocabulary: Writing Task without Reporting Verbs
Businesses should encourage their employees to attend all meetings so that employees can get the necessary instruction to complete their jobs efficiently. In addition, attending meetings can help employees build rapport with other co-workers so that workers can get along better without conflict. On the other hand, meetings, especially those longer than one hour, will hurt the productivity of workers. Therefore, meetings should be shortened in most cases to less than an hour, and employees should carry out most communicative tasks by email or phone instead of conducting this business in formal meetings.
In this passage, readers will assume that all these ideas are the opinion of the writer because no voice markers are used. Therefore, this paragraph appears to be argumentative, an inappropriate tone for the integrated speaking and writing tasks.
TOEFL Vocabulary: Writing Task with Reporting Verbs
The author in the reading passages argues that businesses should encourage their employees to attend all meetings so that employees can get the necessary instruction to complete their jobs efficiently. In addition, attending meetings can help employees build rapport with other co-workers, adds the author, so that workers can get along better without conflict. On the other hand, the speaker in the listening passage believes that meetings, especially those longer than one hour, will hurt the productivity of workers. Therefore, meetings should be shortened in most cases to less than an hour, asserts the speaker, and employees should carry out most communicative tasks by email or phone instead of conducting this business in formal meetings.
In this passage, however, readers will assume that the author is summarizing the most important points of a reading passage. As a result, this paragraph is summarizing someone else’s ideas, which is an appropriate tone for the TOEFL integrated speaking and writing tasks.
TOEFL Vocabulary: Tips on Using Reporting Verbs
- In most cases, use simple present tense reporting verbs.
- Use a variety of reporting verbs for your integrated speaking and writing tasks.
- Make sure that your reporting verbs fit meaningfully into the context of the sentence.
I will include an alphabetical list of reporting verbs with their definitions and sample sentences so you can see how they can be used in TOEFL integrated speaking and writing tasks.
TOEFL Vocabulary “A-B” Reporting Verbs
Acknowledge: To admit or accept something is true or that a situation exists.
The speaker in the listening passage acknowledges that some natural factors may be contributing to global warming, but he believes that human activities are accelerating this warming trend.
Admit: To accept and agree unwillingly that something is true or that someone else is right.
The author in the reading passage explains that even long meetings are important for employees to attend. However, long meetings, admits the author, may cause some workers to become bored.
Agree: To have the same opinion as someone else.
The author in the reading passage claims that irresponsible parents who homeschool their children will give these kids a lesser quality education. While the speaker in the listening passage agrees that irresponsible parents may cast a negative net over homeschooling, the speakers believes that most parents who homeschool their children do not fit into this category.
Analyze: To examine or think about something carefully in order to understand it.
The author and the speaker in the two passages analyze the effects of the Internet on civilization by explaining whether this new technology has positive or negative effects.
Argue: To state by presenting clear reasons and evidence that something is true.
Even though the author explains that reading all documents in their entirety is necessary, the speaker in the listening passage argues that employees should only focus on the main and most important support points in the documents that management gives employees to read.
Assert: To state firmly that something is true.
The author in the reading passage recommends that, when bears attack, victims should run away as fast as possible to get away. In contrast, the speaker asserts that running away from bears will trigger predatory responses in them causing them to chase their victims. Since bears can run as fast as 35 miles per hour, the speakers observes, victims will not be fast enough to outrun these giant predators.
Believe: To be sure that something is true or that someone is telling the truth
When bears stand on their hind legs, believes the speaker, they are not preparing to attack. Rather, these immense mammals are sizing up their victims and may be trying to intimidate them.
TOEFL Vocabulary “C” Reporting Verbs
Claim: To state or assert that something is true, often without providing evidence or proof.
The author in the reading passage claims that the retreat of glaciers between 2000 and 2008 is accelerating 22 times faster than in the past.
Comment: To express an opinion or reaction to something.
Artic foxes’ fur coats whiten as winter approaches. This change of color, comments the speaker, acts as camouflage to protect these cunning animals from larger predators.
Concede: To admit that something is true after first denying it.
Human activities seem to be having a large impact on the eroding of the glacial ice in the polar regions. However, some of this climate change, concedes the author, may be due to natural factors.
Conclude: To arrive at an opinion or judgment based on reasoning; to bring something to an end.
The author concludes that homeschooled children do not get quality education because they are often taught by irresponsible and unqualified parents.
Confirm: To establish the truth or correctness of something that was previously believed, suspected, or feared to be the truth.
The author in the reading passage defines the concept of inflation, and the speaker in the lectures uses an example to confirm the truth of this economic principle.
Consider: To carefully think about something before finally making a decision.
The speaker considers whether the critical period theory applies to most child language acquisition cases.
Criticize: To points out the faults or someone or something in a disapproving way.
The author in the reading passage explains three theories about adult language acquisition, and in the listening passage, the professor criticizes each theory.
TOEFL Vocabulary “D” Reporting Verbs
Describe: To give an account of someone or something, including the relevant characteristics, qualities, or events.
In the lecture, the speaker describes glaciers as being compressed multi-layered sheets of ice with a density about 1/2 as thick as water.
Disagree: To give an opinion or argument that is different from others.
The author believes that following the steps in the writing process is too time consuming. However, the speaker disagrees with this assertion and claims that using the writing process will help employees to write more efficient and polished reports.
Discuss: To talk or write about someone or something with a group of people, taking into account a variety of beliefs and perspectives.
The author in the reading passage defines photosynthesis, and the two students in the listening passage discuss the concept further by providing some examples.
Dispute: To argue about something, often in an emotional, heated way.
Even though the author in the reading passages theorizes that dinosaurs might have become extinct due to overdosing on toxic plants, the speaker in the lecture disputes this notion claiming that there is no evidence to prove or disprove this claim.
TOEFL Vocabulary “E-F” Reporting Verbs
Emphasize: To give special importance to someone or something.
The speaker emphasizes that there is no way to know what dinosaurs ate because their livers and stomachs did not fossilize. Therefore, scientists can not find out whether or not dinosaurs died because of overdosing on toxic plants.
Explain: To make an idea, argument, or issue clearer by revealing more facts and details.
In the lecture, the speaker explains how glaciers form in colder regions on steep angles where ample snowfall accumulates over time.
Express: To communicate a thought or idea through gestures and conduct.
The woman expresses to the man how she feels about the new policy regarding bicycle parking on campus.
Find out: To discover or perceive something by chance; to recognize or discover the existence of something.
In the listening passage, after the man finds out about the woman’s problem with the biology class, he recommends two solutions to help her: She can join the weekly study group, or she can go to the professor’s office to get ideas on how to prepare for her upcoming exam.
TOEFL Vocabulary “I-P” Reporting Verbs
Illustrate: To explain or make something clear by using pictures, examples, statistics, comparisons, or any other information to clarify the idea.
In the reading passage, the author defines the concept of survival of the fittest, and in the lecture, the speaker gives an example to illustrate the concept.
Interpret: To understand an action, mood, idea, or way of behaving as having a certain significance or meaning; to explain the meaning of actions, words, or information.
In the lecture, when bears get on all fours, slap the ground several times with their paws, and begin to grunt, the professor interprets this behavior as the precursors to charges to their prey.
Maintain: To cause or enable a state of affairs or condition to continue; to provide someone or something the necessities of life for existence.
Even though some contrary evidence suggests that natural factors may be part of the cause for the rapid melting of glaciers, the professor maintains that in large part global warming is mostly due to human activities.
Note: To notice or pay particular attention to something.
The author notes that the rapidly melting glaciers in the tropic regions have caused the glaciers on Mount Kilimanjaro to melt at a much faster pace than in the past.
Observe: To notice or perceive something as being important.
In the lecture, the professor observes that most bats in captivity live almost twice as long as those living in the wild.
Oppose: To strongly disapprove of something, even trying to prevent it from happening by argument.
The author in the reading passage explains three dangers of social media on society, and in the listening passage, the speaker opposes each of those points.
Point out: To talk or write about something that is important.
During their discussion, the man and the woman point out that prohibiting bicycle parking near classrooms will discourage students from biking. As a result, the speakers add, students will go back to using their cars, which is unhealthy for the environment.
TOEFL Vocabulary “R” Reporting Verbs
Refute: To prove a statement, theory, or idea to be false
The author in the reading passage explains three theories regarding the extinction of dinosaurs, and the speaker in the lecture refutes two of the three theories as being speculation.
Remark: To say something as a comment; mention
After the man explains why he prefers final exams days extended from 3 to 7, the woman remarks that having more time for these important exams will result in better performances among the student body.
Report: To give a spoken or written account of something that has been observed, investigated, or studied.
In the article, the author reports that an ongoing problem with irresponsible cell phone use will result in a new policy on campus restricting phone use during class lectures.
Respond: To say something in reply to something or someone else.
The man claims that limiting cell phone use during class will minimize distraction and encourage participation since students will not be looking at their phones; however, the woman responds to this assertion by saying that cell phones are sometimes needed when emergencies arise.
TOEFL Vocabulary “S-W” Reporting Verbs
Show: To display or allow to be perceived qualities, emotions, or characteristics.
In the reading passage, the professor explains three different types of earthquakes, and in the listening passage, the speaker shows how an earthquake affected a bridge in San Francisco during a temblor that occurred in 1994.
Speculate: To form a theory or guess about something without having firm evidence or proof.
Even though no evidence can prove or disprove his ideas, the professor speculates that dinosaurs might have become extinct because of a gradual warming trend which caused their testes to fail to function, thereby prohibiting them from reproducing.
State: To say something clearly or definitely in speech or writing.
The author in the reading passage states that advertising can affect consumers’ behavior in that these customers tend not to buy items about which they have not heard anything.
Suggest: To put something forward for consideration.
In the lecture, the speaker suggests that advertising also affects people’s behaviors politically inasmuch as these voters tend to vote for candidates who have heavily advertised themselves.
Think: To have a particular idea, belief, opinion about someone or something.
In the listening passage, the woman thinks that encouraging students, faculty, and staff to bicycle on campus will result in a cleaner environment and a healthier lifestyle.
Write: Mark letters, words, or symbols onto a surface such as paper with a pen, pencil, or similar instrument.
The author in the reading passage writes that the International Atomic Energy Agency has difficulty monitoring what countries are doing with the enriched uranium that they have processed. For example, it is difficult to know, writes the author, whether these countries are using the uranium for nuclear weapons or for energy.
TOEFL Vocabulary: Final Tips
Put this short TOEFL vocabulary list onto note-cards so you can study them more effectively.
As you complete your speaking and writing practice tests, make an effort of using these reporting verbs.
Consider joining a TOEFL course in which you can get language-use feedback on the speaking and writing practice tests that you are completing.
Michael Buckhoff, firstname.lastname@example.org