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How to Revise TOEFL Writing, Part 2

cuny.edu

In my last post on this subject, we revised the opening part of of a response to this TOEFL Integrated Writing task. We specifically focused on priorities for revising… making the most important corrections first, and then moving on to less important ones.

Top priorities in revising TOEFL Writing

Aspects of an essay that deal with information and whole-essay structure are the highest priorities. These writing components are sometimes called higher order concerns (HOCs). The HOC features of writing have the heaviest point weight on the TOEFL’s official TOEFL scoring guides. Other less-important features such as spelling, punctuation, grammar, etc… are known as lower order concerns (LOCs). Mistakes in these areas impact your TOEFL score less, and should be corrected after the HOCs are taken care of.

In part 1 of this series, we made revisions to the opening portion of a response to this TOEFL Integrated Writing prompt. The initial revisions dealt with the most important higher order concern in Writing Task 1: correctness of information.

After the changes that were made in the previous post, here is the current revision:

The opening of an Integrated Task response for TOEFL Writing, partly revised:

    The speakur correct the writing which say comics being as American origin, not world art. Although these writing has all scholars agree that comics are uniquely as unAmerican, the lecturer says that in modern times, very few scholars agree that. antiquated the popular comic strips were not American. According in first century before the comic strip started USA, there are European comics popularity. The professor says too Hogan’s Alley, of the 1890s comic strip in American in the article, is not completely American because the people who were the creator of the comic and the characters in the comic were immigrants.

Notice that this is a “run-on” paragraph. Even after the revisions for factual inaccuracies, this piece of text is too long. It combines two main ideas into one big, ugly chunk.

The basic disagreement between the passage and lecture is a paragraph-level main idea– an introductory concept that should be in an introductory paragraph. The lecturer’s claim that the earliest newspaper comic strips were not truly American is a separate main idea; it should have its own separate second paragraph. And there should be some transitional language between the two paragraphs.

Correcting other higher order concerns in TOEFL Writing

TOEFL Writing revisions for introduction, paragraph structure, and transitions in bold

The passage states that comics are a uniquely American art form, with clear origins in the United States. 

    The speakur correct the writing. Although these writing has all scholars agree that comics are uniquely as unAmerican, the lecturer says that in modern times, very few scholars agree that.
    The speaker further disputes the writer’s claim that antiquated the popular comic strips were not American. According in first century before the comic strip started USA, there are European comics popularity. The professor says too Hogan’s Alley, of the 1890s comic strip in American in the article, is not completely American because the people who were the creator of the comic and the characters in the comic were immigrants.

So a new first sentence has been put in for a stronger introduction. Some of the content was taken from the original first sentence and put into this new initial sentence. In the process, the very ungrammatical phrase “which say comics being as American origin, not world art” is replaced with more proper wording.

Again we see that when you correct the HOCs, some LOCs may take care of themselves– this also happened with some of the HOC revisions in part 1 of this series.

With the adding of a clear introductory sentence, the ungrammatical phrase “which say comics being as American origin, not world art”  has been removed completely. And the oddly-worded sentence fragment “antiquated the popular comic strips were not American” is now part of a complete sentence.

Admittedly, the opening sentence for the second paragraph is still oddly worded, and there are lots of other lower order concerns that haven’t been addressed yet. Some of the uncorrected LOCs have an impact on the HOCs, because errors in grammar, spelling, and so on can make the whole essay harder to understand.

In my next post on this subject, we’ll look at correcting lower order concerns for clarity.

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