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Marie M.
Former English Teacher and English Tutor
Tutor Satisfaction Guarantee
TOEFL
TutorMe
Question:

What are good ways to improve on the speaking portion of the TOEFL test?

Marie M.
Answer:

The speaking portion tends to be the hardest because people often get the least practice with speaking and feel less confident. I have a few suggestions: 1) Practice by recording yourself on your computer or another device. Then listen to yourself to hear how you sound. This helps you pick out your weakest areas as well as your strong areas. It will help you improve and build confidence. 2) Go to international or ESL meetups. You can download the app or google "meetups" and find the one closest to you. You will be with people like yourself who are learning English and who have goals to improve. It is a fun way to make friends and work on your English. 3) Write a daily journal (write the way you would speak) and read it out loud when you are done. Bring it to your tutor so he/she can look at it and tell you where you can improve. This improves grammar as well as casual speech.

English as a Second Language
TutorMe
Question:

Is it "girls basketball" or "girls' basketball" or "girl's basketball"?

Marie M.
Answer:

The apostrophe, while convenient, can cause confusion. In the case above, all three are correct; it just depends on what you are talking about. The phrase, "girls basketball", refers to the sport - girls playing basketball. In the phrase "girls' basketball" the apostrophe marks possession. Since the apostrophe comes after the "s", the "s" marks the word as a plural. In other words, the basketball belongs to the girls (plural). In the last phrase, "girl's basketball" the "s" comes after the apostrophe, meaning the basketball belongs to only one girl.

English
TutorMe
Question:

I'm perplexed by the cases of pronouns (Is it "Jayden and I" or "Jayden and me"?) Do you say "Jayden and I are having a disagreement" or "Jayden and me are having a disagreement"?

Marie M.
Answer:

People are often confused my matching a pronoun to its antecedent (the noun that comes before the pronoun). In the case above, you would remove Jayden from the sentence. Now the question is, does I or me match the noun (antecedent). Do you say "I am having a disagreement" or "me is having a disagreement"? You say "I am having a disagreement". Therefore, in this case, it is "Jayden and I are having a disagreement".

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