TOEIC: instructions for identifying part of speech


Many people in TOEIC are worried that they are good at listening, but their reading score does not improve. Part-of-speech problems that require grammatical knowledge in particular require tips on how to solve them. It is necessary to take appropriate measures with appropriate learning methods.

Therefore, in this article, I have summarized how to tackle the TOEIC part-of-speech problem. It explains tips on how to solve, study methods, answering time, etc., so if you are not good at part-speech problems, please refer to it.

Table of contents
  • The TOEIC part of speech problem can be overcome if you understand the rules!
  • What kind of problem is the TOEIC part of speech problem?
  • How to distinguish part of speech? The suffix is important!
  • Learn how to use each part of speech
  • Suppress frequent patterns and remember what goes in the blank
  • What is the optimal answer time for part-of-speech questions? What are the tips and study methods for that?
  • 5 recommended questions for practicing TOEIC part of speech questions!
  • Conclusion

The TOEIC part of speech problem can be overcome if you know the rules!

The TOEIC part-of-speech problem is a field that cannot be solved without understanding the English sentence structure. Therefore, those who have little experience in reading English sentences with grammar in mind may feel that the hurdles are high.

However, there are not many problems that seem difficult at first glance to be solved by twisting your head. For example, in the TOEIC long sentence question, there are questions such as "NOT question" that require reading all the English sentences, but unlike that, in the case of the part of speech question, the correct answer can often be derived simply by checking before and after the blank.

It can be said that it is an area where it is easy to improve the score because you can easily derive the correct answer if you input grammatical knowledge and understand the rules.

What kind of problem is the TOEIC part of speech problem?

Part of speech issues will appear in Part 5 of the reading section. Four choices appear for one English sentence, and it is a question format to choose the one that fits in the blank from the choices.

Let's see below what kind of problems actually occur.

・This kitchen utensil helps you chop any kind of vegetable into tiny pieces with ( ).

(1) easily
(2) easy
(3) ease
(4) easeful

The correct answer is (3) ease. The first part of the choice is an adverb, the second is an adjective, the third is a noun, and the fourth is an adjective. You can tell that this is a part-of-speech problem because you are asked for the correct part of speech that applies to the blanks.

Source: What is fill-in-the-blank exercise? | The Institute for International Business Communication

How to distinguish part of speech? The suffix is important!

In order to overcome the part-speech problem, it is first necessary to identify the part-speech of each English word in each option. In order to distinguish the part of speech, we have to pay attention to the suffix. Nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, etc. can be distinguished by the shape of the suffix.

For example, if it is a noun, the suffix is in the form of "-cy", and if it is a verb, the suffix is in the form of "-en". There is a fixed pattern for each part of speech. .. Be sure to remember that there are multiple suffix patterns.

Here, we will introduce what kind of suffix each part of speech is.

[Noun] -cy / -ist / -er / -or / -ence / -ship, etc.

First, I will introduce the suffixes of nouns. Not all nouns fit the pattern below, but if the suffix of the alternative word is below, consider it a noun.

joint word Word example
-cy fluency、accuracy、agency、bankruptcy
-is journalist、artist、biologist、tourist
-is runner、engineer、employer、adventurer
-or editor、actor、doctor、conductor
-ence influence、absence、silence、audience
-ship friendship、leadership、scholarship、championship

[Verb] -en / -ate / -ify / -ise / -ize etc.

Examples of verb suffixes include:

joint word Word example
-on fasten、shorten、weaken、frighten、sharpen、broaden、lighten
-up until create、accommodate、congratulate、generate、participate、activate、advocate
-ify unify、modify、clarify、justify、diversify、electrify、notify
-if advertise、exercise、expertise、promise、rise、surprise
-ize realize、authorize、finalize、memorize、hospitalize、generalize

[Adjective] -ive / -ical / -ous / -ful / -ing etc.

Examples of adjective suffixes include:

joint word Word example
-ive attractive、impressive、active、tentative、massive、negative、offensive
-ical musical、biological、historical、logical、political、typical、technical
-ous generous、ambitious、curious、famous、obvious、previous、spacious
-ful beautiful、grateful、helpful、respectful、thoughtful、shameful
-ing exceeding、outstanding、overwhelming、promising、proceeding、understanding

[Adverb] -ly only

The common suffix for adverbs is -ly. There are exceptions such as always and often, but remember that words ending in ly are adverbs.

joint word Word example
-glass recently、usually、occasionally、hardly、annually、yearly、monthly、actually、fortunately、honestly、obviously、personally、regretfully、seriously、badly、easily、loudly、quickly、slowly、suddenly、truly、probably、amazingly

Let's learn how to use each part of speech

In order to solve the part of speech problem smoothly with TOEIC, it is important to first understand how each part of speech is used. Below, we will explain the specific usage of each part of speech.

Noun: A person, thing, or thing

A noun is a part of speech that represents a person, thing, or thing, and is used as the subject or object. Specific examples include the following words.

・ Apple (apple)
・ desk (desk)
・ book (book)
・ Japan (Japan)
・ Mika (Mika * person's name)

Nouns are not only visible, they can also represent invisible events and concepts such as:


Verb: Represents an action or state

A verb is a part of speech that expresses an action or state. In Japanese, there are be verbs that represent "aru" and "iru" and general verbs that represent "to". Since it is a predicate part, it can be considered that it always appears in English with some exceptions. Specific examples include the following words.

・ Am, is, are
・ become
・ eat
・ walk
・ speak
・ read
・ advertise

Adjectives: Modifiers of nouns

An adjective is a part of speech that modifies a noun. It is often used as a set with a noun, but it may also be placed in the position of the object. For example, in the word “a cute girl”, the adjective is cute, which modifies a girl. Examples of adjectives are:

・ Beautiful
・ Tall
・ Short
・ Available
・ Dangerous

Adverbs: Modifiers of verbs, adjectives, and adverbs

The last adverbs to introduce are those that modify verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. For example, in the English sentence "I walk slowly.", Slowly, which modifies walk, is an adverb. Examples of adverbs are:

・ Often
・ easily
・ really
・ very
・ surprisingly
・ immediately

By the way, there are cases where adverbs are modified with adverbs, such as very well.

Suppress frequent patterns and remember what goes in the blank

Since the pattern of the part of speech problem is fixed to some extent, you can easily derive the correct answer by holding it down. The following is a summary of the patterns that will be asked in the TOEIC part of speech problem, so let's keep it in mind as a knack for distinguishing.

1. Frequent patterns with nouns in the blanks

First, I will explain four frequent patterns when nouns apply to the blanks.

Article → (blank) → Preposition: Noun is entered

If there is a blank between the article and the preposition, the blank is the noun. Articles such as a and the mean "that" or "that" and serve to refer to the noun behind the article. Since it makes sense as a set with a noun, it is unlikely that it will appear only with an article without a noun.

・a( )near school

・the( )in Tokyo

For example, if an English sentence in the word order of "article (blank) preposition" appears as described above, some noun such as park or plant always applies to the blank.

There is also a pattern in which an adjective comes after an article, such as a big park near school, but in that case, the word order is article + adjective + noun + preposition. This time, the preposition comes just after the blank, so don't hesitate to choose a noun.

Genitive → (blank): Noun is entered

If there is a blank after the genitive, the noun applies. The following words apply to the possessive case, so if you have a vague memory, remember it.

possessive my、our、your、his、their、her、their、this、these、that、those、its、their

The genitive is the one that modifies the nouns that follow, such as "my" and "your". As the name implies, it clearly shows who the noun belongs to.

In addition to the above, the forms of's such as Tom's (Tom's) and Tom and Bob's (Tom and Bob's) are also possessive. If the genitives are blank after them, don't hesitate to choose a noun.

Preposition → (blank): Enter a noun

Prepositions include in, at, for, on, and to, which are used to indicate location, direction, time, and so on. Remember that nouns apply even if there is a blank space after the preposition.

・people in the( ).

・She is running at the( ).

・The number of( )in this room.

There are cases where there is an article after the preposition as in the first and second example sentences, but it should be easy to solve if you remember the above-mentioned rule that "the article is followed by a noun". Prepositions + (articles) nouns often appear, so be sure to hold them down.

Transitive verb → (blank): Enter a noun

Transitive verbs are verbs that make sense by putting an object behind them. For example, the word send must be followed by the object "what to send". In addition, transitive verbs include give, get, and visit.

Intransitive verbs, such as walk and cry, that can be written in English without an object are called intransitive verbs. If you're wondering how to distinguish it from a transitive verb, try to determine if you need an object. If there is a blank after the transitive verb as shown below, the object noun is applicable.

・We will discuss ( )at the meeting tomorrow.

Answer example: the problem

Many test takers add about after discuss (discussing), but be aware that discuss is a transitive verb.

2. Frequent patterns with adjectives in the blanks

In the following, I will explain three frequent patterns when adjectives apply to the blanks.

Article → (blank) → Noun: Enter an adjective

If there is a blank space between the article and the noun, the adjective is often the case. However, it may be a compound noun of noun + noun, so if you get lost, guess from the meaning of the selected word.

・the ( )woman is my mother.


As mentioned earlier, articles such as the and a are always used in combination with nouns. The fact that the noun woman is already behind the blank means that the blank applies to the adjectives that modify the noun. In other words, the correct answer is (1) beautiful, which is the only adjective among the four choices.

Genitive → (blank) → Noun: Enters an adjective

In the same theory as articles, adjectives also apply if there is a blank space between the genitive and the noun.

・His( )book is on the table.


Of the above options, there are only two adjectives: (3) interesting and (4) interested. Since a book is a thing without a will, the correct answer is (3) interesting.

Keep in mind that even if there is an adverb between the possessive case and the noun, such as “His really () book is on the table”, the adjective applies to the blank.

be verb → adverb → (blank): Enter an adjective

Even if there is a blank after the be verb + adverb, the adjectives apply as follows.

・This mechanic part is perfectly( )to this machine.


Be careful because some people get confused by the adverbs that come after the be verb. Next to the be verb + adverb is an adjective, and among the choices, (3) suited is applicable.

3. Patterns with adverbs in the blanks

Lastly, I will explain two frequent patterns when adverbs apply to the blanks, so let's hold down the points.

Article → (blank) → adjective → noun: adverb

Many people get lost in the word order when words that modify nouns continue for a long time. As shown below, the word order of articles + adverbs + adjectives + nouns is the basic, so let's organize and remember them.

・I didn’t know that the( )interested story about the movie.

There is a blank after the article the, followed by the adjective interesting and the noun story, so the blank is an adverb such as very. The position of adverbs is often asked in the TOEIC part of speech problem, so it is important to hold it down.

Subject → (blank) → General verb: Enters an adverb

Many people are wondering where to put adverbs in English. It's not a mistake to put it at the end of the sentence, but if there is a blank space between the subject and the general verb in the TOEIC problem, try to apply the adverb.

・I have lived in America for 5years, so I( )speak English.

Adverbs such as fluently apply here because there is a blank space between the subject I and the verb speak. Note that if you use a be verb instead of a general verb, the adverb will come after the be verb, so be careful not to get confused.

What is the optimal answer time for part-of-speech questions? What are the tips and study methods for that?

The part-of-speech problem is a part that can be solved in a short time, and the target answer time is within 5 to 10 seconds. In order to answer quickly, let's take a look at the tips and study methods here.

If you don't have grammar knowledge, start with input

Knowledge of grammar is required to solve the TOEIC part of speech problem. Even if you do not have enough knowledge of grammar and repeat exercises and exercises, it is unlikely that your score will increase. Therefore, if you are not confident in your grammar knowledge, start by mastering how to use part of speech and sentence structure.

As a method of inputting grammar knowledge, it is recommended that those who do not have basic knowledge first solidify the basics with a reference book at the junior high school level. For those who already have junior high school level grammar knowledge, it is recommended to acquire TOEIC level knowledge with a reference book specialized for TOEIC Part 5.

In order to improve your grammar efficiently, input with a reference book that suits your level.

Anyway, solve a lot of problems and practice repeatedly

After inputting your knowledge of grammar, solve a lot of problems and practice. The key to solving this is to first check the four options. By checking the choices first, you can determine if the question is a part-of-speech question.

If you find that it is a part-of-speech problem, then read the English text of the question and try to understand the content. In the part-speech problem, even if there are words that you do not understand, you can often solve them, so it is not necessary to carefully translate the whole sentence into Japanese here.

Then, the next step is to narrow down the correct answers by excluding the options that are clearly grammatically impossible. However, there are many cases where there are multiple options that seem to be the correct answer. For example, if two of the options that seem to be correct are nouns, you need to fill in the blanks and think about which noun is semantically natural.

Repeat the exercises with this procedure and aim to finally answer in 5-10 seconds.

5 Recommended Questions for Practice of TOEIC Part of Speech Questions!

Finally, I will introduce 5 recommended question collections for practicing TOEIC part of speech questions, so please refer to those who are "confused about choosing teaching materials".

Over 300,000 copies in total! A classic TOEIC grammar book

" TOEIC L & R Test Grammar Questions 1000 Questions " is a very popular reference book with a cumulative total of over 300,000 copies. It has been ranked number one in the TOEIC grammar questions for a long time, and has a good reputation for high quality questions that reproduce the actual test as well as the large number of questions.

It is also known for its polite commentary, and is characterized by a firm explanation of why answers other than the correct answer are incorrect. You don't have to look up the meaning yourself, as the meaning of the word is included along with the commentary. With the simple specifications of the problem on the left page and the explanation on the right page, it is also attractive that you can proceed with the exercises quickly.

Recommended level Beginner to advanced
author TEX Kato
publishing house Ask
Price (tax included) 2,530 yen

Thoroughly strengthen grammar skills by level from beginner to advanced!

" 1 station 1 subject new TOEIC TEST grammar limited express " is a book that can be efficiently studied by summarizing only the grammar that appears in the exam. It is composed of beginner's edition (550 points), intermediate edition (730 points), advanced edition (900 points) and target scores, and supports a wide range of English proficiency.

Another feature of this book is that you can train to solve problems from various perspectives, such as "19 subjects to gain speed" and "15 subjects to aim for the highest peak". Since there is one question per page, it is possible to learn deeply about one grammar.

Also, because the number of problems is small, it is convenient to carry around, and the point is that you can easily study on the go. By solving it over and over again, you will be able to acquire solid grammar skills.

Recommended level Beginner to advanced
author Tetsuya Hanada
publishing house Asahi Shimbun Publishing
Price (tax included) 400 yen

A book for beginners that grows as people who are not good at English grammar grow!

For those who are not good at English grammar and want to learn from the basics, the recommended book is " [All English Audio / Explanation Audio DL] TOEIC (R) L & R Test English Grammar Drill that earns scores from zero ". With specifications that gradually improve from simple problems, you can gradually increase your knowledge while adjusting to your English proficiency. It is perfect for beginners who want to get out of the 300-point range first.

Even if you are not confident in your grammar skills, you don't have to worry because the specifications are such that you can start the exercises after holding down the minimum required grammar knowledge. Only the words that frequently appear in the TOEIC are listed on the drill, and it is possible to improve both grammar and vocabulary while solving problems.

Recommended level primary
author Takahashi Kyoko
publishing house ALC
Price (tax included) 1,320 yen

Teaching tips to solve speedily and 33 iron rules!

In " [With bonus voice DL] TOEIC (R) TEST English grammar only when it comes out! ", You can learn the iron rules for solving grammar problems including part-of-speech problems. It is attractive to know the points to look for when solving grammar problems, such as "choose an adverb after the intransitive verb" and "choose a gerund if the object is immediately after the void".

The point is to develop the ability to choose the correct answer without hesitation by learning the rules. Since the patterns of frequent occurrence are organized, you can expect to improve your score just by reviewing it in the few days immediately before the test.

You can also listen to mini-lecture-style commentary on the bonus audio DL. We have also devised ways to enjoy learning, such as answering the voice with a quick-press quiz.

Recommended level Beginner to Intermediate
author Yuko Koishi
publishing house ALC
Price (tax included) 1,320 yen

A 900-point book that covers the weaknesses of advanced users!

" TOEIC L & R TEST 900 Points Limited Express Part 5 & 6 (TOEIC TEST Limited Express Series) " is a book for advanced students who aim to exceed 900 points in TOEIC. Points that are easy to make mistakes even for advanced English proficiency are collected, and you can improve your English grammar by practicing mainly on difficult problems.

The explanations are easy to understand and polite, and the feature is that there is a lot of knowledge that can be absorbed for one problem. Despite the many difficult questions, it is not out of the question of frequent occurrence, so you can acquire the grammatical skills necessary to improve your score by solving it over and over again. The reference book itself can be completed in a week, so you will be able to work on your studies while taking advantage of the gap time.

Recommended level superior
author Yu Kato
publishing house Asahi Shimbun Publishing
Price (tax included) 924 yen


If you are aiming to improve your score with TOEIC, it is recommended that you work on measures for the part-speech problem that will surely earn points. You can derive the correct answer mechanically just by understanding the basic knowledge and rules of grammar and learning the tips of how to solve it.

If you are worried about how to learn part-of-speech problems, please refer to the learning methods introduced this time, such as focusing on input and solving problem books repeatedly. Use a reference book that suits your level and improve your grammar efficiently.