Life changed with the invention of technology like the internet and smartphones, but what many do not realize is that language also changed as a result! The development of new technologies means that we are always adding new words to our language: at times, the spelling, capitalization, and correct grammatical usage are points of confusion for language speakers and learners.

The following list includes some words that are fairly new to the English language: be sure to note the spelling, capitalization, hyphenation, and use of Simple Past and Past Participles. This list is based on the AP standards created by the Associated Press (AP style is used by business, marketing, and journalism in the United States). The list comes from Purdue University’s AP Style Guide: click here to access Purdue’s useful website and learn more about AP Style.

  • BlackBerry, BlackBerrys
  • download
  • eBay Inc. (use EBay Inc. when the word begins a sentence)
  • e-book
  • e-book reader
  • e-reader
  • email
  • cellphone
  • Facebook
  • Google, Googling, Googled
  • hashtag
  • IM (IMed, IMing; for first reference, use instant messenger)
  • Internet (after first reference, the Net)
  • iPad, iPhone, iPod (use IPad, IPhone, or IPod when the word begins a sentence)
  • LinkedIn
  • social media
  • smartphone
  • the Net
  • Twitter, tweet, tweeted, retweet
  • World Wide Web, website, Web page
  • webmaster
  • YouTube

These words are useful additions to your English vocabulary, but they will also aid you when it comes to writing for an English proficiency exam: tests such as Cambridge CAE and FCE, TOEFL, and IELTS often use “technology,” “social media,” and “communication” as topics for their writing prompts.

Today we are taking a look at the TOEFL Writing Exam. The TOEFL Writing section includes two parts: Part One is an Integrated Writing (you must read or listen and then explain), and Part Two is a question that asks you to express your opinion. You will be asked to say if you agree with a statement, to make a choice between options, or to state if you oppose or support a statement or idea. With each option, you will have to support your opinion with examples and reasons.

Here are examples of TOEFL Writing Question 2 prompts related to technology.

Students Writing

TOEFL Writing Prompts, Question 2

  • Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Life was simpler and better before technology. 
  • Some people like to telecommute. Others prefer to work in a traditional office environment. Which do you prefer, and why?
  • It has recently been announced that children will be required to learn computer coding as part of their curriculum. Do you support or oppose this new policy?
  • Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Social media does more harm than good. 
  • Some people like to purchase things online. Others prefer to shop in stores. Which do you prefer, and why?
  • It has recently been announced that the government will begin keeping records of everything we search for online. Do you support or oppose this plan?

Remember that in all cases, you should outline before writing: this allows you to clearly organize your thoughts and will result in a much more well written paper. Your essay must be broken into clear paragraphs, and you must use topic sentences with each paragraph. Additionally, the first paragraph should have a thesis statement. For help writing thesis statements, click here.

Regardless of our opinions of technology and social media, these things are here to stay . . . so we might as well enjoy! Click here to follow CISL on Facebook and be sure to check us out on Instagram as well. Before you posts photos and tag CISL, make sure you’ve mastered hashtags by reading our article on Hashtags in English. See you online!