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Target Structures

Adverbs of frequency

Optimal second language pedagogy involves a repeating exchange of meaningful messages with a focus on target structures. That is to say that teachers should provide learners with opportunities to create sentences, paragraphs, stories, essays, blog posts, articles or reports that are meaningful to the learner. They should express those messages to other learners, their teachers, or with the world via the internet. There should be multiple opportunities to express those messages to different interlocutors, in different modes, and in different contexts. Each time the message is expressed, it should contain specific and appropriate target vocabulary, target grammar structures, or target multi-word formulas. The reason is simple. In the future, when the learner encounters a real-life situation requiring the construction a similar meaningful message, those same target structures should activate in the learner's memory and become available for use instantly and effortlessly. In this way, creative automaticity is ensured.

Lists of target structures to use with the Target Structure tool

Here are a variety of lists of target structures to use with the VirtualWritingTutor.com grammar checker.

Adverbs of frequency

every day, always, almost always, usually, normally, generally, often, frequently, sometimes, occasionally, seldom, hardly ever, rarely, almost never, never


wasn't, weren't, didn't, don't, doesn't, isn't, aren't, not

Past negatives

wasn't, weren't, didn't, not

Common prepositions

in, on, at, to, by, for, beside, behind, between, next to, in front of


a bit, a little bit, a tiny bit, hardly, a little, barely, only just, somewhat, kind of, sort of, not so much, mildly, to some extent, simply, all but, pretty, relatively, rather, fairly, slightly, almost, nearly

Target structures for the Actively Engaged at College / on the Job

old, have been, every day, always, almost always, usually, normally, generally, often, frequently, sometimes, occasionally, seldom, hardly ever, rarely, almost never, never, dream, wasn't, weren't, didn't, not, when, while, if, punched, kissed

Vocabulary from the Actively Engaged Online listenings

foot in the door, abolish, alienation, background check, bias, come in handy, compensation package, cursory, dead-end job, deter, drawback, dread, drudgery, flirtation, fulfillment, getting sucked up in, hinder, HR, in-depth, income, ins-and-outs, intern, internship, invaluable, lack of, learn the ropes, leave of absence, leg work, maddening, misconduct, more often than not, mortgage, office politics, OJT, on-the-job-training, overtime, overwhelm, pension, perpetrator, premium wage, pull off, purpose, put aside, recipient, retirement, set aside, sexual harassment, straight A's, test drive, the drive of work, thoroughly, though, thoughtful, time management, trainee, undermine, vacant position, wage, withholding, worthwhile

295 most common past tense verbs

accepted, achieved, added, admitted, affected, afforded, agreed, aimed, allowed, answered, appeared, applied, arrived, asked, attacked, avoided, based, was, were, became, began, believed, belonged, broke, built, burned, bought, brought, called, caused, changed, charged, checked, chose, claimed, cleaned, cleared, climbed, closed, collected, came, committed, compared, complained, completed, concerned, confirmed, connected, considered, contacted, contained, continued, contributed, controlled, cooked, copied, correct, cost, could, counted, covered, created, cut, damaged, danced, decided, delivered, demanded, denied, depended, described, designed, destroyed, developed, did, disappeared, discovered, discussed, divided, drew, dressed, drank, drove, dropped, ate, enabled, encouraged, ended, enjoyed, examined, existed, expected, experienced, explained, expressed, extended, fell, fastened, fought, filled, found, finished, flew, folded, followed, forced, forgot, forgave, formed, founded, gained, gave, went, grew, handled, happened, hated, had, heard, helped, hid, hit, held, hoped, hurt, identified, imagined, improved, included, increased, indicated, influenced, informed, intended, introduced, invited, involved, joined, jumped, kept, kicked, killed, knocked, lasted, laughed, laid, led, lent, liked, limited, linked, listened, lived, looked, lost, loved, made, managed, marked, mattered, might, meant, measured, met, mentioned, minded, missed, moved, had, needed, noticed, obtained, offered, opened, ordered, ought, owned, passed, paid, performed, picked, placed, planned, played, pointed, preferred, prepared, presented, pressed, prevented, produced, promised, protected, proved, provided, published, pulled, pushed, raised, reached, read-red, realized, received, recognized, recorded, reduced, referred, reflected, refused, regarded, related, released, remained, remembered, removed, repeated, replaced, replied, reported, represented, required, rested, resulted, returned, revealed, rang, rolled, ran, saved, said, saw, seemed, sold, sent, separated, served, set, settled, shook, should, shared, shot, shouted, showed, sang, sat, slept, smiled, sorted, sounded, spoke, started, stated, stayed, stuck, stopped, studied, succeeded, suffered, suggested, suited, supplied, supported, supposed, survived, took, talked, taught, told, tested, thanked, thought, touched, trained, traveled, travelled, treated, tried, turned, understood, used, visited, voted, waited, walked, wanted, warned, washed, watched, wore, willed, won, wished, wondered, worked, wrote

Transition words

indeed, further, as well, either, not only, also, moreover, what is more, as a matter of fact, in all honesty, and, furthermore, in addition, besides, to tell the truth, or, in fact, actually, to say nothing of, too, let alone, much less, additionally, nor, alternatively, on the other hand, not to mention, such as, particularly, including, as an illustration, for example, in particular, for one thing, to illustrate, for instance, especially, notably, by way of example, speaking about, considering, regarding, with regards to, as for, concerning, the fact that, on the subject of, similarly, in the same way, by the same token, in a like manner, equally, likewise, that is to say, namely, specifically, thus, that is to say, I mean, to put it another way, in other words, but, by way of contrast, while, on the other hand, however, yet, whereas, in contrast, when in fact, conversely, still, even more, above all, indeed, more importantly, besides, but even so, nevertheless, even though, on the other hand, admittedly, however, nonetheless, despite this, notwithstanding, albeit, still, although, in spite of, regardless, yet, though, granted, be that as it may, either way, whichever happens, in either event, in any case, at any rate, in either case, whatever happens, all the same, in any event, at least, rather, instead, for the simple reason that, being that, for, in view of the fact, inasmuch as, because of the fact, seeing that, as, owing to the fact, due to the fact that, in that since, for as much as, on the condition that, granted that, if, provided that, in case, in the event that, as/so long as, unless given that, granting that, providing that, even if, only if, as a result, consequently, hence, for this reason, thus, because of this, in consequence, so that, accordingly, as a consequence, so much so, so, therefore, for the purpose of, in the hope that, for fear that, so that, with this intention, to the end that, in order to, lest, with this in mind, in order that, so as to, under those circumstances, then, in that case, if not, that being the case, if so, otherwise, in the first place, initially, to start with, first of all, thirdly, to begin with, at first, for a start, secondly, subsequently, previously, eventually, next, before, afterwards, after, then, to conclude, as a final point, eventually, at last, last but not least, in the end, finally, lastly, to change the topic incidentally, by the way, to get back to the point, to resume anyhow, anyway, at any rate, to return to the subject, as was previously stated, so, consequently, in summary, all in all, to make a long story short, thus, as I have said, to sum up, overall, as has been mentioned, then, to summarize, to be brief, briefly, given these points, in all, on the whole, therefore, as has been noted, hence, in conclusion, in a word, to put it briefly, in sum, altogether, in short

Alternatives for the word "said"

spat, sighed, blubbered, stammered, blurted, mused, lied, panted, added, frowned, whispered, spat, stammered, sighed, sneered, seethed, frowned, shouted, demanded, insisted, screamed

Thesis action verbs in the present tense

accentuate, accept, access, account, adapt, address, advance, affirm, agree, allege, alter, amplify, analyze, argue, arrange, ascribe, assert, assign, associate, assume, attain, attempt, attest, attribute, augment, authorize, bestow, bolster, broaden, build, carry, cause, censure, challenge, characterize, claim, clarify, coach, compare, complicate, conceal, conceive, conclude, condemn, condense, configure, confirm, conflate, conflict, conjecture, connect, connote, consider, construct, contend, contradict, contrast, contribute, convey, counteract, craft, create, criticize, critique, deconstruct, defend, defy, demonstrate, denote, denounce, depict, deride, descend, describe, detach, detect, diagnose, direct, disclose, discuss, disguise, dismantle, dismiss, display, disprove, dispute, distinguish, divulge, document, dramatize, echo, elaborate, elevate, elucidate, embody, emphasize, enable, enforce, engage, enlighten, entertain, epitomize, establish, evaluate, evince, evoke, examine, exemplify, exhibit, exist, expand, explain, explicate, explore, expose, expound, express, fail, fashion, feature, focus, foreshadow, form, frame, generate, grasp, guide, heighten, highlight, hint, identify, illuminate, illustrate, implies, imply, includes, indicate, infers, inform, informs, initiate, insinuate, insist, instigate, instruct, intends, intensify, interpret, interrogate, invent, investigate, ironize, isolate, justify, juxtaposes, link, maintain, manifest, manipulate, mediate, misconceive, multiply, navigate, necessitate, negate, negotiate, renegotiate, obscure, obstruct, offer, oppose, organize, perceive, persuade, portray, posit, position, predict, present, prioritize, probe, problematize, produce, profess, pronounce, propose, prove, provide, question, radicalize, rationalize, recall, recognize, reconfigure, reconstruct, refer, reflect, reinforce, remain, render, renounce, represent, respond, reveal, review, scrutinize, shape, shroud, signal, signify, simulate, situate, specify, study, succeed, suggest, support, sustain, transform, treat, trigger, uncover, underscore, unmask, validate, veil, verify, warp, witness, work, accentuates, accepts, accesses, accounts, adapts, addresses, advances, affirms, agrees, alleges, alters, amplifies, analyzes, argues, arranges, ascribes, asserts, assigns, associates, assumes, attains, attempts, attests, attributes, augments, authorizes, bestows, bolsters, broadens, builds, carries, causes, censures, challenges, characterizes, claims, clarifies, coachs, compares, complicates, conceals, conceives, concludes, condemns, condenses, configures, confirms, conflates, conflicts, conjectures, connects, connotes, considers, constructs, contends, contradicts, contrasts, contributes, conveys, counteracts, crafts, creates, criticizes, critiques, deconstructs, defends, defies, demonstrates, denotes, denounces, depicts, derides, descends, describes, detachs, detects, diagnoses, directs, discloses, discusses, disguises, dismantles, dismisses, displays, disproves, disputes, distinguishs, divulges, documents, dramatizes, echos, elaborates, elevates, elucidates, embodies, emphasizes, enables, enforces, engages, enlightens, entertains, epitomizes, establishs, evaluates, evinces, evokes, examines, exemplifies, exhibits, exists, expands, explains, explicates, explores, exposes, expounds, expresses, fails, fashions, features, focuss, foreshadows, forms, frames, generates, grasps, guides, heightens, highlights, hints, identifies, illuminates, illustrates, impliess, implies, includess, indicates, inferss, informs, informss, initiates, insinuates, insists, instigates, instructs, intendss, intensifies, interprets, interrogates, invents, investigates, ironizes, isolates, justifies, juxtaposess, links, maintains, manifests, manipulates, mediates, misconceives, multiplies, navigates, necessitates, negates, negotiates, renegotiates, obscures, obstructs, offers, opposes, organizes, perceives, persuades, portrays, posits, positions, predicts, presents, prioritizes, probes, problematizes, produces, professes, pronounces, proposes, proves, provides, questions, radicalizes, rationalizes, recalls, recognizes, reconfigures, reconstructs, refers, reflects, reinforces, remains, renders, renounces, represents, responds, reveals, reviews, scrutinizes, shapes, shrouds, signals, signifies, simulates, situates, specifies, studies, succeeds, suggests, supports, sustains, transforms, treats, triggers, uncovers, underscores, unmasks, validates, veils, verifies, warps, witnesses, works

Thesis action verbs in the past tense

accentuated, accepted, accessed, accounted, adapted, addressed, advanced, affirmed, agreed, alleged, altered, amplified, analyzed, argued, arranged, ascribed, asserted, assigned, associated, assumed, attained, attempted, attested, attributed, augmented, authorized, bestowed, bolstered, broadened, builded, carried, caused, censured, challenged, characterized, claimed, clarified, coached, compared, complicated, concealed, conceived, concluded, condemned, condensed, configured, confirmed, conflated, conflicted, conjectured, connected, connoted, considered, constructed, contended, contradicted, contrasted, contributed, conveyed, counteracted, crafted, created, criticized, critiqued, deconstructed, defended, defied, demonstrated, denoted, denounced, depicted, derided, descended, described, detached, detected, diagnosed, directed, disclosed, discussed, disguised, dismantled, dismissed, displayed, disproved, disputed, distinguished, divulged, documented, dramatized, echoed, elaborated, elevated, elucidated, embodied, emphasized, enabled, enforced, engaged, enlightened, entertained, epitomized, established, evaluated, evinced, evoked, examined, exemplified, exhibited, existed, expanded, explained, explicated, explored, exposed, expounded, expressed, failed, fashioned, featured, focused, foreshadowed, formed, framed, generated, grasped, guided, heightened, highlighted, hinted, identified, illuminated, illustrated, impliesed, implied, includesed, indicated, infersed, informed, informsed, initiated, insinuated, insisted, instigated, instructed, intendsed, intensified, interpreted, interrogated, invented, investigated, ironized, isolated, justified, juxtaposesed, linked, maintained, manifested, manipulated, mediated, misconceived, multiplied, navigated, necessitated, negated, negotiated, renegotiated, obscured, obstructed, offered, opposed, organized, perceived, persuaded, portrayed, posited, positioned, predicted, presented, prioritized, probed, problematized, produced, professed, pronounced, proposed, proved, provided, questioned, radicalized, rationalized, recalled, recognized, reconfigured, reconstructed, refered, reflected, reinforced, remained, rendered, renounced, represented, responded, revealed, reviewed, scrutinized, shaped, shrouded, signaled, signified, simulated, situated, specified, studied, succeeded, suggested, supported, sustained, transformed, treated, triggered, uncovered, underscored, unmasked, validated, veiled, verified, warped, witnessed, worked