TOEFL Graduation

Prepositions - Digital, Media and Content – Making TOEFL Easier 2

 What is the correct preposition to use with digital platforms, devices, media or for content?

I was having a TOEFL online class last week with a student from Campinas, and we were discussing an essay she had written about techology and the Internet. She had a lot of errors in the grammar, but they were basically all the same error repeated. Why was that?

Generally speaking, for the TOEFL independent essay – Essay 2, people justify their position or give examples using technology issues.  Why?  It’s easy to do, and in this rapidly changing technology era, often very relevant. Unfortunately, when people write essays for me during my TOEFL preparation course “Curso Preparatório TOEFL online ou presencial”, I am constantly correcting the prepositions related to technology, media and content.

Preposition errors are easy to make of course, even for advanced writers, not just prepositions of content, but with all of them (time, place, those that collocate with adjectives and verbs, etc).  Think about it. When you become good/very good/advanced in English, and you find it easy to read, then as long as you are not studying for an exam like TOEFL, you want to read fast and understand the article.  Whether you are reading for pleasure, or work, it’s all about understanding the text. So, you don’t pay attention to the small words; whether it’s an “a, “the” or preposition, they all make sense. However, when you have to write, it’s a totally different situation.  But in the case of technology it is sooooooo, easy to minimize your errors!!

As mentioned in previous posts, a computer program is used by TOEFL to calculate your grammar and vocabulary. Basically, the more you make, the lower your potential score in the writing test. Make a note of the following, and you will be correct 95% of the time.


Prepositions with Technology Devices, Platforms, and Media


“ON” - just remember “ON”

On the Internet

On the radio


On an online platform

On a website

On the web

On social media

On Facebook/Instagram, etc (consider as platforms)

On a smartphone

I’m on the phone

Playing games on a device

On a computer

On Xbox, PSP , etc


Content Holders (technology or not)

In a book

In a magazine

In an email

In a letter

In a blog (post content)

In the essay

In the report

In a movie

In a photo

In a painting

In a video

Of course, I am referring to things you may usually write in a TOEFL essay in order to be correct most of the time. Things get a little more complicated in some situations. For example, is it in the app, or on the app?   Is it in the app store or on the app store?  But you aren’t going to be writing these in a TOEFL test (unlikely), and we are looking for simple rules.  Therefore, IN for Content, ON for Devices, does the job!

And for completeness, in the integrated writing, the reading passage and the lecture; it’s “in the lecture”, “in the reading passage”, and “in the text”.

I hope this helps!

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Good luck!!