Phrase Length (SpeechRater™ Dimension)


Learning Objectives

Phrase Length in TOEFL speaking refers to the length of the phrases that you use in your speech. In the TOEFL speaking section, you are assessed on your ability to use a variety of phrase lengths in your responses. This means using both short and long phrases and sentences to convey your ideas effectively and make your speech more engaging. A speaker with good control of phrase

length will be able to use a range of phrase lengths to effectively communicate their ideas and keep the listener’s attention. However, it is important to note that the TOEFL speaking section does not assess your ability to use long or short phrases and sentences in isolation. Instead, it assesses your ability to use a variety of phrase lengths as part of a coherent and well-structured speech.

What is Phrase Length in TOEFL® Speaking?​

Phrase Length (PL) in TOEFL® Speaking is a SpeechRater™ indicator of your fluency.

PL is a measure of how long your phrases are in words.

Stronger speakers tend to form longer phrases with more words.

Your Phrase Length Score​

Your Phrase Length score is calculated based on the average length of uninterrupted speech in words.

Phrase Length is scored out of 100. Your score is indicated by the “You are here” line.

  • This response outscored 45% of the test takers in ETS’s database.
  • 55% of the responses scored higher in this one dimension.
  • This response is consistent with other TOEFL Speaking responses in the 10-17 range.

Tip: Learn more about how to read My Speaking Score charts, including the Impact score and what the coloured bars mean, in our knowledge base.

Why You Should Care

  • Those who score 26+ on TOEFL Speaking have an average PL score of 91.27
  • PL is one of the stronger predictors of your overall TOEFL speaking score
  • PL correlates well with some other indicators, such as speaking rate, vowels, distribution of pauses, sustained speech, grammatical accuracy, and pause frequency (when your Phrase Length score is high, your score on these other indicators is likely to be high).

Increase Your Score

Make sure that your phrases include more words, but be careful that you do not repeat yourself to have longer phrases. Otherwise, your repetitions and vocabulary scores might go down. Stronger speakers

  • Do not repeat the same words frequently.
  • Use a wide variety of words in their speech
  • Have more words in their phrases
  • Have fewer pauses in their speech

On My Speaking Score, remember to check your [the type of data that will help set the difference between high-achievers and low-achievers] to see if you have a sufficient number of words in your phrases.

Remember, Phrase Length is an important measure of your fluency, and it has a high impact on your overall SpeechRater score.

Check out our blog to learn more about how to improve your score in other dimensions! 

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