First Certificate (FCE)
First Certificate - Key Word Transformations
The final part of the Use of English paper is Key Word Transformations. A sentence followed by a key word and a second sentence which has a gap in it. You have to use the key word to complete the second sentence so that it means the same as the first sentence.
Each question is marked in two halves and it's perfectly possible to get one whole point in the exam just for getting a single word correctly, even if you don't know the other words to put in the gap. So you should always give every question a try.
The important thing in key word transformations is that you keep the meaning the same - EXACTLY the same. So it's important that you read through the first sentence and your second sentence to ensure you have kept the meaning the same. Look at these two sentences:
Tommy said he was ready for his driving test and would take it in July.
Tommy said he was ready for his driving test and could take it in July.
One letter has been changed, from "would" to "could" but it changes the meaning of the sentence totally. Be careful of this!
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The most common grammatical topics covered in Key Word Transformations are:
- modal verbs and semi-modal verbs
- verb patterns such as verb/infinitive, verb/gerund/ verb + preposition + gerund, etc
- active voice to the passive voice
- direct speech to reported speech
- phrasal verbs and multi-word verbs
- common idioms
- third conditional
- look like and seem / do and make / regret and wish
A good way to practise this part of the FCE exam is to get used to writing and re-writing sentences using different structures and without changing the meaning.
How many ways can you write this sentence:
Mr. Jones made us stay late because we arrived late.
Here are a few:
We were made to stay late by Mr. Jones because we arrived late.
Mr. Jones forced us to stay late because we arrived late.
We were forced to stay late by Mr. Jones because we arrived late.
Mr. Jones made us stay late because of our lateness.
and so on...