Monday, 3 August 2015

Cambridge FIRST Use of English - Keyword transformations


Here are a few keyword transformation exercises to get your Use of English juices flowing. I write these all the time for my students in Dublin and thought I'd share them here.

Complete the second sentence so it has a similar meaning to the first sentence. Remember, you can't change the given word, and you must use between two and five words, including the given word.

1. It doesn’t do any good if you remind him to do his homework; he never listens.
There’s _________________ him to do his homework; he never listens.

2. Sometimes my students have difficulty understanding Irish accents.
My students sometimes _________________ Irish accents.

3. ‘Can my grandmother have the aisle seat?’ Martin asked the flight attendant.
Martin asked the flight attendant _________________ the aisle seat.

4. We haven’t gone on holiday for four years.
It’s _________________we last went on holiday.

Post your answers in the comments and I'll check back with the correct answers.

Bonus point: Which word has a silent S? Which word has a silent T?


  1. Hi Ms Brandon, it is possible said:
    1.- is a bad point for
    2.- Do not find the
    3.- If my grandmother could have
    4.- has not been travelled

    1. Hi juanc,

      Here are the answers:

      1. There's NO POINT REMINDING him to do his homework... OR
      There's LITTLE POINT REMINDING him to do his homework...

      This is a really common construction on the FCE.

      There is no/little point + ING

      2. My students sometimes FIND IT DIFFICULT TO UNDERSTAND Irish accents.

      This is another commonly tested structure on the FCE.

      find (something / it) + difficult/hard/easy + to + verb

      3. Martin asked the flight attendant IF HIS GRANDMOTHER COULD HAVE the aisle seat.

      Good job! You almost got it. This is reported speech. Remember that you would need to change "my" to "his"

      4. It's BEEN FOUR YEARS SINCE we last went on holiday.

      This is another common structure tested on the FCE.

      It has been a long time since + past simple
      It has been ages since + past simple

      Thanks for commenting, and good luck with your studies.