Use of English – Word Formation FCE and CAE

by / Tuesday, 13 September 2016

What is it?

In this part of the Use of English exam you are given a short text with 8 gaps. For each gap you are given the ‘stem’ of a word. You must look at the gap, decide what type of word is missing – a verb, an adjective, a noun or adverb and change the form accordingly.


Example 1: I have had an __________ fear of bananas ever since I was a kid. (ration)

Ask yourself:

1. What type of word do you think is missing?

An adjective

2. Should it be positive or negative?


I have had an irrational fear of bananas ever since I was a kid. (ration)


Example 2: It is __________ that all workers wear a uniform. (expect)

1. What type of word do you think is missing?


2. Should it be a present participle, a past participle, past simple, an infinitive form (with to) or an infinitive form (without to)?

Past participle

It is expected that all workers wear a uniform. (expect)

How can I improve?

1. Learn common suffixes

Suffixes are a group of letters at the end of some words that tell us what part of speech a word is. By learning these suffixes we can sometimes use them to take a guess when forming an answer we’re not 100% sure of.

Here are some common suffixes:

Verbs Nouns Adjectives Adverbs




























2. Try to create your own word family tables

When we read texts we are bound to come across new vocabulary which we may record in our vocabulary notebooks. When you find a new word try to push yourself by using a dictionary to find out as much as you can about the word family it comes from.

Questioned by MSPs at Holyrood’s rural economy and connectivity committee, Mr Climie said: “I’m always an optimist so I hope it will be before May, but I’m also a realist so I accept there are certain circumstances where it could be after May.

If we identify connectivity as new word we can check the dictionary to see what other words are part of that family. One way to do this is to search for the definition on ‘Oxford Learner’s Dictionary’ where you will find related words in the right hand corner.




You can then add these words to your word family table. It may be a good idea to have this saved on a Word document as it’s easier to edit and add to over time.

Verbs Nouns Adjectives Adverbs





connective X


think thought













Text taken from: