Objective: First Certificate (FCE)

Anywhere, anytime: a FCE companion

My fix for suffixes and prefixes (FCE Word formation)

with 4 comments

In the FCE, you will be given a text with gaps. You will have to fill in the gaps with the right word, which is always next to the line where the gap is. They give you a stem word, and you have to alter it, adding prefixes or suffixes. REMEMBER: Just inserting the word given won’t give you points.

As I said in class (AmE: Like/As I said in class), don’t try to answer right away…It’s essential that you READ THE WHOLE TEXT FIRST, damn it! You’re so impatient…

Once you’ve done that, my recommendation is to follow your instinct (your language instinct, not your animal instinct, we don’t want you to kill the examiners…or do we?) So if a word pops in your head, it’s probably right. If not, make it up…which is our national sport. No points lost for wrong answers.

Some tricks: focus on the word that comes before or after the gap…is it a noun? a verb? For instance, if the word that comes after the gap is a noun, chances are that you’ll need to form an adjective. If the word that comes before the gap is a verb, chances are you might need an adverb? And so on, so forth. To do so, you have to be able to recognise and identify parts of speech. Can you tell the difference between ‘hard’ and ‘hardly’? Mmmm….You don’t feel like committing suicide yet? Cool, so then I’ll go on..

How can you prepare this sort of activity? Well, besides practising with the activities below, what I recommend you to do is the following (and I know this is the moment when you switch off and grab a bite): READ READ READ, anything, newspapers, online newspapers, magazines (I guess I don’t need to remind you that I mean newspapers and magazines in English, do I?). Any article, the section you prefer (maybe sports? politics? agony aunt? (dear Abby)), just short articles twice a week, for instance, and then underline any word that contains a prefix or a suffix…From now onwards, be aware of the fact that we form words with affixation and pay heed to the ways we do it in English. No more ‘inventations’ 😉

There are plenty of exercises on word formation in the book, but you can have further practice here:

Written by ElenaBen

March 8, 2008 at 12:02 am

4 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. I’m going to take the Fce this June ……I’m very nervous , …I would be very grateful if you could give some websites where i can find list of common vocabulary or exercises on word transformation …or thing like that …thanks a lot bye


    April 28, 2008 at 1:45 am

  2. Hi Giovanna,

    I don’t really know. Have you tried googling it: ‘word transformation’, ‘word transformation FCE’?
    Or try here:

    Best wishes! Good luck.


    May 3, 2008 at 6:45 pm

  3. this page is ossom!! i really recommand it to everyone who needs a little bit of help in english word formations!!!


    November 9, 2008 at 7:35 pm

  4. Wow, with thanks a bunch m8

    Allyson Besemer

    March 10, 2010 at 12:39 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: