Saturday, April 4, 2009

Words with Multiple Meanings

The Cambridge testmakers never seem to tire of coming up with word tests for students of English as a second language. The CAE and CPE, especially, are even challenging for native speakers. That's why it is essential to use English all the time while you're preparing for the Cambridge exams. In that way, you'll be used to operating in English and not confused by translations into your native tongue.

On the Use of English section (Paper 3), the CAE has some fun exercises that they didn't have a few years ago. Look at these gapped sentences. One and the same verb fits into each gap. The spelling and form of that word is identical in each sentence.

1. Dominik will __________ his presentation to the class this afternoon.

2. The postman could not ____________ the letter because the postage was missing.

3. The doctor had to ___________ the baby by C-section.


If you chose the verb 'deliver,' you are correct. Usually, there is one sentence that you can figure out (#2). Try out that verb in the other gaps. Does it make sense there? If so, write that word on your answer sheet and move on to the next set of sentences. Never leave a blank answer on the Cambridge exam because you are not penalized for guessing.

4. You'd ___________ go to the doctor about that cough; you've had it for a month now.

5. Most students are studying to ___________ themselves in English.

6. ESL students who speak English all the time will be _________ able to pass the CAE.


Did you recognize the modal expression 'had better' in sentence #4? 'Better' is the word that works in all the gaps. Isn't this fun? If you play with words, it makes learning English more of a game than a pain in the neck.

Look up some other uses of 'deliver' (e.g., deliver a blow) and 'better.' Make the dictionary your friend!

If you liked this post, you can find more recent ones with similar activities by clicking here.

1 comment:

fazi said...

Its quite interesting