1 Tip Sheet I m going to show you how to deal with ten of the most typical aspects of English grammar that are tested on the CAE Use of English paper, part 4. Of course, there are many other grammar points that are tested, but all you need to do is follow the same basic concepts that are explained here in order to analyse the sentences and find the answer. Here s a list of what you will find here. AS SOON AS IMMEDIATELY INVERSION ACTIVE PASSIVE WISH + PAST PERFECT COMPARATIVES FUTURE FORMS NO ANY POSITIVE NEGATIVE GERUND/INFINITIVE The single best piece of advice I can give you is this: FOCUS ON FORM, NOT MEANING. Form refers to how the sentence is constructed grammatically. This is a lot more important than what the sentence or the words mean. To do this you will need to develop your ability to: a) analyse sentences, so you know what s going on and how to use that information to help you find the answer. b) memorize example sentences so you don t have to always be thinking about the grammar, you can just use your memorized example sentence as a model which you can copy.
2 AS SOON AS IMMEDIATELY Let s look at our first example: 1. Please contact me immediately when you get the results. AS Please let me know as soon as you get the results. To make it easier, let s take the analysis in steps. Step 1 We look at the second sentence and see what s missing. Here it s the concept of immediately and something that means the same as contact me and starts with let. So we are being tested on two things here. Step 2 We ask ourselves this question: Do we know any words or phrases that mean the same as immediately? Do any of them contain the word as? This leads us to as soon as. Step 3 Now ask: Which phrase starting with let means the same as contact me? This leads us to let me know. And there we have our answer. NOTE In this transformation steps two and three are interchangeable.
3 INVERSION 2 The fight started as soon as I walked through the door. SOONER No sooner had I walked through the door then the fight started. Let s break this one down in steps as well. Step 1 What s missing? Something that means the same as as soon as and something that means the same as walked through the door. Step 2 The given word is sooner, so logically we can assume that the phrase which means the same as as soon as must include the word sooner. This leads us to no sooner. Step 3 Ask yourself: How does no sooner work? What always follows it (or at least, what almost always follows it)? Well, we can learn all about that when we study a grammatical concept called inversion This is where we invert the subject and the verb. Normally, we would say I had walked, right? But here, with the phrase no sooner, we invert the words I and had. We use this technique to create a more dramatic effect. Now studying inversion is definitely a good idea, but let s say you hate grammar and you don t have much time to study, so here s a short cut: simply memorise a sentence with No sooner! And here s a great exam tip, as soon as you sit down and the invigilator says you can begin, write your memorised no sooner sentence down on the exam paper. Don t wait till you get to part 4 and need to remember it, write it down straight away. Then when you need it later, you have it right there as a reference So let s say we either know that no sooner is used with inversion or we use our memorised sentence, either way we arrive at No sooner plus inverted subject/verb and verb in past perfect tense. The verb of course we know is to walk, so there s our answer! NOTE 1 Even if you don t know the meaning of the verb you can still arrive at a correct answer by following these steps! NOTE 2
4 Inversion is frequently tested on this part of the test. If you can get one into your written composition, that would also be very good! Do a search on Google using grammar inversion rules to learn more, or ask your teacher for help.
5 ACTIVE PASSIVE Another aspect of English grammar that is tested all the time in this exercise is Passive Voice. Typically you will get an active sentence and then you will have to change it to passive. Like this: 3 They warned me not to go to certain parts of the town because they were too dangerous. WARNED I was warned not to go to certain parts of the town because they were too dangerous. So here s the breakdown: Step 1 What is missing? They warned me is missing, and not to go is missing. Step 2 The rewrite starts with I. Why? Where does this come from? It comes from the me in the original sentence. This should (hopefully) tell you that we are looking at an active-passive transformation. Step 3 Following our active to passive rules we see that the verb in the given sentence is warned and that it is in the past simple tense. We take this verb and put it into the V3 form, (identical in spelling and pronunciation but different grammatically). As warned is our given word, we now have the given word used correctly. Great! Step 4 Still following our active to passive rules, we add the auxiliary verb to be, which we need to form the passive. We know that the verb warned in our original sentence is in the simple past. Therefore our auxiliary verb to be must also take the simple past, and this gives us was warned. Step 5 We need to decide if we need to include the agent or not. This is the person or thing doing the action (the subject in the original sentence). In our example the agent is they. This would then give by them in our rewrite. BUT when we have an undefined subject/agent in the active sentence we DO NOT need to specify the agent in the passive sentence, e.g. here we DO NOT
6 write by them. This is ugly and unnecessary and it just plain sucks. Don t do it!
7 Step 6 Our passive construction is now finished (was warned), so now we need to look at what else is missing. We already know it is not to go. So ask yourself this question: Can I simply use these same words? The answer here is YES of course! And that s the answer. NOTE 1 When you see the first sentence start with the very vague and non-defined pronoun they, you should immediately think, Aha! This is probably an active-passive transformation. Note the word probably, but most of the time you will be right. We do not like active sentences which start with an undefined they in English, we find them ugly. So we use passive sentences instead. NOTE 2 Not all active-passive transformations start with they. You must look carefully, using the step-by-step process to see if it is an active-passive transformation or not. NOTE 3 This grammar point is tested very often indeed, so you really should know it well. Also, with a bit of practice it is really easy! Do a search on Google for active to passive transformations or ask your teacher for help.
8 WISH + PAST PERFECT Here s another one that examiners love. 4 I regret breaking up with my girlfriend. HAD I wish I hadn t broken up with my girlfriend. So what is going on here? Let s have a look: Step 1 What s missing? It s regret and breaking. Step 2 How else can we express the concept of regret? Well, when we regret something we did do, we can say we wish we hadn t done it and when we regret something we didn t do, we can say we wish we had done it. This is the meaning of the word regret in this context. When used with a gerund (- ing form), regret expresses something about the past that we wish we had done differently. Step 3 We need to decide if our rewrite is going to be in the positive or negative form. In order to know which it is we ask ourselves a yes/no question. This is a question that gives the answer yes or no. If the answer to our question is yes our rewrite must be in the negative and if the answer to our question is no our rewrite must be in the positive. Here we would ask: Did you break up with your girlfriend? The answer, of course, is: Yes, you did. So here the rewrite needs to be in the negative it is something that you did which you wish you had not done. Step 4 Now we need to make our rewrite with wish. So we need to learn how wish sentences that express regret are formed. They take the past perfect like this: subject + wish + same subject + had +V3
9 Remember that our example is in the negative form. Our verb is to break, so that gives us: I wish I hadn t broken. Again, you can simply learn the grammar or memorise a regret sentence and then memorise the matching wish sentence. There is a lot more to wish. It can be tested in many ways and often is. Do a search on Google with wish in English grammar for more information, or ask your teacher.
10 AS KEEN ON Here s another one with that tricky little word as : 5 I am a lot keener on travelling than my sister. AS My sister isn t as keen on travelling as I am. Step 1 This time we cannot simply ask what's missing? because the two sentences are very different. Instead, let s ask the question What's going on? Well, we can see that the original sentence is a comparative sentence in the positive. It says something about me and travelling compared to something about my sister and travelling. How do we know? Because the word keener is an adjective in the comparative form with an -er ending. And we have the word than, which always indicates comparison. You don't need to know what keener means, you only need to know the pattern: keen - keener keenest. Focusing on form (= grammatical structure) is usually more useful than focusing on meaning. Step 2 Now let's look at the rewrite. The first thing to notice is that it doesn't start with I, it starts with my sister. Next we see the verb is in the negative. Logically, if I am keener on X than my sister is, then my sister is not as keen on X as I am. Logic is a very useful tool in language learning! Step 3 The given word is as, so we know that this must be a variation of the structure as + adjective + as, but this would give us as keen as I am, which isn't right because on travelling is missing. If we can say keener on travelling, then we can also say keen on travelling and now we have our answer. Note These transformations should be really easy - you learn how to do comparative sentences in your first week of learning English. Perhaps you remember the following two sentences: John is taller than Sally. Sally isn't as tall as John.
11 The only difference at CAE level is that the sentences are a bit more complex but if you follow these simple steps. Everything will become clear. Remember these transformations are tested all the time, so it's really worth your while spending some time studying comparisons. LIKELY Now, as you should know, there are many ways to talk about the future in English; it is not so simple as a future tense, or even different future tenses. We can use the present simple, the present continuous, going to, future simple, future continuous, future perfect and then we also have different expressions to express degrees of probability/certainty that can go with the present simple e.g. likely, bound to, no doubt, expected. Most students know the future tenses more or less, but many students forget to study these expressions and of course, they are often tested on this part of the exam. So, let s have a look: 6 We ll probably win the contract. LIKELY We are likely to win the contract. Step 1 What's missing? Well, it s i) a future tense OR a word or expression that has future meaning ii) probably iii) the verb to win Step 2 The clue here is probably, so we need to ask ourselves: how else do we express probability in English? This leads us to likely. Step 3 Now we need to think about how likely works. It goes with the verb to be in the present simple and is followed by the infinitive + to construction, which gives us are likely to win. Which is the answer. Note
12 You should always ask yourself: Is it necessary to change the verb? If there is a way to complete the rewrite using the same verb as in the original sentence, then probably that is the correct answer. You can find more of these expressions and see how they work by doing a search on Google on talking about probability in English, or ask your teacher for help.
13 NO - ANY Another area which confuses many students is the use of NO and ANY (also NOBODY/ANYBODY and NOTHING/ANYTHING). Here s an example: 7 I have no plans to leave Austria. PLANS I don t have any plans to leave Austria. Step 1 As soon as you see a word like no or nobody or nothing in the original sentence you should immediately ask yourself: Is it possible to do the rewrite with the matching word, that is, any, anybody or anything? (And vice versa of course ). Remember: it WON T always be this that is being tested, you will have to analyse the sentence carefully to make sure, but usually it will be. Step 2 So, how do we do the rewrite with the matching word? Well, with no/any it works like this: no is a negative word that goes with the noun when the verb is in positive I have so therefore no plans any is a negative word that goes with the noun when the verb is in negative I don't have so therefore any plans. Note You should also notice that the given word will NOT typically be no or any, that would be too easy!
14 REPORTED SPEECH EXAMPLE ONE Direct Speech to Reported Speech is another aspect of English grammar that is often tested, especially with specific reporting verbs. Here is our first example: 8 Don t touch my computer! said Alan. TOLD Alan told me not to touch his computer. Step 1 As soon as you see that the original sentence is in direct speech, you can be sure that the rewrite will be in reported speech so the question to ask yourself is: How do I do this in reported speech? Step 2 The given word is told. This is the V2 form of the verb to tell, so we need to think about how tell works grammatically. Well, we tell SOMEONE to do SOMETHING. Step 3 Now that we have our basic structure (tell someone to do something), we need to fit our example to it. The verb in the original is touch, so we know our answer must include to touch. However, in the original it's in the negative form, so our answer must be negative as well. So we have to think about how to use a negative with the infinitive. The best way to do this is to memorize an example (and remember to write it down at the beginning of the exam). A good one is the famous quote from Hamlet by Shakespeare: To be or not to be. So that gives us not to touch. Step 4 Ok, so now we need to know which word to use for someone. Alan could be speaking to me or him or her or them. All these options would be correct but we ll stick with me for our example. Step 5 Lastly, we need to change the word my. When Alan is speaking, he is talking about himself, so of course he says my computer. When you are reporting what Alan said Alan is in the third person (this means that he is not you and nor is he the person you are speaking to). Alan is a man s name so we have to use his the third person masculine singular form that matches my. Note
15 Many people have problems with reported speech but it follows a very clear logic, all you need to do is to take it slowly and analyse the given sentence piece by piece to get your answer. See how important it is to learn how to analyse?
16 REPORTED SPEECH EXAMPLE TWO Our second example is with the verb refuse. 9 I will not go out with you, said Janet. REFUSED Janet refused to go out with me. Step 1 As soon as you see that the original sentence is in direct speech, you can be sure that the rewrite will be in reported speech so the question to ask yourself is: How do I do this in reported speech? Step 2 The given word is refused. This is the V2 form of the verb to refuse, so we need to think about how refuse works grammatically. Well, we refuse to do SOMETHING. Step 3 Now that we have our basic structure (refuse to do something), we need to fit our example to it. The verb in the original is go out with, so we know our answer must include to go out with. Step 4 At this point many students get confused because following the logic of previous examples we see that the original sentence is in the negative and therefore think that the rewrite should also be in negative. But here we have to remember that to refuse to do something is the same as saying you will not do something. The negation is already contained in the verb refuse. So we do not need a negative word. And there we have our answer: Janet refused to go out with me. Easy!
17 INFINITIVE/GERUND Another very commonly tested transformation is INFINITIVE/GERUND. 10 I always avoid talking to the boss if I can. NOT I try not to talk to the boss. Once again, here you are being tested on two things: changing a positive sentence to a negative sentence and going from a gerund to an infinitive. Whenever you see a gerund, you should immediately think: Aha! A gerund so, can I make a new sentence with an infinitive? So, step one, we take talking and change it to to talk. We now have our infinitive. Step two: we need to use the word not, so we remember our Shakespeare mnemonic from before ( To be or not to be, remember?) and we get not to talk. Step three: We know that it s always talk to someone so we probably don t need anything between talk and to the boss. Step four: we know we need a verb after I and we know that avoid always takes gerund, so it can t be avoid. We need to think of a construction that means the same as avoid AND which also includes the meaning of if I can because these words are not in the second sentence and the two sentences have to be as close in possible in meaning. We know from our own experience of life, or simply because it s obvious, that you can t always avoid talking to the boss, but you can try not to. So there s our answer. Simple