|EE–014c| C1: Advanced – Reading and Use of English [Part 3: Word Formation]

Hello Exam Seekers,

Another week with another tip!

The past few weeks I gave you some tips on the Cambridge English C1 Advanced (former CAE) Reading and Use of English Exam Part 1: Multiple-Choice Cloze and Part 2: Open Cloze. Make sure you check them out. As for today, I’m talking about Reading and Use of English Part 3: Word Formation.

Word Formation

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, there are four main kinds of word formation: prefixes, suffixes, conversion, and compounds. So, word formation is a type of task in which candidates have to form a word by prefixation, suffixation, conversion (modification), or compound based on the word provided:

Cambridge English C1 Advanced Reading and Use of English Part 3 Word Formation Sample
Word Formation Sample

Part 3: Word formation

In this part of the exam, there is a text containing 8 gaps – as you can see in the image above. Each gap represents a word. At the end of the line is a ‘prompt’ word which you have to change in some way to complete the sentence correctly. For each correct word, you get 1 mark.

For this type of task, candidates have to study vocabulary because most of the gaps need to be filled with adjectives, nouns, verbs, and adverbs with a prefix or a suffix – or both.

Look at the sample below:

Cambridge English C1 Advanced Reading and Use of English Part 3 Word Formation Sample
Cambridge English C1 Advanced Reading and Use of English Part 3: Word Formation Sample

As you can see, there are 8 gaps, plus the example, which says: “What are the abilities that a ________________ sports person needs?” and the word given is PROFESSION. You need to fulfill this part with an adjective, to qualify a type of sportsperson. How can you change the word profession to fill it in the text? In this case, you should add a suffixProfession + al = Professional

In number (17), the sentence is “To guarantee that opponents can be ________________, speed stamina, and agility are essential, not to mention outstanding natural talent“, and the word provided is COME. How can we complete the phrase “Opponents can be…” in a way that it means to deal with and control or surpass? The word would be a compound word: Over + Come = Overcome.

This is a very simple type of exercise, you have the words given and you have to transform them to fit the spaces. The biggest problem might be how to transform them. Then, you have to study word formation.

At Cambridge Dictionary website, they offer some examples for you to study, check it out:

Cambridge Dictionary Word Formation List
Cambridge Dictionary Word Formation List

There are many others, like negatives (in, im, un, dis…).  You just have to follow a few steps:

  1. Look at the word you have to change. Which words do you know that are in the same word family?
  2. The word you have to change will receive a prefix or a suffix. The rest of the word is usually the same.
  3. What form is the new word? A verb? A noun? An adjective? An adverb?
  4. Is the new word negative? If so, you may need a prefix.
  5. If you don’t know the new word, guess it. You may be right!

Never leave a space blank!!!

There are some options to keep in mind:

  • Nouns often end: -ment, -ion, -ness, -ity.
  • People nouns often end: -er, -or, -ist, -ian.
  • Adjectives often end: -able, -ible, -ive, -al, -ic, -ed, -ing.
  • Some verbs end: -ise, -ate, -en.
  • Adverbs often end: -ly.

By memorizing these examples, you can complete your words easily!

If you have other questions about this specific test or the other parts of the Cambridge C1: Advanced, comment in the comment section below. Now, try and complete the Part 3: Word Formation task, the answers are down below.


That’s it for today! Please like the post and follow the blog on:

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Have a great week,
Patricia Moura


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OBS: All samples provided by Cambridge.



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