Rephrasing (transformation) types in the FCE exam

In this part of the exam you have six sentences to complete. You need to read the first sentence in each question. From this you need to look at the second sentence and think about what information is missing. You must then complete the second sentence so that it has the same meaning as the first with 2-5 words (NO MORE). Another thing to understand is that you are provided with a word that you must use in exactly the same form (if it is TOLD, you cannot use tell, telling or any variation of the word. ONLY TOLD). Each of the questions is worth 2 points and the points are based on lexical (vocabulary) or structural (grammatical) points. What they assess in this part of the exam are as follows:

Lexical: phrasal verbs, word patterns, fixed expressions, contextual vocabulary etc.

Click here to improve your understanding of 110 EXPRESSIONS FOR KEY WORD TRANSFORMATIONS FOR THE FCE (B2)

Structural: passive, relative clauses, reported speech, quantifiers, connectors, tense changes, gerund versus infinitive, modal verbs, inversions (rarely), conditionals etc.



  1. You seem to have picked up English very quickly.

ADVANTAGE               It looks like you __________________ your chance to learn English.

  1. You need to use every opportunity you can to practice your English in order to progress.

HAVE                                     You _____________ frequently to learn well.

  1. It really doesn’t matter to me where we live, so long as we are together.

PROVIDING             I really don’t ______________________ we stay together

  1. Were you able to speak English as a child?

HOW                          Did you _____________________ English when you were a child.

  1. There were more than 500 participants in this year’s competition.

ENTERED                   More than 500 _________________________ year´s competition.

  1. You should use only English during the speaking exam.

TO                   You must _____________________ in the speaking exam.

  1. What exactly are you getting at when you say fluent?

SUGGESTING           What exactly _____________________ by saying fluent?

  1. Recently I have gone off eating fish as I have eaten it too much.

ON                  I am not so _____________________ fish recently as I eat it too often.

  1. It’s not easy to stand for this type of behaviour

UP                   I really don’t like having _____________________ this type of behaviour.

  1. We need to continue with our studies until the end of term.

CARRY                        we had better _____________________ until the end of term.



  1. Let’s cancel the meeting this afternoon, I won’t be able to make it.

OFF                I reckon we _____________________ the meeting this afternoon, I won’t get there on time.

  1. Would you mind passing me the salt?

COULD                      _____________________ me the salt, please?

  1. What do you normally go for in a restaurant?

EAT                 What do you normally _____________________ in a restaurant?

  1. “It is getting late so we had better set off for home”, said Ash.

Head              Ash said that it was getting late and _____________________ home.

  1. The hotel turned out to be more expensive than we had thought.

ENDED           The hotel _____________________ more expensive than we had thought.

  1. He said that he needed to sell his car.

RID                 “I need to _____________________ my car”, he said.

  1. Even though I am not a fan of his music, I will still go to the concert.

OF                   In _____________________ being a fan of his music, I will still go to the concert.

  1. What did you get up to in the club last night?

DO                  What _____________________ the club last night?

  1. My brother shouted, “Wait for me!”

TOLD              My _____________________ wait for him.

  1. It is hard to pay all of the bills on my salary.

AFFORD        I can’t _____________________ all the bills on my salary alone.



  1. Jose is into spending time alone.

BY                   Jose enjoys spending time _____________________

  1. Although he is tired, he continued working on the project.

Despite                      _____________________ tiredness, he carried on working on the project.

  1. We don’t have a lot of time left to finish the coursework.

RUNNING     We _____________________ time to finish the coursework.

  1. I have always thought that learning languages with grammar is a waste of time.

POINT                        I can’t _____________________ learning languages with lots of grammar.

  1. He finds it hard to speak even basic English to native speakers.

BY                   He can’t _____________________ speaking to native speakers.

  1. If you want to travel around the world, you will have to do without some things and save.

UP                   You will need _____________________ money if you want to travel around the world.

  1. According to the teacher, we have an exam next month.

Said                The teacher _____________________ we have an exam next month.

  1. In hindsight, Marc regretted having stayed up so late.

ONLY              “_____________________ hadn’t stayed up so late”, said Marc.

  1. I enjoy spending time with my parents.

OUT                I am into _____________________ my friends.

  1. Why don’t we start a business exporting wine from Castilla La Mancha?

UP                   Let’s _____________________ business exporting wine from Castilla La Mancha?



  1. We took on a new teacher as we have so many students.

HAD               We _____________________ teacher because the language school had lots of students.

  1. The businessman opted out of the agreement as it seemed like a bad idea.

NOT    The businessman _____________________ ahead with the agreement.

  1. The teacher likes students who participate in class.

ON                  The teacher _____________________ students who participate in class.

  1. He was accused of killing the pedestrian by the police.

OF       The police _____________________ running over the pedestrian.

  1. I am really getting good at learning new vocabulary.

TO                   I am really _____________________ new vocabulary.

  1. We should go out this evening to celebrate the birth of your child.

TO                   We _____________________ out this evening to celebrate the birth of your child.

  1. Did you really have no idea that I was married to Inés?

UNAWARE    _____________________ that Inés was my wife?

  1. Just in case you weren’t able to collect my son, I made other arrangements.

UP       I made other arrangements in case you _____________________ my son.

  1. “I am not a fan of swimming in the sea” he said.

FOND             He said that he _____________________ swimming in the sea.

  1. They carried out the road works on Main Street the week before last.

WERE             The road on Main Street works _____________________ week before last.



  1. You should listen to your personal trainer, you would get fit quicker.

BETTER          If you want to get fit quickly, you _____________________ to your personal trainer.

  1. Inés was upset when she found out that she had failed the exam.

DISAPPOINTED       Inés _____________________ have failed the exam.

  1. John dropped out of university as he didn’t enjoy his course.

STOPPED      John _____________________ university because he didn’t like his course.

  1. I probably won’t go back to university any time soon.

UNLIKELY      I _____________________ to return to university any time soon.

  1. We need to review the course vocabulary to pass the exam.

OVER             We _____________________ the course vocabulary to pass the exam.

  1. Alex had trouble passing the A-level exams.

FOUND          Alex _____________________ pass the A-level exams.

  1. I wish I had studied more for the exams.

ONLY              _____________________ done more studying for the exams.

  1. Your dad speaks German more clearly than you do.

AS       You can’t _____________________ as your dad can.

  1. I told them not to take their time as we didn’t have a lot.

UP       I said to them _____________________ we didn’t have much time.

  1. I didn’t expect to pay so much for that meal last night.

FAR     I _____________________ that meal than I had expected.



  1. She is looking forward to her sister’s visit.

ABOUT          She is really _____________________ her sister coming to visit.

  1. The boss apologised for losing his temper with his secretary.

SORRY           The boss said that _____________________ getting cross.

  1. They arrived home late because they had missed the last train.

BACK              As they had missed the last train home _____________________ late.

  1. This term has been so stressful that I can’t go out on many weekends.

SUCH This has _____________________ year that I can’t go out on many weekends.

  1. Yours is such an excellent idea that it’s hard to take in.

SO       Your idea _____________________ it is hard to believe.

  1. This coffee is so strong that I can’t drink it all at once.

SUCH This is _____________________ I can’t drink it in one go.

  1. If this coffee weren’t so strong, I could drink it.

AS       I can’t _____________________ it is too strong.

  1. Their house is so old that it needs refurbishing.

SUCH Theirs is _____________________ it needs refurbishing.

  1. This sandwich was so expensive that nobody could afford it.

SUCH It _____________________ that nobody had enough money to buy it.

  1. I haven’t done any exercise for ages.

BEEN              It _____________________ since I did some exercise.



  1. She was so angry because of my lateness.

AS                   _____________________ late, she got really angry.

  1. I am not used to wearing winter clothes.

TEND              I _____________________ wear winter clothes.

  1. You are looking forward to your next holiday as you will relax.

WAIT              You _____________________ away on holiday because you want to relax.

  1. Tom said to Oliver, “I can’t stand speaking French in front of people”.

HATES                        Tom said _____________________ French in front of people.

  1. You are not supposed to memorize vocabulary if you don’t understand the context.

ALLOWED     You _____________________ memorize vocabulary unless you understand the context.

  1. If I were you, I would hang out with Tom because he is really funny.

SPENDING    I ____________________ Tom, he is really funny.

  1. This is the first time I have met your husband.

HAD               I __________________________ your husband until today.

  1. It’s not a good idea to try to do a government exam.

WORTH         It is hardly ___________________ do a government exam.

  1. Singing lessons are something I have never wanted to do.

APPEALED    Singing lessons _________________ me.

  1. Jaime says that he will pass the exam on his own, without the help of the teacher.

BY                   Without any help, Jamie says he can pass the exam _________________.



  1. I hardly ever get the opportunity to have a good time

ALMOST        I ____________________ the chance to have a good time.

  1. In the end, he was a bad person to hang out with.

TURNED        He __________________ be a bad person to spend time with.

  1. I haven’t had the opportunity to buy a house yet.

STILL              Buying a house ________________ possible for me.

  1. “I think we ought to take a long look in the mirror” she said.

BETTER          “I reckon _____________________ a long look at ourselves” She said.

  1. I haven’t got anything in mind for my thesis yet.

THOUGHT    I still haven’t _______________ idea for my thesis.

  1. Suddenly, I felt very alone and started to worry about my future.

SUDDEN        All ____________________ felt lonely and I started to become concerned about my future.

  1. I helped him avoid a huge mistake with my advice.

PREVENTED My advice ___________________ a huge mistake.

  1. I’m not sure we can afford to buy a house at the moment.

FOR                I really don’t think we ________________________ a house at the moment.

  1. I asked a few friends of mine over to have a couple of drinks.

IF                     I asked _______________ to come over to have some drinks with me.

  1. I don’t have many interests outside of my friendship circle.

FEW               I have ______________ interests outside of my friendship circle.



  1. In the past we didn’t have the internet in our office.

USE                 We didn’t ____________ the internet in our workplace.

  1. I really don’t know how you managed to pass that exam, it was a nightmare.

SUCCEEDED I don’t understand ___________________ passing that exam, it was almost impossible.

  1. We started studying English over a decade ago and have only just got the B2.

UP                   We ___________________ English more than 10 years ago, but we have only recently passed the B2.

  1. In the past we always used to go away on the weekends.

WOULD         We _________________ on holiday at the weekends in the past.

  1. I have enjoyed much more success this year than in the past.

SUCCESSFUL                        I have _________________________ this year than in the past.

  1. Nobody does as good a job as Marc by far in the office.

BETTER                      Marc ____________________ than anyone else in the office.

  1. I have never heard such nonsense in my whole life.

EVER                          In my life I __________________ so many lies.

  1. I will only help you providing that you ask for my help.

LONG                         I will help you __________________ you ask me.

  1. This is the most logical solution to the problem.

SENSE                                    This is the only solution that ______________.

  1. I really am not up for taking part in such a time consuming course.

WILLING                   I don’t think I ___________________ take part in such a difficult course.



  1. You are really annoying me, is it intentional?

ON                  Are you annoying _________________.

  1. It is a good idea to depend on this course.

BANK             I would recommend ____________________.

  1. It is very difficult to accept the consequences of what we have done.

FACE              It is tough to ____________________ what we have done.

  1. I think we need to review phrasal verbs to pass the exam.

OVER             It might be a good idea _______________ verbs in order to pass the exam.

  1. I used to admire my old boss, but then he let me down quite badly.

LOOKED        I _________________ boss until he disappointed me so badly.

  1. I would love playing rugby as a child in my home town of Rugby.

WENT                        I used to like playing rugby as a child in my home town, but I ___________________.

  1. I am getting really good at rephrasing, it’s easy!

TAKEN           I ___________________ to rephrasing, it is not difficult.

  1. Who would take care of you when you were a kid?

AFTER                        Who used to __________________ a child?

  1. I can’t work out the solution to this sum, I’m going to fail this subject.

FIND               I don’t know _________________ solution to this sum, I won’t pass the subject.

  1. How many new employees has your company taken on this year?

OVER                         How many people has your company ___________ past year?



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