Word Transformation Practice

This lesson describes various types of word transformations that are used in advanced English assessments. There are interactive gap-fill exercises to practise each of the transformation types. This lesson is part of our Advanced English Course. You can enrol on this course for free here.

In English word transformation exercises, particularly those used in CAE style exams, several common patterns or groups of changes are typically used. These transformations often involve altering the base form of a word into another form, such as from a noun to an adjective, verb to noun, etc. Here are some common patterns:

Suffix Addition

  • Adjective to Noun: Adding suffixes like -ness, -ity, or -ism.
    • Example: happy -> happiness
  • Verb to Noun: Adding suffixes like -tion, -ment, -ance, -ence.
    • Example: develop -> development
  • Adjective to Adverb: Adding -ly.
    • Example: quick -> quickly

Prefix Addition

  • Adding prefixes to alter the meaning.
    • Example: happy -> unhappy
    • Example: possible -> impossible

Suffix Replacement

  • Replacing one suffix with another.
    • Example: use -> useful -> useless

Internal Changes

  • Vowel Changes: Altering the internal vowels.
    • Example: strong -> strength
  • Consonant Changes: Changing or doubling consonants.
    • Example: advise -> advice

Compound Words

  • Combining words to form a single word or hyphenated word.
    • Example: hand + made -> handmade
    • Example: brother + in + law -> brother-in-law

Conversion (Zero Derivation)

  • Changing the word class without altering the form.
    • Example: to access (verb) -> access (noun)

Irregular Forms

  • Words that change form irregularly.
    • Example: child -> children
    • Example: go -> went

You can use the following exercises to practise these different types of word transformations. Fill the gaps with the form of the words in brackets that best fit the sentences. Each exercise focuses on a different type of transformation.