Sue Burke (mount_oregano) wrote,
Sue Burke

One word three ways

I teach English here in Spain, often to candidates for tests that certify their level of English. These tests can be used on resumes or university applications. One of them is the Cambridge University Certificate of Proficiency in English, designed for those who have achieved an extremely high level of skill, enough to teach at a university or work as a business executive.

This test is 100 years old, and to celebrate, it’s going to be redesigned again, as it has been regularly. One part of the exam will be eliminated, the part that only one of my students enjoys and the rest hate passionately. This part presents three sentences with blanks, and the exact same word can be used in each of the three blanks. Here are some examples. Can you get them right? (Scroll down for the answers.)

The hospital would only give news to Trudy's ....... family and not her friends and distant relatives.
The law will take place with ........ effect.
The patient reported experiencing ........ benefits following the operation and is not expected to need any further treatment.

His employer ....... that he had been ill, and she did not penalize him for having been absent.
She never ....... the things he did for her.
He said that the value of the house had ....... considerably.

When he was in his nineties, the famous writer’s health began to ........
If the potato crop were to ......., it would create many problems for the local people.
Please do not ....... to check the safety precautions for this device.

I thought I had a good solution to the problem, but my plan was ....... by the director, who said it would be too expensive.
In many parts of the country, black clouds completely ....... out the sun and whole towns were cast into darkness.
Enrico had to take a different route home because the main coast road was ....... by a lorry which had overturned.

After lunch, we had a ....... of cards, just to pass the time.
His grandparents had a ....... in Luca’s upbringing, as his parents worked full time.
Mrs. Spencer opened the door and said, “If you lay a ....... on my son, there’ll be trouble.”

I do not ....... with young people staying up until all hours.
How many books does this bag .......?
Ben’s parents ....... shares in several major multinational companies.

A mobile phone is almost an absolute ....... for this job, as you will need to be available at all times.
The summary of his findings is, of ......., very brief, but it gives as much information as is relevant.
There was no ....... for her to give up her job — it was entirely her own choice.

He thought that a few illustrations or anecdotes would add ....... to his report.
The fascinating old market is full of ....... and activity, and is well worth a visit.
You’re looking better today — you’ve got a bit more ....... than you had yesterday.

She couldn’t ....... the pressures of her new job and eventually resigned.
He was unwilling to ....... the goods the two men offered him, as he suspected they were stolen.
It wasn’t very polite of you just to ....... off without saying goodbye to anyone.

Angela gasped as she felt the ....... pain in her knee again.
There is a ....... bend in the road just after the post office, so don’t drive too fast.
The slightly ....... taste of the drink will not appeal to everyone.


1. immediate
2. appreciated
3. fail
4. blocked
5. hand
6. hold
7. necessity
8. color
9. take
10. sharp

— Sue Burke
Also posted at my professional website,

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