Free English Lessons
Sentence Transformation Questions – PET Writing Exam – Video Lesson
by Gina Mares on 19 January, 2019 , Comments Off on Sentence Transformation Questions – PET Writing Exam – Video Lesson
In this lesson, you can learn how to answer sentence transformation questions in the Cambridge PET writing exam.
Now, see how many of the points covered in the lesson you have understood, by trying this quiz.
There are 20 questions – two for each of the ten topics covered in the lesson. For each question, you will see one sentence and you need to write one, two or three words to complete the second sentence.
If you need some help, press ‘Hint’, where you will see which category from the lesson each question belongs to, and exactly how many words you need to write. Of course, you don’t have this help in the PET exam, so try to do as much as you can without using the hints.
You will get your score at the end, when you can press ‘View Questions’ to see the correct answers. Good luck!
Time limit: 0
0 of 20 questions completed
You have already completed the quiz before. Hence you can not start it again.
The PET writing exam has three parts. In the first part, there are five questions with sentence transformations. In sentence transformation questions, you’re given two sentences, like this:
It took me a long time to read that book.
I spent a long time ________ that book.
You have to complete the second sentence with one, two or three words, so that it has the same meaning as the first sentence. These questions test your grammar and vocabulary knowledge. In this question, do you know the answer? Here, the answer is ‘reading’. You need to know that after the verb ‘spend’, you use a verb plus -ing.
I spent a long time reading that book.
In this lesson, you will learn about the 10 most common topics for PET sentence transformation questions. You’ll see sample answers for each question, and how to answer these questions in your PET writing exam.
1. Direct Speech and Reported Speech
Look at a sample question.
I told my dad, “I will be home at 11 o’clock”.
I told my dad I ________ home at 11 o’clock.
I’ll give you a hint: to report what someone said, remember to always use the verb one step further in the past. The answer should be ‘would be’, this is ‘will’ one step in the past.
I told my dad I would be home at 11 o’clock.
When you transform reported questions into direct questions, don’t forget the auxiliary verb!
Kim asked me what I wanted to eat.
Kim asked, “What ________ to eat?”
What is the auxiliary verb for a present simple question? Use the auxiliary verb ‘do’ for a present simple question, then ‘you want’ to complete the question, like this:
Kim asked, “What do you want to eat?”
Now you try!
Paul asked me when I had started playing the guitar.
Paul asked, “When ________ playing the guitar?”
Is it difficult? Here’s some help: the reported speech is in the past perfect. There are two verb forms which can change into the past perfect in reported speech, but only one is possible here. Do you know the answer? Pause the video if you need more time to think.
Paul asked, “When did you start playing the guitar?”
Both the past simple and the present perfect can change to the past perfect in reported speech. However, here, you use the verb ‘start’. ‘Start’ refers to a finished action in the past, so the original question must be past simple.
In the PET writing exam, you might need to use some typical present perfect forms, like ‘Have you ever…?’ or ‘I’ve just…’. Let’s look at how you can use everything you know! Look at our first practice question:
I have never been to the circus.
This is the ________ that I’ve been to the circus.
If you have never been somewhere before, then this is… The answer is: ‘the first time’. Did you get it?
This is the first time that I’ve been to the circus.
The present perfect is often used to talk about things which started in the past and are still true now. Here’s an example:
Leo joined the football team 5 years ago.
Leo ________ a member of the football team for 5 years.
So, here you need to use the present perfect, because you’re talking about the last 5 years. But, you need to use a different verb. Do you know what to do here?
Leo has been a member of the football team for 5 years.
Now, here’s one for you to practice with:
My sisters haven’t seen each other for a while.
It ________ a while since my sisters have seen each other.
Did you get it? Here’s the answer:
It has been a while since my sisters saw each other.
You’re doing well! Let’s move on to the next topic.
3. ‘If’ and ‘Unless’
Conditionals with ‘if’ or ‘unless’ often appear in PET sentence transformation questions. Here’s an example:
If you don’t study hard, you won’t pass the exams.
You won’t pass the exams ________ you study hard.
Did you see that the order of the sentence has changed? Don’t get confused! The question is: what’s another word for ‘if not’?
You won’t pass the exams unless you study hard.
Let’s try one more:
You should definitely start your own business.
If I were you, I ________ my own business.
This is a very common second conditional phrase: ‘If I were you’ is always followed by ‘I would’.
In the PET writing test, you’ll often be asked to change an active sentence to passive or the other way around. Let’s look at some examples together.
A free coffee is included in the entry fee.
The entry fee ________ a free coffee.
The first sentence is in the passive; how could you make it active?
The entry fee includes a free coffee.
Don’t forget that ‘entry fee’ is a third person subject, so add –s at the end of the present simple verb. Next, let’s look at an example of changing an active to a passive sentence.
Mark’s friends gave him a cake for his birthday.
Mark ________ given a cake for his birthday.
First, think about what verb you need to add to make a passive sentence. Then, check which verb tense the active sentence is in. Ready? Pause the video if you need more thinking time. Otherwise, let’s see the answer.
Mark was given a cake for his birthday.
Did you get it right? Don’t worry if you get something wrong, but make a note of any grammar points you make mistakes with, so you can review them before your exam.
Now it’s time to test your memory! There are many verbs in English that are used with specific prepositions. Changing the prepositions can change the meaning completely. Look at our first sample question:
I’d love to discover how she did it.
I’d love to ________ out how she did it.
Do you know a phrasal verb with ‘out’ that means ‘discover’? Let’s ‘find out’!
I’d love to find out how she did it.
Let’s do one more:
I’m so excited about my date on Saturday!
I’m really looking ________ my date on Saturday!
This one is tricky, as it’s a phrasal verb with two particles.
I’m really looking forward to my date on Saturday!
The phrasal verb is ‘to look forward to something’. Remember this one; it often appears in the exam!
9. Words with Opposite Meanings
Many PET writing questions test whether you know a word with the opposite meaning to another. For example:
The bank is quite near the bakery.
The bank is not very ________ the bakery.
Because the second sentence uses the negative verb, you know you need an opposite, but what should you write?
The bank is not very far from the bakery.
Don’t forget the preposition ‘from’! Look at another question, which is about opposite verbs.
I borrowed money from my brother to buy the new video game.
My brother ________ me money to buy the new video game.
The verb ‘borrow’ is for the person taking some money for a short time; do you know the opposite?
My brother lent me money to buy the new video game.
The verb is ‘lend’; it’s an irregular verb, so you also need to know the past tense: ‘lent’.
10. ‘There Is’ and ‘There Are’
Using ‘there is’ and ‘there are’ is probably one of the first things you learned in English. However, English learners often make mistakes with this grammar! It’s basic, but it’s still a good idea to practice and make sure you can use it correctly. Look at a question:
This part of the exam has five questions.
In this part of the exam, ________ five questions.
That’s easy, right? Because ‘questions’ is a plural noun, you have to use ‘there are.’
In this part of the exam, there are five questions.
Here’s your last question:
There was an earthquake on the island last week.
Last week, the island ________ an earthquake.
This is more difficult, because you need to decide which verb to use instead of ‘there was’. Do you know?
Last week, the island had an earthquake.
Now, you can identify and answer lots of types of sentence transformation questions in the Cambridge PET writing exam. Good luck with your exam preparation and let us know when you pass! Thanks for watching!