I don't usually learn anything useful from the television...

dreamlike

Senior Member
Polish
Hi,

I hope this thread won't be considered "proofreading" by moderators, since I share my own idea. The following comes from CAE practice test I was provided with by my tutor.

Complete the second sentence so that it has a similar meaning to the first sentence said:
I don't usually learn anything useful from the television, but last night I did.
CHANGE
It.............................................. useful from the television last night.

I racked my brains trying to come up with the answer, but to little avail. I suppose I should use "for a change" but I'm unable to put it in a sentence so that it make sense. I can wait till Monday, I'll have my classes then, but I'm very curious to know what the correct transformation should be.
 
  • ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Hullo DL. Wow, that's a pretty tall order:eek: ~ I had to really think about it:

    It made a change to learn something [6 words] useful from the television last night.

    I wonder if there are any other possibilities ...
     

    LilianaB

    Banned
    Lithuanian
    Would they count articles as words, Ewie, sometimes they don't. It was a change when I learned something useful from the television last night. Maybe?
     
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    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    I see no reason why they shouldn't.

    Besides, if you remove the articles from your answer, that's still eight words.
     

    dreamlike

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Your sentence is far too wordy Liliana, and yes, articles count as words. Ewie, I usually do this kind of exercise automatically, without giving much thought to it, but I really got stuck on this one.

    Thanks for all your help! If you have any other ideas, please share them. :)
     

    dreamlike

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Yes, people who make such exercises usually want us, learners to come up with some idiomatic expressions. I think "It made a change" qualifies as such.
     
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    bicontinental

    Senior Member
    English (US), Danish, bilingual
    hmmm, I would love to see someone come up with a three word rewrite of this. I still think that ewie's solution is the best way to go...I could only make it longer.
     

    LilianaB

    Banned
    Lithuanian
    For me to make a change means something a little bit different; to make a change -- to make the world a better place. Maybe I am wrong but I am not used to this meaning of make a change.
     

    bicontinental

    Senior Member
    English (US), Danish, bilingual
    It was a change...learning something useful from the television last night (5 words)

    It signifies change...learning something useful from the the television last night (4 words, but I don't know... sounds a bit awkward altogether, I think I give up):confused:

    Please let us know what the, dare I say, "correct" answer is.

    Bic.
     
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    bicontinental

    Senior Member
    English (US), Danish, bilingual
    [...]
    However, the two of you made me think of this:

    'It signifies change...something useful from the television last night'...3 words.
     
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    bicontinental

    Senior Member
    English (US), Danish, bilingual
    Point well taken, ewie.
    The problem is, I don't think it's possible to come up with anything that's idiomatic English and 3 words in length. And yet, I would think that the person who thought up this little brain teaser had something in mind when s/he chose '3-6 words', but maybe I'm mistaken. We'll wait for DL to report back.
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    Complete the second sentence so that it has a similar meaning to the first sentence, using the word in bold. Use between three and six words, do not change the word given.

    I don't usually learn anything useful from the television, but last night I did.
    CHANGE
    It.............................................. useful from the television last night.

    Hello dreamlike

    Yes, people who make such exercises usually want us, learners to come up with some idiomatic expressions. I think "It made a change" qualifies as such.

    I completely agree that "made a change" is an idiom in this sentence and similar contexts. It expresses the idea that something was or is different from usual, usually I suppose, for the better. The difference might never be repeated - this might be the only time the speaker learns anything useful from TV. It's quite different from the idea of making or experiencing lasting changes.

    Did you have a good holiday?
    Yes we did thanks- it made a very pleasant change.

    I've been out shopping, but don't worry, I didn't buy anything.
    That makes a change!


    I can't think of any way to use less than six words. It's tantalising to think that it might be possible to use only three including the word 'change'. But if native speakers with high English language sensibilities developed over decades of exposure, specialised education and interest, can't do it, how on earth are non-native speakers supposed to? I really hate trick questions. " Not more than six words including change" seems reasonable to me, but why talk about 'three' as a possibility?

    Examiners' reports and comments used to be available, at a price if I remember rightly. Most of my teaching was done in circumstances which precluded getting such reports, but I did have access to them a couple of times. My understanding is that teachers can write in with criticisms of, and comments on, exam questions, including that they are not fair, impossible, or simply 'wrong' and unreasonable. Teachers' comments may be taken into account for the marking. The marking used to be adjusted to take into account such criticisms. If there was widespread criticism of a question, it might not have been taken into consideration at all.

    Hermione
     

    inib

    Senior Member
    British English
    I'm convinced that the anwer they are looking for is the one Ewie gave: It made a change to learn something...
    I also think that the only reason for giving the option of 3 words upwards to 6 is that this instruction probably refers to more than one sentence in the exercise.
     

    dreamlike

    Senior Member
    Polish
    inib said:
    I also think that the only reason for giving the option of 3 words upwards to 6 is that this instruction probably refers to more than one sentence in the exercise.


    You're right, the instruction refers to the whole task, it is not restricted to this particular sentence :)
     

    dreamlike

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Sorry for my tardniness in replying back, but I completely forgot about this thread! The correct answer was, of course, It made a change to learn something useful from the television last night, just as Ewie suggested in post #2.
     
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