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  1. #1
    dilodi83 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Errors in Cambridge solutions?

    Dear teachers, today I have done a test by Cambridge University to check my level of English. I made wrong 9 sentences out of 141 but actually I'm not sure the answers Cambridge gives are correct.
    I'd like to know what you think about some of these sentences to see if my answers are totally wrong or if they can be accepted by an English teacher or a native speaker.

    1) They................out after lunch and they've just come back.
    went-have gone-are gone
    I chose have gone because we cannot consider the first part of this sentence over and, especially I think that if in the second part of the sentence they write a present perfect, there should be the same tense in the first part too. But Cambridge says that went is the only one correct.

    2) Ian................. in Scotland for ten years. Now he lives in London.
    lived-has lived- has been living
    I chose has lived because it's what is called a duration form but since the action of living is over without specifying when, I think the present perfect simple is the most suitable tense to use here. Cambridge says that only lived is correct.

    3) I think all drivers .....................seat belts
    should wear-had better wear-had better to wear
    I think the correct one is had better wear. But they say should wear is the correct one. Actually I cannot catch the difference in these two alternatives...I think they're both a suggestion...

    4) It's late. It's time...............home.
    we go- we went-we should go
    I chose we go because the sentence is constructed with the present tense, but Cambridge says that we went is the correct one.

    5) I like.................the kitchen as often as possible.
    cleaning- to clean
    I think cleaning is correct. Of course, Cambridge says that to clean is the correct one, How come?

    6) I'm sure you'll have no..............the exam.
    difficulty to pass- difficulties to pass- difficultis passing - difficulty passing
    I thought difficulty to pass was correct, then I checked the answer out and it says that the correct one is difficulty passing. Could you tell me why?

    7) I don't understand this sentence. Can you................?
    explain me this word- explain this word to me
    I think they're both correct but Cambridge says that only the secon one is correct. What do you think about that?

  2. #2
    bhaisahab's Avatar
    bhaisahab is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Errors in Cambridge solutions?

    Quote Originally Posted by dilodi83 View Post
    Dear teachers, today I have done a test by Cambridge University to check my level of English. I made wrong 9 sentences out of 141 but actually I'm not sure the answers Cambridge gives are correct.
    I'd like to know what you think about some of these sentences to see if my answers are totally wrong or if they can be accepted by an English teacher or a native speaker.

    1) They................out after lunch and they've just come back.
    went-have gone-are gone
    I chose have gone because we cannot consider the first part of this sentence over and, especially I think that if in the second part of the sentence they write a present perfect, there should be the same tense in the first part too. But Cambridge says that went is the only one correct. As they have just come back, the going out after lunch is finished, therefore "went" is correct.

    2) Ian................. in Scotland for ten years. Now he lives in London.
    lived-has lived- has been living
    I chose has lived because it's what is called a duration form but since the action of living is over without specifying when, I think the present perfect simple is the most suitable tense to use here. Cambridge says that only lived is correct. Ian lives in London, his living in Scotland is in the past, "lived" is correct.

    3) I think all drivers .....................seat belts
    should wear-had better wear-had better to wear
    I think the correct one is had better wear. But they say should wear is the correct one. Actually I cannot catch the difference in these two alternatives...I think they're both a suggestion... "Should" is the natural response.

    4) It's late. It's time...............home.
    we go- we went-we should go
    I chose we go because the sentence is constructed with the present tense, but Cambridge says that we went is the correct one. "We went" is the natural response.

    5) I like.................the kitchen as often as possible.
    cleaning- to clean
    I think cleaning is correct. Of course, Cambridge says that to clean is the correct one, How come? "to clean" is the most natural response.

    6) I'm sure you'll have no..............the exam.
    difficulty to pass- difficulties to pass- difficultis passing - difficulty passing
    I thought difficulty to pass was correct, then I checked the answer out and it says that the correct one is difficulty passing. Could you tell me why? "difficulty passing is the most natural response.

    7) I don't understand this sentence. Can you................?
    explain me this word- explain this word to me
    I think they're both correct but Cambridge says that only the secon one is correct. What do you think about that? "explain me this word" is ungrammatical, only the second option is correct.
    Bhai.

  3. #3
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: Errors in Cambridge solutions?

    I agree with bhaisahab's responses. I have just added a couple of thoughts:
    1) They................out after lunch and they've just come back.
    It is possible to imagine contexts in which the present perfect is acceptable, but they are fairly unusual. The past simple is the one we would normally expect here.
    5) I like.................the kitchen as often as possible.
    'Cleaning' is possible if you are talking about something you enjoy doing. 'As often as possible' strongly suggests that you are talking about a choice or habit; we normally use the to-infinitive here.

    The problem with multiple-choice questions of this type is that it is sometimes possible to make out a case for one or more of the forms that the writer of the test finds unacceptable. You'll just have to accept that this happens. The examiners are looking for what most native speakers would naturally use, in the limited context they are able to give.

  4. #4
    dilodi83 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Errors in Cambridge solutions?

    I would like to put a few questions more to you because I do not understand some things about some sentences I've posted...

    2) Ian................. in Scotland for ten years. Now he lives in London.
    lived-has lived- has been living
    I chose has lived because it's what is called a duration form but since the action of living is over without specifying when, I think the present perfect simple is the most suitable tense to use here. Cambridge says that only lived is correct. Ian lives in London, his living in Scotland is in the past, "lived" is correct.

    4) It's late. It's time...............home.
    we go- we went-we should go
    I chose we go because the sentence is constructed with the present tense, but Cambridge says that we went is the correct one. "We went" is the natural response.

    6) I'm sure you'll have no..............the exam.
    difficulty to pass- difficulties to pass- difficultis passing - difficulty passing
    I thought difficulty to pass was correct, then I checked the answer out and it says that the correct one is difficulty passing. Could you tell me why? "difficulty passing is the most natural response.


    In 2, if the sentence had had the present perfect progressive it would have meant that Ian is still living in Scotland, but since we have the present perfect simple it should mean that he does not live there anymore. Now, why is the present perfect wrong and why the simple past is the one more suitable?

    In 4, why to write a past simple if the sentence is formed with a present simple at the beginning? What's the grammatical rule on the basis of which we have to use the simple past in this case even though the tenses coming before are all present?

    In 6, just a simple question: is the expression "to have (no) difficulty= always followed by a verb put at the -ing form? Is there a grammatical rule about that?

    Thank you very much for you explanation.

  5. #5
    bhaisahab's Avatar
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    Default Re: Errors in Cambridge solutions?

    Quote Originally Posted by dilodi83 View Post
    I would like to put a few questions more to you because I do not understand some things about some sentences I've posted...

    2) Ian................. in Scotland for ten years. Now he lives in London.
    lived-has lived- has been living
    I chose has lived because it's what is called a duration form but since the action of living is over without specifying when, I think the present perfect simple is the most suitable tense to use here. Cambridge says that only lived is correct. Ian lives in London, his living in Scotland is in the past, "lived" is correct.

    4) It's late. It's time...............home.
    we go- we went-we should go
    I chose we go because the sentence is constructed with the present tense, but Cambridge says that we went is the correct one. "We went" is the natural response.

    6) I'm sure you'll have no..............the exam.
    difficulty to pass- difficulties to pass- difficultis passing - difficulty passing
    I thought difficulty to pass was correct, then I checked the answer out and it says that the correct one is difficulty passing. Could you tell me why? "difficulty passing is the most natural response.


    In 2, if the sentence had had the present perfect progressive it would have meant that Ian is still living in Scotland, but since we have the present perfect simple it should mean that he does not live there anymore. Now, why is the present perfect wrong and why the simple past is the one more suitable?

    In 4, why to write a past simple if the sentence is formed with a present simple at the beginning? What's the grammatical rule on the basis of which we have to use the simple past in this case even though the tenses coming before are all present?

    In 6, just a simple question: is the expression "to have (no) difficulty= always followed by a verb put at the -ing form? Is there a grammatical rule about that?

    Thank you very much for you explanation.
    Did you read 5jj's post?

  6. #6
    dilodi83 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Errors in Cambridge solutions?

    Yes of course I read his post but he did not comment on the sentences I have asked some questions about...
    I was only wondering if there are grammatical rules to justify your answers or if they are just the most natural that came up in your mind...I didn't mean to contradict your answers because I'm not a native speaker, but I'm asking for an explanation based on grammatical rules, if there are any, to understand them (2-4-6) better. That's it...
    Last edited by dilodi83; 18-Nov-2011 at 20:31. Reason: something was missing

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Errors in Cambridge solutions?

    Language does not operate according to rules made by grammarians. The 'rules' are an attempt to describe what normally happens in writing and, to a lesser extent, in speech.

    I looked at #2.

    For #4, bhai told you the natural response. It's the natural response because - it's the natural response! It just happens that when we use the words it's time followed by a subject and verb, we use a past tense form of the verb. 'It's time we go' is something very few native speakers would say because it is not natural. Attempts have been made to explain why we do this; it's simpler just to accept that this is idiomatic usage.

    The simplest answer to #6 is , as bhai said, "'difficulty passing' is the most natural response".

    English is like any other natural language - the more you learn about it, the more you realise that the 'rules' are merely helpful guidelines. It is simply not possible to find logical explanations for everything we say and do. Even those languages which have an 'academy' to watch over standards cannot find logical explanations for every decree they issue. I am afraid you'll just have to accept that, sometimes, the answer to a question about why we say something is simply, "because we do".



  8. #8
    dilodi83 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Errors in Cambridge solutions?

    Thanks so much...It is a very good answer.

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