Student or Learner
This one comes from Vince - Advanced Language Practice
3. Both options make sense. Underline the one which forms a common collocation.
Last week well over a thousand people (1) took place in/took part in our local round-the-city 10-kilometre fun run. This kind of race doesn't normally (2) appeal to me/amuse me ,as, frankly, I'm not really (3) cut out for/right for long distance running. But I've got two friends who are dead keen runners and who keep going on about the (4) beneficial/positive effects of running. So I decided to run, partly for that reason and partly to (5) earn/raise money for charity. Friends and colleagues agreed to (6) sponsor/support me, and pay for each mile I completed. Well, I hadn't done so much training for the big event, and after two kilometers I was (7) gasping/panting for breath, so I settled down to a slow jog and resigned myself to plodding along with the (8) strugglers/stragglers at the back of the race. At least I finished, and was very pleased with myself, as I didn't need to stop. I timed myself with a stop-watch, and reckon I (9) crossed/arrived at the finishing line in 43minutes - not bad for a novie. The heat proved too much for a few people who'd gone off too fast for their capabilities and ended up (10 suffering from/showing exhaustion. Apparently, the course was very fast, and both my friends ran a (11) personal best/personal record. The winners (12) surpassed/broke the course record. The organisation was first class, with medical volunteers (13) on duty/standby, drinks (14) stops/stations every few kilometers of the route.
Here are my questions to the parts in blue:
a) in 2) the key says "appeal to me" but I don't know why... to my - "amuse me" suits fine here...
b) what's the difference between "beneficial" and "positive" in 4) ?
c) in 9) the key says "crossed" and I don't know why
d) in 11) the key says "personal" and I don't know why
e) in 13) the key says "standby" and I don't know why
f) in 14) the key says "stations" and I don't know why
I will start off by stating what may or may not be obvious but is nevertheless the root of the issue: these are collocations! Basically a group of speakers has agreed upon these combinations of words and put them into common practice. It doesn't mean the other options are wrong, it's just that it is likely their use would sound odd to a native speaker. Unfortunately, collocations are also often regional or dialectal, so what you are learning here may not sound natural to a native speaker in another part of the world!
With the exception of #1 ( "amuse" would be strange anyway because taking part in a run is not usually amusing, as in "entertaining") the rest are like math formulae you just have to memorize. Try using the combinations in your own speech as often as you can to help them stick! These kinds of exercises test a type of fluency that can be studied in books