Sentence Transformation Exercises for ESL Students

Taking a test
DNY59/Getty Images

Sentence transformation exercises are a great way to expand your English language skills. The ability to rewrite sentences so that they have the same meaning as the original is often required for ESL and EFL exams such as Cambridge's First Certificate, CAE, and Proficiency. Knowing how to rewrite sentences effectively also will help you prepare for the TOEFL examination (Test of English as a Foreign Language).

 

Transforming Sentences

The beauty of the English language lies in sentence construction. By choosing your words carefully, you can write two different sentences that mean the same thing. Consider these two sentences:

I've lived here since 2002.

I moved here in 2002.

The subject (I) is the same in each sentence, while the verbs (lived, moved) are different. But they both express the same idea.

Test Yourself

Ready to put your skills to the test? Rewrite the second sentence so that it has a similar meaning to the first. Use no more than five words. See answer key at the bottom of the page.

This will be my student's first performance in Canada.
This will be the first time ____________

This course will take us six months to complete.
In six months time ____________

There will be someone to meet you on arrival.
When ____________

The number of people who understand his ideas exceed his expectations.
More people ____________

The money didn't arrive for a month.
It was ____________

The last time I saw him was in 2001.
I haven't ____________

She'll have to make her presentation at the end of his speech.
The moment he ____________

Sharon will finish her exams. Then she will have more free time.
Once ____________

Quite a few DVDs are missing from the shelves.


Several people ____________

Peter wasn't always so moody.
Peter didn't ____________

Quiz Answers

This will be my student's first performance in Canada.
This will be the first time my student has performed in Canada.

This course will take us six months to complete.
In six months time, we will have completed this course.

There will be someone to meet you on arrival.​
When you arrive someone will be there.

The number of people who understand his ideas exceeds his expectations.
More people understand him than he expects.

The money didn't arrive for a month.
It was a month before the money arrived.

The last time I saw him was in 2001.
I haven't seen him since 2001.

She'll have to make her presentation at the end of his speech.
The moment he finishes she'll have to make her presentation.

Sharon will finish her exams. Then she will have more free time.
Once Sharon has finished her exams she will have more free time.

Quite a few DVDs are missing from the shelves.
Several people have not returned (their) DVDs.

Peter wasn't always so moody.
Peter didn't use to be so moody.

Format
mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Beare, Kenneth. "Sentence Transformation Exercises for ESL Students." ThoughtCo, Apr. 2, 2018, thoughtco.com/advanced-level-sentence-transformations-1209969. Beare, Kenneth. (2018, April 2). Sentence Transformation Exercises for ESL Students. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/advanced-level-sentence-transformations-1209969 Beare, Kenneth. "Sentence Transformation Exercises for ESL Students." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/advanced-level-sentence-transformations-1209969 (accessed May 22, 2018).