Positive and negative expressions in First Certificate Listening Part One

To accompany FCE Examination Papers with Answers 4 (CUP 2010) Test 1

Without looking below, underline positive and negative expressions in the transcript, putting a plus sign (+) above positive expressions and a minus sign (-) above negative expressions. If a positive expression is part of a larger negative point or vice versa, underline the larger point. For example, if the positive expression “life and soul of the party” is part of “not exactly what you would call life and soul of the party”, underline that longer expressions and add a minus sign. If a positive or negative expression is part of a longer clause or sentence with the same connotation, underline the shortest part that makes the connotation clear. For example, if the expression is “He had a ceaselessly untiring attitude to his studies”, you can just underline “untiring”.


Are these expressions positive or negative?

Question 1

to surprise her friends

spend time with her son

keep an eye on

You might well ask what… was doing…


get rid of

on a one-to-one basis

be with them

give them lots of attention

get on

fighting each other

not exactly the right atmosphere for a nice, relaxing break

Question 2




hard work

leave me with little energy for other things

I was surprised how interesting it was

there is so much to learn

you hear quite scary stories

getting things wrong

patients complaining

tough bosses

you don’t worry about things like that

you just get on with the job

Question 3

generally rather disappointing

surprisingly detailed

relies too heavily on…

we’ve been eagerly awaiting…

it hasn’t disappointed

Intrigued by…

a fascinating mix of…



My only reservation concerns…


… to say the least

as much as I…

… would have been welcome

Question 4


natural talent

take running more seriously

there was no one anywhere near them when they were crossing the finishing line

isn’t complaining

came away with

a bronze medal

putting her athletics higher up her list of priorities

Question 5

She regretted that…

so short



I didn’t feel comfortable

so small


we had lots of opportunities


I enjoyed most

get away from

that wasn’t a problem

Question 6


concentrate on



modest pay

high salary

fewer prospects

be lucky enough to

given the opportunity to


Question 7


vivid imagination


Question 8

left it a bit late

get on with sorting out…


make sure we don’t clash


all right

free to take part


PDF version for easy saving and printing: positive and negative expressions in FCE Listening Part One

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