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Proficiency English: Use of English - Book 3


by W.S. Fowler .. Proficiency English is a four book course which expands the students' knowledge of English and helps them to progress from competence to fluency in English. The material in the books has been thoroughly tested and its use has produced a very high pass rate in the new examination.


Book 3 of this series covering the Proficiency Examination is aimed at helping students to recognise modern English usage, and to use the language correctly themselves. With the aid of passages taken from a variety of sources, the book gives training in all the formal skills required for Paper 3 of the examination, and reinforces much of the teaching in Book 1 (Language and Composition). As well as regular progress tests and four test papers at examination level, it includes an appendix of the most common English verbs taking prepositions.

The Use of English is a paper in the  Proficiency examination that sometimes seems to be an enigma for students; they do not know what it is likely to consist of and if they look at previous examination papers the questions are certain to show considerable variation. In practice, however, it is not so much a mystery as it may appear to be. Students who have learnt to use English correctly in a variety of situations and circumstances have no difficulty in dealing with it because they are simply putting into practice what they already know.


This book is an attempt to help you use English and recognise how it is used. I use the word 'recognise' deliberately because many students have the idea that preparation for a paper of this kind is a matter of learning a large number of tricks - memorising long lists of phrasal verbs and idioms, for example. In fact, the paper is closely connected with those already covered in the first two books of Proficiency English, Language and Composition and Reading Comprehension. If you read enough modern English in the right way and put your knowledge into practice in speaking and writing, you should automatically recognise the forms of the language and get used to paraphrasing sentences, so that you can express the same sense in two or more different ways.


I have therefore divided this book into four sections. The first two in particular are aimed at developing the skills I have referred to. Section One - English in Use - gives you examples of modern English writing. By studying these closely you will' be able to deal with the exercises that follow, all of which, on the pattern of the Cambridge examination, ask you to explain what you have read and recognise how the sentences are put together (A); to rephrase what has been said in the passage, either by starting the sentence in a different way or by using a different word which often involves a different construction (C and D); to use the powers of recognition you are developing to complete an extract from the original passage without referring to it by filling in a number of missing words (E or F).

It is important for you to realise that in many cases more than one answer is correct. You should always ask your teacher whether answers which seem natural to you are acceptable; if they are not, there is normally a structural or grammatical reason for it, and you may be translating from your own language without realising it, instead of remembering an English expression you have seen or heard.
One additional skill which must be developed for the examination is included in this first section-summary, which may not be familiar to you in your own language. Here, I advise you to read my suggestions in Lesson 1 (pp 12-14) and refer back to them whenever you have to do a summary until you are confident that you have mastered the technique.

The second section of the book, Using English in Special Circumstances, gives you examples of the kind of English commonly used nowadays in, for example, writing letters to the Editor of a news¬paper, making speeches, drawing up a programme of events, writing short newspaper items, etc. Here, once again, recognition of the way such things are written is what you should concentrate on. This is far more important than the content of the passages themselves. For this practice to be useful to you in the examination and in the much wider context of using English outside the classroom, you must begin to 'feel' what is acceptable English in an appropriate context, not try to learn a number of tricks.

The remaining sections of the book give you an opportunity to test what you have learnt. The third, Progress Tests, is really intended to be used in conjunction with Proficiency English: Book 1, Language and Composition, since it acts as a check on your knowledge of the structures presented there. It is nevertheless a valid, though rather more difficult, test of your knowledge if you have not studied that book. The final section, Test Papers in the Use of English, provides you with tests equivalent to the level of the Cambridge Proficiency examination which you can attempt just before the examination itself.

In brief, this book will help you to pass the examination, but that is not its main purpose. Its main purpose is to help you to understand and use modern English yourself in a variety of circumstances, first by recognising and then by practising the different ways in which English people express themselves and use their language today.

Proficiency English - Proficiency English Series

Proficiency English: Language and Composition - Book 1

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Proficiency English: Reading Comprehension - Book 2

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Proficiency English: Use of English - Book 3

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Proficiency English: Listening Comprehension - Book 4

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Proficiency English: Interview - Book 5

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