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FCE (First Certificate)
Word Formation: Adjectives with -ful/-less

Most adjectives which end in -ful make the negative with -less. But, not all. Note also that we can make adverbs from these adjectives with -fully or -lessly. For example, carefully and carelessly. This is a list of key words which might appear in the FCE exam.


Look at the information in the table for 1-2 minutes and try to remember the words. Then click below to hide the information and try to answer the questions at the bottom.


The words in this table all use -ful and -less to make the adjectives.

NounVerbAdjective
carecarecareful/careless
harmharmharmful/harmless
helphelp(un)helpful/helpless
hopehopehopeful/hopeless
painpainpainful/painless
powerpowerpowerful/powerless
useuseuseful/useless
thoughtthinkthoughtful/thoughtless
tastetastetasteful/tasteless

The adjectives in this table take -ful or -less, but not both.

NounVerbAdjective
countcountcountless/countable
endendendless
home-homeless
peace-peaceful
playplayplayful
pricepricepriceless
successsucceed(un)successful
truth-(un)truthful/(un)true
worthworthworthless

Click here to show/hide this information



Write the correct adjective or adverb for each of these questions. You will need to use -ful/-less or -fully/-lessly. Some answers will also need un-.


  1. What a lovely present! That was very of you. (THINK)
  2. He drives really - one day he's going to have an accident. (CARE)
  3. He's told me times about how good he is at football. (COUNT)
  4. Because of his bad interview, he was in his job application. (SUCCEED)
  5. "I didn't eat your chocolate," she said , hiding the empty wrapper. (TRUE)
  6. It's . England will never win the World Cup football again. (HOPE)
  7. My best friend is a rich, lawyer. (POWER)
  8. You must remember to recharge your phone. Without its batteries, it's . (USE)
  9. Cigarettes are to your health. (HARM)
  10. The sales assistant was really and rude. (HELP)
  11. A newborn baby is completely . (HELP)
  12. "Don't worry - this injection will be completely . (PAIN)
  13. Thieves broke into the museum and stole a painting by Van Gogh. (PRICE)
  14. She's really rich, but her clothes are always very and elegant. (TASTE)
  15. I bought some shares in the company 5 years ago, but unfortunately now they are . (WORTH)
  16. His speech went on . I thought he'd never stop talking. (END)



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