B2 First: 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 B2 First (FCE) exam.

Look at the information in the table for a few 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.

care care careful /careless
harm harm harmful / harmless
help help (un)helpful / helpless
hope hope hopeful / hopeless
pain pain painful/  painless
power power powerful / powerless
use use useful / useless
thought think thoughtful / thoughtless
taste taste tasteful / tasteless

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

count count countless / countable
end end endless
home - homeless
peace - peaceful
play play playful
price price priceless
success succeed (un)successful
truth - (un)truthful / (un)true
worth worth worthless

Note: other word forms do exist for these (for example, homely (adjective), meaning comfortable or unattractive, or to home (verb) meaning to provide someone with a home). However I have tried to give the most common or useful forms here, which might help in the exam.

Practice: word formation (use of English part 3)

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)

Practice 2: more word formation

  1. Cigarettes are to your health. (HARM)
  2. The sales assistant was really and rude. (HELP)
  3. A newborn baby is completely . (HELP)
  4. "Don't worry - this injection will be completely . (PAIN)
  5. Thieves broke into the museum and stole a painting by Van Gogh. (PRICE)
  6. She's really rich, but her clothes are always very and elegant. (TASTE)
  7. I bought some shares in the company 5 years ago, but unfortunately now they are . (WORTH)
  8. His speech went on . I thought he'd never stop talking. (END)