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TOEIC Grammar Guide – Word Families


How well you understand many kinds of grammar are tested. Your knowledge of vocabulary is also tested. For this section, the correct answer may be a noun, verb, adjective, or adverb. The correct choice may also depend on its form. Should it be singular or plural? Is it the right tense for the sentence? Should it be comparative or superlative? These are some things to think about. Finally, does the choice you pick make sense? Read through the sentence with your answer.

Learning Hint:

With word families, the possible answers are four forms of the SAME word. Memorize common noun forms, adjectives, adverbs, and verb forms.

Word Forms

Word families tests how well you know the various types of words that can be made from one word. A word can go from noun to verb to adjective to adverb by changing the ending of the word.


Finale (noun, thing) -> finalist (noun, person) -> finalize (verb) -> final (adjective) -> finally (adverb)

Remember the common word endings used to make the different kinds of words:

Noun   Verb Adjective   Adverb
-ance   -en -able   -ly
-ancy   -ify -ible   -ward
-ence   -ize -al   -wise
-ation   -ful  
-ian -ish    
-ism   -ive  
-ment   -ous  

Typical Question Examples Found in Word Families

1) The manager read the report _____.

(A)     careful

(B)     carefully

(C)     care

(D)     caring

The correct answer is (B). An adverb is needed to complete the sentence. Carefully is the only adverb. Adverbs modify verbs. How did the manager read the report? He read it carefully. Answer (A) is an adjective. Answer (C) and (D) are verb forms.

2) The procedure was _____ properly to the new employee.

(A)    explain

(B)    explanation

(C)    explanatory

(D)     explained

The correct answer is (D). There is no main verb in this sentence. Was is only acting as a helping verb. The correct verb form must have a past tense form to agree with was. Only explained is both a main verb and in the past tense. Answer (A) is the present tense verb form. Answer (B) is a noun. Answer (C) is an adjective.

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