The views and opinions expressed on this page and hereafter are those of the authors. The contents have not been reviewed or approved by San Jose State University.
TEST OF PRAGMATIC COMPETENCE OF AMERICAN ENGLISH FORM A
A Test of Pragmatic Competence of American English (PCAE) is designed to measure functional skills in American English. It is intended for use by intermediate through advanced students of English as a second language. The test measures the student's ability to recognize degree of formality, gender and age-related restrictions, appropriateness of answers to questions, depending on to whom and when he or she talks. In short, the PCAE measures the degree to which the student understands speaking rules, and the relation between linguistic form and function.
1. There are 28 problems in the test. For each problem, you will read about a situation or context. You can read each item as many times as you want until you fully understand the situation or context. When you understand the context, look at the four answer choices printed right below what you have just read. Choose the one response that would be the best answer (both GRAMMATICALLY & SOCIALLY) to the question or statement.
2. Each problem in the test has only one best answer (GRAMMATICALLY ACCURATE AS WELL AS SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE). In some items, the best answer may be NONE OF THE ABOVE. For each problem, make only one mark on your answer sheet. If you want to change an answer, please erase the old mark completely and darken your new answer.
3. If you do not know the answer to a problem, make a reasonable guess. There is no penalty for guessing. CORRECTION-FOR-GUESSING: Score = #Right - (#Wrong / #Option -1). Eg 19-(9/3)= 16
4. Use only #2 pencils.
5. Write only on your answer sheet.
6. Now, begin the test.
1. You are sitting in a room near a window. The window is closed.
An acquaintance, not a close friend, of the same age and sex as yourself
is sitting on the opposite side of the room. The room is becoming very
hot. The acquaintance wants you to open the window, saying:
A) Would you mind opening the window? It's getting awfully warm in here.
B) Excuse me, would you mind if opening the window?
C) Open the window, it is hot here.
D) Do you open the window, please?
50-item PCAE item#47 D57 p74. 40-item PCAE item#09 D44 p82
2. A 13-year-old boy, feeling a little upset, wants his older sister
to return a record he lent her the previous week. He will probably say
A) Sister, give me my record as soon as possible.
B) Where is my record that you borrowed from me previous week?
C) You must give me the record! When do you think to give me it?
D) Can I have my record back now? You've had it a week already!
50-item PCAE item#41 D51 p76. 40-item PCAE item#07 D39 p77
3. There is a lecture that seems to be very appealing to you. It
will be held in a city about 25 miles away from where you live. You want
to attend it, but you have no transportation. You become anxious the day
of the lecture. You telephone your best friend and ask:
A) Would you do me a favor to drive here and pick me up to a lecture right now?
B) Listen, I'm in trouble. I'd really like to go to a lecture. Will you pick up me right now?
C) I wonder if you could do me a big favor. I need a lift to _________. Could you possibly take me?
D) Hi, Mary. I am interested about a lecture which is 25 miles away from here. Would it be possible if you bring me there?
50-item item#06 D63 p69. 40-item item#11 D51 p75
4. Your friend has never been healthy. She does not like to exercise
because she gets tired very easily. You hear from her roommate that she
has not been feeling well recently; she even visited her doctor a few days
ago. Her doctor gave her some medicine to take and told her not to worry,
but she still believes that she is very sick. Now you meet her on the street.
She looks pale. You are sympathetic and tell or ask her:
A) You are still sick. You should go to the bed as early as possible you can.
B) You look pale, you should get more exercise.
C) How are you feeling? I hope you're feeling better.
D) I think you are too worried. It is said that most of sickness is from the spirit. We'll go hiking next Saturday. Why don't you join us?
50-items PCAE item#14 D57 p56. 40-items PCAE item#27 D47 p74
5. You are at the cash register in a supermarket. The change you
receive is for a five dollar bill rather than the twenty dollar bill you
gave the cashier. You want your correct change. You are upset but act calm
and reserved. You will probably say to the cashier, a woman in her early
A) Excuse me, but I gave you a twenty.
B) I think you have made a big mistake.
C) Could you make a correct change please?
D) Excuse me but I gave a $20 bill so I need more change.
50-item PCAE item#29 D51 p67. 40-item PCAE item#14 D50 p74
6. You were invited to a home of an American friend for dinner. The
food is served and you take some salad onto your plate and eat it. You
do not like the taste. In such a situation you will probably say or react
in the following way:
A) I don't really like the taste. It's too sour for me.
B) This taste is some kind of stranger. Is this popular salad?
C) I am sorry. I had much lunch, so I cannot have so much dinner.
D) [I'd leave the rest of the salad on the plate and not say anything.]
50-item PCAE item#19 D86 p61. 40-item PCAE item#21 D52 p73
7. Mary, a polite young American lady, is sitting in a waiting room
in a hospital next to an older business executive who is smoking in a non-smoking
area. There is a no smoking sign on the wall. She wants him to stop smoking.
Mary, feeling a little irritated and angry, would probably say to the gentleman:
A) Excuse me sir, do you read English (pointing to the sign). This is a no smoking area.
B) Excuse me, but here is a non-smoking area.
C) This is non-smoking area. If you smoke you must go out hospital.
D) Excuse me, but this is a non-smoking area.
50-item PCAE item#27 D60 p77. 40-item PCAE item#05 D60 p73
8. A patient sitting in the waiting room of a doctor's office realizes
that she must make an urgent telephone call. She approaches the doctor's
receptionist and asks to use the office telephone. She will probably say:
A) Excuse me. I just remembered something very important and I need to make a call right away. Could I use your telephone?
B) May I use your telephone? I just remember that I need to make an urgent phone call.
C) Excuse me, lady. Can I make a telephone call? It's very urgent!
D) NONE OF THE ABOVE
50-item PCAE item#44 D34 p67. 40-item PCAE item#13 D44 p71
9. George, a college student in a hurry, is getting on a city bus,
but he has to wait his turn in line to get a transfer on the bus. After
he waits nearly one minute, he finally reaches the bus driver and says
to him: (There are ten or so more people behind George waiting their turns.)
A) I'm sorry, I am not quite know about this area. Is this bus going to Army street?
B) Excuse me, sir. Could you start on time?
C) Transfer, please.
D) NONE OF THE ABOVE
50-item PCAE item#26 D63 p63. 40-item PCAE item#18 D50 p71
10. A girl scout is selling Girl Scout cookies. The girl says to
a middle-aged female shopper who has just come out of a supermarket:
A) Do you like to support us by buying some scout cookies?
B) Would you like to buy some Girl Scout cookies?
C) Ma'am, would you taste our cookies?
D) NONE OF THE ABOVE
50-item PCAE item#42 D63 p73. 40-item PCAE item#08 D65 p70
11. At a dinner party, you are seated right next to a young lady.
You, feeling a little helpless, want the roast beef to be passed to you
because you cannot reach it. You will probably say to her:
A) Would you mind to pass the roast beef to me, please?
B) Would you pass the roast beef, please?
C) Would you like to give me the roast beef, please?
D) NONE OF THE ABOVE
50-item PCAE item#02 D63 p67. 40-item PCAE item#15 D57 p69
12. The young president of a company is visiting the office of one
of his employees, and he wants to use the telephone there. The president
will probably say:
A) Excuse me, I must call. Where is the telephone?
B) I will use the phone in here for a moment.
C) Mind if I use your phone?
D) I must use the phone for a telephone call.
50-item PCAE item#45 D51 p67. 40-item PCAE item#12 D48 p68
13. You are invited to dinner by the family of your close friend.
When the dinner is ready, the mother of the family, who is cheerful and
has always been delighted to see you, puts her head around the corner and
calls to everyone, saying:
A) Dinner is ready, we can start now. I am glad to see you again and make yourself just like at home.
B) Could you please close your eyes?
C) Dinner's ready!
D) NONE OF THE ABOVE
50-item PCAE item#36 D71 p61. 40-item PCAE item#20 D63 p68
14. You are asked by your boss to run down and make some photocopies.
Your boss gave you the key to start the machine; you arrive at the copy
machine and insert the key. The machine says "ready," so you
put the original copy your boss handed you into the machine and press the
start button. The machine does not copy. You look around the room. You
then see a secretary sitting nearby from whom you might get some help.
You approach her and probably say:
A) Is this machine OK?
B) Excuse me for troubling you, but can you help me with the copier?
C) Excuse me, Could you help me copy because the copy machine seems to be out of order.
D) Hi! Lady. I don't know how to start the machine. I inserted the key to the machine, but it didn't start. Do you know how to start it?
50-item PCAE item#07 D74 p58. 40-item PCAE item#25 D56 p68
15. You are in a restaurant with your date. A waitress gives you
a dirty plate. You realize that she is very busy. You are relaxed but a
little upset about the dirty plate. You would call the waitress to your
table and probably say to her:
A) Please, would you notice this?
B) This plate is dirty. Would you mind changing another one?
C) Could you clean the dirty plate, please?
D) Excuse me, but this plate is dirty.
50-item PCAE item#35 D80 p61. 40-item PCAE item#24 D69 p63
16. Your neighbor always parks his car very close to the entrance
of your driveway. Sometimes another neighbor across the street from your
house parks his car in the street. Today you discover that the street is
full of cars and your next door neighbor, as usual, parked his car partly
blocking your driveway. There is no way you can get your car out of your
driveway. You are getting nervous because you are going to be late for
school. You knock on your neighbor's door and say:
A) Would you mind to move the car for me. I will be late for school.
B) Excuse me, your car is blocking my driveway and I am going to be late for school.
C) Excuse me. Your car is blocked the way of my way. Please move out your car immediately.
D) You're blocking my driveway. I have to leave right now. Move your car, please, at once.
50-item PCAE item#09 D37 p61. 40-item PCAE item#22 D49 p42
17. Your teacher, whom you know well, smokes and drinks too much.
Today you go out with him. You decide to tell him to stop smoking or smoke
less, because you have recently learned that smoking is extremely hazardous
to one's health. Your teacher finishes a drink and lights another cigarette.
Both you and your teacher are relaxed. You are concerned about his health.
So you tell him:
A) You had better stop or smoke less.
B) You shouldn't smoke so much; it's bad for you.
C) You smoke too much and drink. You'd better let yourself smoke less and also drink.
D) Do you know smoking and drinking is bad to your health. Why don't you stop smoking and drinking.
50-item PCAE item#12 D77 p56. 40-item PCAE item#28 D56 p60
18. You bought a videotape machine and started operating it in your
home. You thought you followed the directions properly, but you cannot
record anything. You become irritated. You find that the instructions are
too confusing, so you knock on the door of your housemate and then ask
him for help. You will probably say to him:
A) Do you know anything about VCR's? Could you take a look at mine and see what I'm doing wrong?
B) I'm sorry for interrupting, but are you familiar with operating videotape machine?
C) Can you help me to start this machine. It is a life that I'm trying to do it.
D) NONE OF THE ABOVE
50-item PCAE item#08 D66 p61. 40-item PCAE item#23 D56 p58
19. You have invited out to dinner a friend who has helped you move
into your new apartment. After you have finished a delicious meal, the
waiter brings the bill to you. You are about to pay the waiter. You look
through your wallet (or purse) and discover that you have no money and
left your credit cards at home. You are embarrassed and feel helpless.
To get out of this situation without giving your friend a bad impression,
you will probably say to your friend:
A) I'm really sorry to what had happened. I forgot that my wallet was in the other handbag. I thought I brought the right handbag.
B) I'm sorry. I don't have any money. I thought I had enough money in my wallet. Will you pay it instead of me?
C) I'm sorry I left my wallet at home. Would you pay the bill instead of me? I will pay back it as soon as I come home.
D) Did you bring any money? I left my wallet at home. I'll pay you back as soon as we get back.
50-item PCAE item#13 D80 p52. 40-item PCAE item#31 D79 p58
20. At a sandwich shop, a young man who is a regular customer is
buying a sandwich. He changes his order every day. He wants mayonnaise
but no tomato on his sandwich, so he will probably say:
A) Mayo, please, and hold the tomato.
B) You know what I want, don't you?
C) Please one sandwich but no with tomato.
D) Only mayonnaise and not tomato, please
50-item PCAE item#43 D83 p49. 40-item PCAE item#33 D80 p58
21. You buy some milk at your nearby grocery store. When you get
home you find that it is sour. You take it back to the store and speak
to the manager. You are angry but patient. You will probably say to the
A) I just bought this milk and it's sour.
B) I would like good milk, this is sour.
C) Sir, I am afraid that the milk has turned sour. Can I change it?
D) I would like to have another bottle of milk and you must take off and revise if there are more sour milk on the shelf.
50-item PCAE item#34 D77 p56. 40-item PCAE item#26 D56 p55
22. After a week of Easter vacation, you enter a college classroom
several minutes before class. Your teacher politely asks you, "How
was your vacation?" You respond:
A) That was great. How was yours?
B) Thank you. Very well. I was.
C) It was great.
D) I was enjoyed very much. Thank you.
50-item PCAE item#49 D23 p36. 40-item PCAE item#39 D79 p54
23. You have a very bad cold and look terribly pale. A friend who
knows you very well is concerned and worried about you and says to you:
A) You look terrible! What's wrong?
B) What happen to you? Are you OK?
C) What you look?
D) NONE OF THE ABOVE
50-item PCAE item#37 D51 p52. 40-item PCAE item#30 D50 p53
24. You want to see Ms. Brown who is the director of a language school,
but unfortunately she is not in her office when you visit her. The secretary
says to you that she does not know where Ms. Brown is. The secretary says
to you, "I'd leave a message if I were you." You respond:
A) Yes, please.
B) Thank you. Don't bother. I'd drop by later.
C) Yes, will you please take my message down for her?
D) Thank you, I will.
50-item PCAE item#30 D49 p63. 40-item PCAE item#17 D51 p53
25. One evening you are invited to a formal dinner by one of your
American friends. The host, Mrs. Jones, has prepared a nice meal. You see
liver, which you hate, on one of the plates. Mrs. Jones passes you the
plate of liver. But you do not want to hurt her feelings. (You are sensitive
and reserved.) You would probably say to Mrs. Jones:
A) Excuse me, but today I haven't thin, I would like.
B) Thank you, but liver doesn't agree with me.
C) Oh, sorry, I have an allergic of liver.
D) Thank you very much, but I am more interested in the other plates.
50-item PCAE item#28 D34 p39. 40-item PCAE item#37 D73 p50
26. You are in the living room busily dusting the furniture, and
your roommate is upstairs in the house. The telephone rings, and you pick
it up and say "Hello." The voice says, "Is your roommate
there?" You answer:
A) Yes, he is upstairs.
B) Yes, there is. Just a moment, please. He will come soon.
C) Yes. May I say who's calling?
D) NONE OF THE ABOVE
50-item PCAE item#32 D46 p48. 40-item PCAE item#35 D42 p46
27. On an airplane, a stewardess is addressing a passenger who happens
to be very noisy and disturbing other passengers. The stewardess, who is
calm but angry at the passenger, would probably say to the passenger:
A) Could you keep quiet?
B) Would you mind if you talk quietly please? Because some passenger can not sleep.
C) Please be quiet. There are not only you in the plane.
D) Sir, is there anything I can get you?
50-item PCAE item#40 D51 p39. 40-item PCAE item#36 D54 p38
28. You go to a lecture and start listening to the speaker. You find
that the speech is extremely interesting so you decide to take notes. You,
however, discover that you do not have a pen and paper with you. You look
around the room and see a gentleman sitting behind you who is taking notes
on his note pad. You want very much to take notes, so you ask him for a
pen and some paper, saying:
A) Can I have some paper and a pen?
B) Do you happen to have another pen and some paper?
C) Excuse me, would you mind if I lent your pen and some paper?
D) Excuse me. Do you have extra pen and paper? Can I borrow them?
50-item PCAE item#05 D66 p33. 40-item PCAE item#40 D45 p30
= END OF TEST =
KUDER-RICHARDSON RELIABILITY COEFFICIENT r (KR20): .64, (N: 162)
VALIDITY COEFFICIENTS: .44 with TOEFL, .50 with Farhady functional test
Copyright (c) 1989, 1999 by SHIMAZU & ASSOCIATES. firstname.lastname@example.org