FCE Home
  Use of English Writing Listening Reading Speaking  

Read the text carefully and then answer the questions opposite.


Answer sheet

Some cities are located by chance. A waggon breaks down, the driver spends some time in repairs, finds that he is in a congenial spot, and settles down. Later another person builds a house near his, and later someone adds an inn. Someone else starts selling farm produce there. Soon there is a little market, which grows to a town, and later to a city.

Other places were destined by nature to become cities. London, for example, is on what is called the head of navigation - the point where it becomes too difficult for ocean-going ships to continue upriver, and must transfer their cargoes. As with London, the head of navigation is also the point where the river can be conveniently bridged. In fact, the location of a bridge is often the reason for the birth of a town - as Cambridge or Weybridge in England show. Again, a good harbour will generally lead to a city growing up about it. New York and San Francisco began life as ports, as did Cape Town in south Africa.

Some places were created mainly for military purposes, such as Milan, and the host of English cities finishing with - cester, which is derived from castra which means camp in Latin. Chester itself, created to guard the Welsh border is a very good example. Other such military bases are Manchester, Doncaster, and of course, Newcastle.

A few cites are not created by accident, but by intention. This was the case with Milton Keynes in England, but the most famous examples of such cities are capitals. Brasilia, Canberra and Washington are capitals created in modern times, but even their greatest admirers will admit that they lack a certain character. It is no co-incidence that there are famous pop songs about New York, ("New York, New York") Chicago ("My kind of Town") San Francisco (Going to San Francisco") and many other US cities, but none about the nation's capital. On the other hand any Londoner can give you at least three songs about the place.

  1. This article is about
      a. why capital cities are created
      b. places where cities might begin
      c. urban life
      d. why some city sites are chosen
  2. London owes its origin to
      a. a river
      b. a bridge
      c. an army camp
      d. because ships could sail there
  3. The writer feels that
      a. cities are created by chance
      b. planned cities lack soul
      c. that no-one can tell why a city will develop
      d. some cities were planned by generals
  4. Which is NOT given as a reason for a new city?
      a. wars
      b. random events
      c. trade
      d. politics
  5. "Congenial" in the first paragraph means
      a. on the coast
      b. on a river
      c. near an army camp
      d. none of these
  6. The article suggests that English cities of military origin
      a. can be found from their locations
      b. can be found from their names
      c. are more common than other cities
      d. always end with end with -cester
  7. There are no songs about Washington because
      a. the city has little character
      b. it is too modern
      c. it is the national capital
      d. songwriters don't like politics.
  8. This article is mainly about
      a. geography
      b. history
      c. music
      d. rivers

2006 Biscuit Software