11+ Words that Cannot be Made Illustration | Prohibited
Which words can be made, and which ones can't?

VR - Words that Cannot be Made from Larger Words

These are a fairly straightforward type of question that I've seen in a few 11+ papers for schools that don't take the regular style ones; there should be little problem for your child if they see them.

Words That Cannot be Made from Larger Words is very similar to Making Words from Larger Words, which we looked at in a previous article. It’s another way to test a child’s ability to do anagrams, but considerably easier!

How Are These Kind Of Questions Posed In The Exam?

Just as in Making Words from Larger Words, candidates are given a reasonably long word. This time, rather than being asked to use some of the letters from it to form new words, instead they are shown a list of words and asked which one or ones cannot be made from the given letters.

Let’s look at an example.

Example Question One


Which of the following words can NOT be made from the letters of the word POSITIONAL?

Postal Opal Notion Posit Pools Satin

There are a few tricks that are used to confuse candidates, but it all boils down to looking carefully. If you are steady and methodical it is impossible to get wrong!

The main thing to watch out for is the use of repetitious letters. If you've ever played Countdown, then you know that you can only use a letter the number of times it appears in the selection, therefore in our example we can use 'I' and 'O' twice because they are each in 'POSITIONAL' twice. Any other letter cannot be used more than once.

Secondly, there is no trick in the words and it doesn't matter whether or not you know their meanings.

Looking through the example words, 'posit' is very tricky and you would expect a child of ten or eleven to be baffled by it. Tell them that it doesn't matter, just look at the letters and see whether they appear in the large word. As they do, it's fine - as are all the other words with the exception of 'notion', purely because 'n' does not appear twice in 'POSITIONAL'.

Sample Tests

Concentration, alertness and a methodical approach are the key to answering these questions. The best way to get into the habit of looking at them systematically, is through practise. That’s why we have four quizzes in this formant on the Education Quizzes website.

You can find them in the Eleven Plus Verbal Reasoning section or, alternatively, you can follow these links directly to the quizzes:

Words that Cannot be Made 1

Words that Cannot be Made 2

Words that Cannot be Made 3

Words that Cannot be Made 4

Your child should find them very easy, but that can lead to carelessness from overconfidence. Have them try all forty questions, and encourage them to be methodical. Hopefully, they won’t fall into the trap of failure through sloppiness. Good luck!

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