While preparing for CAE, I've stumbled upon this Transformation task. I had to rewrite the second sentence so that it has the same meaning as the first one, keeping the word in caps unchanged and using it.

57 These areas of the brain are used in recognising facial expressions. (ALLOW)

These areas of the brain ______ facial expressions.

My answer was "These areas of the brain allow for recognition of facial expressions.", but my teacher told me that it's incorrect. An example of this construction can be found in the Cambridge Dictionary:

Does your insurance allow for home nursing care?

While I believe that my teacher is not incompetent and that my answer was likely actually wrong, my teacher couldn't explain the problem. So, here I am, asking:

Was using the "allow for" construction incorrect here? If so, why? What should the correct answer be?


Your answer seems fine to me.

These areas of the brain allow for recognition of facial expressions.

Strictly speaking "allow for" means to permit something, rather than enable it. Perhaps this is why your teacher felt it was wrong, because these parts of the brain actually perform the recognition rather than just allow it?

If so, you could express it this way:

These areas of the brain allow us to recognise facial expressions.

This treats our brain and "us" separately - the brain is doing the work to allow us to recognise facial expressions.

Having said that, "allow for" is sometimes used idiomatically to mean "enable". After all, your brain only recognises facial expressions when presented with one - it isn't recognising faces all the time. It is a possibility, so as a native English speaker I am perfectly happy with your answer, but it is your teacher you have to make happy!

Other ways you could have expressed the same thing, using the word "allow" as instructed:

These areas of the brain allow for the recognition of facial expressions.

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