For students who are almost fluent…
Advanced level students can understand native English speakers, even when they are not being directly included in the conversation. They can talk about complex subjects and can read specialist literature which includes modern terminology. They will begin to read newspapers with ease, and will be able to give detailed descriptions of what they have read. They can also write personal letters, business papers and speeches fluently, with few or no errors. Students at the top of this level will be able to take the CAE (Cambridge Advanced English) exam.
C1 – Advanced Level Grammar to cover:
- Prefixes and suffixes. For example: dislike, likeable, unlikeable.
- Compound nouns. For example: tooth + paste = toothpaste.
- Ellipses and substitutions (words you can leave out or replace with something else). For example: This ‘one’ is bigger. ‘One’ represents another noun so it’s a substitution. Sometimes you leave words out completely because the meaning is clear. For example:This ‘one’ (thing) is bigger (than the other thing).
- Question tags. For example: You like that, don’t you?
- Active and State (stative) verbs (actions and conditions). For example: She bought (active) a motorbike and also owns (stative) a car.
- Future perfect continuous tense: For example: I will have been working.
- Detailed rules on phrasal verbs. Phrasal verbs consist of a verb and a particle, that together make a new meaning. For example: To get on with someone, to put up with something.
C1 – Advanced Level Vocabulary includes:
- General idioms. An idiom is a phrase that has a meaning quite different from the individual words within it. For example, students may understand all the words: it + is + a + pain + in + the + neck, but they won’t get the point unless they find out what the whole expression means. I will shortly be adding a page on IDIOMS…… watch this space.
- Newspaper headlines. There are a number of words that are favourites for the News but are hardly used elsewhere, e.g: Minister Rapped After Expenses Probe. Journalists also like to be very playful with the language.
- Words with different connotations, e.g. Old and elderly, have basically the same meaning. However, elderly is more polite than old when referring to people, so the connotation (attitude behind the word) is different.
- Metaphors and similes. You use metaphors when you say that one thing is another because they’re somehow similar. There was a storm of protest. Storm is a word that describes violent weather conditions but here it means a violent outburst.
Reading a lot is a great help to advanced level students of English, and if possible, they should try watching BBC television (without the subtitles) which will give them English in several different accents. There are also many free resources for advanced level students to be found at the BBC Learning English site: Lessons, exercises, videos, podcasts and much, much more.