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English Language Levels and Explanations

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) is a widely recognized framework used to assess and describe an individual’s language proficiency in various languages, including English. It is divided into several levels, each with specific descriptors that explain the skills and competencies expected at that level. Here we gathered the CEFR English levels along with their explanations.

What are CEFR English Levels?

CEFR English levels are a common framework used not only for English but for various other languages as well. The CEFR consists of six main levels, each with its own descriptors and explanations, ranging from A1 (Beginner) to C2 (Proficiency).

CEFR A1 – Beginner

At this level, individuals are just starting to learn English. They can understand and use basic everyday expressions, introduce themselves, and ask and answer simple questions about personal details.

What You Need to Know About A1 Level English

A1 is the beginner level in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) and represents the most basic stage of language proficiency. Here’s what you need to know about A1 level English:

Basic Vocabulary: At the A1 level, you’ll have a very limited vocabulary. You can handle simple, everyday situations and use familiar words and phrases. Common words like greetings, numbers, and basic nouns will be part of your vocabulary.

Basic Grammar: Your understanding of English grammar will be quite elementary. You’ll be able to construct simple sentences using present tense verbs. You’ll use basic question forms and simple affirmative and negative sentences.

Everyday Communication: A1-level English is focused on practical, everyday communication. You’ll be able to introduce yourself, ask simple questions about personal information (name, age, and where someone lives), and provide basic information about yourself.

Listening and Speaking: You can understand and respond to simple, straightforward spoken language, especially when it’s slow and clear. You may need people to speak slowly and use basic vocabulary for you to understand effectively.

Reading and Writing: In terms of reading, you can understand very basic texts and signs with common words. Your writing will be basic as well, consisting of short sentences or phrases.

Limited Fluency: At this level, your fluency will be quite limited. You may struggle with more complex language and abstract concepts. Your conversations will be simple, and you’ll rely on repetition and basic phrases.

Everyday Situations: A1-level English is useful for very basic, practical situations. You can manage simple tasks like ordering food at a restaurant, asking for directions, or greeting people.

Common Phrases: You’ll be comfortable with common phrases like “Hello,” “How are you?” “My name is…” “Where are you from?” and “Thank you.”

Language Goals: If you’re at the A1 level, your main goals will include improving your basic vocabulary, enhancing your understanding of everyday situations, and becoming more comfortable with common greetings and questions.

Language Learning: This level is typically where beginners start their language learning journey. It’s essential to build a strong foundation in vocabulary, pronunciation, and basic grammar rules before progressing to more advanced levels.

What You Can Do At A1 Level

At the A1 level of English proficiency, learners typically have basic communication skills and can handle simple everyday situations. Here are some of the things you can generally do at the A1 level:

Greetings and Introductions: You can greet people and introduce yourself. You can say “Hello,” “Hi,” or “Good morning,” and provide your name when meeting someone new.

Basic Personal Information: You can share basic personal information such as your name, age, and where you’re from. You can also ask others for similar information.

Simple Conversations: You can engage in very basic conversations about everyday topics. For example, you can ask how someone is feeling and respond to the question, typically using short phrases.

Numbers and Counting: You are comfortable with numbers, allowing you to count, give your age, tell time, and talk about quantities.

Common Questions: You can ask and answer simple questions like “What’s your name?” “Where are you from?” “How old are you?” and “Where do you live?”

Directions and Locations: You can understand and give basic directions and talk about where things are located, such as “left,” “right,” “in front of,” and “behind.”

CEFR Level A2 Pre-intermediate

At the elementary level, learners can handle simple, everyday situations. They can communicate about topics like family, hobbies, and work, and understand more than just basic greetings.

What You Need to Know About A2 Level English

A2 is the next step in your English language journey, building upon the foundational A1 level. At A2, you’ll find yourself more capable in various language skills. Here’s what you should be aware of:

Expanding Vocabulary: You’ll continue to grow your vocabulary, which allows you to discuss a wider range of topics. You’ll become more comfortable with everyday words and phrases.

Basic Grammar: While grammar remains relatively simple, you’ll start to grasp past tenses and more complex sentence structures. You’ll also use basic connectors to link ideas in your speech and writing.

Improved Communication: A2 level enables you to communicate more effectively in everyday situations. You’ll find it easier to hold conversations about your daily activities, hobbies, and preferences.

Asking Questions: You’ll become proficient at asking and answering questions, not only about personal details but also about more general topics, like your favorite movies, food, and places to visit.

Writing Skills: Your writing skills will improve as you can now write simple texts like emails or postcards. You can express your ideas in writing more coherently.

Listening and Speaking: Your listening skills are enhanced, allowing you to understand common phrases and instructions more easily. Speaking will become more fluent, although you might still need some support to follow complex discussions.

What You Can Do At A2 Level

At the A2 level of English proficiency, learners have progressed beyond the absolute beginner stage and can handle a wider range of everyday situations. Here are some of the things you can generally do at the A2 level:

Everyday Conversations: You can engage in basic conversations about familiar topics. You’ll discuss your daily routine, hobbies, and preferences with more ease.

Asking and Answering Questions: You can ask and answer a wider range of questions, not only about personal information but also about your likes, dislikes, and experiences.

Describing and Expressing: You can describe common objects, places, and people using simple adjectives. Expressing your opinions and emotions becomes more natural.

Basic Grammar: You have a better grasp of basic grammar rules and can form more complex sentences. You use past tenses, present continuous, and simple future tenses more confidently.

Vocabulary Expansion: Your vocabulary continues to expand, allowing you to discuss a broader range of topics and understand more complex texts.

Listening Skills: You can understand everyday conversations and spoken instructions more effectively, even when the speaker doesn’t slow down significantly.

Reading Skills: Your reading skills improve, and you can comprehend short texts, signs, and simple stories. You’re more comfortable with written material.

Writing Skills: Your writing skills advance, enabling you to compose short texts like emails, messages, and simple narratives with greater fluency.

Social Interaction: You can participate in social interactions more comfortably, engage in small talk, and express your ideas clearly in various situations.

Travel and Shopping: You can navigate travel situations more confidently, asking for directions, making simple hotel reservations, and shopping for common items.

Cultural Understanding: You can discuss basic cultural aspects, traditions, and customs in a more informed way.

Emergencies: You can handle basic emergency situations by seeking help and explaining your needs.

CEFR Level B1 – Intermediate

Intermediate learners can understand and use familiar language for various needs. They can have basic personal and professional conversations, write simple texts, and handle routine situations.

What You Need to Know About B1 Level English

B1 represents an intermediate level of English proficiency, signifying a significant step forward in your language journey. Here’s what you should be aware of at the B1 level:

Expanded Vocabulary: You’ll continue to expand your vocabulary, allowing you to discuss a wider range of topics, including work, travel, and personal experiences.

Intermediate Grammar: Your understanding of grammar becomes more solid, and you can use a broader range of tenses, conditionals, and more complex sentence structures.

Effective Communication: At B1, you can engage in effective communication on familiar and some unfamiliar topics. You’ll handle conversations about your job, studies, and daily life more comfortably.

Expressing Opinions: You can express your opinions and thoughts more clearly, and you’ll be able to participate in discussions and debates on various subjects.

Listening Skills: Your listening skills improve, allowing you to understand conversations, radio broadcasts, and simple presentations, even when spoken at a moderate pace.

Reading Skills: Your reading skills advance, and you can comprehend more complex texts, newspaper articles, and stories, albeit with some effort.

Writing Skills: You can write coherent, well-structured texts such as letters, essays, and reports with increasing proficiency.

Cultural Awareness: Your cultural understanding deepens, and you can discuss cultural aspects, traditions, and customs more insightfully.

Travel and Work: You can handle travel situations, work-related discussions, and interviews more confidently. You’re more capable in professional and academic contexts.

Social Interaction: Your social interaction skills improve, making it easier to engage in conversations, express your ideas, and participate in group activities.

What You Can Do At B1 Level

At the B1 level of English proficiency, learners have achieved an intermediate level of competence and can handle a variety of everyday situations. Here are some of the things you can generally do at the B1 level:

Effective Communication: You can engage in effective and detailed conversations on a wide range of topics, including work, hobbies, travel, and everyday life. Your ability to express ideas and experiences becomes more advanced.

Intermediate Grammar: Your grasp of grammar is more solid, and you can use a variety of tenses and complex sentence structures, including conditionals and reported speech.

Wider Vocabulary: Your vocabulary continues to expand, allowing you to discuss diverse subjects and understand more nuanced language in different contexts.

Listening Skills: You can understand conversations, podcasts, and lectures even when spoken at a moderate pace. Your listening comprehension becomes more proficient.

Reading Skills: Your reading skills improve, enabling you to comprehend more complex texts, articles, and stories. You’re better at understanding implicit meanings in written material.

Writing Skills: You can write coherent, well-structured texts, including emails, essays, and reports. Your writing proficiency advances, and you can express your ideas clearly.

Expressing Opinions: You can express your opinions, thoughts, and viewpoints confidently. You’re able to participate in discussions and debates on various subjects.

Cultural Awareness: Your cultural understanding deepens, allowing you to discuss cultural aspects, traditions, and customs with more depth and insight.

Travel and Work: You can navigate travel and work situations more adeptly, including job interviews, workplace discussions, and professional communication.

Social Interaction: Your social interaction skills continue to improve, making it easier to engage in conversations, express your ideas, and participate in group activities.

CEFR Level B2 – Upper Intermediate

At this level, individuals can understand and use a wide range of language in various contexts. They can engage in detailed conversations, express opinions, and handle discussions on different topics.

What You Need to Know About B2 Level English

B2 represents an upper-intermediate level of English proficiency, indicating a significant advancement in your language journey. Here is what you should be aware of at the B2 level:

Advanced Vocabulary: Your vocabulary continues to expand, allowing you to discuss a wide array of topics in depth, including current affairs, literature, and specialized areas of interest.

Advanced Grammar: Your grasp of grammar is more sophisticated, and you can use a wide range of tenses, complex sentence structures, and advanced language functions with ease.

Effective Communication: At B2, you can engage in detailed conversations on both familiar and unfamiliar topics. You express your ideas, experiences, and opinions with a high degree of clarity and fluency.

Listening Skills: Your listening skills are well-developed, and you can easily understand various types of spoken language, including lectures, news broadcasts, and everyday conversations.

Reading Skills: Your reading skills are advanced, allowing you to comprehend complex texts, including novels, academic articles, and technical manuals. You’re skilled at identifying subtle nuances in written material.

Writing Skills: You can write coherent, well-structured texts, including essays, reports, and business correspondence. Your writing proficiency is strong, and you can express complex ideas effectively.

Expressing Opinions: You can express your opinions, thoughts, and viewpoints eloquently. You’re capable of participating in discussions and debates on a wide range of subjects.

Cultural Awareness: Your cultural understanding is deep, allowing you to discuss cultural aspects, traditions, and customs with a high level of insight and sensitivity.

Professional and Academic Interaction: You can confidently engage in professional and academic settings, including job interviews, business meetings, and classroom discussions.

Social Interaction: Your social interaction skills are well-developed, making it easy to engage in conversations, express your ideas, and participate in group activities with confidence.

What You Can Do at B2 Level

At the B2 level of English proficiency, learners have reached an upper-intermediate stage and possess a more advanced command of the language. Here are some of the things you can generally do at the B2 level:

Advanced Communication: You can engage in detailed and nuanced conversations on a wide variety of topics, demonstrating clear and fluent communication. You can express your ideas, experiences, and opinions with precision.

Complex Grammar: Your understanding of grammar is advanced, and you can use a wide range of tenses, complex sentence structures, and advanced language functions with ease.

Expanded Vocabulary: Your vocabulary is extensive, allowing you to discuss diverse subjects, including specialized areas of interest. You can understand and use a broad range of idiomatic expressions and colloquial language.

Listening Skills: Your listening skills are well-developed, enabling you to easily understand various types of spoken language, including lectures, news broadcasts, podcasts, and everyday conversations. You can follow complex discussions.

Reading Skills: Your reading skills are advanced, and you can comprehend complex texts, including novels, academic articles, and technical manuals. You’re adept at identifying subtle nuances and interpreting implicit meanings in written material.

Writing Skills: You can write coherent, well-structured texts, including essays, reports, and business correspondence, with a high degree of proficiency. Your writing is clear and concise, and you can convey complex ideas effectively.

Expressing Opinions: You can express your opinions, thoughts, and viewpoints eloquently, making you adept at participating in discussions, debates, and presentations on a wide range of subjects.

Cultural Awareness: Your cultural understanding is deep and nuanced, allowing you to discuss cultural aspects, traditions, and customs with a high level of insight and sensitivity.

Professional and Academic Interaction: You can confidently engage in professional and academic settings, including job interviews, business meetings, and classroom discussions. Your language skills are well-suited for these environments.

Social Interaction: Your social interaction skills are well-developed, making it easy to engage in conversations, express your ideas, and participate in group activities with confidence.

CEFR Level C1 – Advanced

Advanced learners can use English effectively for social, academic, and professional purposes. They can understand complex texts, express ideas fluently, and engage in discussions and debates.

What You Need to Know About C1 Level English

C1 represents an advanced level of English proficiency, signifying a high degree of language competence. At the C1 level, your language skills reach an advanced stage, and you should be aware of the following:

Sophisticated Vocabulary: Your vocabulary is extensive and includes specialized terms in various fields, such as business, science, and the arts. You can discuss complex topics with ease.

Advanced Grammar: Your understanding of grammar is highly proficient, allowing you to use complex structures, conditional sentences, and a variety of tenses with precision.

Fluent Communication: At C1, you can engage in in-depth, fluent conversations on a wide range of topics. You express your ideas, experiences, and opinions with fluency and clarity.

Listening Skills: Your listening skills are well honed, enabling you to easily understand spoken language in various contexts, including academic lectures, presentations, and intricate discussions.

Reading Skills: Your reading skills are advanced, and you can comprehend complex texts, literature, academic papers, and specialized documents. You’re skilled at analyzing written material and interpreting nuanced meanings.

Writing Skills: You can write complex, well structured texts, such as essays, research papers, and professional reports, with a high degree of proficiency. Your writing is articulate and persuasive.

Expressing Opinions: You can express your opinions, thoughts, and viewpoints with fluency and sophistication, making you adept at participating in intellectual discussions, debates, and presentations.

Cultural Awareness: Your cultural understanding is deep, allowing you to discuss cultural aspects, traditions, and customs with a high level of insight and sensitivity. You can navigate cultural nuances with ease.

Professional and Academic Interaction: You can confidently engage in professional and academic settings, including advanced coursework, research, and professional meetings. Your language skills are well suited for these environments.

Social Interaction: Your social interaction skills are highly developed, making it easy to engage in conversations, express your ideas, and participate in group activities with confidence and leadership.

What You Can Do at C1 Level

At the C1 level of English proficiency, learners have achieved an advanced stage of language competence. Here are some of the things you can generally do at the C1 level:

Sophisticated Communication: You can engage in detailed, nuanced conversations on a wide range of complex topics, demonstrating fluency and precision. You express your ideas, experiences, and opinions with sophistication and clarity.

Mastery of Grammar: Your understanding of grammar is highly proficient, allowing you to use complex structures, conditional sentences, and a wide array of tenses with precision.

Extensive Vocabulary: Your vocabulary is expansive and includes specialized terms in various fields, making you adept at discussing complex topics, including academic and technical subjects.

Listening Skills: Your listening skills are well-honed, enabling you to easily understand spoken language in various contexts, including advanced academic lectures, presentations, and intricate discussions.

Reading Skills: Your reading skills are advanced, and you can comprehend complex texts, including literature, academic papers, and specialized documents. You’re skilled at analyzing written material and interpreting subtle nuances.

Writing Skills: You can write complex, well-structured texts, such as research papers, essays, and professional reports, with a high degree of proficiency. Your writing is articulate and persuasive.

Expressing Opinions: You can express your opinions, thoughts, and viewpoints with eloquence and sophistication, making you highly proficient at participating in intellectual discussions, debates, and presentations.

Cultural Awareness: Your cultural understanding is deep, allowing you to discuss cultural aspects, traditions, and customs with a high level of insight and sensitivity. You can navigate cultural nuances and convey cultural insights effectively.

Professional and Academic Interaction: You can confidently engage in professional and academic settings, including advanced coursework, research, and professional meetings. Your language skills are highly suited for these environments, and you can contribute effectively.

Social Interaction: Your social interaction skills are highly developed, making it easy to engage in conversations, express your ideas, and participate in group activities with confidence and leadership.

CEFR Level C2 – Proficiency

Proficient English speakers understand nearly everything they read or hear. They can communicate fluently and precisely, express ideas in a highly sophisticated manner, and use English effectively in any context, both written and spoken.

What You Need to Know About C2 Level English

C2 represents the highest level of English proficiency, indicating a near-native or native-like command of the language. At the C2 level, your language skills are exceptionally advanced, and you should be aware of the following:

Near-Native Fluency: You have near-native or native-like fluency in English, both in spoken and written forms. You can communicate with the same level of precision and fluency as a native speaker.

Mastery of Grammar: Your understanding of grammar is at a native speaker’s level, allowing you to use complex and subtle language structures with ease.

Extensive Vocabulary: Your vocabulary is extensive and covers a wide range of topics, including specialized and nuanced terms. You can discuss highly complex and technical subjects.

Listening Skills: Your listening skills are highly advanced, enabling you to effortlessly understand spoken language in any context, including complex academic lectures, debates, and rapid conversations.

Reading Skills: Your reading skills are exceptional, and you can comprehend and analyze complex texts, literature, academic papers, and technical documents with ease. You can identify and understand implicit meanings and literary nuances.

Writing Skills: You can write with exceptional precision, producing flawless texts such as academic research papers, literary works, and professional reports. Your writing is not only articulate but also creative and persuasive.

Expressing Opinions: You can express your opinions, thoughts, and viewpoints with a level of sophistication and nuance that rivals native speakers. You excel in intellectual discussions, debates, and presentations.

Cultural Awareness: Your cultural understanding is deep, and you can discuss cultural aspects, traditions, and customs with the insight and sensitivity of a native speaker.

Professional and Academic Interaction: You can seamlessly engage in professional and academic settings, contributing effectively in advanced research, complex discussions, and high-level meetings.

Social Interaction: Your social interaction skills are exceptional, making it easy to engage in conversations, express your ideas, and participate in group activities with confidence and leadership. You can adapt to various social and cultural contexts effortlessly.

What You Can Do At C2 Level

At this stage, you can perform language tasks with exceptional fluency and precision. Here’s what you can typically do at the C2 level:

Native-Like Fluency: You communicate with the same level of fluency, precision, and naturalness as a native speaker. Your spoken and written English is virtually indistinguishable from that of a native.

Mastery of Grammar: Your command of grammar is at a native speaker’s level, allowing you to use language structures with the same ease and subtlety as a native.

Extensive Vocabulary: Your vocabulary is extensive and diverse, covering virtually all topics, including highly specialized and nuanced terminology. You can discuss even the most complex and technical subjects.

Listening Skills: Your listening skills are highly advanced, enabling you to effortlessly understand spoken language in any context, including rapid, colloquial speech, complex academic lectures, and nuanced conversations.

Reading Skills: Your reading skills are exceptional, and you can comprehend and analyze highly complex texts, including literature, advanced academic papers, and technical documents. You excel at identifying implicit meanings and literary nuances.

Writing Skills: You can write with exceptional precision and creativity, producing flawless texts such as academic research papers, literary works, and professional reports. Your writing is not only articulate but also highly persuasive and expressive.

Expressing Opinions: You can express your opinions, thoughts, and viewpoints with a level of sophistication, nuance, and subtlety that rivals native speakers. You excel in intellectual discussions, debates, and presentations.

Cultural Awareness: Your cultural understanding is deep, allowing you to discuss cultural aspects, traditions, and customs with the insight, sensitivity, and fluency of a native speaker.

Professional and Academic Interaction: You can seamlessly engage in professional and academic settings, contributing effectively in advanced research, complex discussions, and high-level meetings. Your language skills are on par with experts in the field.

Social Interaction: Your social interaction skills are exceptional, making it easy to engage in conversations, express your ideas, and participate in group activities with a level of confidence, leadership, and adaptability that mirrors a native speaker.

Frequently Asked Questions About English Language Levels and Explanations

What are CEFR English levels, and why are they important?

The CEFR, or Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, defines standardized language proficiency levels, ranging from A1 (beginner) to C2 (proficient).

How can I assess my English level according to CEFR?

You can assess your English level using language tests and examinations specifically designed to align with the CEFR framework.

What are the typical language goals for each CEFR level?

Language goals can vary depending on personal needs and objectives, but here are general language goals for CEFR levels:

A1/A2: Basic communication skills for everyday situations.
B1: Intermediate proficiency for work and travel.
B2: Upper-intermediate for more complex discussions and academic tasks.
C1: Advanced fluency for professional and academic contexts.
C2: Native-like fluency and expertise.

What resources and materials are available to help me prepare for CEFR language exams?

Numerous resources are available for preparing for CEFR language exams, including textbooks, online courses, practice exams, and language learning apps like English Central.

Would you like to put into practice what you have learned about English Language Levels and Explanations? If you wish, you can explore over 20,000 interactive video lessons on EnglishCentral, improve your vocabulary, and practice pronunciation. Alternatively, during live 1-on-1 English lessons, you can review what you have learned with your personal English tutor. How about signing up for EnglishCentral and starting to learn English right away?

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