Level 1 grammar

To succeed in Level 1 ESOL assessments, you should be able to produce simple, compound, and complex sentences with more than one subordinate clause. In addition to Entry 1 – Entry 3 grammar, you should be capable of using the following features in your sentences when needed.


  • correct word order in sentences with more than one subordinate clause, e.g. Since the ozone layer has been affected by pollution, people have had to be more careful when they sunbathe.
  • there had been
  • a range of conjunctions to express contrast, reason, purpose, consequence, result, condition, concession, e.g. He’s fast, but not very accurate (contrast); I talked to his sister about the matter, as he wasn’t home (reason); Because she could no longer feed herself, she went to live with her son’s family (reason); They all studied hard so that they would pass the exam (reason/purpose); I went to a talk, so my wife went to her mum’s (consequence); I watered the flower bed beforehand, so the weeds came out quite easily (result); Problems cannot be solved unless they are detected (condition); I’m going to buy a sports car though it can only seat two (concession).
  • conditional forms, using if and unless with past and use of would, e.g. He wouldn’t go unless I went.
  • non-defining relative clauses, e.g. The Rio de la Plata, which flows down from Brazil, is used for transport.
  • defining relative clauses with where or whose, e.g. The village where I grew up…
  • participial clauses to describe accompanying actions with –ing, e.g. My brother ran all the way, carrying her on his back.
  • clause as subject or object, e.g. Can you believe what happened?
  • reported speech with a range of tenses, including use of would and had, e.g. He said that he would come if he had time.
  • a range of embedded questions using if and whether, e.g. Do you know whether he was intending to visit her in hospital?
  • reported questions with if and whether, e.g. He asked if my friend was coming.
  • reported questions with had and would, e.g. He asked if we had understood. She wanted to know if they would agree.
  • reported requests, e.g. He asked me to help him.
  • statements with question tags using Level 1 tenses, e.g. You would prefer coffee, wouldn’t you?
  • reported instructions, e.g. He told me to come.

Noun phrases

  • relatively complex noun phrases with pre- and post-modification, e.g. a tall man wearing dark glasses
  • word order of determiners, e.g. all my books
  • use of definite, indefinite and zero article with a wide range of nouns in a range of uses, e.g. The increase in the use of additives in food…
  • range of expressions to indicate possession, e.g. that book of yours

Verb forms and time markers in statements, questions, negatives, and short forms

  • present perfect continuous, e.g. He’s been working nights for years.
  • past perfect, e.g. He had worked as a fisherman before that.
  • present and past simple passive, e.g. Rice was grown in many parts of the country but many fields were destroyed in the war.
  • use of would in conditional sentences, e.g. It would be better if he told the truth.
  • causative use of have and get, e.g. I had/got the car repaired last week.
  • modals: ought to express obligation, e.g. I ought to see the doctor; negative of need and have to to express absence of obligation, e.g. you don’t have to, you needn’t; would to express hypotheses, e.g. What would you do if…?; use of forms, e.g. be able to to refer to future; would like + object + infinitive, e.g. would like you to
  • a range of phrasal verbs, e.g. to give way, to hold out, to run into

Adjectives, adverbs, and prepositional phrases

  • comparisons using fewer and less
  • collocation of adjective + preposition, e.g. interested in, aware of
  • prepositions to express concession, e.g. in spite of, despite
  • collocations of: verbs + prepositions, e.g. to attend to, point at; nouns + prepositions, e.g, to have an interest in
  • a range of adverbial phrases for time, manner, degree, extent, place, frequency, probability
  • comparative and superlative forms of adverbs, e.g. She worked harder than all the rest.
  • a wide range of intensifiers, e.g. extremely, entirely, tcompletely


  • a range of discourse markers expressing: addition, e.g. furthermore; cause and effect, e.g. therefore; contrast, e.g. however; sequence and time, e.g. at a later date
  • markers to structure spoken discourse, e.g. as I was saying
  • use of ellipsis in informal speech and writing, e.g. sounds good
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