What is A2 English grammar?

A2 English grammar

A2 grammar is what English users can produce at an elementary to pre-intermediate level.  This page lists every A2 English grammar point in the English Grammar Profile (EGP) with examples linked to more explanations and corpus frequency data.

If you’re a teacher, learner, or linguist, you’ll find the following A2 grammar examples and explanations very informative.

Using adjectives at A2

The A2 English grammar level can be identified by the use of a wider range of predicative, attributive, and limiting adjectives, comparatives, superlatives, premodified adjectives, and contrasting adjectives.

Here are examples of a wider range of predicative, attributive, and limiting adjectives:

At A2, comparatives can be formed from adjectives ending in -y and use ‘more‘ with longer adjectives.

Similarly, the A2 level can do a variety of things with superlatives.  They double the final consonant of single-syllable adjectives, use ‘most’ with longer adjectives, add a specific singular location or a set with a prepositional phrase, start to use possessive determiners instead of the usual “the”, and omit a following noun.

Contrasting adjectives can be combined at the A2 level:

Adjectives can be premodified by adverbs, and also given more specific information with a following prepositional phrase.

Modality starts to be expressed with adjectives followed by a ‘that’ clause:

Modification with A2 Adverbs

A2 English grammar can be distinguished by the use of adverbs in all positions to modify phrases, clauses, and discourse.

Here are examples of modifying prepositional phrases and limiting noun phrases with a limited range of adverbs:

Here are adverbial expressions used at A2 to express stance:

Similary, modality, in the sense of certainty or possibility can be expressed in the initial position.  In addition, hedging and emphasis of assertions can be found after the verb ‘BE’:

  • Maybe I don’t know what I want.
  • Perhaps most importantly, if you‘re a parent, you should be playing games with your kids.
  • I know you’re probably busy.
  • It is definitely the right thing to do.

Adverbs can also be used to add or contrast ideas across clauses and sentences, and be placed in various positions in the sentence:

  • It doesn’t just help your day, it also helps your brain.
  • We’ve never taken a photo of a black hole.  However, that may soon change.

Notice in particular the mid positions,

  • There’s never been any distance between us.

and that many of these refer to the timing of an event:

  • You already know that.
  • There are still some people at the party.
  • I’ll soon be able to write my name.
  • I like the moment in the story when they just began to be friends.

Time and sequencing adverbials are possible in various positions:

  • I called you yesterday.
  • And now I know you’re a liar.
  • First, you can start by telling the truth.

Notice the end positions of these degree adverbial phrases and manner adverbs:

  • If you hate it so much, why do you do it?
  • Because you bother me a lot.
  • With his new glasses, he’s able to see clearly.
  • And they don’t break easily.
  •  Now, you can find the information you need quickly.

A2 Clauses

A2 English grammar includes a range of comparative, exclamatory, imperative, infinitive, relative, and conditional clauses.

Here are examples of comparative, exclamatory, imperative, and infinitive of purpose clauses:

relative clauses

At A2, students can use defining relative clauses with the relative pronouns ‘who’, ‘that’, and ‘which’ as subjects:

They can also use ‘that’ as the object relative pronoun or omit it:

Non-defining clauses with ‘which’ start to be used at A2:

‘IF’ conditional clauses

The A2 level can make present factual and future conditional sentences, and with the modal verb ‘can’ or with imperatives in the main clause.

The imperatives can be softened by the ‘if clause’:

Other conjunctions used at A2

A2 students can also use subordinating conjunctions to introduce time clauses, with ‘when’ and ‘while’.

They can use the coordinating conjunction ‘so’ to introduce a result:

A2 Determiners

A2 grammar is marked by an increasing range of quantifiers, articles, numbers, possessives, and demonstratives with a range of noun phrases.

Quantifying determiners + uncountable noun phrases can be used at A2:

A variety of articles, numbers, and quantifiers can be used with singular and plural countable nouns too:

Quantifiers can also be used in negative contexts:

At the A2 level, quantifying and possessive determiners can be combined to create complex noun phrases:

Possessive ‘s between singular or proper nouns can be used at A2:

The definite article can be used before an attributive adjective to specify in A2 English grammar:

Specifying with demonstrative determiners + plural nouns  is also possible at A2:

A2 Discourse Markers

In addition to sequencing adverbs, the A2 level can use ‘so‘ to summarize in informal contexts and ‘as you know‘ to indicate shared knowledge:

  • We played beach volleyball, built sandcastles, and even went for a swim. So, we had a great time at the beach today!
  • As you know, the doctors did everything they could to save him.

A2 Focus

Prepositional phrases can be fronted at the A2 level.

A2 Future

The present tense can be used to refer to the future with fixed events:

Affirmative and interrogative forms of BE + going to-infinitive can be used to express future plans and intentions.

Suggestions and offers in question form can be made with the modal verb ‘shall’:

Questions with ‘will’ can be used to make requests and ask about intentions or plans:

The negative forms of the modal verb ‘will’ can be used:

Willingness can be expressed:

Future continuous affirmative sentences can be made at A2:

A2 Modality

A combination of future possibility and ability can be expressed with ‘will be able to‘:

Similarly, ‘may’ and ‘might’ can express weak possibility with a present simple or future time reference:

Affirmative ‘would’ can be used to make suggestions, and express imagined situations, preferences and wishes.  The negative and interrogative forms can also be used at A2:

Can‘ is used for giving and refusing permission, or expressing what is forbidden:

Suggestions and past inability can be expressed with ‘could’ + a limited range of verbs:

A limited range of subjects can be used with affirmative and negative forms of ‘must’ to express strong obligation, necessity.

‘Should’ can be used to make suggestions or give advice:

The ‘have (got) to’ structure can be used in all its forms to express what is or isn’t required or necessary.


A2 grammar includes the contracted negative imperative, and a limited range of determiners as pronouns in negative contexts:








Reported Speech


To see more student examples of this grammar, visit the English Grammar Profile.

Keep in mind that the EGP was mostly formulated from what students can write in tests. Therefore, we should also consider the other points related to writing mentioned in the COMMON EUROPEAN FRAMEWORK OF REFERENCE FOR LANGUAGES: LEARNING, TEACHING, ASSESSMENT (CEFR) to understand how that grammar can actually be put to use:


Can write a series of simple phrases and sentences linked with simple connectors like ‘and’, ‘but’ and ‘because’.


Can write about everyday aspects of his/her environment, e.g. people, places, a job or study experience in
linked sentences.
Can write very short, basic descriptions of events, past activities and personal experiences.

Can write a series of simple phrases and sentences about their family, living conditions, educational
background, present or most recent job.
Can write short, simple imaginary biographies and simple poems about people


Can write short, simple formulaic notes relating to matters in areas of immediate need.


Can write very simple personal letters expressing thanks and apology


Can take a short, simple message provided he/she can ask for repetition and reformulation.

Can write short, simple notes and messages relating to matters in areas of immediate need


Has a repertoire of basic language which enables him/her to deal with everyday situations with
predictable content, though he/she will generally have to compromise the message and search for words.

Can produce brief everyday expressions in order to satisfy simple needs of a concrete type: personal
details, daily routines, wants and needs, requests for information.
Can use basic sentence patterns and communicate with memorised phrases, groups of a few words and
formulae about themselves and other people, what they do, places, possessions etc.
Has a limited repertoire of short memorised phrases covering predictable survival situations; frequent
breakdowns and misunderstandings occur in non-routine situations.


Has sufficient vocabulary to conduct routine, everyday transactions involving familiar situations and
Has a sufficient vocabulary for the expression of basic communicative needs.
Has a sufficient vocabulary for coping with simple survival needs


Can control a narrow repertoire dealing with concrete everyday needs


Uses some simple structures correctly, but still systematically makes basic mistakes – for example tends
to mix up tenses and forget to mark agreement; nevertheless, it is usually clear what he/she is trying to

A2 WRITING self-assessment statements (page 232)

I can give short, basic descriptions of events and activities.
I can write very simple personal letters expressing thanks and apology.
I can write short, simple notes and messages relating to matters of everyday life.
I can describe plans and arrangements.
I can explain what I like or dislike about something.
I can describe my family, living conditions, schooling, present or most recent job.
I can describe past activities and personal experiences.

Writing Scale (page 236)

Your test result suggests that you are at level A2 in writing on the Council of Europe
scale. At this level people can write short, simple notes and messages about everyday
matters and everyday needs. They can write a very simple personal letter, for example
thanking someone for something.