B2 English grammar list – explanations & examples

B2 English grammar listB2 English grammar means grammar which B2 students have proven they can do.  Therefore, B2 grammar might be of greatest interest to B1 ESL students since they are looking to gain grammar structures they may not have noticed or used yet.  The B2 grammar on this page is based mostly on the English Grammar Profile.  However, there are points also from Pearson’s global scale of English.  We have started by being alphabetical with the categories, but then attempt to group similar grammar combinations.   We will not be listing the same grammar point under different categories.  For example, ‘adjective with conjunctions’ could be listed under the category of adjectives or conjunctions.  For this reason, categories nearer the start of the alphabet: ‘Adjectives’ will seem larger.  All our example sentences come from the real world.  All examples are linked to more corpora information about the grammar structure and vocabulary that goes with it.

How are adjectives used at the B2 English level?

The B2 English level can use a wider range of compound adjectives.

B2 attributive adjective position

A range of attributive time or degree adjectives can be used.

  • She’s a former board member at Tesla.
  • Concentrate your mind on the present moment.
  • Technology can help future generations.
  • The time machine arrived in the latter half of the century.
  • Debt becomes a real problem if a company can’t pay it off.
  • You make this job an absolute joy.
  • Are they useful or a complete waste of time?

In B2 English grammar, adjectives in the attributive position can be pre-modified for emphasis in formal contexts with ‘rather a…’

  • We won’t see him go anywhere for rather a long time.
  • I thought it was rather a good idea.

B2 adjectives with conjunctions

The use of adjectives at B2 or upper-intermediate can be defined in one way as an increasing range of complex noun phrases with more than one adjective combined with ‘but’.  This allows this level to add more contrast to what they are describing.  An example of this from corpora is:

B2 adjectives with verbs

B2 students can use adjective complements after a wide range of linking verbs such as: ‘seem’, ‘taste’, ‘remain’, ‘appear’ etc.

B2 modality

Starting at intermediate, B2 students continue to use adjectives followed by ‘that’ or ‘infinitive’ clauses but with a greater range of adjectives and verbs.  There is usually an element of modality expressed in the phrases or the elements can be arranged for focus.

‘Enough’ can also post-modify the main adjective before the infinitive in B2 English grammar.

Adjectives are commonly found after the negative modal verb construction ‘can’t or ‘cannot’ to make guesses, predictions or deductions:

B2 comparative adjectives with adverbs

Another way adjectives are used by B2 English users is with adverbials such as ‘slightly’, ‘much’, ‘a lot’ before a comparative adjective.  That means they can be more subtle in the comparisons they can make.  Notice that ‘much better’ is followed by a noun.

B2 comparative clauses with possessive pronouns.

  • In a state as diverse as ours, our students must see themselves in their classrooms and instructional materials.
  • I think my level was a lot higher than hers in the first set.

B2 comparative adjectives with non-finite clauses.

Notice the non-finite past participle ‘expected’ and infinitive ‘to rent’.

B2 superlative adjectives

The following noun can be ellipted when understood from the context.

  • There are many disadvantages of smartphones. I think one of the most common is that people spend too much time using them.

A superlative with or without a following noun can be followed by a that-clause often to express uniqueness.

A wider range of superlatives can be followed by nouns and infinitives.

Superlatives can be intensified with a pre-modifying adverbial phrase.

Adjective phrases can both premodify and postmodify the same noun.

  • Roses like well-drained soil rich in organic matter.

How does the B2 level use adverbs?


Adverbials can be used between the main verb and a preposition.

At B2, adverbs are found before or between auxiliary verbs in longer verb phrases such as present perfect simple negative or present and past perfect continuous.  Adverbs also start to be used in negative questions between the subject and verb.

A wide range of adverbs can be found in the middle position with past perfect simple or past continuous.

A wide range of time and manner adverbs can be used at the B2 English grammar level.

An increasing range of adverbs is found between modal verbs and the infinitive.

Degree adverbs can modify noun phrases (including indefinite pronouns).

The B2 level can invert the negative adverb ‘never’ for focus.

Adverbs can be used in comparative structures.

How does the B2 level use clauses?

B2 conditional clauses

A greater range of conditional conjunctions can be used to refer to the future at the B2 level.

  • I will be happy as long as I can be close to them.
  • Up to 30 people will be allowed to attend weddings provided they are held outside.

At B2, students should be able to ellipt the subject and verb after ‘if’.

Negative imperative clauses

An uncontracted negative imperative can be used at B2 for emphasis or to make suggestions.

Negative auxillary verbs in interrogative exclamations can express surprise or enthusiasm.


B2 English Grammar can be exemplified by the following comparative clause structure:

A finite clause can follow complex conjunctions to make comparisons.

  • You have acted as if you do, but I doubt that you do.
  • It was as though time had stopped.

B2 Non-finite verb-ing clauses

At B2, more information can be given before the main clause in a subordinate clause with non-finite VERB-ing clauses:

The same form can be used with ‘after’ + perfect or passive form to refer to the past.

Similarly, a non-finite clause can be used to stress an element in comparison.

Grammar for B2 includes the ‘not only + but’ structure which is used in the mid position to co-ordinate clauses and give focus.  The present simple can also be inverted.

Relative clauses

Relative clauses can be used to give reasons, opinions or evaluations of previous clauses at the B2 grammar level.

Both defining and non-defining relative clauses can be used with ‘whose‘.

  • I sat with families whose children were sick.
  • Mattie is a farmer, whose mission is to provide organic vegetables.

What are some other ways B2 students use conjunctions?

More complex conjunctions can introduce subordinate clauses.

  • Someone has to die in order that the rest of us should value life more.
  • Despite the fact that your grandmother used those words with you, they still sound racist.
  • The police don’t know how many people were murdered due to the fact that the victims were in pieces.
  • The reason I’m in town, in case you’re wondering, is because of a Kansas City Shuffle.

In addition to combining clauses, emphasis or focus can be given when coordinating phrases.

What can B2 do with determiners?

Quantities can be premodified with degree adverbs.

  • There are very few places in the world where one can see a ballet under the stars.
  • I bring home a report card, and it’s almost all A’s.
  • He ‘s always in town for so little time.

Possessive ‘their’ can refer to a singular generic subject.

  • Everyone has their own story.

Simarly, singular inanimate things can be referred to with the possessive determiner its.

  • Its worth was greater than the value of gold.

Possessive ‘s can be added to plural nouns.

  • Has he been playing with his clients funds?

The definite article can be used in comparative structures to talk about causal relationships.

What are some B2 discourse markers?

B2 can compare similarities, summarise reasons and organise texts with a range of phrases.

  • For Hitler to fail at Stalingrad would be terrible for the Nazis.  Similarly, Stalin would not accept defeat.
  • Venus is approximately the same size.  Likewise, the gravity is close to 90% of ours.
  • In the same way that older songs can find new audiences on Tiktok, older slang starts to be used.
  • Rap music promotes violence against authority. Consequently, more police have been attacked.
  • It is hard to determine when the era ended. Thus, it is impossible to say exactly when those myths were no longer created.
  • In conclusion, the human race is godless.
  • In summary, the officers appeared to ignore the project.

What is focus in B2 English grammar?

Grammar for B2 includes the ability to move sentence elements around to give focus.

How can B2 students refer to the future?

expressions with BE

There are a variety of expressions that could be listed in other categories, such as, the past or modality.

Finally, the present continuous with a wide range of verbs can be used at B2 to announce future events.


B2 English grammar includes the ability to use longer verb phrases such as those found in the future perfect, and future continuous questions.

In English B2 grammar, how is modality used?

Modal auxillary verbs

In addition to marking the future tenses, ‘will‘ can be used for requests and commands by B2 English students.

Would’ can refer to the habitual past.

  • My mom also helped raise my nephews, who would stay with her every summer when school was out.

General truths or tendencies can be expressed with ‘can‘.

  • So many things can go wrong and delays occur as a result.

The negative form of ‘can’ is often used to predict, deduce, reproach or appeal at the B2 level.

  • I guess you can’t be too picky about who your friends are these days, huh?
  • You can’t be thinking on revenge if we‘re gonna get through this.

can‘ backshifted to its past form of ‘could‘ for reported speech is possible at the B2 English grammar level.

Past possibility, speculation or regret can be expressed with ‘could have + past participle‘.

Similarly, deductions or conclusions can be made about the past with ‘must have + past participle‘.

At B2, a greater range of subjects and verbs can be used with the negative form of ‘must‘ to express what is not permitted.

Must‘ can also be used to ask about obligation or necessity.

Concessions can be made with the fixed expression ‘must admit‘.

Similarly, emphasis (usually for something positive) can be given with ‘I must say.

  • I must say I was pleasantly surprised by the sign language during the song.
  • I must say that I am very happy with our team.

A clause with ‘may’ can introduce an unexpected ‘but’ clause.

Shared knowledge can be focussed on with fixed expressions.

Similarly, past possibility can be expressed with ‘may have + past participle.

should + continuous form‘ is used to express obligation or expectation.

The usual following bare infinitive can be ellipted after ‘should‘ when it is understood from previous discourse.

Other modal ‘like’ structures

Ellipsis is also found with the ‘used to’ and ‘ought to‘ structures in B2 grammar topics.

  • They don’t win as much as they used to, but they are still a good team.
  • He‘s just got more worries than someone his age ought to.

A wider range of subjects are used with the affirmative form of the semi modal ‘ought to‘ at B2.

  • With recent problems in the world, energy investors ought to consider the benefits of local fuel.

Strong suggestions can be made with ‘you have to‘ or ‘you have got to‘ in English grammar B2.

  • You have to keep this in mind to ensure that you don’t have any problems.
  • You’ve got to try and stay positive.

Bravado can be expressed with the complex ways ‘dare‘ can be formed in B2 grammar.

B2 students can also use a similar form to express what is not necessary.

  • Cat lovers need not apply to rent this room.

Hearsay (what other people have said about something) and unnamed obligation can be expressed.

What are some ways the B2 level uses negation?

In regards to negation, B2 grammar demonstrates the ability to say why something does not happen, make negative statements stronger

and use complex negative noun phrases.  B2 students can express negative purpose:

  • In order not to waste any time, I wasn’t hanging up the phone in between calls.

Uncontracted ‘not’ can be used for emphasis or formality.

  • I would not hesitate to give you anything. 

More complex negative noun phrases can be followed by an affirmative verb.

B2 nouns

Gerunds (verb-ing) can be used instead of a noun phrase as the subject of a clause.

  • Keeping a food diary can help you see where you might be going wrong.

An uncountable noun without a determiner can refer to something abstract in general.

  • Research shows it has little effect on their maths and reading skills.

Complex noun phrases with ‘of‘ + possessive determiners and the possessive ‘s can be combined.

B2 passives

A wide range of tense, aspect, negation and past participle verb range can be used with the passive voice at B2.

  • We need to consider something that was not considered a few days ago. (negative)
  • 4,000 people were being treated for injuries after the explosion.
  • The police told Luke the man had been shot.
  • The party had not been informed of the decision until yesterday.
  • The plane is being developed entirely as a national project. (range of verbs)
  • Her name is not being released until she is formally charged.
  • The driver has been named as Frank Molloy.
  • They said he has not been tested daily in recent months.
  • If you live to 90, then 32 years will have been spent entirely asleep.

A wide range of forms such as modal verbs, infinitives, gerunds, adjectives and nouns combine with the passive voice at B2 in a range of contexts.

  • Any help would be appreciated. (range of subjects + modal verb)
  • In addition, Confucius is believed to be the first teacher. (impersonal belief)
  • When it is ready to be used, it will be changed into AC electricity. (to-infinitive after an adjective)
  • A crisis is an opportunity not to be missed. (negative to-infinitive after a noun)
  • I usually walk with my head down to avoid being seen. (gerund complement)

Objects can be incorporated in complex ways with a range of auxillary verbs.

More than one object with a prepositional phrase can be used.

To see the second half of our B2 English Grammar list that includes the categories of PAST, PRESENT, PREPOSITIONS, PRONOUNS, QUESTIONS, REPORTED SPEECH and VERBS, click here.