The C1 level has the second most advanced grammar on the CEFR scale. C1 students have proven to be able to produce these grammar patterns in thousands of tests. You can show C1 level proficiency by using and understanding the meanings of these grammar topics too. The list of grammar points is explained in categories with examples that are linked to more explanations and corpus frequency information about the vocabulary that is most commonly found with the grammar.
How are adjectives used at C1?
C1 negative hedging
C1 English grammar can be identified by using a negative clause with modal adjectives to make the following assertions less direct too.
- I‘m not certain that you really understand this.
- I‘m not sure that dancing is the answer.
- It‘s not likely that she slipped and fell.
C1 degrees of comparison
Before a noun, superlative adjectives can be post-modified to be stronger.
- We can not get the best possible outcomes.
- She runs in the most efficient way possible.
- You’re the best choice by far.
- It would have been the best thing ever!
Adverbials can also pre-modify comparative adjectives to a small degree.
C1 past participle as an adjective
Noun phrases can be postmodified by past participles in English C1 grammar.
C1 adjectives with adverbs
At the C1 level, adjectives can be pre-modified by adverbs for emphasis, degree, intensity, modality and hedging.
- That’s undeniably true.
- It was painfully obvious.
- It makes us a highly effective company.
- She’s a completely different person.
- It’s extremely important that I get an answer.
- Find some totally new place.
- It’s absolutely necessary to find a solution.
- The details are incredibly easy to forget.
- I’m almost certain it was him.
- It’s quite probable that many Australians will rent forever.
How else do C1 learners use adverbs?
C1 adverbs & modality
At C1, a wide range of adverbs can be found in the initial and middle position, and often with longer ‘future’ grammar structures such as future perfect simple and ‘BE + going to’. This can include stance, certainty or other modal adverbs, and hedging with negation.
- Apparently, he’s a poet.
- Naturally, I was charmed by what you wrote about me.
- Clearly, he was a man who spoke forcefully to the people.
- Shoppers will probably have noticed the decorations being put up.
- The Matrix 4 is undoubtedly going to become an influential film.
- I would strongly discourage people from doing this at home.
- I can clearly see you winking.
- I can honestly say it was my first time.
- Companies must indeed adapt to change.
- Somebody here must surely know.
- I don’t really know what to say.
- Now‘s not actually a great time to talk.
- I simply don’t have time for this.
- It will not necessarily be progress for India.
Instead of referring to the future, the modal auxiliary verb ‘will’ + an adverb can be used to express what is typical or habitual.
- Killers will often leave evidence behind at the scene.
Emphasis can be given to something unexpected using ‘may well.’
- It may well come to that.
C1 modifying adverb phrases
C1 English grammar can be easily spotted with superlative adverb phrases + ellipted modal verb clauses.
- Our company helps society the best we can.
- I did the best I could with what I had.
A wide range of adverbs can premodify adverbs.
- The graph indicates that they were almost exactly the same in 2004.
- He created, quite simply, the biggest event in history.
- Glass cools relatively quickly.
- Bats perceive the world slightly differently than us.
Adverbs can also be post-modified with ‘enough’ to intensify.
- Interestingly enough, she’s also an expert on the topic of pain.
- Oddly enough, he also requested Coke.
Finally, C1 English learners can post-modify adverbs with prepositional phrases to highlight information.
- Luckily for you, the fire destroyed your mistakes.
- Fortunately for us, I’m a student of history.
How to use clauses at C1 English level
C1 imperative clauses
Imperatives can be used to point or focus the reader on different parts of a C1 English text.
- Note the contrast between these quotes.
- Notice the section in the centre.
- See the schedule attached below.
Imperatives + pronouns can be used to allow, give permission or instruct someone to give permission or disallow something.
- Let them soak for a few hours.
- Let him go now!
- Don’t let her get away.
- Don’t let anyone pressure you into buying it.
C1 conditional clauses
Imperatives can also introduce a condition, with ‘and’ introducing the consequence in C1 sentences.
- Try it and you’ll be amazed.
- Look closely and you will see the secret.
Imperatives are also common in the main clause after ellipted conditional clauses with the indefinite pronoun ‘anything’ post-modified with a relative clause to make generous offers.
C1 English learners can also use ellipted ‘if”+ past participle clauses.
At the C1 English level, a wider range of modal verbs can be used in the hypothetical past conditional structure.
- If I had known where you were, I might have told her.
- If you had told me, I could have done it before they arrived.
‘Should’ can replace the present simple in both formal/polite situations and be used to talk about future possible outcomes.
- If you should require any further assistance, don’t hesitate to call us.
- The species will disappear if their ability to reproduce should fail.
Similarly, in formal contexts, auxiliary verbs such as ‘should’ and subjunctive ‘were’ can be ellipted and inverted in the conditional clause.
- Should you desire, I can provide more information.
- Were I allowed to defend myself, I could have proven this to you.
C1 non-finite clauses
C1 English grammar is easily identified with a range of non-finite subordinate clauses, before main clauses for focus.
- Born and raised in Baltimore, he studied local businesses.
- Located in the heart of the city, the studio gives many musicians a place to meet and practise.
Non-finite passive clauses can be used to give background explanations.
- Being born in Sumatra, I believe in the power of rainforests.
- She died while being chased.
Negative non-finite clauses can be used to give more information.
- Not wanting to waste her money, she went to the gym every day.
- Not knowing the answer, he changed the topic.
How can I combine clauses with conjunctions at C1?
Clauses can be coordinated with complex conjunctions at the C1 English level. The ‘not only.. but also‘ structure can contain inversion of the auxiliary verbs, often for focus.
- Either there’s something wrong with people, or there’s something wrong with the system.
- Not only did the virus make everyone sick, but it also spread more easily.
- Not only do they make little money, but they also spend it on the wrong things.
- Supposedly, the book is useless, and yet you travel very far to get it.
How can determiners be used at the C1 English level?
‘Neither’ and ‘either’ can be used before determiners in plural noun phrases or before singular nouns.
- Neither of those women is coming to the party.
- He’s not going to bring either of those things.
- She’s the first of either gender to record on that label.
- If neither party is married, it is not an affair.
Quantity determiners can be used to informally exaggerate statements not meant to be understood literally.
- The horror film used tons of blood.
- Millions of people showed up to the party, and there was loads of alcohol.
An impersonal possessive determiner can refer to people in general.
- It’s hard to imagine the rest of one’s life alone.
- Relationships that are toxic to one’s faith, need to be identified.
C1 discourse markers
A wide range of phrases can be used to refer to other parts of a text and for summarising.
- As stated above, her objectives will be questioned.
- The company can be contacted as shown below: Telephone: 1234 5689
- They were together for a while. Hence, he booked a double room.
At the C1 English level, the clefting or fronting of clauses or fixed adverbial phrases can be used for emphasis.
- What I think is important is that we give insects more credit.
- What we do know is that we have the box.
- Whatever you do, don’t believe what they say.
- Wherever we live, we’re affected by climate change.
- However it happened, the world is overcrowded.
- When you think about it, it makes sense.
- At the end of the day, other things are more important than cricket.
- All in all, I have a very busy schedule.
Future perfect can be used to assume something about the present or to be polite in a formal context.
- Readers will have noticed there is fake news circulating.
- I’d better stop talking now, but I hope I will have persuaded you for the time being.
C1 modality referring to the future
C1 English grammar includes present forms used to refer to the future. The ‘BE set to’ structure can be used to make strong assertions about the future. The ‘by the time’ phrase can be used to express more complex time relations. Performative verbs of obligation and suggestion can be used before the present simple.
- These young men are set to play against the best team tomorrow.
- The population is set to move from 8 billion to 10 million in the next 30 years.
- By the time the plane lands, they‘ll know if it needs to be serviced.
- By the time the children reach the age of 14, 25% of their fathers will be in prison.
- l cannot recommend that you go out alone tonight.
- I insist you finish later.
- I suggest you take a good look at yourself.
Expectations of what is potentially in progress in the future can be expressed at the C1 English level.
- I’m going to share with you where this may be heading in the near future.
- My parents might be getting a divorce soon.
The future simple negative with shall is an example of C1 grammar.
- We shall not bring back gold and we shall not find a place to grow food.
At C1, students can ellipt the modal verb from the second clause in a question, especially when hedging.
- Maybe you could make changes or reduce the risk?
Criticism or disapproval can be expressed.
- You could have avoided this.
C1 grammar includes the ability to make past negative deductions.
- It means that if we cannot have shot them, someone else did.
- It was my dad’s favorite food, which can’t have helped because he died of heart disease.
Modal verb ‘can’ is also used in fixed expressions for emphasis or focus.
- I can assure you that this is not the case.
- As a current student, I can say that this is the best school to attend in the area.
- I can’t say I didn’t enjoy some of it.
- I have been very lucky to be on that show and I can tell you that it is very well run.
- As you can imagine, this is a game that never ends well.
- As you can see, there is a lot of movement.
An increasing range of adverbs can be found between modal verbs and the bare infinitive in C1 grammar.
‘Will’ can be used to express habitual or typical situations.
- The suspect will often leave something behind.
- You will not usually need to visit the hospital again until the morning of your operation.
Modal verbs are also used in passive reporting clauses in impersonal contexts.
- From the evidence, it can be concluded that the video is old.
- It could be argued though that the only thing that motivates men is chasing women.
Negative possibility in the past can be expressed. Consolations or justifications can also be expressed with a following ‘but’ clause.
- If I had been more careful, I might not have lost it.
- You may not have realized this, but I am one of your biggest fans.
- At first, you might have to change how you pronounce words, but with practice, you will soon be speaking effortlessly.
A range of rarer question forms such as ‘might’, ‘used to’ and ‘dare’ are used at the C1 English level.
- How might I be exposed to poison?
- What problem did you use to have but now have solved?
- Dare I admit that after she did it, I never really loved her again?
‘How dare’ can also be used to express disapproval or offence.
- How dare you presume to speak for a team you are no longer a part of.
- How dare you talk to me like that?
The following fixed expression is used to say that something is probably true.
- I dare say we’ll see him again.
Semi-modal ‘ought + to-infinitive‘ can be used to express likelihood or a desired state of affairs in the present and past at C1. Emphasis can be added to any sense of the structure with the adverb ‘really’.
- You ought to be pretty knowledgeable by now, then.
- There ought to be a law to allow children access.
- He ought to have foreseen the problem.
- It’s something they really ought to consider.
Other adverbs can be used to add emphasis. Here they modify the following adjectives.
- It became painfully obvious to everyone that the company was the only one that came to the auction.
- That outcome remains highly unlikely.
Negation with modality at C1 includes expressing the lack of necessity in the past, a possible exception to a general perception, and hedging with an ‘adjective + that clause’.
- We needn’t have worried.
- It will not necessarily be progress for our country if she brings us the unhappiness of the West.
- I‘m not sure that it would be the answer.
Strong assertions about the future can be made with the C1 English grammar structure ‘BE set to-infinitive‘
- Between now and 2050, the global population is set to move from today’s 7.6 billion to tomorrow’s 9.8 billion people.
To see the second half of the C1 English grammar list, please click here. If the grammar above is too difficult, you can look at our B2 grammar list here.