CEFR

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages is one standard for describing English language ability. It is divided from A1 for beginners to C2 for mastery. English Grammar Pro uses this for all of its grammar posts.

MUCH TO + possessive noun phrase

Much to my surprise,  and Much to the surprise of someone, are ‘comment adverbial phrases’.  This structure is not listed in the English Vocabulary or Grammar Profile, so we turn to the Longman dictionary: FORMAL used to say that someone feels very surprised, embarrassed etc when something happens A search in NOW corpus for: . …

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adjective + TO infinitive + THAT clause

This structure: adjective + TO infinitive + THAT clause is probably B2 or higher because it catches things like comment/viewpoint adverbials and complex reporting.  There are other similar structures in the English Grammar Profile, related to modality, focus, hedging, and emphasis at the B1/B2 level that do not mention a following clause. A search in …

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lexical verb + IN + article + adjective + WAY (manner)

There are two points in the English Vocabulary Profile that relate to ‘way‘ in regards to manner: way MANNER C1[no plural] the manner in which someone behaves or thinks, or in which something happens For example: How do we measure changes in behavior in a meaningful way that‘s going to help us with prevention of disease,  early onset of disease, and tracking the progression of disease over a long period of time? TED in a big way INFORMAL C2 used to say that someone or something …

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twee

‘Twee‘ is unlisted in the English Vocabulary Profile.  Google Oxford defines it as: BRITISH excessively or affectedly quaint, pretty, or sentimental. adverb: affectedly in a way that is artificial, pretentious, and designed to impress. adjective: quaint attractively unusual or old-fashioned. adjective sentimental of or prompted by feelings of tenderness, sadness, or nostalgia. — A search for collocates …

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subjunctive THAT clauses

There is no mention of ‘subjunctive’ in the English Grammar Profile.  There are some points such as the second conditional though that indirectly cover it. For this reason, we suggest that sentences using other subjunctive forms that are not conditional or listed elsewhere, be considered as C2. Here are that clause examples from Wikipedia: It‘s crucial that he be here by noon. …

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all the time

The phrase ‘all the time‘ is listed at A2 in the English Vocabulary Profile with the meaning ‘continuously‘. Rachel talks about you all the time. I ask them all the time, but they said I still can’t come home. Why do you have to talk to me like that all the time for? listen A search in COCA for collocates: 1 HAPPENS 541 This happens all the time. TED 2 WATCHING 63 3 SPENT 56 4 ANGRY 53 5 …

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C1 Advanced – reading test part 1

In the C1 advanced handbook, there is a practice test for Reading and Use of English Part 1: Multiple Choice Cloze. We put the text with the answers through our English Grammar Profiler on this website and the text is clearly C2. Next, we are taking a corpus-based approach to do the test to see …

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conventional wisdom

In the English Vocabulary Profile: conventional wisdom = C1 what most people believe Collocates in NOW corpus: 1 SAYS 948 2 SUGGESTS 509 3 HOLDS 419 When it comes to moral and political disagreements,  conventional wisdom holds that people are more powerfully influenced by facts and statistics  as opposed to personal anecdotes and experiences. wbur.org 4 CONTRARY 402 5 CHALLENGE 352 6 HELD 257 7 SUGGEST 238 8 WRONG 207 9 GOES 201 10 CHALLENGING 177 …

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within + limits | reach | reason

Here are C2 phrases in the English Vocabulary Profile: A search in Now corpus: 1 WITHIN REACH 20327 = within somebody’s reach = possible for someone to achieve We are beginning to see that it is possible to unite beyond borders, that it is within our reach. TED 2  WITHIN REASON 3721 = acceptable and possible A search for collocates in COCA: 1 ANYTHING 23 There was nothing I wanted more and I was willing to do anything within reason to achieve that goal. Christian Science Monitor 2 …

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phrasal verb + clause ‘work out how you did it’

At C2 in the English Vocabulary Profile: work out = to understand something or to find the answer to something by thinking about it A search in NOW corpus for which ‘question words’ follow phrasal verbs: work out _*Q 1 WORK OUT HOW 12286 Just give us five minutes, Mr Poirot, and I‘m sure we‘ll be able to work out how you did it. listen 2 WORK OUT WHAT 11671 …

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to-infinitive + noun phrase + comparative

In the English Vocabulary Profile at B2: to make matters worse = to make a situation more difficult, unpleasant, etc. If the most common example of to-infinitive + noun + comparative is listed at B2, then it would make sense that other less common should also be considered as B2.  The closest form which is clearly …

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GET + comparative

In the English Vocabulary Profile, listed at B1 is: get worse = to become more ill, unpleasant, difficult, severe, etc. than before For example: But if this thing gets worse, we must close. listen There is no English Grammar Profile point that specifically focuses on GET + comparative A search in NOW corpus for: GET _JJR 1 GET WORSE 42282 2 GETTING …

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fear the worst

Here’s an example of a C2 phrase in the English Vocabulary Profile that means: worry that something very bad will happen or that something very bad has happened We fear the worst. TED A search for collocates of ‘fear the worst‘ in the NOW corpus: 1 COME 126 2 YET 114 3 BEGAN 59 4 EXPERTS 31 Experts initially feared the worst. …

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worth + POSSESSIVE + while

At C2 in the English Vocabulary Profile: If it is worth your while doing something, it is useful or enjoyable to do it. A search in the NOW corpus for: * * worth _AP while 1 MAKE IT WORTH YOUR WHILE 738 2 MAKE IT WORTH THEIR WHILE 413 Adam Smith was convinced that human beings were by their very natures lazy,  and wouldn’t do anything unless you made it worth their while,  and the way you made it worth …

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would sooner + INFINITIVE

At C2 in the English Vocabulary Profile, ‘would sooner’ means ‘would prefer.’ For example: They would sooner sacrifice numbers to save the people. TED The most common collocate or grammar structure related here is comparative ‘than’.  For example: I would sooner resign than be forced to get the vaccine. Chicago Tribune on MSN.com A search in the NOW corpus for which infinitives are found next to ‘would sooner’ would …

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nowhere else

In the English Vocabulary Profile at B1, the adverb ‘nowhere‘ means ‘not anywhere’.  At A2, ‘else’ means ‘in addition,’ ‘different’ or ‘other’.  Together the words means ‘no other place‘ Collocates of ‘nowhere else‘ in the NOW corpus: 1 GO 5041 There was nowhere else to go after Australia. TED 2 THERE 3063 3 FOUND 1726 4 WORLD 1399 5 BECAUSE 1190 …

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