Sergey Sulimov


Sergey Sulimov


Conquering English: What you need to know at Pre-Intermediate level


The English language proficiency level is an indicator that corresponds to the international CEFR scale and implies that at each stage of learning you should have a certain knowledge base of grammar, vocabulary, understand simple or complex conversation, be able to read certain texts, be able to speak and so on. In this article, we will look at what the Pre-Intermediate level is and how to understand that you have already reached it.

What is Pre-Intermediate

This level can also be labeled A2 and is intermediate between beginner and intermediate level in English language learning. It implies that you have already learnt the basic grammar rules and can hold conversations on simple topics, but have not yet reached the equator of your learning. In general, you can tell if you are at this level by several signs:

  • you have no difficulty understanding the measured conversations of foreigners if they use simple vocabulary, but individual words may make you doubt whether you have grasped what is being said;
  • you can maintain a dialogue, especially if you use formulaic and succinct phrases;
  • you are familiar with the basic rules of grammar, but when choosing more complex tenses than the Simple group, you may start to doubt the correctness of the constructions used;
  • English was not the worst subject for you at school, but you have not progressed beyond the level you already have.

Material that Pre-Intermediate level holders know

Basically, there are certain international norms that will tell you what you need to know at the Pre-Intermediate level in terms of each language section. So, remember:

  1. Grammar. At the Pre-Intermediate level, you should be familiar with basic grammar rules such as:
  • use of Simple and Continuous tenses;
  • articles;
  • question constructions;
  • modal verbs;
  • pronouns; 
  • direct and indirect speech, etc. 

Moreover, you should be able to apply these rules in writing and speaking.

  1. Vocabulary. Your vocabulary at Pre-Intermediate level should be sufficient to understand and use everyday words and phrases on various topics such as family, work, study, traveling, food, etc. It is usually around 2000 words. It is also important to know some synonyms and antonyms to expand your vocabulary.
  2.  Conversation skills and listening. Here everything is pretty self-explanatory:
  • you have no difficulties with pronunciation, it is clear and correct;
  • you are not panicked by the interlocutor’s request to tell about yourself, your hobbies, friends, parents, childhood memories, what you do at work, and also to retell the information you have heard from another person;
  • use common phrasal verbs in your speech;
  • can explain a term you have forgotten using synonyms or other words;
  • understand the general meaning of dialogues in foreign sitcoms and cartoons with subtitles, without trying to translate every phrase;
  • understand the meaning of adapted audiobooks;
  • can watch commercials and simple videos in English.
  1. Reading and Writing Skills. At this level, you should be able to read simple texts in English, be able to extract basic information from the text, understand the main ideas and answer questions about the text. In writing, you should already be able to write simple sentences and short texts, comment on social networks, and engage in friendly correspondence, using grammar and vocabulary correctly. 

Ideally, a person with a Pre-Intermediate level of English should have all the knowledge we have listed above. However, it is often the case that some people have “lame” grammar, while others have difficulty understanding speech by ear. If you want to improve your gaps and communicate more confidently in English, you should continue your studies so that you can reach a higher level of English.

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