We use CEFR

As a great ESL teacher you need to be able to adapt your teaching style and presentation of material to suit the student’s level.

The six reference levels used by the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) for grading an individual’s language proficiency are A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2.

Our suggested levels are just an indication. Teachers should evaluate the suitability of a handout before it is taught in a class. Often, a handout is included in two levels. This is based on variations in the way it can be taught in a lesson. A Handout may be suitable as an introductory lesson for one level and a review for a higher level. The teaching notes may include suggestions on how to teach handouts to mixed level students.


  • Can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type.
  • Can introduce him/herself and others and can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where he/she lives, people he/she knows and things he/she has.
  • Can interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.


  • Can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment).
  • Can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters.
  • Can describe in simple terms aspects of his/her background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need.


  • Can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc.
  • Can deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling in an area where the language is spoken.
  • Can produce simple connected text on topics which are familiar or of personal interest.
  • Can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes & ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.


  • Can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in his/her field of specialisation.
  • Can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party.
  • Can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.


  • Can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognise implicit meaning.
  • Can express him/herself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions.
  • Can use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes.
  • Can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organisational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices.


  • Can understand with ease virtually everything heard or read.
  • Can summarise information from different spoken and written sources, reconstructing arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation.
  • Can express him/herself spontaneously, very fluently and precisely, differentiating finer shades of meaning even in more complex situations.
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Extreme Non-Gradable Adjectives

Good. Very good. Amazing!

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ESL Lesson Handouts - Good-Very-good-Amazing


tagUseful Expressions

Adjectives are words used to describe the qualities of something. Some adjectives in English can show different grades, degrees, or levels of that quality. Emphatic or extreme adjectives or non-gradable adjectives are words that mean ‘extremely + adjective.’ For example, ‘freezing’ means ‘extremely cold.’ Learn some new emphatic or extreme adjectives and build vocabulary. Students can practice using these adjectives to be more expressive in English.

Emphatic, extreme, or non-gradable adjectives introduced in this Handout
amazing, terrible, filthy, enormous, exhausted, hilarious, ancient, freezing.


Elementary: A2

Read about levels

Teaching Time

30 mins

Language Functions and Forms

Target: Reading, Vocabulary
Forms: Adjectives


Gap fill, Reading


1 Student Page, Teaching Notes


Check the date in the Teaching Notes.

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