Elements of an advanced syllabus

Using the British Council’s ‘Core Inventory for General English’ we can list possible elements of a higher level syllabus (C1 and above)

The Inventory covers provides an outline core syllabus based on popular coursebooks, teacher surveys and other sources. Below is that part of the syllabus for advanced students (level C1). You will never have the time or the need to cover everything but elements of the list below may be particularly helpful when planning an advanced level course.

Core inventory: http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/sites/teacheng/files/Z243%20E&E%20EQUALS%20BROCHURErevised6.pdf

Students will of course have some knowledge of most of the areas eg informal v. formal language so it is a matter of covering more advanced (though relevant) examples, as indicated below:

Lexis (vocabulary)

  • Collocations eg excruciating pain
  • Colloquial language eg I was gobsmacked
  • Vague language eg There will be 20-odd people
  • Precise description eg The speech was poor. He didn’t engage the audience or go into sufficient detail.
  • Levels of formality eg passed away, died, kicked the bucket
  • Expressions eg I’ll always be there for you    

Verb forms

  • Passives
  • Modals in the past
  • Narrative (simple past, past continuous, used to, would [past habits], past perfect simple and continuous
  • Review of future reference

Discourse markers

  • Informal eg mind you, on top of that
  • Formal eg moreover, despite, therefore etc

Functions and notions

  • Expressing attitudes eg I couldn’t care less
  • Expressing certainty, probability and doubt eg highly likely
  • Summing up eg to cut a long story short
  • Speculating eg supposing
  • Tentative opinions eg it’s supposed, I have a feeling
  • Expressing reaction eg you can say that again
  • Developing an opinion eg no one would dispute, some people might argue
  • Conceding a point eg I have to admit that  
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One Response to Elements of an advanced syllabus


  1. KelvinFowler says:

    Margaret. I. commented 20/01/2013:

    “Thanks Ian this is really helpful for my C1/C2 student.”

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