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Grammar for Cambridge C1/C2 Speaking

Using advanced grammar structures in speaking



As you embark on the journey to pass your Cambridge C1 or C2 exams, clearly, a multifaceted approach is essential. While fluency and a robust vocabulary are crucial, one often-undervalued element can significantly elevate your performance: advanced grammar structures. These structures are not mere embellishments; they demonstrate your mastery of the language and enable you to express complex ideas with precision and sophistication.


This week with one of my C1 groups we talked about environmental issues, which is one of the most common topics of the Cambridge exams. So, let’s pick all the example sentence related to environmental issues and sustainability.


Imagine yourself engaged in a stimulating discussion regarding a topic of global significance, such as climate change. Basic grammar allows you to articulate your position, but advanced structures add layers of depth and nuance.


Understanding the Impact - Conditionals

You could employ the conditionals to introduce hypothetical solutions:

"If every nation implemented stricter environmental regulations, we could potentially mitigate the effects of climate change."

"If we invest heavily in renewable energy, we can achieve energy independence in the coming decades."


Exploring potential consequences of inaction? Mixed conditionals can take the stage:

"We wouldn't be facing this climate crisis if we had invested in renewable energy sources decades ago."


Beyond the Basics

These are all wonderful sentences so far, but….. do you know that you are still using B2 grammar…? How about using inverted conditionals instead? You can show off your advanced grammar and add a touch of formality at the same time with INVERTED CONDITIONALS:


  • "Were stricter environmental regulations implemented worldwide, we could potentially mitigate the effects of climate change."

  • "Should we invest heavily in renewable energy sources, we can achieve energy independence in the coming decades."

  • "Had we invested in renewable energy sources decades ago, we wouldn't be facing this climate crisis today."


Inversions are not mere flourishes; they demonstrate your mastery of the language and allow you to express complex ideas with a touch of formality and elegance. Imagine yourself engaged in a stimulating discussion about a global concern like climate change. Basic grammar allows you to share your stance, but inverted conditionals add layers of sophistication. Use this sentence instead of simple conditionals: "Should stricter environmental regulations be implemented worldwide, we could potentially mitigate the effects of climate change."


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The Power of Nuance:

Mastering reported speech is a valuable tool for advanced language learners. Envision yourself navigating contrasting viewpoints on a subject like artificial intelligence. You could introduce opposing arguments by stating:

"Some experts contend that artificial intelligence poses a threat to humanity, while others believe it fosters innovation and sustainability."

This demonstrates your ability to navigate complex topics with clarity and a well-rounded understanding.


Strategic Passivity:

Passive voice, when used strategically, adds a layer of variety and emphasis:

"A groundbreaking discovery in renewable energy was recently announced by international researchers."


Expressing Wishes and Non-Factual Statements

Subjunctive mood allows you to express wishes and ideas that are non-factual. Envision yourself discussing the challenges faced by developing nations. You could say:

"It is crucial that developed countries provide more aid, so that developing nations can improve their infrastructure."

This demonstrates your ability to express not only your opinion but also a desired outcome which might not necessarily happen. Don’t forget: try to use complex and compound sentences to showcase your advanced knowledge.


Exploring Possibilities

Discussing future possibilities with a touch of formality is another advantage of the subjunctive mood. Consider a scenario where you're exploring potential solutions to pollution. You could propose:

"By implementing stricter regulations on industrial waste disposal, we might see a significant decrease in environmental damage."

This shows your ability to think critically and present hypothetical solutions.


While fluency and vocabulary form the foundation, advanced grammar structures are the tools that allow you to construct a compelling and sophisticated edifice of communication. By incorporating these elements into your speaking practice, you'll equip yourself to confidently navigate the C1/C2 Speaking exam and impress the examiners with your mastery of the English language.


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