41 How to talk about your English level

How to tell people about your level of English? How can you describe your level of English proficiency? Learn useful spoken expressions for your conversations.

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In this episode, you will learn how to describe your level of language proficiency in English or in any other language. How do you describe your level of English knowledge? Learn with me!

If somebody asks you questions like ‘How well do you know English?’ or ‘How good is your English?’ or ‘What is your English level?’, you can:

  • name your level of language proficiency according to the CEFR,
  • describe what you can do in this language, or
  • describe your general language competency.

Telling about your native language

I am a native speaker of …

  • I am a native speaker of Russian.
  • She is a native speaker of Italian.
  • She is an English native speaker.

If you can speak two languages at the same level of native-like proficiency, you are BILINGUAL.

If you know more than 4 or 5 foreign languages, you can call yourself a POLYGLOT.

  • One polyglot I know can speak 12 foreign languages!


A lot of people try to say ‘I speak in English’ or ‘I speak in Russian’. We don’t normally use IN in such sentences.

Correct: ‘I speak English’ or ‘I can speak English’, ‘I can speak Russian’.

Describing levels of language proficiency according to CEFR

There are three levels of language proficiency:

Basic User / Beginner, Elementary, and Pre-intermediate (A1-A2)

Independent User / Intermediate and Upper-intermediate (B1-B2)

Proficient User / Advanced (C1-C2)

Learn more about the CEFR here

But if you don’t know what it means, a teacher could help you with testing and recommendations.

Phrases to describe what you can do in the language

  • ‘I GET BY in English.’ (you have survival skills in this language: you can ask about something in the shop or in the restaurant)
  • ‘I can hold a basic conversation.’ (you can communicate on simple everyday topics)
  • ‘I know some words in Dutch.’ = ‘I know a few words in Dutch’
  • ‘I studied English at school, but I can’t speak it.’
  • ‘My English is a bit rusty’. (RUSTY = not fresh)
  • ‘I wish I could speak French better’.
  • ‘My English vocabulary could be better’. ‘I think my speaking skills in English could be better’.

Telling about your general language proficiency (CV’s, autobiographies, etc.)

You can describe your language skills as Basiс, Conversational, Fluent, or Proficient.

Basic – you can communicate on simple topics or know some phrases in this language.

Conversational – you can communicate on everyday topics with minor grammar or vocabulary mistakes but you can’t write in this language.

Fluent – you have the ability to express any idea without hesitation, with good vocabulary and grammar; people understand you easily. Both your spoken and written skills are good.

Proficient – different from fluent in the way that you now understand the structure of the language and you can explain how this language works to other people. You also can use idiomatic language and understand local accents.

Now it’s your turn! Please answer these questions in the comments: How is your English? What is your level of English? What can you do in English?


THINKING Phrasal Verbs and Idioms | Vocabulary Quiz

English Numbers | Listening Test

Check your conversation skills in English

Grammar Quiz: So do I / Neither do I

Figure Out English Episode 34 Is English difficult to learn?


  1. i think i m in conversational , because i can communicate with vocabulary mistakes , but i can t writte properly
    i can understand what people say in this language , even if they are native but my big problem is that i can t speak fluently as native speaker do

    thanks for reading

  2. I think i’m in the “Conversational” level, but in basic conversation because i understood the sentence in everyday topics with minor grammar or vocabulary mistakes but I can’t write in this language properly. I understand what people say in English but sometimes I can’t deliver what I think.

  3. I don’t know my level is. I think is beyond conversational because I can write in English at the same time to speak it conversationally. But the problem is there is a time that I don’t know what words to say, and I totally black out.

  4. I think i’m in the “fluent” Because I can communicate with others easily with my spoken and written english skills.i can express myself freely without any concerns of any grammatical error. Recently I have been thinking of leveling up and reaching that “proficient” Stage. But in order to do that, I need to be able to explain many parts in english such as the meaning of such words I spoken and written. Anyways that is my story. Thank you for reading.

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