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Standard and Non-Standard English: Knowing the Difference

In this worksheet, students consider how non-standard English varies from standard English and think about situations where standard English should be used.

'Standard and Non-Standard English: Knowing the Difference' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 3

Curriculum topic:   Grammar and Vocabulary

Curriculum subtopic:   Use Standard English with Confidence

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

People across the United Kingdom speak English in different ways. They have different accents and sometimes form sentences in ways that are not the same as standard English.


Sometimes the verb forms are different from standard English.

"We were thinking of buying a new car." (standard English)

"We was thinking of buying a new car." (non-standard English)


Using the 'double negative' is another form of non-standard English.

"I didn't do anything." (standard English)

"I didn't do nothing." (non-standard English)


"He didn't go anywhere." (standard English)

"He didn't go nowhere." (non-standard English)


Some forms of non-standard English use adjectives in place of adverbs.

"Peter played well today." (standard English)

"Peter played good today." (non-standard English)


"Jake ran quickly." (standard English)

"Jake ran quick." (non-standard English)


There is nothing wrong with non-standard English, but there are occasions when standard English should be used. If you apply for a job you are expected to be able to write in standard English, and there are many situations in school where you need to use standard English.

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