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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

QUESTION 1 of 10

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.

Rewrite the following sentence in standard English.

 

Bobby plays the piano real good.

Rewrite the following sentence in standard English.

 

I didn't do nothing wrong.

Rewrite the following sentence in standard English.

 

We was trying to finish our work.

Rewrite the following sentence in standard English.

 

My throat hurt real bad in the night.

Read the following sentence in non-standard English.


I ain't got none of them stickers.

 

Which of the following sentences is the equivalent in standard English?

I haven't got none of them stickers.

I haven't got any of them stickers.

I haven't got any of those stickers.

I haven't got none of those stickers.

Read the following sentence in non-standard English.


He done real good to pass his test first time.

 

Which of the following sentences is the equivalent in standard English?

He done real well to pass his test first time.

He done really well to pass his test first time.

He did real well to pass his test first time.

He did really well to pass his test first time.

Read the following sentence in non-standard English.

 

Me and my mates went to the skate park last night.

 

Which of the following sentences is the equivalent in standard English?

Me and my friends went to the skate park last night.

My friends and me went to the skate park last night.

My mates and me went to the skate park last night.

My friends and I went to the skate park last night.

Read the following sentence in non-standard English.

 

I were looking for them pencils what were in the pot.

 

Which of the following sentences is the equivalent in standard English?

I was looking for them pencils what were in the pot.

I was looking for those pencils that were in the pot.

I was looking for those pencils what were in the pot.

I were looking for those pencils that were in the pot.

Look at the following situations. For which of them would it be better to use standard English rather than non-standard English?

 

Tick three boxes.

Sending a text to your friend.

Writing a science report in school.

Writing a letter to your local paper about something that interests you.

Talking to your grandmother on the phone.

Giving a presentation in assembly.

Again, tick the situations in which it would be better to use standard English rather than non-standard English.

 

Tick three boxes.

Writing dialogue in a story.

Writing your private diary.

Talking to your local newsagent about starting a paper round.

Speaking to your head teacher about your plans to start a new club after school.

Applying to be on the school council.

  • Question 1

Rewrite the following sentence in standard English.

 

Bobby plays the piano real good.

CORRECT ANSWER
Bobby plays the piano really well.
  • Question 2

Rewrite the following sentence in standard English.

 

I didn't do nothing wrong.

CORRECT ANSWER
I haven't done anything wrong.
I didn't do anything wrong.
  • Question 3

Rewrite the following sentence in standard English.

 

We was trying to finish our work.

CORRECT ANSWER
We were trying to finish our work.
  • Question 4

Rewrite the following sentence in standard English.

 

My throat hurt real bad in the night.

CORRECT ANSWER
My throat hurt really badly in the night.
  • Question 5

Read the following sentence in non-standard English.


I ain't got none of them stickers.

 

Which of the following sentences is the equivalent in standard English?

CORRECT ANSWER
I haven't got any of those stickers.
  • Question 6

Read the following sentence in non-standard English.


He done real good to pass his test first time.

 

Which of the following sentences is the equivalent in standard English?

CORRECT ANSWER
He did really well to pass his test first time.
  • Question 7

Read the following sentence in non-standard English.

 

Me and my mates went to the skate park last night.

 

Which of the following sentences is the equivalent in standard English?

CORRECT ANSWER
My friends and I went to the skate park last night.
  • Question 8

Read the following sentence in non-standard English.

 

I were looking for them pencils what were in the pot.

 

Which of the following sentences is the equivalent in standard English?

CORRECT ANSWER
I was looking for those pencils that were in the pot.
  • Question 9

Look at the following situations. For which of them would it be better to use standard English rather than non-standard English?

 

Tick three boxes.

CORRECT ANSWER
Writing a science report in school.
Writing a letter to your local paper about something that interests you.
Giving a presentation in assembly.
  • Question 10

Again, tick the situations in which it would be better to use standard English rather than non-standard English.

 

Tick three boxes.

CORRECT ANSWER
Talking to your local newsagent about starting a paper round.
Speaking to your head teacher about your plans to start a new club after school.
Applying to be on the school council.
---- OR ----

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