Standard Written English

In your written school work, it is expected that you use Standard English. This should be grammatically correct, and should avoid informal words or phrases often referred to as ‘colloquial language’ or ‘slang’. All external examinations require the ability to write in Standard English so it is advisable to make this the norm in your writing at school.

Colloquialisms and Slang

Avoid using colloquial language in normal written English. Colloquialisms may also be referred to as slang, informal language, or dialect. They often help to abbreviate sentences and speed up communication. They may add colour to communication but tend to go in and out of fashion.

Examples:

We was – the correct Standard English is We were

Them things – the correct Standard English is Those things

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Avoiding Colloquialisms and Slang

Colloquialisms should only be used sparingly and the person using them should be aware that they are non-standard.

It is important to know the difference between informal and formal English. Examples of common terms to avoid or use sparingly:

loads of or gonna

Example:

The sentence When I go out I’m gonna see loads of my friends is much better written as When I go out I will see many of my friends.

Can you think of any other slang terms that you use or that you have heard from other people?

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Grammatical Errors

Use of colloquialisms can also lead to grammatical errors.

How might you write the following sentence using Standard English?

Laura scored a wicked goal against them losers down the road.

The bold words indicate colloquial language: wicked, losers

There is also a grammatical mistake: them should read those

Informal language in this case: down the road

Using Standard English, the sentence might be:

Laura scored a brilliant goal against the local opposition.

Try the same exercise with these sentences:

When we done our science experiment the water went all bubbly.

Shakespeare’s this bloke what wrote some plays like Macbeth.

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