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Standard and Non-Standard English

This article is about Standard and Non-Standard English — enjoy your reading!

2:10 min read
  Angbeen Chaudhary  —  Grammar Tips
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We all know that a language has different dialects and pronunciations in various areas where it is spoken depending on the culture and ways of people. But are you aware of the term standard and non-standard language? Or more specifically Standard and non-Standard English? Apart from the differences in spellings, dialects and pronunciations, a language differs in its form depending on the audience it is used for.

In this article, I will throw light on the meaning of the terms Standard English and non-standard English. I will compare both of them and will let you know the different scenarios and settings where each one of this is used.

Standard English

The formal type of English language that is mostly spoken and written I government agencies and environments is called Standard English. Apart from government institutions, Standard English is also engaged in media conversations, school announcements and international communications.

Standard English is not an alien language but is very similar to normal English language that we use in our daily life. The only difference between the two is that Standard English makes use of complicated terms which are otherwise not very common in our everyday communications. This makes this language very formal and perfect for settings like government authorities, media and international dealings.

In other words, you can say that Standard English is the language that is used by educated speakers in their speeches, researches, interviews or any other kind of public discourse.

Non-Standard English

In contrast, non-Standard English is the opposite of Standard English. It is used is everyday life by anyone from a little kid to a 70 year old person with basic words that are common and easily understandable by the local community. Non-Standard English does not make use of complex terms and is sometimes missing the proper punctuation as well.

One major difference between Standard English and non-Standard English is that standard English does not have differences depending on the area or community it is spoken in and is used in the same way through the world. Whereas non-Standard English has word preferences depending on the area and the locals that it is spoken by.


We lost the game and everyone was sad. (Non-Standard English)

Manchester United lost the game and the team was devastated. (Standard English)

Both these examples clearly show the differences in the formality of sentences. The non-standard English sentence is very informal and is used to convey news about lost game to someone close. Whereas, the Standard English sentence is more formal, contain complex terms and complete information about the lost game and the team’s behavior.


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