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Mark Roy
Professional Teacher
Standards of English

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 Reading

Read the text and fill in the blanks. (See choices under the reading text)

Are you a stickler for correct language? Recently there have been a number of stories in the media about a perceived decline in the ability of many native speakers of English to use their mother tongue correctly.

English is regularly viewed as being one of the harder languages to master. This 1……………… is only enforced by native speakers being unable to spell, punctuate and use grammatically correct English.

Recently, there has been debate concerning the use of apostrophes in English. Proponents of reform to the English language 2……………… that the rules are unnecessarily complex. Itis certainly a common source of errors, especially in the use of the apostrophe for possession. Although signs saying ‘Taxi’s Only’ and ‘All Meal’s Made To Order’ are seen as minor transgressions by some, they provoke great anger in others.

It is not just punctuation that seems to defeat many people. The difference between ‘less’ and ‘fewer’ is well known to most students of English. However, a quick trip to a supermarket will show that many people do not 3……………… between the two, with signs proclaiming that certain checkouts are for ‘10 items or less’.

A final bone of contention is the misuse of vocabulary. Pupils at school could be forgiven for mixing up words such as ‘effect’ and ‘affect’. However, there are many who froth at the mouth when these kinds of errors creep into the mainstream media.

It could be argued that English is an 4……………… language, and that usage considered incorrect today will be acceptable in the future. However, this is unlikely to satisfy those who believe that non-standard spelling, punctuation and grammar are symptoms of a ‘dumbed-down’ culture, where standards count for naught.

Choose From: Ÿ differentiate Ÿ evolving Ÿ reputation Ÿ argue

 Comprehension Work:

In the context of this article, choose the best explanation for the following phrases:

1) A stickler for correct language is:

A) someone who doesn’t care about grammar and spelling

B) someone who thinks that correct English is very important

C) someone who makes many English mistakes

2) A perceived decline is:

A) a definite decline

B) to think there is a decline

C) a large decline

3) A proponent of reform:

A) is in favour of reform

B) opposes reform

C) is someone who becomes angry about reform

4) A minor transgression is:

A) a small idea

B) a small word

C) a small error

5) A bone of contention is

A) something that causes disagreement.

B) something that isn’t true

C) a suggestion that someone makes

6) If you froth at the mouth

A) something is making you feel sick

B) you are very angry

C) you start laughing

7) When something counts for naught

A) there are too many to count

B) it has no importance

C) it doesn’t exist


 Language Check: Are these sentences right or wrong? Correct the mistakes!

1) I threw out both my sister’s clothes.

2) James’ brother is an architect.

3) There are less people on the trains if you don’t travel at rush hour.

4) More police officers would lead to less crime.

5) Jim finds that the weather effects his mood.

6) What’s the most affective way to improve your English?

Jan 22, 2015 8:49 AM
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Mark Roy
Language Skills
English, French, Thai
Learning Language