Never be embarrassed by your English or your accent ever again.

Watch the video below for something different and powerful from How to Spell. 

I want to tell you something that helped me with my English, my confidence, my self-esteem, and that was understanding the differences between Standard English and Non- Standard English.


Most of us in the UK , don't have a clue about grammar, haven't learnt it at school and  just know when something sounds strange or not right, and haven't a clue why.  Which is a shame because we can be so much more confident in our language usage if we knew more about grammar.

Having a good knowledge of English will empower you to be able to choose the appropriate language, grammar and words for the right situation, which means you won't be intimidated when people say: "You can't say that!" "That's not English!" "Your accent isn't proper!"

  • About 90% of people speak Non-Standard English with their own grammar, words and accent.
  • An understanding of the differences between the way you speak, your dialect, and Standard English will give you confidence to be able to switch between the two when appropriate.
  • A good grasp of Standard English will give you an advantage in exams, interviews, business and life.

Standard English is the English we use in grammar books and has nothing to do with accent (how we say something). Standard English is the grammar used by Americans, Canadians, Australians, British, Indians, Caribbeans etc.

Non-Standard English is what most of us use and is all about the place we grew up in. It's about cultural identity, history and pride.

Non-Standard English varieties = Cockney (London), American dialects, Australian, Geordie (Newcastle), West Country, East Midlands, West Midlands, Brummy (Birmingham), Scouse (Liverpool), Scottish, Creole, Jamaican etc, etc. 

Don't let anyone tell you your accent and English is not proper. Standard English only became the prestige 'dialect' in the 18th Century because of the power base in London.

There are a few key differences between Standard and Non-Standard English which will make a difference to your understanding of English and your confidence in the language. And they're all in a video I've made:

Standard English


Non-Standard English

In this video you're going to learn:

  • the issues and implications of using Standard and Non-Standard English for you;
  • the differences between Standard English and Non-Standard grammar so you can 'switch' when appropriate;
  • how using the appropriate language means you fit in with friends and family, and also 'switch' so you fit in with business and more formal situations.

Since the  18th century there's been a snobbery about Standard English  and accents which is still with us today in the UK,

For many young native speakers they see Standard English has the oppressor dialect why should they write and speak like they and they don't wanna. They're partly right why should they change the way they speak which is part of their identity.

BUT everyone needs to understand the importance of SE and know the difference between using standard and  non standard English.

According to the linguist David Crystal 'You need to learn SE grammar forms, especially when you write, if you want to be a part of the wider community'.

Check out what millionaire Eben Pagan says about the importance of really learning and understanding your language.

Keys to Success by Eben Pagan
According to millionaire entrepreneur Eben Pagan: the first core key skill to success is to understand your language. "Unfortunately, people aren't paying attention to how important it is to learn your language. Our language, English, is a very subtle and powerful language and the more you learn your language the better you become at using it to persuade and connect with people. You've got to learn your language. It's important to study the history of your language, study etymology ( where words come from), when you hear a word you don't know learn about it. So you can think better and connect better."

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Recent emails about this video.

"Awesome video Joanne. Thanks."  M.K.
"Like you, never learnt grammar at school. Have a strong 'Northern' accent and when I moved to London I was made to feel I wasn't speaking properly. Wish I'd known what I know now from your video". J.S.
"Thanks for the useful video. Learning lots". N.B.
"In Britain we open our mouths and we're judged. I hate it. Feel like I know more now and value the way I speak, thanks Joanne".