Standard English and vocabulary

Standard English

You will be expected to use Standard English when making your presentation. This means that you should avoid informal language at all times.

Slang is a word to describe some of the everyday, informal language that you generally use with friends or family.For example, the word ‘mate’ is slang for the Standard English word ‘friend’. Or, if you were greeting an important visitor, you would probably say, ‘Good morning’, but to a friend you might say, ‘Alright?’

You should also try to avoid using too many informal abbreviations such as ‘wouldn’t’ and ‘shouldn’t’. ‘I would not’ and ‘They should not’ are much more appropriate.

Other types of informal language to avoid include:

  • ain’t - instead use it is not
  • innit? - instead use isn’t it?
  • en’t - instead use it is not
  • yeah - instead of yes
  • ta - instead use thank you

For more information on Standard English go to speaking and listening.


You might feel uncomfortable at first but when you make a formal presentation, your audience will expectem> Standard English to be used. When you practise your presentation, always use Standard English as this will ensure you are fully prepared to use it on the day of the actual presentation.


It is also essential to consider carefully the vocabulary that you use in your presentation. Your vocabulary should be wide-ranging and sophisticated.

You could think in particular about using words that are linked to the topic you have chosen to discuss. For example, if you have chosen to do a presentation on bullying, you might want to think about some specialist words. In this case you might want to use vocabulary such as:

  • cyber-bullying
  • discrimination
  • prejudice
  • isolation
  • verbal-bullying

Don’t be afraid of using some vocabulary that is new to you. The audience will expect to learn new things when they listen to your presentation, so it is important that you try to be adventurous when it comes to vocabulary choices.


Your use of vocabulary must be accurate so a dictionary will be very useful when checking the definition of new words. A thesaurus will help you to expand your vocabulary and ensure that you are using a wide-range of word choices.

However, it’s also important that you are comfortable with your choice of vocabulary - don’t use complex words because you think they sound better. They should add something to the content of your talk.