Academic English and social English

Academic English and Social English

Academic English and social English are not different languages; however, there is a difference in their applications. Academic English is a language required for college achievement, while social English is the language of daily communication in both oral and written ways. While they have some variations, they still have some similarities.

The two languages are designed to communicate from one source to another. An individual who sends an email or texts using abbreviations and other slang needs to communicate with the recipient and be understood. On the other hand, a student writing assignment is sending a message to the tutor that they have understood the question and are applying the knowledge learned in answering the questions. Through language, we can connect with other people and make sense of our experience (Hacker & Sommers, 2016). A connection is built between the student and the professor or the friends or relatives. Language shapes reality, and it limits what ideas and concepts are available in a particular situation.


When writing assignments, the language used is formal, and a strict format is followed. There is no use of short forms unless in abbreviated words. A student is supposed to write fluently and observe the correct grammar including punctuations. When writing the assignment, the student should remain within the confines of the instructions given if they want to score a higher grade. Social English is not under the realm of strict grammar rules; a person sending informal texts, emails, and papers do not need to write "properly" (Tagliamonte & Brooke, 2014). According to Tagliamonte and Brooke (2014), teenagers use short forms and abbreviations such as lol, omg (Oh My God), and btw (between) in their communication to save time when typing. No rules are guiding the structure or grammar in an informal discussion.

Purpose, Use, Impact, and Comfort

Assignments are meant to gauge the level of understanding of a student in of the unit or concept. The tutor uses it to grade the student and promote them to the next class. A student is supposed to follow all the instructions and ensure that the work is grammatically correct; otherwise, the professor ends up awarding the student very low marks. A paper lacking the flow of ideas or written in short form confuses the tutor marking it, and they also find it unpleasant and poorly presented and uncomfortable to read (Hacker & Sommers, 2016). The students who are used to writing using common slang find it difficult to cope with the requirements of writing an assignment. However, communication between peers is characterized by the use of slang since they understand what they mean, the writer and reader feel at ease while writing or reading the text. The reader feels in close relation with the author of the text because they understand each other.


An academic paper should be written according to the laid down procedures and instructions. It is supposed to be formal and precise to the answer. Some students experience problems when answering questions presented to them in an exam room or other forms of assignment. Slang affects the thinking, planning, and writing of these students. They express themselves in a way that indicates that they are not aware of the gravity of the paper they are writing. Students fail to take the time to understand the requirements of the question and plan how to structure their points. Pre-writing gives the student a chance to plan how to answer the questions, the outline to follow and organization of ideas. Writing a draft provides an opportunity for a learner to proofread the work and edit where there is slang, short form or incoherence of the sentence. Revision of the paper allows the student to polish the work before submitting it to the tutor for marking.


Slang has affected the way people communicate and interact. When interacting with my peers, it is enjoyable and efficient, but the problem arises when it comes to talking with elders who cannot understand what the short forms mean. When writing the assignment or official letters, a person experiences a lot of a hard time coping with the strict requirements. The family members and the member of the community are affected by the languages innovated by the teenagers. According to McWhorter (2013) slang has changed the way people write and speak. The author points out that the subtle communication of lol (Laugh out Loud) is not used only to indicate a funny situation, but it is also used to express empathy and tone.

Source of Problem

According to McWhorter (2013), teens are language innovators. As such, teenagers are the source of the problem. The author further argues that to give the young people all the credit for spreading new abbreviation would be shortsighted. People should not mock the creative development of the English language as advanced by the youngsters but should be studied. The language is developed and propagated when they are in their informal discussions. It also occurs when the teacher engages the student in the casual occasions like the playfield. The social proficiency may not necessarily have the English academic proficiency.


The efficient manner of dealing with the issue of slang language is to study and incorporate it in the formal English language taught in school. The tutor should encourage the students to avoid the use of short forms or any other slang in their assignments. The students are aware of where to use proper English. They understand that one should not start a sentence or write proper nouns with a small letter. The kind of natural blending of the conversational register used by the teenagers is not possible without a sophisticated understanding of both formal and informal language.


When the students are encouraged to avoid the use of slang in their formal academic writings, their grades improve. Studying the effectiveness, origin, and growth of slang among the teenagers and adults in the community leads to an informed decision on whether to abolish or incorporate informal language. The convenience of using short form and abbreviation when composing a text message and emails save the time of the writer, it also saves the space upon which the word is written. The comfort and ease of writing or reading such message are marveling to those who understand the language. Conversations that do not require a person to follow strict structure or format seem simple to the people using it. When students develop a tendency to differentiate between formal and informal communication, they are deemed fit to the requirements of writing academic assignments.


The use of slang affects the way students think and express themselves. Academic writing requires the use of formal English that follows rules of grammar and instructions issued by the examiner. The teenagers invent the language and are fond of using slang in their communication. Minimizing the use of slang is a sure way of preventing the effect of the language spilling to class work.


Hacker, D., & Sommers, N. (2016). A Writer’s Reference with Exercises with 2016 MLA Update. Macmillan Higher Education.

McWhorter, J. (2013). Txtng is killing language. JK!!!. TED Talks.

Tagliamonte, S. A., & Brooke, J. (2014). A weird (language) tale: Variation and change in the adjectives of strangeness. American Speech, 89(1), 4-41.

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