ayman posted:

Should we teach formal English only or we should teach the informal form too?

Hello, Ayman: In order to be able to address that question properly, I think we (we here at G.E.) need to know which "we" you are referring to in your question. Who is doing the teaching? Where are you teaching? Who(m) are you teaching? How old are your pupils, roughly? Why are they studying English? Are they studying English simply to enhance their general knowledge or so that they may use English only in a very specific context? Do your pupils live around native speakers of English? Are they exposed daily to formal and informal uses of English?

ayman posted:

Hi,

I have this question concerning teaching English (grammar):

Should we teach formal English only or we should teach the informal form too?

Hi, Ayman and happy Eid al-Fitr,

As for me, as a non-native speaker, I always teach students what they have in their books. In fact, that has been Okaasan's advice to me. So, when our books mention something informal, I refer to it and connect my explanation with the exam. For example, our books say: I wish there was/were something I was interested in. I tell my students that both 'was' and 'were' after 'wish' here are correct, but 'were' is preferable. If they have to choose between them in the exam, they should use 'were'.

Hi, ahmedbtm,

Happy Eid to you too. That's what I really do. Yet, I find it really annoying especially in groups when we have quizzes. Some say option A is OK, others say option B is THE ONE while both can work formally and informally.

Therefore I asked this question what we (teachers or non-native English learners) should teach. When I read a grammar book, should I take care of the informal grammar too or just the formal form?

Hi, Ayman,

I think we completely agree that a good teacher, like you, should / must know formal and informal English, and that the most important thing is to teach students what they have in their books. Students shouldn't be given information that may confuse them in the exam.

If there are two correct options as you have mentioned above, you will find the correct answer is the formal one in all our model answers.

Again, I agree that it is sometimes annoying, but we know the weakest point in the whole issue is the exam makers. You can say that they sometimes invent their own English. In fact, most of our exams have terrible mistakes. However, the safest way isn't to tell students everything. Just tell them what they ought to know. Nothing more, nothing less.

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