English Language

This article is focused on English-language literature rather than the literature of England, so that it includes writers from Scotland, Wales, and the whole of Ireland, as well as literature in English from countries of the former British Empire, including the United States. However, until the early 19th century, it only deals with the literature of the United Kingdom and Ireland. It does not include literature written in the other languages of Britain.

The English language has developed over the course of more than 1,400 years. The earliest forms of English, a set of Anglo-Frisian dialects brought to Great Britain by Anglo-Saxon settlers in the fifth century, are called Old English. Middle English began in the late 11th century with the Norman conquest of England. Early Modern English began in the late 15th century with the introduction of the printing press to London and the King James Bible as well as the Great Vowel Shift. Through the influence of the British Empire, the English language has spread around the world since the 17th century.

About English Language

English Language is a subject taught across the UK curriculum and is compulsory for students from starting school at 4/5 years of age, through to sitting national assessment exams at 16, GCSE’s in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and National 5 in Scotland, these can be two year courses with exams sat at the end to grade the students. Usually, English Language at these levels will fall under literacy or a combination with an element of English Literature into one qualification

In the early years, students will study reading, writing and spelling in their English or Literacy lessons. 

Once students have their GCSE’s or National 5 exams, they can choose to continue English at a more advanced level with A-Levels in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and Highers/Advanced Highers in Scotland.  These are studied over 2 years (A level) or one year (Highers/Advanced Highers)

English also forms a core part of the International Baccalaureate and is a prevalent (almost universal) part of entrance exams and 11+ exams to get into independent schools across the UK

The top universities in the UK to study English literature are currently, Durham, St Andrews, Cambridge, Oxford and University College London. If you need help with a UCAS application, please visit our university page

What do people who study English language do after graduation?


A degree in English language can open doors to a wide variety of job opportunities, many of which you might not expect.

One of the careers most often associated with an English language graduate is teaching, either in primary or secondary education, but many other options are available in this area including – if you have the appropriate foreign language skills – teaching English as a foreign language.

Another common career path for graduates is journalism or writing, often done following a postgraduate course. These options make clear use of the kind of transferable skills you can expect to acquire over the course of your degree.

English graduates may also find work in the areas of marketing and public relations, where their strong grasp of the finer points of the English language can prove to be very useful to potential employers.

Aside from this, one must also consider that acquiring a strong degree from a respected institution offers a huge number of opportunities in itself, that isn’t specific to an English language degree, such as in graduate employment schemes.

Fun Facts about the English Language

  • Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (*breath*) is NOT the longest word in English.
  • A new word is added to the dictionary every two hours.
  • Swims will be swims even when turned upside down.

Famous Quotes about the English Language


"The English language is nobody's special property. It is the property of the imagination: it is the property of the language itself." Derek Walcott
"I'm very sensitive to the English language. I studied the dictionary obsessively when I was a kid and collect old dictionaries. Words, I think, are very powerful and they convey an intention." Drew Barrymore
"Shakespeare's taught me that there are more words in the English language than I have got in my head." Zoe Wanamaker

Sign up now

English Language Resources

Edexcel Pearson GCSE English Language Paper 1 2017
Download File
Edexcel Pearson GCSE English Language Paper 2 2017
Download File

Download file

To get this file, please fill out this form. We use this data to view

What is this?

We'll use this email to send you this document

What is this?

This is just to say that you agree for your download to be tracked, we just track your email and when you downloaded this file

Download file

To get this file, please fill out this form. We use this data to view

What is this?

We'll use this email to send you this document

What is this?

This is just to say that you agree for your download to be tracked, we just track your email and when you downloaded this file