Why Study English Language and Literature

English is a core subject at school, which we must all study at least up to GCSE level. If you’re soon to have that under your belt and are thinking about your A-level options, you may well be asking yourself, “Why study English?”

Most employers and universities will want you to have a grade 4+ in English and maths at GCSE, so, in 2013, the government announced that all students in England have to achieve this and keep on studying the subjects until they do.

But why is English so important and where can it take you outside the classroom?

‘English teaches you important skills & is a gateway to many uni subjects and careers’

I’m fluent in English, so why all the focus on study?

English is the primary language of communication in the UK. Most of us grow up speaking it fluently or learn naturally as we become immersed in the classroom and society around us. So, we here you ask, if I’m already fluent, why study English at school?

There is more to English than the words we speak

Well, there’s a lot more to English than the words we speak. To learn the rules of spelling, punctuation & grammar, and to construct a sentence on a page, takes everyone a lot of time, study and patience. Learning these rules can help you to study other foreign languages at the same time too.

Employers say that one of the most valuable things they look for in the people who work for them is good communication skills and this means writing and presentation as well as talking. Being able to write a good cover letter, which is free from mistakes, can also be key to getting that job in the first place.

Essentially, whenever you need to persuade, inform or connect with someone, English is your best friend.

OK, that’s English language, but why study English literature?

Studying English literature helps to sharpen your analytical skills. If you can take a text and find the themes plus connect it with other texts, theories and historical events, you are showing that you can handle complex ideas, search for patterns and interpret information in a wider context.

You will also develop your planning and research skills as well as gain knowledge of history, culture, philosophy and even human behaviour.

What careers can I get with English?

English is good for any job that involves communication, writing and / or literary knowledge. These include: advertising and marketing, writing and journalism, law, consultancy, business, teaching, performing arts, academia, government, linguistics, foreign languages, media and design.

Careers in the sciences, engineering, technology and maths also need more English than you think. Writing proposals, academic papers & articles and communicating with others is key to getting funding for projects and reaching people with your work