WE ARGUE here that a ‘paradigm gap’ has prevented recent research into world Englishes (WEs) and contrastive rhetoric (CR) from being mutually useful, and suggest particular areas in which insights from CR may benefit in particular the study of WEs. English in its standard ‘native’ form(s) is fast becoming the world’s lingua franca of science, commerce, the mass media, and entertainment. As a result, its non-native uses and users have become significant in at least the following eleven fields: applied linguistics, sociolinguistics, critical linguistics, contrastive rhetoric, second language acquisition, traditional English studies, lexicography, mass communication studies, cultural studies, pragmatics, and text linguistics (cf. Bolton, 2003a). We hope that the present study will contribute to the debate.