Should we WRITE THE WAY we SPEAK?

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When we teach someone English we always like to integrate the three disciplines of reading writing and speaking (and of course the grammar needs to be present in all of them), but what gets lost is understanding that writing how you speak can sometimes work and sometimes not. The key is to know when.

Just as we change our language around our parents and teachers when we are talking, so too do we change our language in our writing. Obviously if we are talking with our friends we consider this to be informal and when writing to our friends we can use all kinds of strange language, slang, pictures and emoticons. This is all fair and should be done. Your friend doesn’t want to receive some stilted email from you, they will think someone was standing over you with a gun to your head!

However, these correlation ones are easy, the ones that are difficult are the creative ones. For example, if you are writing a blog (like this) or an opinion on something to someone, you need to simply be yourself. Write as you would speak, but of course make yourself clear, because you are talking to not just your friend, you are talking to a large audience. This audience want to know you and want at the same time to get something from you, some opinion that is clear and thought out.

Being yourself can be the hardest thing of all when you are writing. Too much self-editing can be disastrous to your writing and can end up backfiring the more you work on it.  At the same time, being too lose with your care for particulars can help you lose your audience. The key is to know who you are in your heart, not your head. Your heart will help you, as this is what people will see when you write.

The key is to understand that also it takes time. Time and confidence, and fortunately in this world of the internet what you write does stay there forever, but the more you write the more chance you have of people seeing you fairly. If you don’t write often, it can backfire on you, as these will be the only pieces they will see from you and you may have self-edited them far too much and so are not a good indication of who you are.

So don’t be afraid, jump out there, make mistakes and let people criticize you if you want, but most importantly make sure you are saying exactly what you think in a fair way. Listen to others and speak what you think, and write it in the same way. Be respectful but clear.

What do you think?

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