(Photo credit: http://bit.ly/254PGra)
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!
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