Why are some people better at speaking English than writing?

Speaking English is tough.

Speaking and writing impeccable English is difficult for the majority. This is a pretty common stance among a group of people. When we say speaking, we mean fluent conversations in English with another person and not public speaking. And when we say writing, we don’t mean regular text or SMS conversations; we mean writing long or short paragraphs. 

Oftentimes when people get reviewed for interviews at MNCs or other organizations, it so happens that they are absolutely fluent in speaking and communicating, but when it comes to writing in English, there is a huge gap. The same pattern is usually found in reviews of people working in government organizations or academia. They, too, are fluent in writing but miss the beat when it comes to speaking fluent English. 

This huge gap in skill is rapidly increasing in organizations that are less market and customer-driven. In these sectors, since they have relatively less interaction with the customers, their lack of spoken or written skills is never highlighted. There are times people are not even aware that they lag in written English, mainly because such incidents never arrive.

The fast-paced technology has enabled everyone to use a smart device, and any written communication is usually in text format or email. Neither is a good example to understand a person’s written capabilities. The major question is why people lack when writing long paragraphs in comparison to when they are actually saying it. 

There are two major reasons for such a fallback. In this article, you will know the major reasons for the fallback and steps to make it better.

Fewer Opportunities to write

It is a given that in our day-to-day proceedings, we naturally tend to have fewer opportunities where we write and communicate. The major interaction that we have to content is through multiple emails or text messages or by adding a comment on social media platforms. 

Those mere texts do not even count as writing. For example, if we write through as “thru” in comments or texts, these are not writing and are not helping us in developing our writing skills. 

Sentences like, let’s catch up for movies or FYI, are just mere conversations and not part of writing. 

Even if you are writing close to, say…500 words every day, which is great, if the writing includes texts or comments (or as it is often called junk writing), then you are not improving. When we work on the same project regularly, we become better at it, but if we keep on writing junk or unstructured sentences, then we are becoming better at that, not at regular, technical writing. The truth is the majority of the people struggle with this and probably believe that due to their textual writing, their writing is also good, and they do not have to worry about written English. 

According to Steven Pinker, this happens because “writing, unlike speaking, is an unnatural act therefore if we get fewer opportunities to write, then consciously we will become good at something we do regularly, in this case, speaking.

In fact, Americans struggle with writing, and there are various organizations that offer courses to improve their writing skills. 

The best way to deal with this is to practice your writing skill and try to journal your day-to-day activities every day. This will help with your writing skill.

Writing is based on rules

The key difference between writing and speaking English is a technicality. A regular person who is fluent in speaking English can easily have a conversation without any embarrassing mistakes unless it is for an event or debate where one has to follow a structured rule. 

But when it comes to writing, it is more technical and will come under scrutiny. When you write, your grammar, sentence structure, verbs, and punctuations are noticed, and when you make mistakes in them, it leads to embarrassment.

To improve this, write and read grammar-related books. Organize your write-ups and try to read more. This will help you structure the sentences well.

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