Do you write like you talk?

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When you write a blog post or a marketing piece for a client, do you write like you talk?

Generally, I write Crayon Writer the way I think and speak. You may notice the words “so”, “but”, and “and” a lot, for instance.

I also write like a writer (or maybe I think like a writer). When I talk or think, I see the commas, periods, hyphens, and apostrophes in my head. Weird, huh?

Is it a good idea to write like you talk? I think it depends on how correctly you speak or think. If you know that you’re prone to mixing up the subjective and objective tenses, or you know that you don’t spell while you’re thinking, you might want to take a step back after you write something down. A second pair of eyes might be a good idea, even.

But if you know the basic rules of grammar and punctuation , there’s nothing wrong with sounding like a normal, everyday human when you write. Complete with sentence fragments, run-on thoughts, and even colloquial errors.

Above all, have fun when you write. If you spend too much time nitpicking you may sound like a robot. At the same time, make sure others can understand what you mean in your writing.

Here’s an example of a writing faux pas. I saw a truck the other day, driven, I presume, by a woman. There was a cute message written on the window that took me quite a while to figure out. The layout and the missing punctuation were hard to decipher.

Silly boys trucks

are for girls.

Huh?

First I thought, “What are silly boys’ trucks? I guess she’s driving a silly boy’s truck. Interesting. But why are silly boys’ trucks for girls? Why are the trucks silly?”

Finally it dawned on me that she was mimicking the Trix commercial, “Silly rabbit! Tricks are for kids!”

So she did two things wrong. There should have been some punctuation after the word “boys” and the “trucks are for girls” should have been on a line by themselves at the least.

So (didn’t I tell you I use that word a lot?), be careful when you write like you talk, but have fun! You won’t be getting a grade on your blog, but your clients may have something to say about it if you get it wrong.

5 Responses to “Do you write like you talk?”

  1. That is hilarious. I couldn’t figure out that phrase until I stopped and looked twice! I guess I think the way I write too. Although I do tend to be slightly more concise in writing. Or at least I think so. 🙂

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  2. 360 Degrees says:

    Good advice!
    The play on the Trix commercial line reminds me of a book I keep meaning to read, but have not.
    “Eats, Shoots, and Leaves” seems to me to be appropriate to the subject at hand.

  3. Lynque says:

    When all the reader has is words on the page–

    Woman without her man is nothing
    Woman: without her, man is nothing.

    What becomes the point?

  4. Bud says:

    The general quality of the English language online is suffering. We need English teachers now more than ever.

  5. Lynque says:

    Perhaps we should ask, “Do you talk like you write (or as you write, for the matter),” and if not, why not?