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How writing is different from talking

When you talk to someone the person listening can let you know whether or not they understand what you are saying. They can stop you and ask you to explain or clarify something.

But your reader cannot ask for clarification in the same way, and you cannot ask your reader whether she or he has understood.

You therefore need to provide everything essential for understanding in the written text itself you can’t rephrase any parts that didn’t get across first time.

This is one reason why writing is typically more formal and bound by more explicit rules than speaking.

However, ‘providing everything essential’ brings its own problems. If you provide too much background information, your reader will become bored and lose attention.

So you need constantly to make decisions, as precisely as possible, about how much information your reader will need. You should not create the appearance of going over too much old ground.

Your essay unfolds over the period of time a reader takes to read it; so your choices about information are not only a matter of more-or-less. There also needs to be clear direction and development in what you write.

Your essay should lead towards a clearly signalled goal, rather than merely listing or presenting material whose relevance to your discussion hasn’t been explicitly established.

When in doubt, there is a useful check you can carry out on yourself as a reader of your work who keeps asking: why is she/he telling me this.

The reasoning behind what you have included in your writing should always be clear and/or well explained.

One Response to “How writing is different from talking”

  1. CAN says:

    thanx i suck at riting but this helped mee

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