Short answer – “No, it’s not weird at all! It’s actually completely normal for any English speaker – be it native or foreign – to be able to write in English better than speak!”
However, having said this, the reverse isn’t always true and I’m not claiming that all English speakers are better writers than speakers. It’s just that it’s NOT WEIRD if you happen to be a better writer than a speaker.
Now, would you like to get a bit more elaborate answer to this question? Well, it’s going to take me more than just a paragraph or two to say all I have to say in this regard, so I’d better settle down in front of my laptop with a mug of coffee because writing this article is going to take me a little while.
There are many aspects to the curious problem of differences between writing and speaking in English and who else would be more qualified to answer the above question than me? After all, I live in an English speaking country and I spend the biggest part of my day at work communicating with native English speakers; most of my evenings are spent writing articles for my blog and answering e-mails.
Years spent on analyzing English fluency related issues have left me with a very good understanding of how one’s writing skills influence one’s ability to speak and vice versa, so let my long answer begin!
So, is it weird that you can write in English better than speak?
NO, and the reason number one is…
1. If You Learnt English the Traditional Way,
It’s Hardly Surprising Your Written English is
Better than Your Spoken English!
In a nutshell, if you’ve learnt the English language by filling in blanks in workbooks and constructing sentences based on English Grammar rules, you’ve become very good at it. So, why would you be surprised to find out in a few years down the line that you’re much better at writing in English than speaking?
Do you think that the ability to create a piece of writing must somehow result in ability to produce verbal content of the same quality?
I’m sorry to disappoint you my friend, but it simply isn’t true!
Just think about it from this perspective – when you write, is your mouth engaged in any way in the text creation process? Is your ability to deliver fluent English speech being developed while you write? I don’t think so, because were the opposite true, you wouldn’t be asking the question in the first place, isn’t that right?
2. If You Spend Most of Your Time Writing,
It’s Rather Common Sense You’re Better at It!
I spend plenty of my time writing articles for this blog, and after a good few years doing this on a regular basis I want to believe I’m good at it! It’s a result of years’ hard work, and if you’re anything like me, you must have experienced a considerable improvement in terms of your ability to deliver very well written English content.
At the same time, if you don’t have much interpersonal contact with other English speakers, your spoken English improvement is lagging behind. The funny thing is, YOUR EGO WANTS to see the same improvement in terms of verbal fluency, but the obvious answer that it’s all down to the lack of practice just keeps eluding you.
It actually boils down to a single premise – YOU ARE WHAT YOU DO ❗ If you write a lot – you’re a good writer. If you speak a lot – you’re a good speaker.
Yet interestingly enough, even if you spend an equal amount of your time on writing and speaking, the chances are that you can express your thoughts slightly better in writing. Well, it’s actually quite obvious as well because…
3. You Have an Awful Lot More Time
For Planning When Writing!
When you write, you can stop for a second, think on a few different ways of putting the particular thought into words, and then write it down on a piece of paper or type it onto a computer. There’s nothing preventing you from creating perfect sentences in writing simply because you can always take your time and choose the best fitting words!
Those who face real people in real life don’t have such a luxury – when you speak you have to produce your speech pretty much instantly. Of course, sometimes you will hesitate and think of the best fitting word, phrase, or English Grammar Tense.
By and large, however, an English speaker – be it foreign or native – doesn’t have as much time for planning the speech when speaking as when constructing sentences when writing.
So if you’re bugging yourself about not being eloquent enough when speaking, you can rest assured that millions of native English speakers are probably feeling the same way. After all, when you create a piece of writing, you can always proofread it, polish any imperfections and make it sound as perfect as possible.
And, if you know how to make use of Google and online dictionaries to make sure you use the same means of expression as native English speakers do, your writing really might not differ from that of a native English speaker!
So is it surprising that if you have access to so many extra recourses when writing, that your writing is actually better than your spoken English?
4. When Writing, You’re not Emotionally Affected!
When you interact with other human beings, there’s always emotions involved.
Your new work colleague might make you too conscious of your own English speech, the girl or the handsome guy sitting at the workstation next to you might make you embarrassed, and your boss is probably pissing you off every time he walks by and makes some non-sense comment!
Add on some foreign English speaking perfectionists who’ll scowl at the slightest mistake you make, and some who’ll be always rushing you speech making you completely tongue-tied, and the overall picture all of a sudden gets very grim indeed!
Personally I tackle such emotional pressure with a decent dose of ignorance, but at the same time I’m fully aware of how difficult it sometimes is not to become emotionally affected and maintain your English fluency.
When you write, on the other hand, you are emotion-free for the most part (unless someone is peeking over your shoulder as you write and making you irritated!) And even if you’re frustrated and moody while writing, it will affect your ability to create that piece of writing to a lesser extent than if you were speaking.
So, did I convince you of the fact that there’s nothing weird about being able to write better in English than speak?
I hope I did, and I also hope you enjoyed reading this article! 😉
P.S. Would you like to find out why I’m highlighting some of the text in red? Read this article and you’ll learn why it’s so important to learn idiomatic expressions and how it will help you to improve your spoken English!
P.S.S. Are you serious about your spoken English improvement? Check out my English Harmony System HERE!