Is There Any Difference Between Spoken English and Written English?

Spoken English and Written English

Earlier, there was no written communication, and people exchanged information only by speaking. Nowadays, writing is an unavoidable medium of communication in personal and professional life. Spoken English has also improved over time, like written English. There are more similarities than differences between spoken and written English. These differences are crucial and require focus to avoid any problem while speaking English. These differences are often confusing for beginners. This confusion is the reason why it is important to understand the differences.

Here, I present to you a few points to show how written English is different from spoken English. 

Colloquialism and Slangs

Some words and phrases are only used in Spoken English. For example, slang words are used in verbal communication more than in written English. If you are on the advanced or beginner level of the learning curve, learning English slang is essential to catch up on informal conversations. For example, Instead of saying “I’m willing to participate in it.”, we say, “I’m up for it.”

Spoken English is more informal and unplanned, whereas written English is more formal, complicated, and planned. English speakers usually play with words and use any type of word regardless of its correct usage. Clarity and good pronunciation are important for Spoken English, and a good hold on grammar is required to have good written English skills.

Disappearance With Time

Written English rules are considered rigid. These rules are thoroughly taught in schools so that a proper structure is followed by all students. We keep learning new rules and understand various sentence structures for writing. Spoken English trends keep changing time and time again, and words keep disappearing. The English word ‘Shall’ is rarely used in Spoken English. Gradually, ‘shall’ is disappearing. Many words, phrases, and idioms are out of the trend, and they are not used in Spoken English these days. Literature has some fixed words which students study and use while they are in school. Words seldom become redundant because they are hard to remember and not easily understood by the majority of people.

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Complexity in Structure

Written English is complicated whether we read newspapers, books, or online articles. Written English is more structured and complex than Spoken English. The reason behind complexity is the usage of punctuation marks and correct sentence structure. You must observe the way articles are written in English. Sometimes, writers make dual meanings of one sentence with their creative minds. However, for us, chatting with a friend on a chatting platform can be informal as in Spoken English. There is no punctuation in spoken English, but we need to know intonation, word/letter stress, timing, and pitch. When you speak in a particular tone, people either listen to you carefully or not. When they listen to you carefully, they do not get bored easily.

Rhythm in Spoken English

If you listen to a good English speaker, you will notice that there is a rhythm in their sentences and words. This happens because of proper pauses, stress, speed, and pronunciation. The effects of pause and stress are surprisingly amazing because they show the effectiveness of a speech. Our body language tells others about us a lot when we speak English, whereas written English is a bit restricted in this aspect because it is defined by its proper sentence structure that does not include body language. There are some opinions that Spoken English is usually event-based, action-based, and story-based like narration. Written English can be idea-based, describing events of past and future in fixed statements.

Speed of Delivery

Writing is much slower than speaking. Speed of delivery might be the possible reason why spoken English is used to describe the ongoing events.

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Reading out written content is faster than writing down the same content that is spoken. Written material is fixed so that a reader can read it at whatever time, level, and speed.

An Organised Piece of Work

A written text is more organised and carefully formed because the writer has time to review and edit the content before making it available to readers. In Spoken English, a speaker speaks in real-time. The speaker describes a current scenario, ongoing actions, past situations, or future events and that is why a speaker keeps altering the content in real-time, which sometimes makes it unorganized. However, this content is not hard to understand.

Assumptions or Clarity

The written text is very specific. It has to be clear and to the point for all references and contexts. We can not assume information in the written communication unless a reference is provided. However, when a real-life situation is described verbally, some information can be assumed by the listeners.


Finally, I would say that English is a popular language globally. It is accepted as a universal language as it is the language of international communication. A speaker needs to know the grammar rules for both written and spoken English. We need to understand that written and spoken English are two sides of a coin. Both spoken and written English are required for communication.

About tarunaarya

Tarun is a Digital Marketing enthusiast who loves to work on SEO, SMO, PPC, Local SEO, Content Marketing and write about all things digital, tech, and marketing.

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