Throughout my years as a student and after, I’ve edited a lot of papers. Long papers, short papers, theses, letters, scripts . . . I’ve looked at just about every kind of writing assignment that there is. And in looking at all of those pieces of writing, I’ve learned quite a bit about how students write. One of the more interesting things that I’ve noticed is that many people write like they speak.
Writing like you speak isn’t necessarily a bad thing. There is certainly a time and a place for it. There are certain types of writing assignments where it can actually add a lot to your work—in things like scripts, speech notes, and dialogue in stories. Other than these situations, though, it’s probably better to avoid. But to avoid it, you have to be able to recognize it. It’s tough to explain what speech-like writing looks like—the best way to learn to recognize it is to see it yourself. Ask your friends to read their papers, both first and final drafts. After you read a few, you’ll probably start to be able to see and predict the differences between the two. You’ll see better word choices in final drafts, longer sentences, and clearer presentation of ideas. These are some of the hallmarks of better writing, and you’re less likely to see them if you’re reading writing that looks like a speech.
So what can you do to avoid writing like you speak? The first thing that you should do is to a href=”http://www.wikihow.com/Edit-or-Proofread-an-Essay-or-Paper”>edit your paper several times after you write it. Try to have the whole thing written a few days before you have to hand it in; after you’re done writing it, take a day away from it and don’t look at it for at least 24 hours. Then read over it and make edits. And a day after that, do it again. You’ll probably find that the more you look at it, the better you can make it. Keep a dictionary and a thesaurus handy, and make sure that you’re using words that clearly articulate your ideas (as well as vary your vocabulary choices—don’t be too repetitive).
It’s also essential to not forget to have others check over your paper. Ask your friends, family members, co-workers . . . anyone who might have some writing skill or could provide a different perspective. Ask them to make sure that your writing is clear, your ideas make sense, and you present your case well. Also, ask them, after they read it, if your writing is very similar t your speaking. If you are writing that way, see if you can get any opinions on how you might make it less so.
Like I said before, learning to recognize speech-like writing is something that comes with reading a lot. Start reading a lot of other peoples’ papers, and you’ll start seeing ways to improve your own writing.