Is Written English the Same as Spoken English?

In theory, the answer to this question should be a resounding ‘Yes’. However, the reality is that there may well be differences between written and spoken English. As a language, spoken English is quite relaxed. This means that there may well be occasions where someone speaks and their English grammar is not quite correct.  Often people say things like, ‘If I was a millionaire’ which does not sound too grammatically incorrect, but in written form it looks slightly odd.  This is because ‘if’ is a ‘wishing word’ and, as such, needs the subjunctive tense to be used.  So the correct written form of this sentence is,  ‘If I were a millionaire….’. 

It is therefore easy when speaking English to get away with not having very good grammar, but this will show up when the same words are written down. If you are learning English, then try to make sure that you don’t let your grammar show you up.  So make sure that when you are speaking English you pay attention to grammar and grammatical issues. Then, when you are writing English, ensure that you always check your grammar, either using an online grammar checking package, or just by going through it. (But take note that the grammar checker will be much more reliable than simply thinking that you can self-correct your own grammar).

Always try to speak English as it is written and, in this way, you can make sure that you don’t allow your standard of grammar to slip. Eventually, your grammar, whether spoken or written, will probably be as good if not better than native English speakers.

Do you like the content on, and want more? If you are looking for useful tips and lessons on English spelling, visit, or on English punctuation, visit . If you are looking for ways to improve your Business English, visit If you are an ESL student, or looking to learn English as a second language online, then visit for lots of useful articles!

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