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How Important is Writing as an English Skill?

If you’ve already started learning English, or perhaps another language, did you ever think to yourself that you might skip the writing element? “I’m not going to write essays in English,” or “I only need to speak and listen to English, so writing isn’t important.” These things may seem eminently logical in your mind, but in fact it’s a dangerous way of thinking.

Writing is crucial in English learning. It solidifies grammar and vocabulary, enhances critical thinking, serves as a means for complex expression, and is required for most English certifications. In the digital age, mastering writing is essential for effective communication.

Writing is actually an incredibly important and useful skill in English, as it is in other languages too, and therefore should really not be ignored. In today’s article, we will discuss in more detail about just how vital writing is as an English skill.

Why English Skills Matter: Balancing Reading, Writing, Listening & Speaking

How Important is Writing as an English Skill?

Writing may seem less important when you feel you won’t be using it as often in your daily life or language use, but in fact it is still incredibly important. Most importantly, writing is another form of expression and communication in English that allows you to take ideas from your mind and put them into a practical format.

Speaking of practicality, it also works as a functional engine of practice and retention for content that one has already learned. On top of all that, anyone hoping to complete an official certification such as IELTS or TOEFL will need strong writing skills.

These, among other reasons, are why one simply cannot afford to ignore writing when they are trying to master the English language. Even if you think your writing life will only ever involve writing simple emails or memos to your colleagues, you just never know, and in the long term you’ll always be glad you took the time to improve your written communication abilities.

Why is Writing Such an Important Skill?

Next, let’s look in more detail at the specific reasons why writing should never be set aside as an inferior or less worthwhile skill:

It’s an Important Form of Expression and Communication

While speaking and listening cover day-to-day communication in English, writing covers expression and communication of ideas in an entirely different way. In other words, we write differently from the way we speak, and knowing and understanding that is important for learners.

It’s not something unique to the English language, of course, since many languages around the world have some sort of distinction between ‘written’ and ‘spoken’ forms for reasons of formality, art, and other things.

Being able to take disparate, circulating ideas in one’s mind, for example, and lay them out in a well-written, logical essay is an excellent exercise in writing, critical thinking (more below), and communication skill.

Such things translate very well into one’s working life, whether or not one is specifically writing essays. What mastering English writing will do for you is strengthen your abilities to communicate difficult and complex ideas in a simple and universally understandable way.

The Unexpected Importance of Writing in Daily Life

Many of us underestimate the role of writing in our everyday life. As educators and parents, we must reinforce the idea that English writing skills aren’t confined to essay writing or academic reports.

They are essential in creating simple yet impactful emails, jotting down informative notes, or even writing a heartfelt letter. Text messages and social media posts also require concise, clear writing and we look at this ion more detail below.

We’ve found that improving writing skills can significantly enhance students’ ability to communicate their thoughts and ideas effectively, whether it’s a quick note to a teacher or a detailed project description.

How Important is Writing as an English Skill

Writing Aids in Language Practice and Retention

As a part of your language learning journey, writing also serves a critical role in the practice and retention of grammar structures and vocabulary. Just as you better retain and understand grammar and vocabulary when you use it in practical situations, the same applies when writing.

The act of writing words out in sentences and paragraphs, taking care to spell them right and distinguish them from similar-sounding but different words, for instance, is a most effective way to help ensure that you remember them.

Strong writers will inevitably be better speakers, too. Writing in English demands that one naturally vary their vocabulary and expression to avoid repetition. It also pushes learners to both make use of interesting idioms, metaphors and similes where appropriate, and even challenges them to invent expressions of their own at the highest level.

Being able to do these things in writing better equips learners to do the same when speaking.

It is a Necessary Component in Virtually All English Certifications

Another highly practical consideration here is the fact that just about every official English language test you would care to name places some focus on writing, including the IELTS and TOEFL, but also of course those important standardized tests in the US like the SAT, ACT, GRE, and GMAT.

We’ll use the IELTS and TOEFL as examples since those apply most widely to learners of English as a second language.

If you are planning to take the Academic IELTS test, then you will be required to write two short essays, the first of 150 words and the second of 250 words. The first one involves summarizing data, and the second writing a longer response to a thoughtful prompt that most commonly asks if you agree or disagree.

Similarly, TOEFL also includes summary writing where you summarize the main points of a lecture sample, as well as a similar independent writing response to the IELTS second task.

So, if getting a good all-round IELTS score is important for you for whatever reason, then you just cannot ignore writing.

How Important is Writing as an English Skill

It Serves as a Visual Record of Feedback and Progress

Another importance of writing is as a record of your progress in English. If you compare the first thing you ever wrote for your teacher months ago to something you have written recently, what do you notice?

Is there less red pen correction visible on the page? Are your sentences longer, more complex and intricate? Are you using a wider range of vocabulary and grammar structures? Do your paragraphs make more sense, with a clear topic sentence, supporting sentences and a concluding sentence? 

Having that visual proof of progress can be a huge boost to confidence.

In addition, when you get feedback from your teacher about speaking, it’s typically given to you orally too. You take it in on the spot, but might forget elements of it later on.

The beauty of the feedback you get on your writing is that it’s written down and precisely placed around the problem areas, allowing you to better reflect upon it and improve.

Writing Exercises Critical Thinking

Finally, writing is so important as an English skill because it simultaneously serves as an exercise in critical thinking. Writing in English will constantly and consistently challenge you to think your way through problems.

At first, these problems might be as small as just finding an ideal word or expression to convey your point of view, but over time, even solving these seemingly small issues accumulates into incredibly strong thinking and problem-solving capabilities.

How Important is Writing as an English Skill

The Distinction Between Spoken and Written English

As it is so important we want to go over the importance of the difference between written English and Spoken English again.

The divide between written and spoken English can often be overlooked. As parents and educators, we should stress the importance of understanding these differences. Spoken English often allows for a more relaxed structure, with colloquialisms and contractions being commonly used.

Written English, however, typically requires more formal language, complete sentences, and adherence to grammatical rules. By grasping these differences, students can enhance both their oral and written communication, becoming adept at switching between casual conversation and more formal written expression.

Writing as a Tool for Reflection and Progress

Written work provides tangible evidence of a learner’s progress over time. Looking back at their initial works, students can see how far they’ve come, which can be incredibly motivating.

As parents or teachers, we can point out improvements in grammar usage, vocabulary breadth, and sentence structure, highlighting their achievements.

Furthermore, written feedback on their work gives students specific areas to focus on for further improvement, facilitating targeted learning

How Important is Writing as an English Skill

The Role of Messaging in Modern Communication

In our increasingly digital age, messaging platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and others have become integral parts of our daily communication. These platforms provide an informal setting for written communication, yet they still require clarity and coherence.

As teachers and parents, we recognize the importance of mastering written communication in these contexts as well.

Messaging platforms offer unique opportunities for English language learners. They allow students to practice their writing skills in real-time conversations, using colloquial language and shorthand that is often used in everyday written communication.

These platforms can help learners to become adept at understanding and using a more informal style of written English, complementing the more formal styles often taught in classrooms.

We suggest encouraging learners to use these platforms responsibly and productively, perhaps setting up supervised chat groups for English practice. As digital communication continues to grow, so does the importance of writing, even in its shorter, more casual forms. It’s an evolving skill set that can provide an advantage in the modern world.

We have articles on all the four main English language skills here on the site, you can check them out anytime.


The written word, although often seen as important is perhaps not seen as important as it should be, for every book you have read and used reading skills, there has been a writer using their writing skills.

Although this is a little holistic, more personally any job you do will involve producing writing of some sorts and spending some time to make sure these skills improve in line with the other English Skills is time well spent!


I have been a teacher of English for over 15 years, in that time i made hundreds and thousands of resources and learnt so much i think its worth sharing. Hopefully to help teachers and parents around the world.

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