How the Pandemic Has Changed the Way We Write

The pandemic has changed the way we do just about everything, including the way we write. That might not come as much of a surprise to you if you are a writer, but it’s still an interesting fact. Physically, there isn’t much of a difference between the way people write now and how they did it before. They still sit at a computer or at a desk with a pen and paper and record their thoughts, and that is something that people would do in isolation before there was a need to be in isolation. And yet, the blog Beyond Words from the digital communication company Grammarly has detected some major shifts in how people have been writing in 2020.

Grammarly’s grammar checking software is capable of detecting 40 different tones in people’s writing, and it has found that people’s writing has generally become much less confident in 2020. Not surprisingly, the first major shift in tone came about in March. This was when the global pandemic was declared and much of the country was shut down. About 75 percent of Grammarly users developed a less optimistic tone in their writing, most likely due to all the anxiety surrounding the pandemic and the economic crisis that was directly caused by it.

A shift in tone could also have been caused by more people working from home. Office workers who have to write memos and emails related to their work often could talk to their colleagues if they didn’t know how to proceed with their writing. Employees could bounce ideas off of one another and come up with ways to make professional documents seem more professional. Now that many of these office workers are writing in isolation from their own homes, they have had to rely on their own skills and knowledge, which has resulted in an overall tone that is less confident and optimistic.

Oddly enough, Grammarly also reported a 70-percent shift towards a more “informative” tone in people’s writing. Much like a less confident tone, this particular shift may have been caused by more people being stuck at home. They’re spending more time researching the pandemic, the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement in the summer, and anything that lets them take their minds off of what’s been happening this year, and they’re sharing what they learn via their writing.

It’s safe to say that 2020 has been a year unlike any in recent history, and that has had an effect on how people are writing. 2021 is fast approaching, and it looks like it will bring about plenty of new changes and challenges. It will be fascinating to see what writing will look like a year from now.

Dave Kelly is a tech solutions expert with Information Builders and retired police captain. He is passionate about writing, reading, and personal finance.

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