The Internet has changed how we write and study significantly

Student today and before - Internet article
In the 1950s, students needed lots of books, pens, pencils, and notebooks. Today, all they need is a laptop and Internet access.

The Internet has changed many aspects of our lives. It has changed how we spend our leisure time, work, shop, and play. It has also significantly changed how we write.

The pace at which the English language evolves has accelerated since the early 1990s. Our writing style today is much less formal than it used to be. It is also more expressive and versatile.

According to writing service, students, for example, have much more technology and resources available today than in the past, such as grammar checkers, spell checkers, a choice of different fonts, colors, images, sound files, animations and videos, online libraries, etc.

To be an effective writer today, being good at using technology matters much more than being a good speller. Our tablets, computers, and laptops correct our mistakes and improve our style as we write.

Student pre- and post-Internet
In the 1950s, students spent many hours each week writing with a pen or pencil. Nearly all writing today is done on a keyboard.

Pens and pencils have given way to keyboards

Fifty years ago, the average schoolchild or student spent at least 10 hours a week holding a pen, pencil, or ballpoint pen.

Today, many of us might spend a whole week without touching a pencil or pen. All our writing is done using a smartphone, laptop, tablet, or computer keyboard.

A pen or pencil user can write at approximately 15 to 20 words per minute. The average university student in 2019 can write at between 60 to 130 words per minute using a keyboard. In other words, people write much faster today than in the 20th century.

Correcting spelling mistakes, changing words in an essay, or rearranging the layout of a text today takes seconds. Our grandparents had to get a clean sheet of paper and start again. Ask anybody under the age of 30 what correction fluid is (Tippex), and you will get a blank stare.

Gathering source material

When a student in the 1950s had to do homework, they needed to either go to a library or buy/borrow a book to gather source material.

Today, everything is online. The Internet allows us to access virtually every library in the world. Wikipedia has more material than many major libraries. In September 2018, Wikipedia had 5.71 million articles.

Thanks to the Internet, we can gather material quickly and from anywhere in the world. We can even contact experts directly via email.

We use more words today

Did you know that there are more words today in the English language than there were thirty years ago?

Words and phrases such as search engine, social media, sexting, bromance, #Hashtag, blog, and vlog (video blog) did not exist in the 1970s or 1980s.

There are thousands of new biological, pharmaceutical, geological, aeronautical, and chemical words. The number of new words each year has been growing since the turn of the century.

Texting today vs shorthand before
In the 20th century, secretaries took dictation using shorthand. Today, most of us use a type of shorthand when we text other people using our smartphones.

Everybody uses shorthand today

During the 20th century, secretaries used shorthand. According to the English Oxford English Dictionaries, shorthand is: “A method of rapid writing by means of abbreviations and symbols, used especially for taking dictation.”

Nearly everybody uses some kind of shorthand today when using their smartphones to send texts to friends, family members, and work colleagues. For example, ‘CU TOM’ means ‘see you tomorrow.’ ‘2M’ also means ‘tomorrow.’

Texting today and chatting in the past
In the 20th century, people never wrote to their friends if they were in the same town. Today, we do it all the time.


Today, students can alter their writing style depending on who the intended reader is. They use one style for their teachers, another for their parents, and another for their friends.

In the past, students wrote texts principally for their teachers to read. Communication with family members and friends was mainly verbal (talking).