I find it awkward to say, "I'm typing this in the passenger seat while my husband is driving". Would it sound better if I said, "I am writing this"?

Technically, I'm not writing it, nor am I typing it. Actually, I'm not even sure what you call it. I just use my phone a lot to "write/type" blog posts.


2 Answers 2


Writing encompasses the larger image, and typing is merely one of the activities involved. Writing includes planning, drafting, own proofreading and editing - while typing doesn't imply creative activity. You may be typing columns of numbers into a spreadsheet, or typing the text your boss is dictating, and it doesn't constitute writing. And contrarily, you may use speech-to-text software and telling your story to the microphone, and it still will be writing.

  • 1
    The verb writing can also be used to describe the manual action (with a pencil or pen) without implying the creative writing process. For instance, I can write a story, or I can write the number three.
    – Ferus Olin
    May 19, 2016 at 20:16
  • Perfect! Thank you. That is exactly what I needed to know.
    – Aurora A
    May 20, 2016 at 2:39
  • 1
    Writers have been typing out their work for 150 years (since the invention of the typewriter). They're still writers. Writing primarily uses the brain, not the fingers. May 24, 2016 at 15:00

The English verb write has three* basic meanings:

  1. to draw the shape of letters
  2. to record words using written (as opposed to spoken or sign) language
  3. to compose a text

The second meaning encompasses writing by hand, typing into a computer, as well as writing words using the exhaust fumes of an airplane.

The third meaning encompasses thinking about what to write, doing research, and printing out your "manuscript" to correct spelling mistakes.

You may note that a manuscript (from the Latin, meaning "written by hand") isn't usually written by hand, either, today, but rather it is a computer printout or electronic file that you submit to a publisher or literary agent.

Many words, in all languages, collect meaning as culture changes and technology advances. Looking at a dictionary will help resolve questions like yours.

* This is a simplification, of course. The Oxford English Dictionary lists 22 distinct meanings, some with several subdivisions.

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