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7 Ways to Improve your Written English


Do you ever wonder why, in higher levels, writing in English seems more difficult than speaking in English? This is relatively true, especially for non-native speakers who wish to pursue a better academic future in a reputable Academic or British college or university. But sometimes even American and British students don’t get the grades that qualify them to seek better academic and career opportunities. This is because the way we write is quite different from the way we speak, especially in formal writing. When speaking, you have more additional resources: speaker and listener often share the same situation, you can use facial gestures and body language to convey the meaning, repeating and rephrasing constantly is allowed, and the listener can ask for clarifications, but this won’t happen while reading. When writing, you must be much more precise and clearer to compensate for all that.

So how can you improve your English writing? How can you improve your chances in a high-quality academic institution or in the job market when applying for a highly desirable job?


1. Read More

They always say reading leads to writing. The more you read, the better writer you will become. When you read a lot, you learn more vocabulary and notice how sentences are formed. Pick different books, articles, blogs, etc. of various genres to learn how professional writers tackle different topics.

Reading is the best way to learn more about the context, and how words are used to clarify meanings in English. It is also the only way to assimilate how written language expresses things, as opposed to how the same ideas are expressed in spoken language, since both varieties differ in so many ways. A person who speaks “like a book” sounds pedantic and snobbish. A person who writes the same as speaks sounds illiterate, childish and dumb.


2. Avoid Using Unnecessary Words:

Wordiness and redundancy can lower the quality of your English language. Words like “very” shouldn’t be used before every other adjective. Instead, use a stronger adjective to convey the message and show the true meaning of your words; for example use huge or immense instead of very big, and never say things like very very big. On the other hand, there are certain general words like “nice” that are very common in spoken English but rarely used in writing; choose a similar but more precise adjective instead. “A nice book” can be interesting, edifying, influencial, moving or captivating rather than simply nice, which expresses positiveness but doesn’t give any information about it. Check the thesaurus for synonyms to write stronger and varied words that may add value to your English assignments.

Don’t repeat the same idea twice. If you must repeat the same thing in a different way that can only mean one thing: your first explanation was confusing. Instead, rewrite it more clearly so they can understand it in one go.

People will be bored if the writer keeps on repeating the same words again and again. Remove the repeated words and come up with unique synonyms for your essay or paper. There are some good resources online to find synonyms and antonyms, such as this thesaurus or a dictionary of related words.


3. Use Collocations

Collocations are words that go together, for example, you can say "completely satisfied" but not "downright satisfied", even if completely and downright mean the same. Although there will be other grammatically correct words to use, these are the combinations that native English speakers use while speaking or writing. There are lots of ways that can help you find about collocations. Use a dictionary or search the internet using root words. The time spent on research will pay off eventually. This collocation dictionary may be very useful too.


4. Notice How you Speak

Even if spoken and written language are quite different, sometimes paying attention to the way you speak will help you write better. If you feel overwhelmed by writing, you can always write properly by using simple English. Complicated and unusual words don’t necessarily mean that your articles and essays will be better or more impressive. Complexity is a turn-off when it goes against clarity. Make it simple and clear, but still try to make it stylish or you will sound like a child. Reading a lot will give you the best pattern to reach that delicate balance.

Readers usually want to read something that shows your character and personality. Your English composition should be logical and straightforward. See how speech flows naturally and follow the same style when you’re writing.


5. Write Every Day

This might sound difficult, but writing in English, even for 10 minutes each day, will improve your writing a lot. Keep a diary, find a pen-friend online or write on your personal blog. It’s an excellent way to practice expressing yourself in English, especially if it’s not your first language. Write more English notes, social media posts, and messages to others. When it becomes a habit, it gets easier.


6. See how Professionals Do it

You’ve probably never thought about it before, but when you hire a professional academic writing service to finish an assignment on your behalf, you can see how professionals do it. Experts can proofread your writing and highlight areas for further improvement so you can compose better essays and articles. This way you can notice your common mistakes and avoid them in the future.


7. Be aware of autocorrecting tools

You can use the autocorrection tools of programs such as MS Office Word or Writing Tools to your advantage if every time you are suggested a correction you pay close attention to it. That way you can have a personal teacher correcting your writing and learning from your mistakes on the go, which is great; except that you must remember that autocorrecting tools are not always perfect!

On the other hand, if you get too accustomed to using autocorrection tools, you may get lazy and stop paying too much attention to correction, trusting that all your mistakes will be spot and cancelled instantly. Even if that was the case, which isn’t, your writing ability would then depend on the programs, not on your own ability. So use those tools as an occasional help, but grow on your own, going back to paper and pen if necessary. Writing in English on your own helps you remember how words look and forces you to think of how grammar works. In real life you won't always have technology at hand to help you.

These easy and simple tips will help you write better. You can become a better writer if you practice often.

© Angel Castaño 2008 Salamanca / Poole - free videos to learn real English online || InfoPrivacyTerms of useContactAbout
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