Today I am going to provide you with some vital tips to help you improve your English writing skills. Take some time to watch the video and read through these steps.
These 6 tips will benefit you if you want to write professionally or for everyday use.
TIP 1: FOCUS ON THE WRITING STYLE YOU NEED
This first step is arguably the most important.
Before implementing the other tips be clear on the type of style you are going to need. If you are writing for business purposes, then focus on business English. If you are taking the IELTS exam, get resources focused on this.
Be clear on what you’re going to be writing about. Then, move on to step two.
TIP 2: FIND EXAMPLES OF TEXT AND COPY THEM
In the age of the internet, this is a very easy thing to find and an essential for getting used to the style you like.
If you are looking for conversational English, search for something like ‘Conversational English text’.
Approach texts to copy in a similar way to my LRRC method, but instead of Listening and Recording, I want you to Read, Copy, Write (without looking at the original) and then correct yourself by checking back afterwards.
Here is my method:
Do this one sentence at a time and it will really help you to internalize sentence structures and word order, making them second nature in time.
This is a powerful way to learn grammar too.
This can also be applied for academic essays and formal emails for example. Here are a few free sample texts you could use.
TIP 3: READ A LOT!
Read, read, read and did I mention? Read!
I cannot stress this enough, as this will be one of the most vital tools for you becoming familiar with the way English is written, and also to help you spot the mistakes you are making at the moment; and if you copy passages, it can also be a way for you to rectify those errors.
Reading graded readers is a good place to start, as the words used aren’t overly complicated, and the stories are generally fun enough to keep you interested.
Here is a video I made on this:
If you are especially interested in informal English improvement, for texts and social media, you can, of course, read comments and posts to improve, but also there is now the emergence of a new writing genre called text stories, where a whole story will be explained through text messages.
It can be a very interesting way to read and you do get some valuable information. You can find some examples here.
If you aren’t a fan of reading by yourself, try looking for free or paid audiobooks, and read along with a hard copy. Most audiobook apps allow you to control the speed of the speaker, so you can read along at whatever pace suits you. Whatever makes you feel most comfortable, just make sure you read!
TIP 4: PRACTISE AND GET FEEDBACK.
Improving your writing is like learning any new skill – you have to practise and you will need to try and get feedback.
After trying the copying tactic a few times and you start to feel a little more confident, try doing written exercises and find a native English speaker to correct you. You could post it to our friendly community on Facebook, or take part in a conversation on my Facebook group ‘Learn English with Jack’ with its new ‘chat’ feature.
One other app which I like is called ‘Hello Talk’, which allows you to make language exchanges with people in your target language, usually in exchange for you helping them improve in your language.
The app is great as it has a ‘correction’ feature, which not only corrects the other person’s text, but also shows the original and the edited next to each other, so you can learn from your mistakes.
TIP 5: USE APPS, IN PARTICULAR, MY FAVOURITE: GRAMMARLY
I swear by this app, it’s available here (affiliate link)
It is available as a web browser extension and as a downloadable app for your electronic devices. It is fantastic because it shows you grammatical mistakes on near-enough every web page, social media site, email host etc. So you can be sure to be correct when you type, but more importantly, as it corrects your mistakes regularly, you will start to notice these mistakes and know how to correct them to avoid it highlighting them in future.
Another great website and app is called Linguee.
This website/app allows you to see words or phrases in real life examples taken from the internet, written by native speakers. This can be especially useful with homonyms (words which sound the same, but mean different things).
TIP 6: TAKE YOUR TIME, AND BE SURE TO SEARCH FOR NEW SENTENCES TO LEARN AND PRACTICE
I can’t emphasize enough how important taking your time is.
If you rush too much, the hard work you put in won’t be retained, and all your effort will go to waste.
Make sure you copy things and write things at your own pace, trying your hardest to get things correct; the speed and fluidity will come later. Find useful new sentences to learn regularly to help improve your vocabulary and allow for you to be a better writer in general.
You can do this by starting to type a phrase into google for example. It will provide suggestions using the start of a phrase, all of which will be searched often, so you can near-enough guarantee accuracy of your writing.
Also, as I mentioned above, Linguee offers actual examples from native speakers who are using your word or phrase, so this could work as well!
Above all, just be kind to yourself and don’t be too hard on yourself if it doesn’t come straight away, fluency is a learned thing and you are already taking the right steps!