How to Improve English Writing Skills- Top 7 Tips
What is the one thing we notice in our students when they enroll to online spoken English classes? -While they are learning a new language, they strive to get better in every aspect – be it speaking, reading or writing. Writing has always been one of the most important aspects in a human’s life, as much in the preceding centuries, as it is today. Whether it was the cave men drawing and writing on the walls, or us communicating with letters and telegrams, to now typing away on our phones and laptops. Whether the reasons are personal or professional, we all need to learn the skill of writing.
As an online English speaking course in India, we suggest few simple exercises. If we want to communicate well, we need to understand that language is a two-way street. We need to be able to create material with our own ingenuity and output that new knowledge into the world. That’s because, when we write something, we leave a lasting record of our language, unlike when speaking. If we develop our writing skills in a new language, we will automatically increase our competence in speaking that language as well. It’s a win-win!
So how do we improve our English writing? Here, as an online English tutor I am enlisting a few simple tips and tricks that have helped my students write and express better in English, starting from the more general to specific ones:
Tips to improve English writing skills:
#1 Read regularly: One of the most vital tools to help you become familiar with the way English is written is by reading it regularly and often. Every online English speaking course out there will recommend you this. It also helps you spot the mistakes you are making at the moment and can be a great way for you to rectify those errors. We all know that the best writers are also keen readers, and reading on a regular basis is one of the easiest ways to start developing your writing skills. We have written few detailed blogs in the past on the importance of reading for English language learning.
Read bout absolutely anything you want, any topics that interest you, but more importantly, read to expand your horizons to more challenging material than you typically read, and pay attention to sentence structure, word choice, and how the material flows. For example: If you need to write a description of an interior design or a bio of yourself, it is a good idea to read a couple of magazines or articles about interior décor of other people and after having read those, you can then attempt to write your own. You’ll realize it is much easier to write since you’ve got fair knowledge on the subject.
#2 Expand your vocabulary: One of the natural but extremely important pros of reading is you getting to learn new words every single time. We don’t even need a dictionary these days as Google is our best friend, who will tell you not only the meanings of all the new words, it will also tell you the antonyms and how to use the word in various sentences. So, the more words (and their meanings) you know, the better you will be able to express yourself while writing. Read this blog to learn simple tips to make vocabulary reading fun.
#3 Improve your Grammar: Grammar is very important because it improves the quality of your writing. Even though you don’t have to “study” grammar, your English writing will improve a lot if you just work on grammar exercises regularly. Always use the appropriate tenses and remember to use proper punctuation. Punctuation is a great way to make your writing clear, fluent, and more impressive. Also, it is important to keep in mind that following grammar rules is far more important while writing than while speaking because written texts are usually more formal and more structured.
Tip: When you learn a new word, try learning all the forms of that word and the prepositions that are usually used with it. (For example, rather than just the word ‘begin’, make a note of ‘began’ and ‘begun’ and in what context to use. Read more on this here.)
#4 Practice: Why? Because repetition makes way for perfection. Whoever wrote this knows the golden rule to acing anything is by sheer practice! As an online English teacher, this is my No.1 recommendation for all my students. If you want to improve your writing skills, writing on a regular basis is imperative, as it is only through practice that you will develop a unique style of your own while honing your sentence formation. Practicing how to write will also help you realize where your language strengths lie, and which are your weaknesses. So, even if there’s no audience, keep writing, keep improving as practice makes perfect.
#5 Brainstorming and outlining: Starting on a blank page can be intimidating, even for the most seasoned writers. The best way to set the stage for a piece of writing is by brainstorming ideas related to your topic. Try creating an outline wherein you write down any points and knowledge you have on the subject in bullet points and any specific facts or opinions you would want to include. Give yourself something to work and go step by step with the outline you have in mind. This will help you fill in the meaty details easily, later.
#6 Organize your topic: Start any topic by dividing it into three parts – an Introduction, the Body and the Conclusion. Then start positioning the material you’ve collected in point #5 into these categories, and understand how you wish to start your topic, what meat you wish to add into the body, and chalk out how you’d like to wrap up the topic with a conclusion.
Tip: Adding a meaningful quote at the start or the end of the topic gets the reader immediately hooked on to the topic, especially if it is from a famous/ prominent personality.
#7 Research: One of the most important aspects of writing is having the knowledge to write on the topic in the first place. Even if you don’t, you can thank your stars of being in the 21st century where you will find insane amount of info about any topic under the sun at the click of a button. So, make the best use of internet and research about what you want to write and basically just keep reading, for the lack of a better word. The more you read, the clearer will be the mental picture of how you want to structure your topic and what relevant information you wish to add and what not to.
Voltaire once said: “Writing is the painting of the voice“, and I believe he was right. Writing, though a tough skill and not really something you can achieve immediately, it is something that anyone can acquire with time, provided one is hard-working and dedicated enough. Start with simple sentences and topics, and then rise to the more challenging ones, where more elaborate pieces of writing are required.
Most importantly, don’t second guess yourself, and just give it a try!