If you are a student learning English as a foreign language, then you will know that it can be a frustrating language to learn. Even native speakers can struggle with its inconsistent rules of spelling and pronunciation, although its grammar is relatively simple. Writing in English can be particularly difficult for the many non-native speakers who study English in London and other UK cities. To be able to write effectively, you need to come up with sentences yourself, which is much harder than trying to understand others’ sentences. Here are some simple ways to improve your writing skills:
1) Get the structure right
Many people, whether writing in their native language or not, fail to structure their writing properly. Poorly structured, unplanned writing can be difficult and confusing to read, and it can fail to convey meaning effectively. Plan written work so that it has a clear beginning, middle and end. It is a good idea to make some bullet points before you start writing to set out what you want to say, and then use these as the basis of your structure.
2) Pay attention to style
Different kinds of writing require different stylistic norms. A formal essay, for example, might be written very differently from an informal blog post. Each kind of writing will have its own rules and style to fit its purpose. Read pieces written in various styles in order to get a feel for how language may be used differently.
3) Always check spellings and punctuation
This one might seem like a basic point, but it is one worth emphasising. Poor spelling and punctuation will detract from the writing and make the writer seem less reliable in the reader’s eyes. However, these things are very easy to get right – just make sure you check anything about which you’re unsure. With time, you’ll find you need to check less and less often.
4) Be careful with sentence construction
Non-native speakers tend to construct sentences poorly when writing in English. Every language has different rules for sentence construction, so it is easy to see why this happens. In speech, this is less of a problem, as visual clues and tone help to convey meaning. In writing, it is vital to get it right or sentences can become meaningless.
5) Think in English
This follows on from the last point – continually translating in your head can lead to confusion and poor writing. Try (as far as you can) to think in English when you write. Immersing yourself in the language is the best way to do this. For example, if you’re studying an English course, London offers many opportunities to mix with locals – make sure you take advantage so you can start thinking like a native, and then begin writing like one.
By Content Lobby
Submitted on 19th July, 2011
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