7 Tips on How to Improve Your Writing Skills in English

Easy-to-implement tips on how to improve your writing skills in English or any other language you are struggling to master (even if it’s your mother toungue).

I’m not a native English speaker. What was that? Did you just say “I noticed”?

Well, maybe you did notice, but one doesn’t have to be a professional singer to recognize the difference between Celine Dion and a neighbor singing in the shower.

Unless your neighbor is Celine Dion. But let’s not open this hypothetical door. Otherwise this post will never come to an end.

I don’t know about you, but I physically suffer every time I have to read a document written in bad grammar.

I am not able to concentrate on the content and instead go on imagining…

…how I’ll print that document out,

…take a red (not any, but definitely red) pen,

…correct all the mistakes,

…go find that person who wrote this masterpiece/p>

…and make them go over each and every mistake with me.

Sorry, where was I?

Let me assure you: I’m not a grammar nazi.

How do I know? A grammar nazi would have already committed suicide by the page 5 of that paper I had to read yesterday.

I made it to page 10.

Pulse elevated, gnashing my teeth, having violent thoughts about the author, I was still reading and am very determined to make it to the last page 53.

As I live in a non-English speaking country, I have to put up with the “neighbors singing in the shower” on a daily basis, mostly at work.

All of them are lovely people, but the masterpieces they produce make you want to start banging your head against the first hard surface available.

“Dear John,

great to listen you are ok. As bespoken on the phone we did the overhand of the Project. But server has “small” performance and must please get additional memory. We please need once again your Help and please need this latest tomorrow. I copied you in the email to the help desk.

Best regards.”

And no, I’m not making this up. I saw each and every phrase of this creation in an actual email. Forget about your/you’re, its/it’s. I have much bigger problems here.

I tend to write things down if I have troubles processing them in a normal way. So to be able to cope with my suffering and to prevent myself from getting head injuries, I put together some tips on how to improve your writing in English, which will be also beneficial for the native English speakers who are struggling with their grammar.

1. When writing in English, think in English

If you think in your own language and try to translate your thoughts into fluent English text, you will definitely end up with “Something that has a little Sense and also will bring English Speakers to cry”.1

2. Read English books and listen to native speakers

If you are lacking time, you can just switch on an English channel on TV while cleaning your apartment, or listen to an English audio book while driving to work. You don’t even have to pay attention. Your brain works in misterious ways.

3. Proofread with a fresh eye

If you have time, proofread the report you have to submit or the article you’ve written the next day with a fresh eye. It’s amazing how the same text that seemed flawless yesterday turns out to be full of mistakes the next day. (Black) magic.

4. Trust your gut

Especially if you’ve been listening and/or reading a lot in English, after some time you will notice that some things just feel right (or wrong), even if you do not know why. Just go with it. Most of the time, your gut is right.

5. If you are not sure, doublecheck

If you don’t know for sure, your gut is scielent or you don’t trust it yet, google. Or look it up in a dictionary. Or ask an English speaking colleague.

6. Study spelling and grammar

Yes, it doesn’t sound like fun. But if your goal is not only to stop “bringing English Speakers to cry” but also to impress them with your skills at some point, you will have to put some dedicated effort into it.

Buy a fun book on spelling and grammar (they do exist), and you might be surprised to discover that spelling and grammar don’t have to be boring.

7. Write more

The best way to learn anything is to practice. As they say it in Denglisch, “Exercise makes the Master”.

***

1 – What do you mean you didn’t get the joke? You don’t speak German? Ok, I’ll explain it to you: In German, all nouns are capitalized. Also German speaking people can’t “make you cry”; they “bring you to cry”, if translated word-by-word and sometimes literally with their poor English grammar. (go back)

Gill Andrews is a content creator and a web consultant from Germany. When she is not writing or analyzing websites, she is probably running after her toddler son or eating chocolate cake (because writing and running after toddlers requires a lot of energy). Read more about Gill on www.Gillandrews.com

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