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Hi,

I am a non-native English speaker and need some tips on improving my professional writing style. My job involves writing analysis of various economic and financial events and my career growth is in jeopardy as my writing style is not as professional as my English speaking colleagues.

To explain you about my level of English writing, I have easily passed exams like TOEFL and IELTS, and comfortable with different grammar rules.

My problem is I get stuck with sentences which I have never constructed before. I don’t understand how to explain a situation in sentences that are easy to understand but don’t sound awkward.

As for my efforts to improve my writing, I have tried two methods:
1. Writing a page on some topic everyday.
2. Noting down unfamiliar sentence constructions in whatever I read.

The problem I found with the first method is the review of what I write. I don’t know anybody who can review my writing for me everyday.

With respect to the second method, I have collected 70-80 pages of unfamiliar/ new sentence constructions so far ( in a Word document). However, I don’t know how to leverage this database. I can’t read all of it in one setting, and just use the collection to look up for examples.

Could you please suggest me some methods that can help me in improving my professional writing?

Thanks,

MG.
Comments  
Same problem with me. Many say I write quite well. But sometimes I don't feel confident about myself. After writing something, I feel this or that sentence could be improved.

Anyway, you write quite well, better than me, I think.

Yet, we can help each other.
Find examples of the type of writing you want to be good at in the future. They MUST be written by native speakers of English, who are writing for other native speakers of English, and not for students. Examples that are long and difficult are the best - you don't want a collection of interesting sentences in a Word document, you want whole articles that are many pages long. Read, read, read. Read some more - ten or twenty pages every day, or more if you can. Do not choose "safe" things that you are comfortable with; NO English textbooks or special ESL materials; only "real English for English people". Don't worry about understanding every word, or being able to write all the things that you see - just read read read.

Since you are interested in economics and finance, you should certainly try to get some famous English magazines such as the Wall Street Journal, The Economist, and any other good ones you have heard of.

It would be hard work, but one excellent way to practice is to copy (by hand, with a pen) the articles you are reading. Don't just copy the interesting parts - copy the whole thing. It takes a lot of time, but it might be worth it.
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Usually, you don't need to construct a sentence using any particular formula for your meaning to be clear.

I absolutely support the recommendation to read the Wall Street Journal. The level of writing there is VERY advanced - I have to use a dictionary sometimes when reading it.

You may be interested in finding a story in the Wall Street Journal and then finding how that same story is reported in another media outlet, like USA Today (which has a very low level of English) or MSNBC. The WSJ version will show you how the same information can be presented in a more sophisticated manner.

You can also look at Business Wire, which is full of press releases. Press releases have a very distinct style, but you can easily find news about topics that are of interest to you and you may be able to mimic some of the style you see there.
See the links here:

http://www.camlang.com/tsp001.cfm
Thanks a lot folks.
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Hi,
I believe your methods will yield certain benifits but they must be accompanied and validated by other sources.
Professional writing is a very broad term and can be open to interpreations. It can be technically proessional,
medically profesional or finanically professinal. Can you give the forum an example of the type of writing you are interested
in?
This is my take. After we are confident that our English basics are firmly established, we can improve our writing skills by patterning after the journalistic styles of the well-known publishing sources such as The Wall Journal and Business Week, assuming it's the business nature you are interested in.
Hello there,

I like your idea of writing a page about a different topic every day. I would suggest having an native speaker of English correct your writing. It's best if the person correcting your English is an ESL teacher. Also, it should be the same person correcting your writing every day. This way, the teacher will be able to notice common patterns and mistakes in your daily writing and be able to give you specific advice about how to improve.

There are a couple places on the internet where you can practice writing and get your essays corrected by native speakers. One is www.cz-training.com/toefl/practice.html . (Sometimes I correct student essays for this site.) The essay writing is mostly for TOEFL practice, but I suppose it would help you, too.

Hope this has helped,

William
William,

Thanks a lot for the advice. I will definitely use the service provided by the website.

MG.
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