English is still a language that many people associate with leading a quality existence. Maybe it has to do with the global appeal and impact of the US and its culture. Or perhaps it’s because English is a relatively easier language to pick up, unlike Mandarin.
Whatever the case, there’s a reason that English is by far the most spoken international language on earth, with about 1.5 billion speakers. It also sits atop the list of the most studied foreign languages globally.
These stats bring with them unique implications in global travel, business, international relations, and yes, education. Simply put, in today’s world, it is costly not to know how to speak English. It brings with it many opportunities in career, business, and other areas.
Learning to speak, and more importantly, write English is a massive skill by itself. This is especially true for students and anyone running any academics course. Thankfully, learning how to improve English writing skills is not as hard as you may think. It just takes practice and consistency.
We’ve outlined a few tips to help you learn to write better English. It is going to be a fun ride.
1. Intentionally build up your vocabulary.
Of course, this goes beyond just discovering new words. You also have to know what they mean and how to use them in all forms and contexts. For instance, the words “depend,” “dependence,” and “dependent” essentially mean the same thing. However, they are used differently and with different prepositions.
These are the things you have to keep a note of when learning new words. You can also tack on word synonyms for each new word. This strategy helps you to more efficiently give expression to the creativity going on in your head. You’ll be able to express whatever you imagine fully. And more importantly, you’ll be able to write it down as well.
To solidify your learning, practice with these words in speech and writing. Don’t wait for opportunities to present themselves; intentionally create opportunities to use these words in all their forms. With time, you’ll find that you’ll be able to use them without overthinking it.
2. Consistently practice your spelling.
It’s one thing to learn new words; it’s quite another to spell them correctly every time and without much thought. Spelling can be deceptive. You think you know a word until you’re asked to spell it, and you find yourself stumbling over your alphabets.
It’s easier to misuse words due to wrong spelling. For instance, mistaking “bear” for “bare” or “waist” for “waste.” This happens more often than you may think.
Other times it could be words that fall under common spelling mistakes like when to use “ie” and “ei,” as in “believe” and “beige.” Whatever the case, learning how to improve your writing skills will require you to practice consistently.
Use flashcards, have your siblings, parents, or friends question occasionally and without warning. Take online quizzes and tests. Keep at it, and you’ll notice with time that you no longer get hung up on spelling any English word.
3. Consume books, movies, and other English content.
The books we mean here are not necessarily academic. Read newspapers, magazines, blogs, articles, novels, comic books, and everything in between. Don’t forget that the aim is to boost your English writing skills, so avoid written content with more slang than proper English.
Reading is one of the best ways to learn to write. It shapes the way you see, imagine, and use words. So you can imagine what reading will do for your writing skills.
How about watching movies, documentaries, news, shows, vlogs, etc.? Again, make sure these use accepted English standards and not just slang.
Have you ever caught yourself using a line from a movie without thinking about it? That’s the power of video content; it teaches you on a subconscious level. Utilize these for your English skills.
And these do not have to be academic shows only. Your options are limitless, from a show on Discovery Channel to all action movies, or a Primetime news program.
From time to time, you will come across an Akeelah and the Bee that is the perfect meeting point between entertainment and education. Consume them all, and watch how it starts to reflect in your writing.
4. Learn and practice grammar rules.
This one goes beyond flashcards and using new words. Grammar involves elements like your tenses, punctuations, figures of speech, parts of speech, and the appropriateness of the words you use.
A mistake in grammar can make your writing mean something entirely different from what you had in mind. It could also make it mean nothing at all. This is arguably the most crucial aspect when learning how to improve English writing skills.
Here’s a grave example of the consequences of wrong grammar usage:
Consider that you’re a governor in a British stronghold in the 1700s. You receive word from your superiors to stay execution of a wrongly accused man. And so you send a note to the executioner to free the man.
But then, on the note, you wrote “free not, to be executed,” instead of “free, not to be executed.”
Do you see how an innocent man would lose his life because of a simple comma misplacement? This shows how vital correct grammar is when we write anything for school or anywhere else.
There are many courses and tools available online that can help you in this regard. These solutions will also help you practice and focus on one grammar aspect at a time.
To hone in on your command of grammar usage, consider taking on some editing work. Even if it’s your writing, read it through first to get a feel for its message. Then read it again critically to identify any grammar violations.
You could also install browser extensions from tools like Grammarly. These help you point out and correct grammar errors on the go. This way, you also learn more as you’re doing other stuff online.
5. Embrace journaling.
Writing can be overwhelming. But even with reading, watching movies, learning grammar rules, and spellings, writing is still the best way to learn how to write.
Does it sound redundant? It’s not. The same principle you use to learn drumming by playing the drums works for your writing skills—learning by doing.
There are no creative limits here. Allow your imagination flow and write about whatever comes to you. For most people, it is expected that they’ll pick up journaling. You can do the same thing too. Capture your daily experiences in written English. If you’re already carrying out the other tips on this list, journaling shouldn’t be a problem.
It is an effective practice run. You’ll soon find that you’ve achieved a smooth transition in getting your thoughts from your brain to your pen.
Of course, there’s a lot more than you can do to learn to write better. Still, this list is an excellent place to start if you’ve been asking yourself, “how can I improve my writing skills in English?”
And remember, practice, practice, practice. Nothing you let is worth anything without constant, unrelenting practice.
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