Language Lab

5 Simple ways to improve your written English

Many people struggle with writing in English and it can seem like a real challenge to improve. Don’t worry, though. Here are some simple steps that you can take to improve your written English and impress people with your writing skills.

Expand your vocabulary

To express yourself clearly, you need a good active vocabulary. That’s not just being able to recognise lots of words – it means actually being able to use them correctly. Do this by learning new words with example sentences, not just word lists.

Tip: When you learn a new word, try learn all the forms of that word and the prepositions that are usually used with it. (For example, rather than just the word ‘depend’, make a note of: to depend on, to be dependent on, a dependant.)

Master English spelling

You must know how to spell those words correctly. Incorrect spelling changes the meaning of your sentence. For example: ‘bare’ and ‘bear’ sound the same but ‘bare’ means naked and ‘bear’ is a large animal. Additionally, incorrect spelling makes it difficult for the reader to understand what you’ve written.

Tip: Practice your spelling using flash cards and test yourself whenever you have some spare time.

Read regularly

People often say that we learn to write best by reading. Reading in English is useful in many ways. It is a great way to get an idea of the different styles of writing and see how to use words appropriately.

Tip: Choose books or articles with topics that interest you.Learning shouldn’t be boring. Read each text several times to make sure you understand how to use new words and expressions in the text.

Improve your grammar

Grammar is very important because it improves the quality of your writing. Always use the appropriate tense and remember to use punctuation. Punctuation is a great way to make your writing clear and fluent.

Tip: Always proof-read your writing twice. The first time, look for general mistakes and the second time look for mistakes with the particular grammar point your are studying at the moment.

Just do it!

Writing can be daunting. However, the best way to improve is get a pen and paper or sit in front of your computer and actually write. Be prepared to write several versions of each text because even for professional writers, the first draft is never perfect. Remember, practice makes perfect, so now is the best time to sit down and get started!

Wil is a writer, teacher, learning technologist and keen language learner. He’s taught English in classrooms and online for nearly 10 years, trained teachers in using classroom and web technology, and written e-learning materials for several major websites. He speaks four languages and is currently looking for another one to start learning.


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