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Useful tips to improve your English writing

By Dr Norman

Good writing is essential for study, work and everyday communication. When your writing improves, your marks improve, your communications at work improve, and people in general can understand you better. You can improve your English writing and gain the benefits of writing well with these 5 helpful tips.

1. Write something everyday

Practice is essential when learning any skill. So, write something every single day. Practising every day will improve your English writing, particularly when you apply this tip with the tips below. Practice will help you gain fluency in turning your thoughts into written text. A good way to start is by writing your own journal or diary. Set aside 15 - 20 minutes each day for your own personal writing. You can write about anything you like. You might write about something you read or saw.  You might write about your thoughts or reactions to events in your life. You could even write about your dreams and aspirations. Whatever you write is just for you. You don’t need to show it to anyone else unless you want to.

However, to gain maximum benefit from this practice, aim to write well each and every time you write. The tips below will show you how. Together, all these tips will help you improve your English writing.

2. Be complete: structure what you say

Start by making sure that your writing always has structure. Each piece of writing, no matter how short or long, should have a beginning, middle and an end. This gives your writing a sense of completeness. You can achieve completeness even if you write just one paragraph by having an introductory sentence that ‘sets the scene’, sentences in the middle that provide more information, and a sentence or two at the end that draws everything together or brings it to a logical conclusion.

3. Always write in full sentences

Whenever you write, use full sentences. Don’t just use full sentences in your journal or more formal writing. Use full sentences everywhere including your emails, forum postings and SMS messages. Doing this will make good writing a regular part of your life.

4. Always attend to your grammar, punctuation and spelling

Be fussy about what you write and how it looks to others. Before you hit that ‘send’ or ‘post’ button, and before you decide that your written piece is finished, make sure that your grammar, punctuation and spelling is correct. Spell words completely. Make sure that you have used capital letters at the beginning of each sentence, for the names of places and people, and when you use the word ‘I’. Use full stops to mark the end of each sentence, and avoid running sentences together separated only by commas.

While spelling and grammar checkers can be helpful, you will need to make some final decisions on your own to ensure that everything is correct. See my blog article on how to improve your grammar so that you can do this well.

5. Improve your English writing by reading good writing

Finally improve your English writing by reading good writing. Observe how good writers develop their text, how they engage you and how they lead you through to the end. Start by reading novels, books or magazines that you enjoy. My useful info page can help you get started with good reading material from publishing houses. The advantage of publishing houses is that their editors have carefully chosen and vetted the writers. They have chosen writers who they believe write well. In addition, before publication, the editors go through each text carefully making final edits. This process ensures that the writing is good.

See my blog article on how to learn English through reading to find out more about how you can use reading to improve your writing.

Improving your writing takes dedication and time, but you can do it and reap the rewards when you apply these practical tips in your everyday life.

5th December 2016

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