July 26, 2020

3D Writer Scholarship Students

9 tips to improve your English writing

For English as a second language (ESL) students, there are always five skills that are emphasized, listening, speaking, reading, grammar and writing. Somehow English writing is deemed the least important among the 5 by many students because of the lack of opportunities and requirements to do actual writing nowadays.

ESL Student

As the world shift towards social media such as Instagram and Tiktok, visual design skills seem to outweigh writing skills in the practicality department.

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However, learning to write well is important not just for the writing skill itself, but because that is how we learn to think in-depth and to express ourselves on a subject of relative importance. It is writing that helps us to develop sophisticated ideas, especially when the subject matter is sophisticated. If you want to achieve something in life, you have to learn to think the ideas over and over again with originality and logic in place.

“I think, therefore I am”. (Cogito, ergo sum) ~ René Descartes  (Latin)

And there is no better way to help shaping your thoughts than by writing. Today let’s find out 9 methods to improve your English writing.

No. 1 – Understand the importance of writing that shapes our thoughts

A lot of English students we met constantly see writing as a homework instead of the actual training. They underestimate the importance of writing. Many of them told us, I just want to learn how to speak and communicate in English. I don’t need to be a writer. Trust it or not, English writing skills have high relevance to critical thinking and your communication skills.

Communication GIFs | Tenor

And these skills require constant training. Sometimes even the best ESL teachers who speak English fluently cannot write well due to the lack of the critical thinking training. There is a huge difference when you are talking about a topic by simply listening and responding, as compared to when you have spent hours investigating, thinking, and writing down the synthesis of what you have learned thus far. Therefore, if you truly want to develop your unique set of perspectives and achieve a high degree of effectiveness, you have to write, write and write. 

Im Special GIFs | Tenor

No. 2 –  Write something truly of your own

When we receive the students’ essay, we could immediately judge whether that is a good or bad writing. A good essay draws people in and make people want to read further. In order to write well you need to first form the basic mental concepts and a plan. The best thing to help you write fluently is to describe something that happen to you in real life. It can be an experience, your imagination, or your dream. The best way to start writing is always to start writing stories about your own past experiences.

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Don’t write about something you don’t know. Otherwise, there is a huge chance you would just google the topics and start copying whatever articles you can find online. You lost the authenticity and originality. And you know what’s worse than that? You lost the chance of developing yourself and a set of thinking that belongs to you. If you successfully form your own unique set of thinking, nobody can take it away from you.

The beautiful thing about learning is nobody can take it away from ...

No. 3 –  Develop the habit of reading

The more you read, the better you write. Most of the successful people read constantly. Not only because they need to write, but because they want to learn. And read from various sources, such as online forum, social media, blogs, news, books, etc. As ideas started forming in your head, you will communicate them with your surrounding friends naturally. And let’s not forget that writing is a form of communication as well. Even when you are texting your friends, you are writing. You will realize that as you read more over time, your writing skills improve gradually.

No. 4 – Know the purpose of your writing and the audience

Before you start writing, you should always ask yourself this question: Who are my readers? When you are in school, you are writing an essay to showcase what you have learnt so far and your teacher who mark your paper will be the sole reader most likely. Hence, you want to impress the teacher and you put as much knowledge you learnt over the courses into the essay as possible. That’s fine.

However, when you become an adult, writing become more complicated because every writing is for different audience and might serve different purpose.

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Are you writing an email to reply to your colleagues or your boss? They are your readers

Are you writing a resume? Then the HR or recruitment officer will be your reader.

Are you writing for a forum or a blog? Then anyone the blog attracted can be your readers.

After knowing the audience of your writing, you should then put yourself in their shoes. What kind of answers are they looking for? That’s when you can decide on the direction of your writing and choose the words in the essay correctly.

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No. 5 – Always form a structure of article

If you are writing non-fiction, make sure you follow the simple article structure: Beginning paragraph > Body paragraphs (With a lists of supporting arguments and examples) > Ending paragraph.

Structuring the essay - Research & Learning Online

If you are writing a fiction, there are more varieties of content structure depending on your own creativity. However, the basic rules of Beginning>Body>Ending generally applies to all.

No. 6 – Avoid using the words or expressions like “that”, “I think”, “very”, “really”

Native English speakers seldom use these words as they break the flow of expression and make the sentences less effective.

No. 7 –  Use phrases and short paragraphs

This is slightly harder and it takes time to practice. And it is related to extensive reading as well. As you read more, you will realize the most effective expressions are short sentences. If you make the sentences long, the impact is lost. Think of the most powerful quotes you can remember, are they long or short?

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” — Gandhi

No. 8 – Always read what you wrote again

Many students see writing as just a homework for submission. They wanted to finish it quickly and hand it over to not bother with that again. However, you would never improve this way. Always read back on what you wrote one more time before submission.

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Keep the copy of your writing and read again after 3 months. If you can spot something wrong, congratulations, your English writing or communication skill has improved over time. If not, you need to be more diligent.

No. 9 – Practice makes perfect

Last but not least, the best way to improve your English writing skill is the action itself. Write and write again. Practice makes perfect.

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