Are you ready to write in English like a pro? If you need to write business emails, academic essays, academic papers, essays for an IELTS exam, you need to practice your writing skills on a regular basis. This is a problem I have been struggling with for many years. I suppose you can understand me – you’ve stumbled upon this article for a reason. That is why I want to share some ways out and personal tips on how to improve English writing skills.
Of course, writing emails is a more relaxed and informal activity than writing an English essay. But the same general principles and skills apply. Every word is valuable and powerful. Use the following tips and the English writing exercises to make sure your language and your writing skills impress other people. You need each word to pack a punch. Here is one more idiom to your vocabulary.
When you may not know is that good writing makes you “look” cool. To make sure you are wearing an “awesome costume”, use these tips and knock them dead by your writing skills.
A Very Interesting Tip
A very important decision, a very big house, a very clear solution. Stop saying “very”. Use stronger adjectives. Feel the difference. A crucial decision. A massive house. An obvious solution. If you do not know the other strong word, just leave a “very” out. This word is like an old-fashioned dress from the 19th century. It is rarely suitable.
Make Your Beginning Unique
Please avoid boring beginnings. Do not start your sentences with “There is”, “it is”, etc. These structures are so obvious (did you notice how I avoid “very simple”?). Let me give you some examples on how it improves your writing skills.
“There are two possible solutions for the government to choose from”. You can rephrase the sentence and say “The government may choose between two possible solutions”.
“It is important to introduce a new policy”. Or you can say “Introducing a new policy is important”.
There are many reasons why coffee is popular. You could say “Coffee is well-loved for three reasons”.
So, what should you use instead of “first”, “second”? How about some more interesting, emotional and advanced expressions? First off, to start with, first of all. You are showing that your English vocabulary is beyond those basic words. And a little bonus tip. If you are writing an essay, and you have limited time, I recommend memorizing 5 great linking expressions in advance, so that you can include them at a critical moment with no effort. This way you will know you are using a great English vocabulary. My favorite ones are “as for”, “another point to consider”, “having said that”, “therefore”, “to conclude”. Believe me, this simple challenge will boost your skills immensely.
In order to avoid making mistakes, have a collection of phrases that you can use in the beginning of your writing. In the real world people are judged by appearance, but in the world of writing, you are judged by the beginning.
Passive Vs. Active
Avoid passive voice. Not to be verbose, let me introduce these sentences.
“The reason why the TV show was stopped was because it was boring”. It sounds academic, but it is not powerful. How can we put in the active voice?
“Viewers stopped watching the TV show because of its predictable plot”. This is so much better. We have the subject doing the action. If you want to impress people with your style, you go for something classy. If you want people to impress them with your writing, you go for an active voice.
The Power of Verbs
To express yourself successfully in writing, you need words. So, go and build a strong English vocabulary. Choose the right, strong verbs. They really are the power of the sentence. Such verbs have a particular meaning, so that you can understand exactly what is being done without numerous extra words. Let me show you want I mean.
She went down the path very quickly as if she was a sprinter. First off, this sentence breaks the golden rule of writing. Someone, please, take “very” out of there. It is also quite long and confusing. The verb “went” is weak and general. It also does not indicate how she “went”. Did she ride a bike? Did she run? You do not know, because she just “went”. Because the sentence vocabulary is so general, the writer has had to add “very quickly as if she was a sprinter”. All of those extra words do not really explain anything.
Why not use “sprinted down”? She sprinted down the path. Immediately you know that she ran fast. All the information is contained in one short verb. Sometimes you do not need to put on tons of expensive clothes to look stylish. Sometimes one perfect dress is enough.
All of these tips are practical advice on how to improve writing skills in English. In addition, I have prepared for you some English writing exercises I practice almost every day to make my texts shine.
Get lots of examples and copy them. In school you are taught not to copy others. But I want you to copy another people’s writing. I do not mean copy and paste. I mean copy a set of perfectly said phrases you can use in your writing. Choose your favorite book, buy stickers and highlighters. There are no brand-new ideas. It is a great skill to copy ideas, but modify them and make them yours. The person who invented capri pants just cut out jeans.
Read and Watch It
English writing exercises are definitely my favorite way to improve my skills. It is worth noting that you can copy not just from the book, but also from the movies, billboards, ads, etc. You do not even imagine how many great articles were inspired by “Peaky Blinders”, “Breaking Bad”, “Friends” and “The Shining”.
So, how to improve my English writing skills? Read a lot. What should you read? Anything and everything. But the most important part is to read what you are interested in – sport newspapers, cooking books, magazines about healthy diet, whatever you personally like.
It would be too obvious for me to say at the end “practice every day, and you will be amazed by the results”. But I actually do not believe in these stereotypes. Writing is all about finding what works the best for you. You just need to start, and with time you will figure out your own path.