Thursday, June 22, 2017

7 WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR WRITTEN ENGLISH

In today’s world write in a clear and fluent English is the key to reaching a larger audience. It has been a challenge for me, but I found some enjoyable ways to improve my writing.


I started my Italian blog Cucinanto.com in 2012. Back then, the idea of writing in English was simply unbelievable for me. After a while, though, I realized that having an English blog was the key to reaching more readers. I found the courage and started this blog. It was 2013, and my writing skills were everything but good. It took me a whole week to write a single post. After a while, I gave up.
But this year something changed: I released the English version of my novel and writing in English became the priority for me. I need to have an English blog! So, I started studying hard to improve my writing skills. I like this challenge: write in a clear and fluent English is vital to produce interesting blog posts, it can help me to find more websites on which publish my work, and it’s also important to post on Facebook or Twitter without making mistakes.

I’m still in the process, it takes effort and time, but I’m enjoying!

Today I’d like to share with you some of the tricks I use to study written English having fun. Methods that are not boring at all and not time-consuming.

So, you want to improve your written English? Let’s see if my five ‘secrets’ can help you!

1) READ ENGLISH EVERY DAY looks like a silly tip? Be honest: are you reading English every day? Are you googling in English, reading the news in English, watching Tv series in original language with English subtitles? Is the last book on your night table in English? 
I like to follow blogs about my favorite subjects and print some of the more interesting posts. I read them a couple of time, highlighting the words and expressions that I find more useful and original. Then I copy them on my vocabulary notebook (see point 7), and I use them to complete the next point.

2) WRITE ENGLISH EVERY DAY another silly tip, right? And yet, if you don’t commit to your goal to improve your written English by exercising every day, you will never achieve any decent result. The best way to be consistent is to set a weekly schedule, to decide in advance how many words you will write each day. 100, 500 or 1000 depends on how much time you want to dedicate to this project, but once you decide a number, stick to it. 
There are two ways to exercise your writing skills: the first, think about a theme and develop it, like writing a blog post, an article, a letter. The second is to write freely for 10 minutes letting the words flow, without caring about spelling, grammar, or topic: just let your hand write down everything that comes out from your mind. Both of this methods are useful: if the first one lets you develop a text-structure understanding and a proper vocabulary, the second will boost your creativity.

3) CHECK YOUR WRITING you should check what you produced. Don’t do it right after you wrote it though: wait some hours or a day, to be able to review it with a fresh mind. Check the spelling, the grammar, see if your sentences make sense. Rewrite your piece if needed. If you know a native speaker, a teacher or someone very good in English, you could ask them to help you. If you don’t know anybody, there are some great tools on the web (see point 5).

4) READ ALOUD a way to check if your writing flows and is fluid is to read it aloud. By reading, you can feel the music of the words, you can listen to the rhythm of your writing. Is your work making sense? Do the ideas flow logically? How about the punctuation? You could also ask a friend to read it aloud for you.

5) USE THE RIGHT TOOLS the most important tool you need is an excellent online dictionary: it has to be complete, easy to use, updated and with many choices of synonymous and antonymous.
Another great tool that can help you to improve your accuracy is GRAMMARLY. This app can help you check your spelling, grammar and has even a plagiarism checker tool. You can get the free version, which is already very complete and will automatically check everything you type on the web (emails, social media post).
I opted for the premium version so I can check more kind of mistakes - like correctly spelled words used in the wrong context - and I can get suggestions for a better word choice. It’s an invaluable help if English is not your first language, but can be very useful also for natives who want to write mistake-free.

6) HAND COPY take a pen, a piece of paper and copy the inspiring works of others. Sounds unattractive? Studies show that handwriting is an effective way to stimulate your brain and learn better. Copywork was one of the most used methods to teach children how to write and can be, for you, the key to becoming a better writer. It will develop your spelling, grammar, and focus. In the beginning, choose something short - a post or an article that you enjoy. Set aside ten - fifteen minutes each day to sit at your desk and to copy it. After a week you may already see the improvement!

7) KEEP TRACK OF YOUR NEWLY KNOWN VOCABULARY keep a vocabulary notebook in which you can write down all the interesting words or idiomatic sentences you’ll find on your way. You can review your list every day and use it to exercise (for instance, you can decide to write a small story using 10 of your favorite words or expression). 


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