- By Aline Heller
- Published 01/14/2012
Would you like to improve your written English skills? Here are some tips for raising the quality of your writing. Always determine your main purpose in writing. Your purpose will determine your choice of vocabulary. It would also guide you on whether to use a formal voice or an informal voice in your writing. Identify your audience, that is, who will be reading your work. You should adapt your choice of words to whomever you expect will be reading your written work. If your target readers are young people, then, use expressions that you know would be easy for them to understand. If you are writing to a professional, then, use words suitable to his intellectual level. It is a good idea to have a plan for your written work, especially if it is a formal paper. A plan will keep your paper focused and organized. It would give your work a logical flow, instead of having you skip from one idea to another or unnecessarily repeating ideas you have already discussed. Avoid having very long paragraphs. Always aim for clarity in presenting each of your ideas. If you are an English as a second language learner, your writing plan will give you the chance to look-up the vocabulary words you would need in advance. Having to consult the dictionary repeatedly in the process of writing might break your trend of thought.
Use your first sentence for presenting your purpose in writ
ing. This is especially appropriate in business letters. This would save time for your reader. Connectives such as but, therefore, and however, help in linking one sentence to another. They make your ideas flow and easier to understand. Avoid very long sentences. A maximum of two ideas per sentence is ideal. It is a good idea to use an English spelling and grammar checker computer program, but make sure that you are manually going over the program’s suggestions. You are the final arbiter of the thoughts you want to convey. The computer will just be making suggestions based on grammar rules programmed into it, and will not be able to detect implied meanings. After you’re done writing, read your finished work aloud. As you do so, be mindful of punctuations you might have forgotten. Remember that a pause may sometimes necessitate a comma, or even a period. Reading aloud would also give you an indication if your sentences were too long. Lastly, try to find someone else to read and go over what you have written. Another fresh pair of eyes might be able to spot errors, which you might have inadvertently missed. This is the principle behind having a separate editor look up an author’s work, even if the author were already a very experienced writer.
Writing, just like other modes of communication, is an instrument for conveying thoughts. Having the ability to clearly state what you mean, whether spoken or written, is certainly a valuable skill in all aspects of interpersonal relations.
This article has been added to your ‘Articles to Read’ list.