Writing is an important skill. You might need to write emails, reports, or even essays for exams. But for all types of writing, it’s important that what you write is clear and that your reader knows what to do next!
These five tips will help you to improve your English writing in different ways, from expanding your vocabulary to writing more correctly.
1. Use the right collocations
This is my biggest tip for sounding natural in English. Some combinations of words are ‘right’, while others sound strange. There are different types of collocations (such as verb + noun; adjective + noun; adverb + verb) and when you use the right one, your English will become more accurate.
For example, we “pay attention to something” – not “give attention”. Your reader will understand you if you use the wrong collocation, but your writing will lose authority if you use the wrong one.
– Make a note of collocations when you read English – especially collocations which you’ll probably use yourself.
– Use online collocation dictionaries to check. Type in the word you know, followed by ‘collocation’ and you’ll probably find a list of possible collocations.
2. Expand your use of synonyms
This is another way to sound more natural when you write, and to make your writing more advanced. There’s often more than one way to say the same thing, and using a variety of words will make you sound less repetitive and keep your reader more interested.
– Start with words like “problem”. Synonyms could be “issue”, “challenge” or “obstacle”. Make sure you understand how to use these, and then start putting them in your own writing.
– Keep an eye out for synonyms when you read. Use reliable sources like the BBC or the Guardian newspaper. Make a note of how they are used.
3. Use linking words
Linking words help to connect your sentences so that your reader understands your intention. Linking words can add information, show contrast and show reason and result. They are also really useful when you want to list ideas.
When you use linking words, your reader will find it easier to follow your thoughts – especially if you are writing complex information.
Check out the page Linking Words for a full list.
4. Get the word order right
Word order is a complicated area of English, but it’s important, as wrong word order can confuse your reader. Luckily, there are a few principles which will help you – especially in more complex sentences.
For example, English tends to follow the ‘Subject, Verb, Object, Manner, Place, Time’ pattern. Not all sentences include all these elements, but the important thing is to not separate the subject from the verb, or the verb from its object with long clauses. These long clauses – especially if they involve manner (how), place or time can go at the end of the sentence.
It’s also important to get other word order patterns right. The word order of adverbs can be particularly difficult. Make sure you know where to put adverbs, such as words like “even” and “just”, and adverbs of frequency (often / sometimes, etc).
5. Edit your writing
Take time to read what you’ve written. It also helps if you can read it more than once. Read the first time for “sense”. Is your writing clear? Will your reader know what to do after they read it? You can also read for formality and politeness.
Read a second time for the English. Have you used correct spellings? Is the grammar good (as far as you know)? This is especially important in long sentences, so if you aren’t sure, try to rewrite long sentences as shorter ones.
When you read through, pay attention to areas that you find difficult. This could be prepositions (check in a dictionary that you’ve used the right preposition for a verb) or tenses, or articles.
Accurate English in 10 Steps!
If you aren’t confident about your English and you’d like simple, but clear explanations about the most important areas of English, “10 Steps For Advanced English” will help you! It gives you the guidelines so you can write accurately, AND you also have the opportunity to ask as many questions as you need. You get:
– 37 videos + 32 quizzes to improve your tenses, article use, prepositions, word order and more, for correct English
– unlimited access to your ‘Grammar Tutor’. Ask as many questions as you want and get personalised answers.
Check it out here: