Unanswered [6] / Urgent [0] / SERVICES
 DrAfT!
Home / Student Talk 120

How to improve English writing? Learning through reading.


Sep 23, 2009   #41
I'm sorry but I just have to completely disagree with you. Writing in English is much more than just continuously writing. It takes time and effort in analyzing the grammar and all the different sentence structures. You don't what all your sentence to begin with "I" and you definitely don't want your writing to sound like a kindergartener wrote it. Reading different types of texts helps because then you are absorbing different styles of writing.

Oct 6, 2009   #42
English is my second language, by no means did I ever consider it as my second language. I'm quite retarded when it comes languages period, I understand English fluently more so than my mother tongue but I still feels I have yet to have a good grasp on it. There's so many "wrong" and "right" examples; however, I really don't know how to tell which one is the correct version. I usually based on the "correctness" on the flow or the rhythm of the sentence!
the most difficult is the use of some word. they have several meaning, and in each situation it has a different meaning. how to use them suitable is a big problem
Oct 13, 2009   #44
I often try to translate my words, I know it's completely wrong. my teacher tell us "You need to express you idea in English directly"
Oct 17, 2009   #46
i have the same problem my first language is spanish. sometimes i can not write anything in my essay.
we should use English-English dictionary,and not try to translate any thing from our native language, because sometimes it sounds funny and makes no sense.

one time i translated a report from from my native language to English using GOOGLE translator
IT sounds really funny. and some sentence makes no sense.
My first language is english but I live in a Spanish speaking place and I don't really speak SPanish. I have the opposite problem. I know how to say many words in Spanish but using them in a sentence is really hard! Sometimes I just have to pull things our of my little dictionary. I always try to write what I know and, even if I'm wrong, I write what I think is right.
Nov 5, 2009   #49
English is my first language but i often make grammar errors and I feel like I don't make any sense when I'm writing my English essay.
I am studying English in university and i have trouble in writing. I don't think ideas and it's difficult to start the writing. My biggest problem is word choice, and my vocabulary is poor so i don't express my ideas clearly. Moreover, i only translate word by word, it's not native language.
Reading different types of texts helps because then you are absorbing different styles of writing.

This is a crucial element of the strategies which can help to develop your language skills. Separately, I don't think zhoudongzhou meant that you should practice writing in a vacuum.

Read and write, read and write, read and write, reflect critically and make changes, read and write... reflect critically and make changes (8), ...

Syntax varies by language so translating from one to another won't be very fruitful.
i also agree on that
writing is a skill that is to be developed, i mean there are people out there who are naturally great writers, but other people need to work on it. and its definitely not impossible!
For those who need a good reference for grammar...try The oWl at Purdue.

a few months ago i was revieiwng for my essay exam and i came across one of the suggestion by one the contributor of essay forum... i tried it out and The Owl at Purdue helped me a lot.
Nov 13, 2009   #54
English is my second language and I often find difficulties conveying my opinion in the best form.
Somehow it just doesn't feel that right and accurate compared to what I have in mind.
What I do is I tried to write in the simplest English, read more and learn to develop different writing skills slowly.
English is my second language too, and the only reason why I'm a decent writer is because I read lots and lots, and I suggest you do the same. Good luck!
Timeturner pretty much hit the nail on the head. One of the most fool-proof ways of improving one's writing abilities is through reading. Not only that, but consistent practice can definitely garner positive results. In this case, practice most certainly makes perfect.
Jan 27, 2010   #58
I have this problem too - -.
Since learning English as my second language, my first language often affects it very much.
Now I am trying to write on my blog everyday, and read more essay from native writers.
omg! i so agree.. i really have gotten better over the past year. English writing is so difficult.
It only could be a talent or a learnt skill.. which takes ALOT of work
hi every body. do u know other websites where people can post their essays for comments like this website. if any of u know, please give me. thanks so much'
Jan 28, 2010   #61
I get the same problem when writing in English but think of another language, I get the two mixed up and it doesn't sound right. That is why it is so much harder for international students to write good essays that fully get the message accross to the reader.
Jan 28, 2010   #62
There's another problem with translating.
Different languages come from different cultures, and therefore you must have a certain background in order to fully appreciate the beauty of the language.

Try translating Shakespeare into another language and you'll get what I mean.
Usually the translation would have more words (i.e. needs more words to clearly convey the same message)

Even if you disregard wordiness as a problem, the overall quality just doesn't seem to be on par with the original. The original may be an exceptionally well written piece of art, but I doubt the translation would be.
Books to recommend to improve my writing skills?

Hello everyone! I was wondering what books will help me improve my writing skills. I only graduated from High School and will be going to College. I was given a list of books from my English teacher, but unfortunately, I lost it. I know I can do more if I just work on it. Thank you!
EF_KevinThreads: 8
Posts: 13,845
[Contributor] 129  
Jul 17, 2010   #64
I'm glad you are participating here! I want to recommend King's On Writing, Strunk and White's The Elements of Style, Diana Hacker's website, and anything by Ursula LeGuin (Steering the Craft is the title I am thinking of.)

If you are trying to improve your writing for college, use Strunk and White along with Hacker.

Most importantly, participate here and discuss essays with us!
Sep 9, 2010   #65
I'm also having a problem on writting and speaking English , I find it so difficult to communicate with others. Please help!
Jan 11, 2011   #67
English is very difficult to me. I has similar problem to build the sentence and my teacher was tool me I use own language translate to English language.

I agree with ershad193, read a lot English article.
Jan 16, 2011   #68
Personally I have always had a lot of problems with English especially the grammar portion. I come from another country and English is like my third language so it has been very difficult but I have found that the only way to really master English is to speak nothing but English with a native speaker. If you cannot do that try to learn the grammar techniques and read as much as you can because it does help. Also the thing that actually helped me a lot even though it sounds silly is to watch TV that is only English because you become accustomed to things and the language. It really did help me I used to watch cartoons like Spongebob and Dragon Ball Z and I really did learn a lot. Laugh if you want but it does help teach a lot of things. It is the next best thing to a real life native speaker.

Good luck to everyone
Mar 28, 2011   #69
Can anyone give me some comments of improving writing and reading?

i study in an ielts, i found it is quite diffcult, i really want to know how to improve my writing and reading... and suggestions?!

Thanksssss...
Mar 28, 2011   #70
Hi,

I am studing for my IELTS test too. In terms of tips of improving writing and reading, I'd like to share some experience of mine.

1. writing part:

The first challenge to me is that I have no much ideas about the topic, so I don't know what to write. Certainly mainly because I am not familiar with those topics, even never thought them over before. In this case, I have to go through those topics and make some ideas in my mind as more as possible, now I have felt better, but it does take time.

The second one is how to write. The essay structure, the sentence structure, grammar and vacabulary... all of these seem problems to us. To this problem, I suggest to read some examiner's sample answers, then you can get some ideas about how to organize your essay and what kind of sentences you can use normally in an essay. Of course, you have to practise writting some essays by youself, and post them here to get some comments from others. Also recommend to read some articles here, could be good reference for you.

2. Reading part:

Actually, I am ok on reading part. I think the biggest problem of reading is the lack of vacabulary, no one can help on this but youself. Of course, it must be helpful to read more, and be patient.

Hope it is helpful for you!

Brook
EF_KevinThreads: 8
Posts: 13,845
[Contributor] 129  
Mar 30, 2011   #71
i found it is quite diffcult, i really want to know how to improve my writing and reading... and suggestions?!

I really think the most effective way is the tedious way: Look at an article, and type the sentences. You can actually set a book or magazine next to the computer and type each sentence.

That is the way to program your brain. Also, speak each sentence aloud before and after you type it.

The first challenge to me is that I have no much do not have many ideas about the topic, so I don't know what to write. ---I fixed the sentence a little.

Certainly mainly because I am not familiar with those topics, even never thought them over before.-----yes, that makes it hard! And students too often try to write about subjects they don't understand. Well, google this: critical thinking strategy

If you learn the principles of critical thinking, you can write about anything!

Also, google this: rogerian argument
And this: rogerian argument.

Those are good strategies to use.

:-)

One more... google this: how to write a paragraph topic sentence
Try reading books, that helps with the vocab and it also helps with the spelling. Reading helps to expand your vocab.
Jul 6, 2011   #73
Writing, how do you improve? Any suggestions is welcome.

How can you improve writing? What are the ways that can help you write better? Reading novels and practicing writing helps, but I don't see a significantly improvement in my writing after a month of performing those items. What are your methods? Let's share!
Jul 7, 2011   #74
I had the same problem, not that i am perfect now.

First thing, do not expect improvement in only a month. You have to dedicate your time to it.
Like you said reading is a really good tool to start with. Read things you really enjoy. Something I did was to give my papers to friends that are really good in English and writing and have them explain me what I did wrong, even the elementary mistakes. Do not be afraid to be criticized or made fun of. Actually that helps, because when you write again, you will always remember the mistakes that person pointed out. Finally, have a journal, write to yourself, leave it, and go back to it a couple of hour later with a fresh mind and make corrections.

Trust me at the end you will see a big difference, but not immediately.
Good luck.
Aside from reading, listening can also help. Whether it is an audio-drama or a poem, I'm sure you will learn from it.

There is plenty of law at the end of a nightstick. -Grover Whalen
DUILawyersNow.Org
EF_KevinThreads: 8
Posts: 13,845
[Contributor] 129  
Jul 8, 2011   #76
Use brevity. Let the reader wonder. Let the reader figure some things out on her own. Write a mysterious sentence, the kind of thing Yoda would say.

Pack a hard punch by using the fewest words possible to get the job done.

Most importantly, get a copy of Strunk and White (Elements of Style), and when you have questions about some of their ideas, ask your questions here at EssayForum.
But the sad fact is that for beginners, it's hard for the teachers to teach them all about English as it is spoken in its own countries. The teachers have to first teach them the expressions that have similar versions in their mother tongue or the students will not be able to get the meaning. So for beginners, translation may sometimes be nessacery.
I recommend you to find a dictionary named "Longman Contemporary Dictionary" ,which includes all essential grammar and usage


Home / Student Talk / How to improve English writing? Learning through reading.