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Develop Your English Writing Skills

English writing skills: practice

Improve your English writing skills

Vladimir Horowitz, the famous pianist, once said,

If I skip practice for one day, I notice. If I skip practice for two days, my wife notices. If I skip for three days, the world notices.

Writing–just  like playing the piano–is a complex task.  But you can develop your English writing skills with practice.  One trick to developing better skills is to break down writing into mini-tasks.

According to a researcher in expertise, deliberate practice is a way to learn a new skill or improve one we already possess.  You want to practice something that you can’t do well.

Here are three suggestions for developing your English writing skills.

Practice English writing skills

Practice English writing skills

English Writing Skills Tip 1

Practice writing simple declarative sentences. 

They are called “kernel” sentences: simple, active declarative statements without any other modifiers or connectors.

 

For example, take some nouns and verbs.  Nouns could include: the manager, he, the boardroom. Verbs could include:  talk, meet, leave.

Now build some simple sentences from both lists. 

  • The  manager left the board room.  
  • He is talking to the manager.
  • He met the manager.

Here you get to practice a subject doing something.

Daily English writing skills practice

Daily English writing skills practice

English Writing Skills Tip 2

Practice using the four different kinds of verbs in English.

      • The be verb:
        The client is happy.
      • Linking verbs:  do not show action, but link with the rest of the sentence.  Here are some examples with the linking verb in bold.
        – The research report looks great.
        – Everyone stayed calm after the company lost a big contract.

      • Transitive verbs:  show action by the subject (noun) to the object (noun).  Here are some examples with the transitive verb in bold.
        –  The client accepted the new agreement.
        –  Our department set a new sales record.
      • Intransitive verbs: show subject performing the action but not acting on the object (noun). . Here two examples with the intransitive verb in bold.
        –  The receptionist responded to the call.
        –  The new company accountant just arrived from New York.
English writing skills made easy

English writing skills made easy

English Writing Skills Tip 3

Practice writing more complicated sentences.

    • Add powerful adjectives to your kernels, i.e., “ The president gave an inspirational speech.”
  • Add adverbs, i.e., The client arrived promptly for the meeting.”
  • Add prepositional phrases – beginning with a preposition and ending with the noun, i.e., “The comment he made in the email was self-explanatory.”
  • Add participial phrases – using a descriptive phase beginning with a present or past participle, i.e., “Realizing he made a mistake, the speaker continued anyway.”
  •  

    See my book, Write Now, for other suggestions on having good sentence variety (106-109).

     

    Adapted from “How To Develop Your Writing Skills To Become An Excellent Writer,” by Barbara Baig.

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