Tips to improve your English writing skill:
1. Concise and brief. Remember “short and sweet”.
Ø Keep your sentences short and to the point. Don’t use complicated sentences.
Ø Avoid run-on sentences.
Ø Similarly, use short words rather than long words. Mark Twain once said “An average English word is four letters and a half. By hard, honest labor I've dug all the large words out of my vocabulary and shaved it down till the average is three and a half. . . . I never write metropolis for seven cents, because I can get the same money for city. I never write policeman, because I can get the same price for cop. . . . I never write valetudinarian at all, for not even hunger and wretchedness can humble me to the point where I will do a word like that for seven cents; I wouldn't do it for fifteen.”
2. Simple and clear.
Ø Write it in a way that is easy for the readers to understand and follow.
Ø Use words well known to the readers.
3. Vary the length of your sentences
4. Avoid redundancy
5. Avoid the use of clichés
6. Use the active voice whenever possible, rather than the passive voice.
7. Use strong nouns and verbs, instead of adjectives and adverbs.
8. Use correct spelling, punctuation and grammar.
9. Avoid language interference errors
Ø Transferring the rules of foreign language to express something in English will lead to grammar and usage errors.
Ø Think in English when you write in English.
Ø Understand American/British culture.
10. Use an English-English dictionary
Ø Forgo the Chinese-English dictionary or English-Chinese dictionary, which may inaccurately translate the meaning of the words and their usage.
11. Read articles written by the Americans or the British
Ø Analyze the sentences and understand why they were written that way.
Some examples of using strong nouns and verbs, instead of adjectives and adverbs:
1. Mary convincingly explained her dilemma to her friends.
=> Mary explained her dilemma to her friends.
2. Joshua successfully obtains the committee’s support on his proposal.
=> Joshua wins the committee’s support on his proposal.
3. Cindy grabs me harshly. She pleads persuadingly.
=> Cindy grabs me and pleads.
4. The extremely young, gorgeous, self-centered lady gracefully and elegantly stepped downstairs when she heard a large, alarming sound of noise in the basement.
=> The lady stepped downstairs to investigate the noise in the basement.
5. Frowning furiously, Sophia approaches quickly towards Jack, saying very sternly, "Stop following me."
=> Scowling, Sophia stalked towards Jack. "Stop following me."
*** Disclaimer: Just Elisa English's point of view.
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