The 3 biggest improvements you can make to your English writing
I see a lot of emails and comments from English learners. Some of them are well-written, but others are filled with mistakes and hard to read.
There are so many different rules to follow and think about when you're writing in English. It might seem impossible to learn them all. But it's acutally possible to improve your writing quite a bit by paying attention to just three things:
- Start each sentence with a capital letter ("A", not "a") .
When you don't capitalize your sentences, your writing looks sloppy. Some people these days don't capitalize their sentences when chatting or writing text messages to their friends. But whenever you write to someone who you don't know already, be sure to start each sentence with a capital letter.
- Punctuate your sentences.
Every sentence should end with a period, question mark, or exclamation mark (".?!"). There should be one space after the punctuation mark before the next sentence starts. It should look like this:
This is a sentence. This is another sentence! Is this also a sentence? Yes, it is.
- Check your spelling.
If you're not sure how to spell a word, don't just guess. Look it up and then concentrate on remembering the correct spelling.
A lot of word processing programs and email services have an automatic spell check that will underline your mistakes in red. (You may need to set the program's language mode to English for this to work.) Pay attention to the spell check and fix the spelling of any words that are misspelled.
Also make sure that you've correctly spelled names of people and places. Pay special attention to the name of the person you're writing to!
Just following these three rules will make your writing seem pretty close to correct. There are a lot of other rules to think about later, but none of them are as important as these three.
Oh, by the way, here's one more tip which is specific to writing about language. When you're talking about a word or phrase, put quotation marks ("") around it. For example:
Aaron, what does the phrase "go with the flow" mean?
If you pay attention, you'll notice that I put quotation marks around words and phrases in most of my lessons.