How To Avoid Terrible English Writing

April 3, 2010

Not everyone can be a good writer. However, anyone can write decent enough so as not to be terrible, even for an unaccomplished second-language English writer. So what things should you avoid to make your writing, at the least, tolerably readable?

1. Type carefully. Many second language writers worry about their language so much that their writing ends up filled with too many typing errors.

2. All English sentences have a subject and a verb. Keep that in mind and make sure every sentence you create has them.

3. Vary sentence lengths. Most second-language writers tend to fall back on simple sentences too much. There’s nothing wrong with it. If you fall into the same trap, just combine two or more sentences every few lines and you should be fine.

4. Use active verbs. This is simpler than it sounds. Instead of using verb forms of “to be,” such as “is,” “are,” “have” and other similar words, use actual action words for the verbs in your sentences. The maturity they lend your writing is worth every extra minute you take to rewrite erstwhile passive sentences.

5. Use a spellchecker and a grammar software at bare minimum. There’s nothing uglier than material rendered unreadable by bad grammar and misspellings. These automated English language tools can fix those problems on the fly, so that you need not add to your worries.