One of the ways that you can become a better ESL writer is ESL essay writing.
By writing essays you’ll be practicing using the English language that you know. This is how you’ll get better, by practicing.
No matter what level your English is, you can still get better by writing essays. The only thing you’ve to do is start to write.
Choose a topic that's suitable for your level of English and write about it.
Writing an ESL essay is just like writing any other essay, the most important part is planning. This is probably even more important if you’re an ESL writer as when you’re onto the writing stage you need to concentrate on writing, choosing the correct words and ESL grammar structures, rather than thinking and forming ideas.
The planning stage comes first, then writing before finally the finalizing or proofreading stage.
No matter what the topic is you’ll need to plan your ESL essay writing. No matter how simple you think the topic is spend time planning. The topic you’ve to write about might be something that you’d never even have to think about in your native language to be able to write about it; you still need to plan when writing in English.
The planning stage isn’t just for thinking about the structure and what you’ll include in each part, but also for finding the best vocabulary to use. This is why the planning stage is so important. You’ll use this stage to find new vocabulary.
When you’re planning what will go into each of the sections and paragraphs of your ESL essay writing exercise, you’ll also be thinking about the main keywords that you’ll need for each section. List the key words in your native language and English.
Any words that you don’t know in English but think you’ll need to use in your writing you’ll need to look up and learn.
Try to learn the new words now. Add them to your vocabulary book, write them out several times, and/or use them in a sentence, whatever you usually do to learn new vocabulary. This is so that when you’re ready to write you’ll be able to use the new words naturally without needing to stop and think about them.
Remember that you can improve your vocabulary by reading English as well as writing.
If you’ve planned properly, when you come to write you should be able to compose your English writing quickly and naturally. This will make it sound much better to the person who’ll be reading it.
Try to write without stopping too much. You should have a list of the words you’d like to use in your essay plan, so just refer to this and write. Try not to use a dictionary or the internet to look up information at this stage. You should have done this in the planning stage. Just write. This is just a first draft so if there are mistakes don’t worry. These can be corrected when you’re rewriting the essay or proofreading it.
If you let the writing flow onto the page you’ll get more benefit from the exercise than if you stop and start too much.
Once the first draft is written you can go back and look at it critically. This is where you revise what you’ve written.
The final stage of the writing process is the proofreading stage. This is where you make sure everything is correct. Check your grammar: are the tenses correct and consistent, what about run-on sentences or are modifiers used appropriately?
Also check vocabulary: are the correct forms of words used or has the new word you’ve used been use correctly?
Finding your own mistakes is important. When you know where you make mistakes you’ll know to check that in the future until you get better.
If possible wait for a day or even two days before proofreading your essay. This will help you see the mistakes more clearly. Remember that proofreading is still part of the writing process so conduct the proofreading in a work environment similar to, or the same as, the one you used for writing.
If you’d like me to help proofread and give comments on your ESL writing you can submit it to me through the page about my proofreading service. I won’t do the work for you but I will correct what you write and offer suggestions about how you can improve it.
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By Jolyon Dodgson, copyright © 2011-2020.
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