This is correct sentence? - English writing for ESL students

English is a tough language, ask any English speaker.

It is full of rules with exceptions which can be very confusing for students. With language there are two kinds of communication, input and output. Input communication involves listening and reading, whereas writing and speaking are output. For most students, writing can be the most difficult thing to develop. This skill is not practiced constantly, and unfortunately the only way to be good at writing is with practice. Even native speakers of English study writing for years, from elementary school to university, and they still have difficulty communicating effectively.

As an ESL instructor for years, I have noticed students struggling with various writing problems.

If you have grammar problems:

  • Practice reading, listening and speaking- think about what sentences sound right and which do not. Since reading and listening are input methods, they can be quite easy to practice. Read what interests you and after time you should know good grammar from bad.
  • Study grammar books- but don't worry about using "textbook" grammar in you conversations. Some written grammar can sound awkward and unnatural when spoken.
If you have diction (word choice) problems:
  • Study English culture by watching TV shows and movies. Students will sometimes use only the words they learned from textbooks and manuals. This can sound unnatural, so read novels and watch movies and learn how natives use English.
  • Be conscious of what subjects are acceptable to talk about. Cultural miscommunication can be very embarrassing. You should know what is ok to mention and what is not. For example: it is acceptable for South Koreans to suggest that a friend loses a few pounds, whereas, if this was said in America, the friend would be insulted and embarrassed.

If you have spelling problems:

  • Try writing a list of words (do not use a computer) that you find difficult. Copy them 10, 20, even 100 times again, until you have them perfect. Test yourself a week later to ensure you remember.
  • Practice, practice, practice!

All of the methods of communication (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) are connected, but to improve one specific area, you need practice with a native English speaker. Nothing can substitute in-person lessons for listening and speaking, but to save money and time on developing your writing, try an online native English editing service or online writing class.

Good Luck!
About the Author:

Mark Hollands is an experienced ESL instructor, editor and the CEO of eslPaperChecker.

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