Summary of English Writing

 

After one week’s writing practice, I summarised the key points of what I learnt from the English writing. There are solutions to the problems I had in my writing.

Grammar

As a second language learner, grammar is vital in writing. Sometimes I am confused about which tense I should use, or can I use several tenses in one article? Another point is about using the definite and indefinite article. For example, which one should be used in which circumstance, and is it precise? For making the words clearer and less confusing, the suggestions are: 

  • Keep the tense consistent.
  • Use ‘a/an’ (indefinite article) for general expression, and ‘the’ (definite article) for specific expression.

 

Sentences should be clear and concise

As a Chinese student, my English vocabulary is small. Therefore, sometimes I use adverbs to make the sentence longer and colourful. However, the truth is some adverbs are redundant or meaningless, and taking out those adverbs does not affect the meaning of the sentence. As a writer, we should avoid using the redundant words. The best way to check whether the word is redundant: taking out that word and seeing whether the meaning of the sentence changes. If the meaning is unchanged, you don’t need that adverb.

 

Choose the appropriate vocabulary according to the context 

There are a lot of synonyms in English words. For example: different& disparate &distinct &various…… All of them have the meaning of “not the same”, but in the different contexts, there are slight differences among them. The best way to solve this problem is checking the English dictionary and reading the example sentences.

 

Think and write in the same language 

Like most people, the first language is ingrained in me. When I am writing in English, the words or sentences I have in my mind are in Chinese, and then I translate them into English. It seems like an instinct, and it’s hard to avoid. However, thinking in Chinese and writing in English can result in unclear expression or create a gap between thinking and writing, because the ways of constructing sentences or articles are different in Chinese and English. Therefore, from my viewpoint, it’s helpful to think in English when you write in English.

 

Read the article again from a reader’s perspective                                                          

  • Ask yourself ‘why’ after writing a statement.                                                                                   

As the writer, you know what you want to say. However, as the reader, he/she can only know what you want to say from your words, not your mind. Therefore, sometimes we need specific descriptions in our writing. For instance, when I write about the movie I saw last week, if I only write: “the movie was interesting,” I have a clear picture of what is interesting in that movie because I saw it, and I am familiar with the story that movie tells. However, my reader may have no idea about what the movie talks about, so I should explain or talk about more details of the movie.  

  • Leave some space for readers.                                                                                                          

It’s not appropriate to push all opinions or ideas directly to the readers. It would be better to deliver our main ideas through the descriptions of the article, instead of directly telling what readers should do or should not do. Not everyone would agree with you, and not everyone needs the suggestions from your article, so a writer could leave some space for readers to find what they want by themselves.      

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