English is one of the most common international languages, and many people note that it’s easy to learn. However, everything depends on your goals. If you’re an ESL student and you need to write academic papers, the learning process will certainly be much more difficult than when learning basic phrases as a traveler. Nevertheless, millions of people from all over the world successfully learn English and use it all the time in their studies or jobs.
Many companies welcome diversity in their writing teams so there are many ESL writers who create content for English-speaking audiences on a regular basis. All ESL writers, however, quickly realize that their materials might need good editing. Everyone can make grammar errors or forget to put an extra comma. ESL writers, however, may deal with other problems, as well. For instance, they may write awkward phrases that are not used by native speakers.
If you want your writing to resonate with an English-speaking audience, you should learn not only the rules of grammar and spelling but also the way native speakers build phrases and choose words depending on the context and writing style. Of course, you will need to dedicate a lot of time to learning before you start to write like a native speaker, but it’s a possible task. Here are some tips that will help you.
- Learn the rules
Obviously, you should be perfectly familiar with the rules of English writing. Even native English speakers learn these rules to write correctly. At the same time, you may have noticed that writers may break the rules from time to time. You may forget about certain rules when using certain writing styles. However, you won’t be able to understand when you can do it until you learn these rules perfectly. As a bilingual writer, you should know the rules even better than an average American, and then you will know how to break them.
- Set clear goals
You should also understand why you need English, in the first place. It’s almost impossible to become a writer who would be equally great at writing blog posts, academic papers, poetry, and prose. We recommend that you set clear goals from the very beginning. This way, you’ll be able to focus on the right style and vocabulary, without wasting your time on things that you won’t actually need in the future. Depending on your objectives, you may also read different sources.
- Use immersion
Many people who learn foreign languages agree that immersion is one of the fastest and most effective ways to learn a language. Immersion means that you have to switch to the target language completely. You need to not only write but also talk, think, and read in English only. Of course, not all ESL writers can move to an English-speaking country. Anyone, however, can immerse themselves in English to a certain extent.
For example, you can switch interfaces on all your devices to English. You can use Google in English and watch movies in English. Obviously, you should also read as much as possible. You can also find a part-time job where you will need to speak English all the time. Besides, you can hire an English tutor. Surround yourself with English, and make sure to choose content relevant to your writing goals.
- Practice every day
This may come as a no-brainer, but you won’t learn to write like a native speaker if you don’t actually write… a lot. The more you practice, the better your skills. It’s also important to set realistic goals. We recommend that you write short essays, articles, or blog posts related to your target niche.
If writing lengthy texts is too difficult for you, don’t force yourself to do it because you will simply get exhausted. The main idea behind the everyday practice is to get used to the writing process. If English is a foreign language for you, you should get used to the grammar so that you won’t waste your time on endless editing.
- Read more
Reading and writing are two interconnected skills. Although proficiency in reading won’t necessarily make you a great writer, you won’t be able to learn to write well if you don’t see examples of good writing.
“Reading sources from your target niche will enable you to learn not only different sentence structures and writing approaches but also useful information on the subject that you can use in your work later,” adds Laura Blakney, a language school owner, teacher and Academic Director at LiveLingua.
If you’re a student, you can read educational materials on the subjects that you study. If you want to be a content writer, you might want to focus on blogs and articles related to your niche. Reading will also help you familiarize yourself with different writing styles so that you can choose your own style.
- Ask for feedback
It’s difficult to objectively evaluate a piece of writing when you’re the one who wrote it. When writing, you get immersed in the process. You perfectly know your text from the author’s perspective so distancing yourself and reflecting on it becomes extremely difficult.
To ensure continuous growth, you should evaluate your progress objectively, and feedback from others will help you better understand what you should focus on. If you know native English speakers, let them read your materials. You can also hire a tutor or editor to get feedback from them.
- Be patient
If you want to write like a native English speaker, you should understand that pushing your skill to this level will take some time. Don’t rush your studies. You don’t want to get exhausted so choose a comfortable pace of learning and don’t get frustrated if you don’t get great results immediately.
Many people need to write in English, and not all of them are native English speakers. ESL writers face many challenges trying to polish their writing and to make it no different from that of native speakers. We hope that our tips will help you improve your writing, focusing on the right aspects so that you can get closer to achieving your writing goals.
About the author
Rhonda Martinez is an English teacher, educator and founder of LegitWritingServices, a review site and educational blog that helps college students learn and succeed academically. She is passionate about teaching, writing and penning down her thoughts on topics related to education.