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    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Zulu
      • Home Country:
      • Aaland
      • Current Location:
      • Zimbabwe

    • Join Date: Jun 2014
    • Posts: 3

    How to improve writing fluency in English


    So this is a problem I've been struggling with for quite some time now. English is a second language for me despite the fact that I've spend a lot of my childhood years in Australia (grades 1 through 6), after which I moved to my home country where I rarely used English outside of school. Now that I've moved back to Australia, I often get comments from my native speaking friends on both my written and spoken English. But no means would I say that I'm terrible at English. I'm able to speak and write the language with a great deal of proficiency and confidence, and with perfectly acceptable grammar. Nonetheless, my sentences seem to sound a little bit off at times, and often too formal (especially in speech).

    I was able to identify some of the possible issues like using the wrong prepositions (eg. "make a note in my calendar"), or avoiding them altogether by relying on adjectives ("house keys" instead of "keys to the house"), which I suppose is fine but can make my sentences very clunky and difficult to comprehend. But there is also a more complex dimension to the problem, particularly relating to sentence structure and the way I tend to express my ideas. It is this aspect of my written language that I am most keen on improving.

    Ill give an example. I was filling a form the other day that required an address. Since I was staying temporarily at my friends house, I wrote: "The address I provided is for my friend's house. I am staying with him for a few weeks. I will provide a new address when I move". My friend, who is a native speaker, suggested I write: "I am staying at a friend's house for a few days until I find a place of my own". Now this will definitely seems trivial to native speakers, but its a sentence structure that wouldn't come naturally to me. Needless to say that it is by far a better sentence to use. Perhaps this doesn't have to do with my English per se, but more so with my writing skills in general, as I would probably have ended up with an equally terrible sentence had I used my native language!

    But the issue for me is nonetheless the same, which leads to my question: What do you think would be the best way for me to improve writing fluency so that I sound more like a skilled native writer? Will reading books help, and if so, can you recommend a few that I can start with? (I rarely read aside from academic papers, textbooks, and newspaper articles). While I have come to terms with the fact that I most likely will never a reach a native level of proficiency, particularly in speech, nonetheless, any improvement would definitely help.

    Any advice, comments, or criticism are greatly appreciated.
    Thanks in advance!
    Last edited by test1386824; 04-Sep-2014 at 14:06.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
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      • UK
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      • Laos

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 59,339

    Re: How to improve writing fluency in English

    Reading whole books can be challenging even for an advanced learner, but reading is a very important source. If you want to move into this area, why not start with short stories and medium length texts in the areas that you are already reading in?

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • England

    • Join Date: Aug 2014
    • Posts: 5

    Re: How to improve writing fluency in English

    I recommend reading more English books like you used to. In addition, you should read some of the "Calvin and Hobbes" comic strip. It contains large words (for a comic) and it would also allow you to understand idioms and practice your English. Thus, when you speak, you will have more practice.

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