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        Tips to Write Better if English Is Your Second Language

        • calenderSep 10, 2019
        • calender 5 min read

        Writing in a foreign language can be hard enough without the pressure of actually doing it well. 

        English is already an odd language to write in – for those who speak the language as their first. So imagine how much harder it gets if English is your second language. Sometimes it feels impossible to write in a second language, doesn’t it?

        But we’re here to dispute that very notion, however, and give you the confidence that you can, in fact, get better!

        Don’t be disheartened, for there are ways to better your writing skills in English, as a second or even third language. It’s going to take a little time and lots of dedication though, and we thought of giving you some tried and tested tips to make that road easier!

        Think about it this way, you really have nothing to lose! C’est la vie, right?

        Read, eat, sleep, repeat

        This is an important habit, regardless of language. But more so, if the goal is to write well in a second language. Reading any material for at least half an hour every day is bound to improve your writing skills, simply because you will learn and try to adapt based on whatever you read.

        Of course, it will also contribute immensely to your vocabulary, and is the best medium through which you can absorb the foreign language’s grammar and style. Be it novels, newspapers, online articles, or even bills – there’s no such thing as too much reading!

        Pro tip: You can also read something that you’ve already read in your native tongue. Since you’ll be familiar with the story and vocabulary, it will be easier for you to translate and build vocabulary in English.


        When you aren’t reading, write. When you have an idea in your head, write. When you aren’t doing anything else and you are bored, write.

        Start with writing just a few sentences a day – like little journal entries, or sentences and phrases you tend to use often. And then work your way up from there. 


        It’s important to note that you’re attempting to better an already established framework of writing skills. So, this goes a little beyond simply mastering typos and grammatical errors, and into the realms of right structure and formatting. When you write, you can assess for yourself as well as get a second opinion on the style of writing, as well as the language in itself.

        If your writing style improves, it’s a win no matter what language you choose to communicate in!

        Don't translate

        translation means extra editing

        One of the biggest problems people often encounter while attempting to write in their second language is that translation happens only on paper. Thinking in your native tongue and then finding translations is a bit harder than it sounds.

        So, when you sit down to write, learn to think in the language (in this case, English) you’re going to use.

        Of course, that won’t really work out since you can’t always expect to find an exact match in English for the words you’re looking for, since so much of language is especially context/culture-based. It might take you a little longer, but you’ll find far fewer errors in your work while also strengthening your skills.

        Study the grammar

        There’s a reason people emphasize the importance of theory so much. 

        In order to get a strong base in the language and avoid coming off as uneducated, it’s important to sit down with a regular Wren and Martin for grammar.

        You can’t build a building on thin air and hope (not yet, at least!), so until then, keep studying!

        Watch television and films

        If being conversational and verbose in English is the goal, then theory is not the only answer. Spice things up sometimes, and learn while you have fun. Grammar is important, but media often provides an insight into how English is actually used in speech. (Fiction writers: this is good dialogue fodder.) Watch your favorite show with English subtitles, or try watching the latest NBC sitcom. 

        After a while, try watching English films and shows without subtitles. You’ll be surprised at how far you’ve come!

        Take help: Friends, editors, and countrymen

        It’s always best to get a second opinion on your writing, no matter what the language or your level of comfort is. Naturally, this means to get help from friends or expert professional editors will do wonders for your writing.

        get an english editor

        Push comes to shove, there’s always going to be online editing and proofreading tools that can help you out. Though far from doing a perfect job, tools like Grammarly not only point out your errors but also provide you with an explanation on the same. 

        The Internet is your best friends

        There are scores of online resources to improve your writing. They range from official sources like Coursera – where you can take MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) to build your language skills – to informal forums like Reddit – where you can interact with other people who are learning English as a second language. Whatever your worries are, language help or moral support, the internet is your friend. 

        Moreover, about 75% of the content on the net is in English, which means there is a lot of reading material at your disposal. So read away!

        No fear: Pobody's nerfect!

        Sometimes the beginning is the most difficult. We get how daunting it is to pen down your treasure brainchildren, especially in a second language, but it’s very important to start. 

        Just write. Don’t worry. You’re bound to start with mistakes. And that’s okay. With time, you will get better. 

        ESL writing is a gradual journey


        We wish you the very best of luck with your writing. Of course, if you ever need help with your writing, our editors at PaperTrue are always available to help you out!

        Do let us know if you have any other ideas to improve writing that has worked out for you as well!



        Chetna is a child of the internet. A writer and aspiring educator, she loves exploring digital media to create resources that are informative and engaging. Away from the writing desk, she enjoys cinema, coffee, and old books.

        4 comments on “Tips to Write Better if English Is Your Second Language

        1. sirgliofrei says:

          I simply needed to appreciate you again. I am not sure what I might have handled in the absence of the type of solutions contributed by you on such area of interest. It truly was a real scary concern for me, nevertheless encountering the specialized fashion you dealt with that made me to leap with fulfillment. I am happier for your guidance and even hope you realize what a great job you are always providing training many people through the use of your blog. Most probably you haven’t encountered any of us.

          • papertrue says:

            Hi! Your kind words encourage us to strive and work harder in putting up meaningful content for our readers. Do let us know if you have any specific topics you will like us to cover, we shall definitely try writing about them soon. Until then stay tuned for more. 🙂

        2. Sylvia says:

          Useful article, thank you for writing this!

        3. H says:

          When I read I take notes a lot and I rewrite them on google keep, that helps me a lot to improve my English writing skills. And I forget to mention that I learned English by myself.

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