Here you can find activities to practise your writing skills. You can improve your writing by understanding model texts and how they're structured.
The self-study lessons in this section are written and organised by English level based on the Common European Framework of Reference for languages (CEFR). There are different types of model texts, with writing tips and interactive exercises that practise the writing skills you need to do well in your studies, to get ahead at work and to communicate in English in your free time.
Take our free online English test to find out which level to choose. Select your level, from A1 English level (elementary) to C1 English level (advanced), and improve your writing skills at your own speed, whenever it's convenient for you.
Choose your level to practise your writing
Learn to write in English with confidence
Our online English classes feature lots of useful writing materials and activities to help you develop your writing skills with confidence in a safe and inclusive learning environment.
Practise writing with your classmates in live group classes, get writing support from a personal tutor in one-to-one lessons or practise writing by yourself at your own pace with a self-study course.
Group and one-to-one classes with expert teachers.
Learn English in your own time, at your own pace.
One-to-one sessions focused on a personal plan.
Get the score you need with private and group classes.
- Online Degree Explore Bachelor’s & Master’s degrees
- MasterTrack™ Earn credit towards a Master’s degree
- University Certificates Advance your career with graduate-level learning
- Top Courses
- Join for Free
7 Ways to Improve Your Writing Skills
Writing, like any other skill, is something you can get better at with time and practice. Learn how.
From sending emails to preparing presentations, writing is often a day-to-day task in many professions spanning diverse industries. Writing skills go beyond grammar and spelling. Accuracy, clarity, persuasiveness, and several other elements play a part in ensuring your writing is conveying the right message.
What are writing skills?
Writing is a technical skill that you use to communicate effectively through the written word. Though these may vary depending on what you’re writing, there are several that transcend categories. Writing skills can more specifically include:
Research and accuracy
Each of these components can influence the quality of writing.
Why are writing skills important?
Being able to write well is a form of effective communication , which many employers see as a crucial job skill . In fact, strong communication—spanning written, verbal, non-verbal, and visual—is among the nine common employability skills that employers seek in job candidates.
Regardless of your role, with good writing skills, you can clearly transcribe your thoughts into meaningful messages, enabling you to share your ideas, build relationships, and strengthen your professional image.
Learn more: Important Communication Skills and How to Improve Them
How to improve your writing skills
Writing, like any other skill, is something we can get better at with time and practice. Here are some strategies for developing your own written communication:
1. Review grammar and spelling basics.
Grammar and spelling form the foundation of good writing. Writing with proper grammar and spelling communicates your professionality and attention to detail to your reader. It also makes your writing easier to understand.
Plus, knowing when and how to use less-common punctuation, like colons, semicolons, and em-dashes, can unlock new ways to structure sentences and elevate your writing.
If you’re looking to strengthen your grammar and spelling, start by consulting a writing manual. The Elements of Style by William Stunk and E.B. White has long been considered a staple for writers. You can find similar resources at your local library, bookstore, or online.
2. Read what you want to write.
Knowing what a finished piece of writing can look like can guide your own. If you’re trying to write a humorous short story, read humorous short stories. Writing a book review? Find a few and take note of how they’re structured. Pay attention to what makes them good and what you want to emulate (without plagiarizing, of course). If you’re working on a school assignment, you can ask your instructor for examples of successful pieces from past students.
Make reading a part of your everyday life to improve your writing. Try reading the news in the morning or picking up a book before you head to bed. If you haven’t been a big reader in the past, start with topics you’re interested in, or ask friends and family for recommendations. You’ll gradually begin to understand what subjects, genres, and authors you enjoy.
While it’s tempting to submit work as soon as you’re done with it, build in some time to revisit what you’ve written to catch errors big and small. Here are a few proofreading tips to keep in mind:
Set your work aside before you edit. Try to step away from your writing for a day or more so you can come back to it with fresh, more objective eyes. Crunched for time? Even allotting 20 minutes between writing and proofreading can allow you to approach your work with renewed energy.
Start with easy fixes, then progress to bigger changes. Starting with easier changes can get you in the rhythm for proofreading, allow you to read through your work once more, and clear distractions so you can focus on bigger edits. Read through your work to catch misspellings, inconsistencies, and grammar errors. Then address the larger problems with structure or awkward transitions.
If you could say something in fewer words, do so. Being unnecessarily wordy can cloud your message and confuse the reader. Pare down phrases that are redundant, repetitive, or obvious.
Read out loud. Reading out loud can help you find awkward phrases and areas where your writing doesn’t flow well.
Should you use computer spelling and grammar tools?
Many computer-based tools—like spell check on your word processor, or Grammarly — can help you find and fix simple spelling and grammar errors. These tools are not perfect but can help even the most seasoned of writers avoid mistakes. Take note of any frequently highlighted words or phrases so that you can avoid the same mistakes in the future.
4. Get feedback.
Whether you’re writing emails or essays, asking for feedback is a great way to see how somebody besides yourself will interpret your text. Have an idea of what you’d like your proofreader to focus on—the structure, conclusion, the persuasiveness of an argument, or otherwise.
Approach a trusted friend, family member, coworker, or instructor. If you’re a student, your school might also have a writing resource center you can reach out to.
You might also consider forming a writing group or joining a writing class. Find writing courses online, at your local community college, or at independent writing workshops in your city.
5. Think about structure.
Grammar and spelling keep your writing consistent and legible, but structure ensures the big ideas get across to the reader.
In many cases, forming an outline will help solidify structure. An outline can clarify what you’re hoping to convey in each section, enable you to visualize the flow of your piece, and surface parts that require more research or thought.
Structure might look different depending on what you’re writing. An essay typically has an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. A fiction piece might follow the six-stage plot structure: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution, and denouement. Choose what’s best for your purposes.
Like many skills, one of the best ways to improve your writing is to practice. Here are a few ways you can get started:
Start a journal or a blog.
Join a class or writing workshop.
Practice free writing.
Write letters to friends or family.
Put together an opinion piece for your local newspaper or publication you like.
7. Know some common fixes.
Even if a text is grammatically correct, you may be able to make it more dynamic and interesting with some polish. Here are some common ways you can sharpen your writing:
Choose strong verbs (for example, “sprinted,” “dashed,” or “bolted” instead of “ran”).
Avoid passive voice.
Vary sentence length.
Cut unnecessary words.
Replace cliches with original phrasing.
Showing your writing skills in a job search
Your writing skills will shine throughout the job search process , whether or not you intend to show them off. This is because job applications are largely written materials, including your cover letter , resume , and email communications . Use these opportunities to demonstrate your writing skills to prospective employers by submitting clear, accurate, and engaging materials.
Additionally, if you have specialized expertise, such as experience with legal writing, medical writing, technical writing, or scientific writing, you can note that in a resume skills section and further detail that experience within your cover letter or during your interviews .
Build job-ready skills with a Coursera Plus subscription
- Get access to 7,000+ learning programs from world-class universities and companies, including Google, Yale, Salesforce, and more
- Try different courses and find your best fit at no additional cost
- Earn certificates for learning programs you complete
- A subscription price of $59/month, cancel anytime
Whether you’re a scientist or a product manager, journalist or entrepreneur, writing effectively will enable you to communicate your ideas to the world. Through practice, exposure, and familiarizing yourself with basic rules, you’ll be able to use your writing to say exactly what you want to say.
If you’re looking for a structured way to expand your writing skillset, explore writing courses on Coursera —the first week is free.
Give your team access to a catalog of 8,000+ engaging courses and hands-on Guided Projects to help them develop impactful skills. Learn more about Coursera for Business .
This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.
Take $100 off your annual subscription
- For a limited time, you can get a new Coursera Plus annual subscription for $100 off for your first year!
- Get unlimited access to 7,000+ learning programs from world-class universities and companies like Google, Microsoft, and Yale.
- Build the skills you need to succeed, anytime you need them—whether you're starting your first job, switching to a new career, or advancing in your current role.
Write & improve.
Improve your English writing online
Want to improve your writing skills? Our free online tool helps you to practise your writing and get valuable feedback instantly. Write & Improve is simple to use: just choose a task, write or upload a written response and use the feedback to quickly improve.
It shows you how to improve your spelling, grammar and vocabulary. Join over 2 million learners of English who have used Write & Improve to improve their writing.
Start practising now
Improve your writing now – it's free!
- There is no limit on how many times you can use the tool – keep practising as much as you need to and build your confidence.
- Encourages you to think about what to improve.
- Keep improving and see your progress.
When I was preparing for my B2 First exam I practised really hard and I succeeded, so I'm in love with this tool that I still use almost every day. Aaron from Ecuador
With Write & Improve my grades get better and I am inspired to do more. It is really graphical and easy to use, highlighting your mistakes in a very visual way. Victoria from Uruguay
Write & Improve helps when practising writing particular types of documents. I've been able to see my progress and how my learning has changed. Jorge from Switzerland
- Vitaly Friedman
- Jun 28, 2009
50 Free Resources That Will Improve Your Writing Skills
- 12 min read
- Copywriting , Blogging , Skills , Resources
- Share on Twitter , LinkedIn
About The Author
Vitaly Friedman loves beautiful content and doesn’t like to give in easily. When he is not writing, he’s most probably running front-end & UX … More about Vitaly ↬
Weekly tips on front-end & UX . Trusted by 200,000+ folks.
Effective writing skills are to a writer what petrol is to a car. Like the petrol and car relationship, without solid skills writers cannot move ahead. These skills don’t come overnight, and they require patience and determination. You have to work smart and hard to acquire them. Only with experience, you can enter the realm of effective, always-in-demand writers.
Of course, effective writing requires a good command of the language in which you write or want to write. Once you have that command, you need to learn some tips and tricks so that you can have an edge over others in this hard-to-succeed world of writers. There are some gifted writers, granted. But gifted writers also need to polish their skills frequently in order to stay ahead of competition and earn their livelihood.
CustomWritings.com is an academic writing service which provides custom written papers to help students with their grades. Moreover, do not miss an opportunity to turn to writing guides, topic ideas, and samples on their blog to polish your writing skills. Except for these, you can also benefit from free tools that will ease the entire writing process - free plagiarism checker, citation generator, words to pages as well as words to minutes converter when you are working on a speech.
1. Grammar, Punctuation & Co.
Use English Punctuation Correctly A quick and useful crash course in English punctuation.
HyperGrammar An extensive electronic grammar course at the University of Ottawa’s Writing Centre.
Grammar Girl Mignon Fogarty’s quick and dirty tips for better writing. Grammar Girl provides short, friendly tips to improve your writing. Covering the grammar rules and word choice guidelines that can confound even the best writers, Grammar Girl makes complex grammar questions simple with memory tricks to help you recall and apply those troublesome grammar rules.
Better Writing Skills This site contains 26 short articles with writing tips about ampersands, punctuation, character spacing, apostrophes, semicolons and commas, difference between i.e. and e.g. etc.
The Guide to Grammar and Writing An older, yet very useful site that will help you to improve your writing on word & sentence level, paragraph level and also essay & research paper level.
Paradigm Online Writing Assistant This site contains some useful articles that explain common grammar mistakes, basic punctuation, basic sentence concepts etc. Worth visiting and reading. The Learning Centre contains similar articles, but with more examples.
Jack Lynch’s Guide to Grammar and Style These notes are a miscellany of grammatical rules and explanations, comments on style, and suggestions on usage put by Jack Lynch, an Associate Professor in the English department of the Newark campus of Rutgers University, for his classes.
English Style Guide - Economist This guide is based on the style book which is given to all journalists at The Economist. The site contains various hints on how to use metaphors, punctuation, figures, hyphens etc. Brief and precise.
Technical Writing An extensive guidance on grammar and style for technical writing.
40+ Tips to Improve your Grammar and Punctuation “Purdue University maintains an online writing lab and I spent some time digging through it. Originally the goal was to grab some good tips that would help me out at work and on this site, but there is simply too much not to share.”
2. Common mistakes and problems
Common Errors in English A collection of common errors in English, with detailed explanations and descriptions of each error.
AskOxford: Better Writing A very useful reference for classic errors and helpful hints with a terrible site navigation.
Dr. Grammar’s Frequently Asked Questions Answers to common grammar questions related to English grammar, with examples and additional explanations.
English Grammar FAQ A list of common English language problems and how to solve them. This list was compiled through an extensive archive of postings to alt.usage.english by John Lawler, Linguistics, U. Michigan, Ann Arbor.
3. General Writing Skills
Writer’s Digest Writer’s Digest offers information on writing better and getting published. The site also includes community forums, blogs and huge lists of resources for writers.
Infoplease: General Writing Skills Various articles that aim to teach students how to write better.
The Elements of Style A freely available online version of the book “The Elements of Style” by William Strunk, Jr., the classic reference book.
Poynter Writing Tools A blog dedicated to writers and journalists. Poynter also provides Fifty Writing Tools: Quick List, a collection of podcasts related to writing.
learning lab / writing skills This site offers over 20 .pdf-documents with main rules and common mistakes related to summarising, paraphrasing, referencing, sentences, paragraphs, linking words and business writing. Handy.
Using English UsingEnglish.com provides a large collection of English as a Second Language (ESL) tools & resources for students, teachers, learners and academics. Browse our grammar glossary and references of irregular verbs, phrasal verbs and idioms, ESL forums, articles, teacher handouts and printables, and find useful links and information on English. Topics cover the spectrum of ESL, EFL, ESOL, and EAP subject areas.
Online Writing Courses Free courses are a great way to improve your writing skills. The courses shown here focus on several types of creative writing, including poetry, essay writing and fiction writing.
4. Practical Guides To Better Writing Skills
Copywriting 101: An Introduction to Copywriting This tutorial is designed to get you up and running with the basics of writing great copy in ten easy lessons. Afterwards, you’ll get recommendations for professional copywriting training, plus links to tutorials on SEO copywriting and writing killer headlines.
A Guide to Writing Well “This guide was mainly distilled from On Writing Well by William Zinsser and The Elements of Style by Strunk and White. Other sources are listed in the bibliography. My memory being stubborn and lazy, I compiled this so I could easily refresh myself on writing well. I hope it will also be helpful to others.”
Online Copywriting 101: The Ultimate Cheat Sheet The ultimate cheat sheet with various Web copy resources that copywriters can use to lean the best writing tips and ideas.
Headlines and Trigger Words
- 50 Trigger Words and Phrases for Powerful Multimedia Content
- 21 Traffic Triggers for Social Media Marketing
- How To Write Magnetic Headlines (and even more headlines )
- Passive Voice Is Redeemed For Web Headings
- 5 Simple Ways to Open Your Blog Post With a Bang
- Landing Page Tutorials and Case Studies
- Copywriting for e-Commerce
Common mistakes and errors
- 10 flagrant grammar mistakes that make you look stupid
- The Seven Deadly Sins of Website Copy
- Six Common Punctuation Errors that Bedevil Bloggers
Writing tips from experts
- 10 Writing Tips from the Masters
- George Orwell’s tips on better writing
- Stephen King’s Top 7 Tips for Becoming a Better Writer
- Ernest Hemingway’s Top 5 Tips for Writing Well
- Writing hacks (hacks for writing) by Scott Berkun
- 10 Steps Toward Better Writing
- A Guide To Becoming A Better Writer: 15 Practical Tips
- 10 simple things you can do to improve your writing
- 7 Can’t-Miss Ways To Kick-Start The Writing Habit
- 10 Writing Tips for Web Designers
- Activate Your Verbs
- How to Write Faster, Better, and Easier
- Writing Tips for Non-Writers Who Don’t Want to Work at Writing
- How to Write Persuasive Links
- A Guide to Becoming a Better Writer: 15 Practical Tips
- 21 Must-Read Tips To Write Better Web Content
5. Copywriting Blogs
CopyBlogger Now that blogging has become the smartest strategy for growing an authoritative web site, it’s your copywriting skills that will set you apart and help you succeed. And this is where Copyblogger comes into play. Brian Clark’s popular blog covers useful copywriting tips, guidelines and ideas.
Write to Done Leo Babuta’s blog about the craft and the art of writing. The blog covers many topics: journalism, blog writing, freelance writing, fiction, non-fiction, getting a book deal, the business of writing, the habit of writing. Updated twice weekly.
Problogger Darren Rowse’s blog helps bloggers to add income streams to their blogs – among other things, Darren also has hundreds of useful articles related to copy writing.
Men with Pens A regularly updated blog with useful tips for writers, freelancers and entrepreneurs.
Time to Write Jurgen Wolff’s tips, ideas, inspirations for writers and would-be writers and other creative people.
Daily Writing Posts “Whether you are an attorney, manager, student or blogger, writing skills are essential for your success. Considering the rise of the information age, they are even more important, as people are surrounded by e-mails, wikis, social networks and so on.
“It can be difficult to hone one’s writing skills within this fast paced environment. Daily Writing Tips is a blog where you will find simple yet effective tips to improve your writing.”
CopyWriting “Copywriting website is jam-packed with useful information, articles, resources and services geared to show you how to write mouth-watering, profit-generating copy. Copy that changes minds and dramatically boosts your results. So come right in… you’re going to like what you see! It has copywriting courses, tools, articles and much more.”
The Copywriter Underground A copywriting blog by the freelance writer Tom Chandler.
Lifehack: Writing This collection of resources includes links to 30 posts on Lifehack that may help you to improve your writing skills.
OneLook Dictionary Search More than 13,5 million words in more than 1024 online dictionaries are indexed by the OneLook search engine. You can find, define, and translate words all at one site.
Definr A fast, suggest-as-you-type dictionary which you can add to your Firefox search box or use in bookmarklet form (see this post) (via Lifehacker ).
Visuwords Look up words to find their meanings and associations with other words and concepts. Produce diagrams reminiscent of a neural net. Learn how words associate.
Merriam Webster: Visual Dictionary The Visual Dictionary Online is an interactive dictionary with an innovative approach. From the image to the word and its definition, the Visual Dictionary Online is an all-in-one reference. Search the themes to quickly locate words, or find the meaning of a word by viewing the image it represents. What’s more, the Visual Dictionary Online helps you learn English in a visual and accessible way.
OneLook Reverse Dictionary OneLook’s reverse dictionary lets you describe a concept and get back a list of words and phrases related to that concept. Your description can be a few words, a sentence, a question, or even just a single word.
Online Spell Checker Free online spell checker that provides you with quick and accurate results for texts in 28 languages (German, English, Spanish, French, Russian, Italian, Portuguese etc.).
GNU Aspell GNU Aspell is a Free and Open Source spell checker designed to eventually replace Ispell. It can either be used as a library or as an independent spell checker. Its main feature is that it does a superior job of suggesting possible replacements for a misspelled word than just about any other spell checker out there for the English language.
WordWeb A one-click English thesaurus and dictionary for Windows that can look up words in almost any program. It works off-line, but can also look up words in web references such as the Wikipedia encyclopedia. Features of the free version include definitions and synonyms, proper nouns, 150 000 root words and 120 000 synonym sets.
write rhymes As you write, hold the alt key and click on a word to find a rhyme for it.
Verbix This English conjugator will help you to determine how to use verbs in the proper tense.
Wordcounter Wordcounter ranks the most frequently used words in any given body of text. Use this to see what words you overuse or maybe just to find some keywords from a document. Text Statistics Generator is an alternative tool: it gives you a quick analysis of number of word occurrences.
Advanced Text Analyzer (requires registration) This free tool analyzes texts, calculating the number of words, lexical density, words per sentence, character per word and the readability of the text as well as word analysis, phrase analysis and graded analysis. Useful!
Graviax Grammar Checker Grammar rules (XML files containing regular expressions) and grammar checker. Currently only for the English language, although it could be extended. Unit tests are built into the rules. Might form the basis of a grammar checker for OpenOffice.
txt2tags Txt2tags is a document generator. It reads a text file with minimal markup as bold and //italic// and converts it to the formats HTML, LaTeX, MediaWiki, Google Code Wiki, DokuWiki, Plain text and more.
Markdown Markdown is a text-to-HTML conversion tool for web writers. Markdown allows you to write using an easy-to-read, easy-to-write plain text format, then convert it to structurally valid XHTML (or HTML). Requires Perl 5.6.0 or later.
7. Further Resources
CustomWritings.com — Writing Service You’re running out of time and need some writing help? The writing service CustomWritings.com provides you with custom texts tailored to your needs.
50 Useful Open Source Resources For Writers and Writing Majors If you’re a writing major, why not take advantage of all the opportunities to get great free and open source resources that can help you to write, edit and organize your work? Here’s a list of fifty open source tools that you can use to make your writing even better.
English Forums If you have a question related to English Grammar, join these forums to get advice from others who know the language better or can provide you with some related information.
The Ultimate Writing Productivity Resource A round-up of applications, services, resources, tools, posts and communities for writers and bloggers who want to improve their writing skills.
100 Useful Web Tools for Writers 100 useful Web tools that will help you with your career, your sanity and your creativity whenever your write.
Something is missing? Please let us know in the comments to this post!
Further Reading on SmashingMag:
- Quick Course On Effective Website Copywriting
- Behind The Scenes of Smashing Magazine
- The Overlooked Importance of Professional Journalism
- Getting Practical With Microcopy
- Five Copywriting Errors That Can Ruin A Company’s Website
Tips on front-end & UX, delivered weekly in your inbox. Just the things you can actually use.
Front-End & UX Workshops, Online
With practical takeaways, live sessions, video recordings and a friendly Q&A.
TypeScript in 50 Lessons
Everything TypeScript, with code walkthroughs and examples. And other printed books.
Here you can find activities to practise your writing skills. You can improve your writing by understanding model texts and how they're organised.
The learning materials in this section are written and organised by level. There are different types of model texts, with writing tips and interactive exercises that practise the writing skills you need to do well at school, get good marks in your tests and exams, and get more out of your free-time activities.
Take our free online English test to find out which level to choose. Select your level, from beginner (CEFR level A1) to advanced (CEFR level C1), and improve your writing skills at any time and at your own speed.
Choose a level
Are you an elementary (CEFR level A1) learner of English? Practise and improve your writing skills with these texts and exercises.
Are you a pre-intermediate (CEFR level A2) learner of English? Practise and improve your writing skills with these texts and exercises.
Are you an intermediate (CEFR level B1) learner of English? Practise and improve your writing skills with these texts and exercises.
Are you an upper intermediate (CEFR level B2) learner of English? Practise and improve your writing skills with these texts and exercises.
Are you an advanced (CEFR level C1) learner of English? Practise and improve your writing skills with these texts and exercises.
Sign up to our newsletter for LearnEnglish Teens
15 Ways to Improve Your Writing Skills Dramatically
Learning a variety of tricks to improve writing skills isn’t as difficult as you may think. We’ve put together a list of steps to help you make dramatic improvements to the quality of your writing in short order.
Becoming a better writer takes practice , and you’re already practicing. No, seriously—you write a lot. Even if you don’t think of yourself as a writer, you put thoughts into text more often than you realize. At the very least, you write emails —a lot of emails—post on social media, make updates to your résumé and LinkedIn profile , and message your friends. If your job requires it, you also create things like reports, presentations , newsletters . . . it’s a long list.
Here’s a tip: Want to make sure your writing shines? Grammarly can check your spelling and save you from grammar and punctuation mistakes. It even proofreads your text, so your work is extra polished wherever you write.
Give your writing extra polish Grammarly helps you communicate confidently Write with Grammarly
So, you’re already writing. Now, to improve writing is just a matter of becoming conscious of the things you can do to give your text more structure and make your copy crisp and readable with a conversational style.
Give your writing structure
It’s fine to rattle off a stream of consciousness when you’re writing in your journal, but if you actually want to communicate with others you’ll need to bring some order to those rambling thoughts. Here are some tips.
1 Make sure you’re clear on the concepts you’re writing about.
Albert Einstein said, “If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.” Before you start writing, take a moment to mentally explain the concept to the six-year-old who lives inside your head. (We all have one, don’t we?) If your writing goal is to achieve a specific result, ask yourself what that result should be. Before you dive into writing, have a clear purpose. Then stick to it.
2 If the message is complex, outline it.
It doesn’t take much thought-organizing to compose the average text message, but if you’re writing something more complex, with multiple angles, questions, or requests, get all that stuff sorted before you sit down to write. Making an outline , or even just some quick notes about the topics you want to cover, can save you time answering clarifying questions later.
3 Anticipate your readers’ questions.
Improving writing involves putting yourself in your readers’ shoes (you could call it empathy ). Do they have enough context to understand what you’ve written for them? If not, fill in the blanks. But . . .
4 Don’t over-explain.
If you’ve taken the time to organize your thoughts in advance, you should be able to keep things simple. The idea is to give readers just enough to understand what you’re communicating without overwhelming them with trivial details. If you find yourself getting in the weeds with more details than you need, look at each piece of information and ask whether it’s essential to help your reader understand your message. If not, get rid of it.
Write with confidence. Real-time writing feedback, wherever you need it. Get Grammarly
Tighten your writing
We sometimes write like we talk, and that can be a good thing. It keeps our writing conversational (more on that in a moment.) But rambling, wordy writing makes your text hard to read, and it can make you sound as though you lack conviction. Start practicing these tips to improve your writing skills.
5 Go easy on the prepositional phrases
When I was a neophyte writer, someone showed me how prepositional phrases made my writing unnecessarily wordy and complex. It was an epiphany!
Prepositions aren’t difficult to understand, but the concept does require some explanation. Get smart about prepositions here , and then try to simplify them whenever it makes sense. Your writing will get a much-needed clarity boost.
6 Eliminate the filler words and phrases
Some words show up in our writing all the time, and yet they don’t contribute much of anything. Although these filler words and phrases sometimes add color or even meaning, most of the time they contribute nothing but clutter. Here are thirty-one of them you can eliminate right now.
>> READ MORE: How to Ensure Your Writing Is Concise and Clear
7 Don’t pad weak words with adverbs.
Adverbs —those words that often end in -ly—modify verbs and sometimes adjectives. They’re okay once in a while, but when you find yourself using them all the time, you’re probably making weak word choices. Instead of “ran really fast” write “sprinted.” Was something “extremely funny”? Nah, it was “hilarious.” The scenery may have been “very beautiful,” but your writing’s going to shine if you refer to it as “gorgeous,” “lush,” “verdant,” or “bucolic.”
Make your writing more conversational
8 stick with simple words..
Bestselling author John Grisham said, “There are three types of words: (1) words we know; (2) words we should know; (3) words nobody knows. Forget those in the third category and use restraint with those in the second.” There’s a difference between having a rich vocabulary and dropping million-dollar words into your writing just to show off. Unless it’s your intent to be poetic, keep your language simple and direct.
I’m certain sure you are able to can deliver the quality of work we’re looking for. Let’s discuss talk about it in our meeting next week.
9 Use contractions.
English speakers use contractions —you’re, I’m, we’re, they’re, can’t, didn’t. Your writing will sound stiff and formal without them. For example:
I am sure you are able to deliver the quality of work we are looking for. Let us discuss it in our meeting next week.
Now, let’s add some contractions. Doesn’t this sound less stuffy?
I’m sure you can deliver the quality of work we’re looking for. Let’s talk about it in our meeting next week.
10 Try transcribing yourself.
Record yourself talking. You can learn a lot about conversational writing using this one weird trick! (Sorry, Buzzfeed, we tease because we care.)
Try transcribing a conversation you’ve recorded (with the other person’s permission, of course). Transcribe a couple of minutes of the conversation word-for-word. Then, fix or remove any false starts and remove filler (um, uh, like, you know)— et voila! —you’ve got yourself some conversational writing. The process of transcribing and editing will help you learn what to do and what not to.
11 Throw away the grammar rule book . . . within reason.
We, the Grammarly team, give you permission to start sentences with conjunctions . And (see what we did there?) unless you’re writing something formal, we’re perfectly okay with you ending some sentences with prepositions.
12 Keep your sentences simple.
Literary greats can write long, complex sentences with flair. Why not you? Well, for starters you’re probably not trying to write like Tolstoy, Nabokov, or Faulkner. Short, less complicated sentences are easier to read. Keep it simple, silly! But do vary your sentence length so your writing has a nice flow.
13 Read it out loud.
Speaking of flow, reading your writing aloud can help you determine whether it flows smoothly. If it sounds choppy and clipped, add a few longer sentences to break up that steady, monotonous beat. If you find yourself stumbling over parts, you’ve probably found an overly complex sentence that needs rewriting.
14 Infuse your personality into your writing
Letting your personality shine through is the best way to develop a writing style. Use the phrases and slang that you would normally use (within reason). When it’s appropriate, throw in a relevant personal anecdote. In all but the most formal or professional writing settings, be yourself when you write.
15 Practice, practice, practice!
The ultimate way to improving writing is to learn what weakens it in the first place, and then set your mind to fixing (and eventually preventing) the glitches. The more you write, edit , and proofread, the better you get at it.
Here’s a tip: You don’t have to guess whether you’re using certain words correctly or breaking grammar rules in your writing. Just copy and paste your writing into our Grammar Checker and get instant feedback on whether your sentences have misspellings, punctuation errors, or any structural mistakes.
Jump to navigation
- For Homeschoolers
- For Libraries
- For Business
- The TTRS Method
- School Subjects & More
- Referral Program
- About our company
- Research articles
- Case studies
- Press & News coverage
- Read and Spell Blog
- Find a TTRS Tutor
- Honour Roll
How to improve writing skills in English
Writing is one of the most important skills English as a second language learners must master, particularly for students and working professionals. That’s because unlike in speaking exercises, when you write you leave a lasting record of your language.
Mistakes in spelling, grammar and word choice are immediately evident. And while literacy skills are not a reflection of intelligence or knowledge, poor writing can cause a student to receive lower marks, even if they know a lot about the subject of the assignment. In a professional context , people may judge you as lazy or untrustworthy if you send poorly written emails full of mistakes.
They are also likely to assume your spoken ability in English is quite low, though this may or may not be the case. That’s why it is important to improve writing skills in English before they prevent you from reaching your full potential at school or in the workplace.
Fortunately, the more often you write, the easier it will be to access the English you are looking for and express yourself accurately and fluently. Researchers know that if you are a strong writer in your first language, chances are you will also be a strong writer in English.
That’s because strategy use transfers. However, you can always learn to be more strategic as a writer and improve your skills by signing up for a class.
A composition course, even one aimed at native speakers, will help you improve the way you react to different texts, organize your ideas and bring together vocabulary, grammar and tone to enhance your writing. Spelling and fluency, when it comes to the actual process of putting words on paper, can be improved by taking an online course.
Keep in mind that you can’t learn how to write overnight. It’s a process and the more you write and receive feedback on your written work, the stronger you will become.
How writing works
Reading is a receptive skill that requires an individual to make meaning from the language input to which they are exposed. In writing, learners must actually create meaning and produce their own language. That’s why writing is so hard, even for native speakers.
It begins with translating ideas into language and moving them around so the reader can follow your train of thought. Next, comes the process of revising to find the most precise and convincing wording that renders ideas clearly and concisely. Finally, you need to make sure there are no grammar, spelling or formatting errors which will distract the reader from what you are saying.
Top tips to improve English writing skills
- Start with a mind-map. A great way to set the stage for a piece of writing is by brainstorming ideas related to your topic and activating all of the English you will need to express yourself. Try creating a mind-map in which you write down any prior knowledge you have on the subject in bullet points and specify facts or opinions you would like to include. You may also choose to make a list of English vocabulary words that will help you articulate your thoughts.
- Use an outline. A blank page can be intimidating, even for the most seasoned writers. Give yourself something to work with by laying out the structure of your piece in advance. Leave placeholders for an introduction, several paragraphs that provide support for your thesis, and a conclusion, then use your mind-map to fill in the details.
- Learn how to type. Did you know that we think a lot faster than we write? Translating ideas into language can be slow and cumbersome if you are handwriting or hunting for individual letters, one key at a time. You can lose your train of thought and or experience frustration with the mechanics of writing. But you can automatize the process and help your thoughts flow freely through your fingertips and onto the screen by learning how to touch-type . You’ll not only be faster, but more accurate too.
- Revise, revise and revise some more. Writing is a process that involves crafting a sentence then going back to re-read what comes before. You want to be sure your ideas make sense in a particular order and that you’ve used a variety of different vocabulary words and phrases to express yourself. When you write on a computer, you can use the same document for your mind-map, outline and initial draft. Being able to copy, paste and delete means revisions are a lot easier to make. Continue to write and revise until you are happy with your draft.
- Have a native-speaker proofread your work. Everyone makes mistakes in writing. This is because when you’ve been focused on a text for so long, it becomes hard to see the errors. Leave your work for a day or two before you come back to it to proofread. It’s also helpful to ask an English speaker to take a look as they are likely to catch awkward phrasing and may even be able to provide you with some more native-like solutions when it comes to re-wording and presenting your ideas. Depending on the length of your piece, you can sign up for a language exchange and help someone with their writing in your native language at the same time.
- Use spelling and grammar checks. Some learners may feel that relying on automatic spelling and grammar checks is cheating because it prevents you from catching your own errors and allows you to be less accurate. However, these checks can help call attention to problems with your English grammar and/or spelling skills. Use the content that they bring up as a learning experience and decide on how to revise each error by weighing their suggestions. You’ll be surprised at how much you learn.
- Build your productive vocabulary. Most English language learners have a larger receptive vocabulary than a productive one. This means you may understand a word when you see it but it won’t necessarily show up in your writing. Purposefully using words you have recently learned is one way to increase your productive vocabulary. When you use a word in your writing, it makes it more likely it will be available the next time you sit down to compose a sentence. Another strategy is to use a thesaurus to look up alternatives to the words you have chosen. Just be sure you don’t pepper your text with awkward word-choices that don’t fit the context or your original phrasing.
- Spend more time reading in English. Good writers tend to be avid readers. The more you read in English , the more you are exposed to different ways of expressing ideas. The grammatical structures and style of the writer will eventually start to show up in your own writing and you may learn some new vocabulary at the same time.
- Familiarize yourself with different text types. Not all writing assignments require the same kind of English. A factual article for the newspaper, an email to a potential employer and an essay for a literature class will all necessitate a unique format and different elements. You can improve your writing by familiarizing yourself with a diverse range of text types. For example, read the newspaper, look up sample essays and make your way through an English novel or two.
4 Tips for English teachers
Help students overcome their fear of a blank page by starting off your lesson with an activity that helps them generate language and ideas for their writing. This is a top down strategy that will allow them to activate prior knowledge and personal experiences that relate to the topic.
Research shows that strategy use transfers from a learner’s first to second language after they have reached a certain ability level. For those learners who are not strong writers in their first language, introduce and model writing strategies.
Be on the lookout for learning difficulties. You may think spelling mistakes and poorly organized text are a result of lacking English skills but there may be another issue such as dyslexia , dyspraxia or dysgraphia that is causing the problem. The earlier a learning difficulty is diagnosed, the sooner a student can learn strategies to overcome it.
Go over the difference between written and spoken English. Every language learner eventually discovers that not everything we say in conversation is acceptable in written form. Beginner learners might need you to call their attention to some common examples (such as writing going to instead of gonna) .
Learn to type
Taking a touch-typing course like Touch-type Read and Spell's can be a great way for an English language learner to improve his or her writing skills.
Not only does touch-typing provide a more automatized way of expressing thoughts in English, but the process of learning the keys can involve dictation exercises which reinforce phonics and spelling. As English is a notoriously difficult language to spell, this can be important in building confidence in writing and facilitating sight-reading at the same time.
Touch-type Read and Spell takes a modular and multi-sensory approach and is also a solution for English students who struggle with learning difficulties, such as dyslexia.
Learn more about helping English language learners in the classroom.
Do you have any tips on improving writing skills? Join the discussion in the comments!
I began using the TTRS course after my English literacy level was tested and seemed low. I'm originally from South America and I work as a doctor in the UK. I also have dyslexia. Before TTRS, I used to type slowly and inaccurately with two-fingers. Now I am faster at the computer, make fewer errors, and write more professionally. My vocabulary has noticeably expanded too. I learned new words by looking up vocabulary using the dictionary tool inside TTRS.
Maria, Doctor and English language learner
TTRS is a program designed to support educators in teaching students touch-typing, with additional emphasis on reading and spelling.
- Read more about Meredith Cicerchia
- Read more about Chris Freeman
Testimonials and reviews
Maria, Adult learner
Maria used to type with two-fingers, slowly and often inaccurately. Now she types faster, with fewer errors, more competently and professionally. This has boosted her confidence in the workplace tremendously. She now recognises individual sounds in words much better, due to the auditory aspect of the multi-sensory approach in TTRS. Her vocabulary has noticeably improved and she has found she can explain things and express herself more clearly in English after completing the course.
Read more of Maria’s story
Bolton College, Adult Education Program
At Bolton College we offer the TTRS course to self-study adult learners who have returned to education to improve their spelling, increase their familiarity with technology, and use word processors. We find that for many adult learners in our program, the conventional ‘look-cover-spell-check’ approach they were taught at school had a detrimental effect on their learning. In contrast, Touch-type Read and Spell provides a rewarding and positive experience for them when it comes to spelling.
Read more of Bolton College’s story
TTRS has a solution for you
An award-winning, multi-sensory course that teaches typing, reading and spelling
How does TTRS work?
Developed in line with language and education research
Teaches typing using a multi-sensory approach
The course is modular in design and easy to navigate
Includes school and personal interest subjects
Positive feedback and positive reinforcement
Reporting features help you monitor usage and progress
More articles from Read and Spell:
Dyslexia at work: Strategies for working from home
A guest post by journalist David Hayter.
I have dyslexia and have long been aware that the challenges of dyslexia tend to be magnified in the remote workplace. During lockdown, I took the opportunity to change career and study law while.
As such, I was given a bird’s eye view of the profound effects the work-from-home landscape can have on both dyslexic employees and learners. Through this experience I developed a repertoire of remote work strategies that helped me overcome the wide array of challenges I faced.
What does dyslexia mean to me?
My life and livelihood are entirely dependent on those skills most severely affected by dyslexia. I work as a journalist: reading, writing, editing and organising are my passion, and they are the very things that I was told, as a child, that I would forever struggle with.
Rather than holding me back, receiving a dyslexia diagnosis at a young age not only helped me come to terms with and develop strategies to cope with my dyslexia, but to master the very skills that were the source of so much frustration and anxiety in my school years.
Dyscalculia in adults
Dyscalculia is a learning difficulty that affects an individual’s ability to do basic arithmetic such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Adults with dyscalculia often take longer when working with numbers and may be more prone to making mistakes in calculations.
They can also experience higher levels of anxiety and frustration. It may be harder for adults with dyscalculia to learn and recall math facts, such as times tables.
Estimation skills can also be affected. Dyscalculia is not a reflection of low intelligence, nor does it mean an adult will not be successful working through higher order mathematical reasoning. However, many people with dyscalculia believe they are simply bad at math.
Because math is involved in various areas of the school curriculum, from chemistry to physics, as children these individuals may have felt they were less capable of achieving success in the classroom. Over time these feelings can develop into low self-confidence and low self-esteem.
Adults with poor math skills are more likely to suffer in terms of career opportunities and management of personal finances. There’s additionally a greater chance they are struggling with more than one learning difficulty, such as dyslexia or ADHD.
Dysgraphia in adults
Dysgraphia is a learning difficulty, also sometimes referred to as a learning disability or a learning difference, that primarily affects writing skills. Adults with dysgraphia have a hard time writing by hand and may struggle with letter formation, letter, word and line spacing, staying inside the margins, neatness, capitalization/punctuation rules, spelling, word choice, and even grammar.
As opposed to agraphia , in which writing loss is acquired, individuals with dysgraphia are typically born with the condition. As children they may have found school particularly challenging, given the importance of literacy skills and the emphasis on having neat handwriting at the elementary/primary level.
Thankfully, technology exists that can help both children and adults with dysgraphia overcome the challenges they experience and take positive steps toward achieving their full potential in the classroom or workplace.
13 Signs of dyslexia in adults
Studies suggest that 1 in 10 adults in the US and UK has dyslexia , a learning difference that can affect working memory, reading, writing and spelling skills. In 60% of cases the dyslexia may be mild to moderate, but the remaining 40% of people can struggle with a severe form that interrupts literacy skills development when early support is not put in place.
Dyslexia is still called a learning disability in some countries, but in the UK it is increasingly referred to as a specific learning difference. The reason for this is dyslexia does not make you less able than your peers, it is simply a different way of processing language in the brain.
It’s also not related to intelligence, but dyslexia can prevent an individual from being successful due to the central role of reading and writing in mainstream education. Moreover, having earned poor marks at school or losing a job because of literacy skills can limit career options for adults, and may affect an individual’s confidence and self-esteem for years to come.
Fortunately, most problems can be overcome, even in adulthood, with the right literacy intervention, strategies and accommodations .
How to improve spelling skills
Spelling is one of those skills that a lot of people find challenging to master. This is particularly true if English isn’t your first language. One of the main reasons spelling is so hard to learn is that English is a highly irregular language. It has borrowed words from many other tongues and anglicized their spelling in an inconsistent way.
Spelling rules such as “i before e except after c” do exist in English, as in the words receive and receipt . But there are also plenty of exceptions to these rules, such as in species and science . Moreover, knowing a rule doesn’t always mean you can operationalize it in an automatic fashion when you need to write words quickly and accurately, for example during interviews, sales-meetings or timed assessments.
Check out our most popular articles:
Learn to type. strengthen reading and spelling skills. boost confidence..
Discover multi-sensory typing with TTRS.
- WRITING SKILLS
- A - Z List of Writing Skills
The Essentials of Writing
- Common Mistakes in Writing
- Introduction to Grammar
- Improving Your Grammar
- Active and Passive Voice
- Clarity in Writing
- Writing Concisely
- Coherence in Writing
- Gender Neutral Language
- Figurative Language
- When to Use Capital Letters
- Using Plain English
- Writing in UK and US English
- Understanding (and Avoiding) Clichés
- The Importance of Structure
- Know Your Audience
- Know Your Medium
- Formal and Informal Writing Styles
- Note-Taking from Reading
- Note-Taking for Verbal Exchanges
- Creative Writing
- Top Tips for Writing Fiction
- Writer's Voice
- Writing for Children
- Writing for Pleasure
- Writing for the Internet
- Journalistic Writing
- Technical Writing
- Academic Writing
- Editing and Proofreading
Writing Specific Documents
- Writing a CV or Résumé
- Writing a Covering Letter
- Writing a Personal Statement
- Writing Reviews
- Using LinkedIn Effectively
- Business Writing
- Study Skills
- Writing Your Dissertation or Thesis
Subscribe to our FREE newsletter and start improving your life in just 5 minutes a day.
You'll get our 5 free 'One Minute Life Skills' and our weekly newsletter.
We'll never share your email address and you can unsubscribe at any time.
Writing skills are an important part of communication. Good writing skills allow you to communicate your message with clarity and ease to a far larger audience than through face-to-face or telephone conversations.
You might be called upon to write a report , plan or strategy at work; write a grant application or press release within a volunteering role; or you may fancy communicating your ideas online via a blog. And, of course, a well written CV or résumé with no spelling or grammatical mistakes is essential if you want a new job.
Today, when anyone can be their own publisher, we see more and more examples of poor writing skills both in print and on the web. Poor writing skills create poor first impressions and many readers will have an immediate negative reaction if they spot a spelling or grammatical mistake . As just one example, a spelling mistake on a commercial web page may cause potential customers to doubt the credibility of the website and the organisation.
For many of us it will have been a long time since we were taught any writing skills and a refresher may be needed.
This section of SkillsYouNeed aims to make you think about your writing - from grammar , spelling and punctuation , how to plan your writing, and the various processes and checks to go through before pressing print or broadcasting your message online. It also provides guides for specific pieces of writing that you may need to produce, whether at school, university, or in the workplace.
Grammar, Spelling and Punctuation
Correct grammar, punctuation and spelling are key in written communications. The reader will form an opinion of you, the author, based on both the content and presentation, and errors are likely to lead them to form a negative impression.
If you are unconvinced about the importance of accurate writing, think of the clues we use to identify spam emails, “phishing” websites, and counterfeit products: poor grammar and spelling.
Similarly, some employers state publicly that any CV or résumé containing spelling or grammatical mistakes will be rejected immediately, whilst a BBC news article quotes research that calculates spelling mistakes cost online businesses “millions” in lost sales.
Checking for poor writing and spelling mistakes should be seen as a courtesy to your readers since it can take them much longer to understand the messages in your writing if they have to think and re-read text to decipher these.
All written communications should therefore be re-read before sending to print, or hitting the send button in the case of emails, as it is likely that there will be errors. Do not assume that spelling and grammar checkers will identify all mistakes as many incorrect words can indeed be spelt correctly (for example, when “their” is used instead of “there” or “principle” instead of “principal”) or entire words may be missing. If at all possible, take a break before re-reading and checking your writing, as you are more likely to notice problems when you read it fresh.
Even if you know spelling and grammar rules, you should still double-check your work or, even better, have it proof-read by somebody else. Our brains work faster than our fingers can type and accidental typographical errors (typos) inevitably creep in.
Improving Your Writing Skills
The good news is that writing is a skill which can be learned like any other. One trick for checking and improving your work is to read it aloud. Reading text forces you to slow down and you may pick up problems with the flow that your eye would otherwise skip over.
Another way to improve your writing skills is to read - as you read you pick up new vocabulary and engage with different writing styles.
See our pages: Effective Reading and Writing Styles for more information.
There are a number of areas to bear in mind as you write.
As well as grammar, spelling and punctuation, it’s important to remember your audience . Always write with your audience in mind, and it can also help to bear in mind the medium in which you plan to publish. This knowledge will help you to decide whether you need to write in a formal style or a more informal one , and will also help you to decide on a suitable structure .
Finally, have a look at our page on Common Mistakes in Writing and Gender Neutral Language to help you avoid falling into some easy traps.
There is a time and a place for clichés. They exist because they explain exactly what we want to say in easy-to-understand terms. But some people find them very annoying, and you need to use them with care. See our page on What is a Cliché? for more information.
Writing under Specific Circumstances
There are many times in your life when you will be asked to write something very specific. Whether this is to take notes of a conversation, write the minutes of a formal meeting, or prepare a report, all these types of writing require specific skills, and usually a particular style.
Writing at Home
Many people would say that the art of letter-writing is dying out. However, there are still many times when you need to put pen (or word processor) to paper. See our page on How to Write a Letter for more.
Writing in the Workplace
Being able to write well is a skill which will get you a long way in the workplace, partly because it is fairly rare in many places.
One skill that many people lack, especially in management and other professional environments is the ability to write in plain English. That is avoiding unnecessary jargon, industry specific buzzwords and clichés and keeping sentences short and concise. See our page Writing in Plain English for more.
Taking the time to polish your writing skills is likely to pay off in the longer term, and learning how to write specific types of documents will also be useful.
See our pages on How to write a report , a business case , an executive summary and a press release for some specific examples that may also have wider applications. For example, being able to prepare a strong summary is a skill that is extremely useful for briefing senior managers.
You may also find our pages on note taking for reading , note taking for verbal exchanges and taking minutes: the role of the secretary useful if your job or a voluntary role includes recording formal meetings.
Writing Job Applications
At one time or another, most of us need to write a job application.
Nowadays, job applications usually require a CV or résumé , together with a really strong covering letter . A good LinkedIn profile will also help your application to stand out from the rest, as will managing your online presence effectively.
Writing for Study
Apart from the workplace, you are most likely to need writing skills as part of a course of study, whether at college or university.
You may, for example, need to write essays, a report, a research proposal or even a dissertation or thesis. These pieces of work are often very long, and need careful structuring and writing.
For more information about all of these, see our Study Skills pages, including specific pages on writing an essay , a research proposal , a literature review , and a dissertation or thesis . Finally, don’t forget to read up on Academic Referencing to ensure that you don’t fall foul of any plagiarism guidance.
Start with: Understanding Grammar