How To Improve Your English Writing

You have probably heard this before, but one of the best ways to improve your English writing is to read. If you can write well in your language, you have no doubt read extensively. If you can’t write well in your language, guess what? You don’t read enough! This is especially true when learning a second language.

You know a lot of expressive vocabulary in your first language, much more than a ten-year-old. 2013/09/21/mother-daughter

You know a lot of expressive vocabulary in English, much more than a ten-year-old native English speaker.

However, there is an important difference. A ten-year-old English speaker will connect vocabulary more naturally. This is called collocation. Collocation is  two or more words that go together: to strongly support, to rain heavily, to come up with, thanks to. According to, collocation means:  1. a grouping together of things in a certain order, as of the words in a sentence 

Collocation is the most notable difference between advanced level English students and native speakers. For example, try this little test. Do you know the correct collocation for each of the following?

1. to resort    a) for    b) to    c) with    d) by

2. to participate    a) on    b) with    c) in    d) to

3. in search    a) of    b) for    c) with    d) at

4. a lack    a) for    b) under    c) on    d) of

5. to have a degree    a) in    b) with    c) of    d) at  

If you want to write and speak English at an advanced level; if you need to pass a TOEIC, IELTS, or CAMBRIDGE exam; you must know hundreds of collocations. Many of them involve prepositions. You need to think of them as vocabulary chunks. When you learn the word ‘listen’, learn ‘listen to’. When you learn ‘instead’, learn ‘instead of’. The most effective and enjoyable way to remember collocations is to read, read, read. Get into the habit of reading for pleasure and you will learn collocations naturally. I don’t recommend reading books you don’t like. That’s too hard and I don’t do it myself. There are plenty of wonderful, well-written books out there. You can improve your English while enjoying yourself.

I am delighted to inform you that Vanda Vadas has launched her book THE PIRATE LORD on Kindle. (It’s only AUD$4.99, and it’s free to join online Kindle.) VANDA VADAS - NOVELI wrote a post on this impressive author a few months ago, and many of you have enjoyed her short stories.

Short stories are an ideal way to start reading in English. However, to really get used to how collocations are used, it’s necessary to immerse yourself in the language, and what better way than reading a fantastic page-turner? THE PIRATE LORD is full of collocations that you should know if you wish to excel at English. These collocations are repeated throughout the book.

So, what’s THE PIRATE LORD about? Perhaps it’s best to quote directly from the author:

‘What is the essence of my brand of romance?

It’s about TRUST, RESPECT and LOVE. An earnest endeavour to deliver a memorable love story with characters who will remain in your heart long after you’ve read the last word.’

If you enjoy stories about pirates, you’ll love THE PIRATE LORD. Have you been following the adventures of Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies?

Don’t we all want some adventure and romance in our lives? Don’t we need it to help us cope with the demands of everyday life? Studying can become onerous if we don’t find ways to lighten the load and enjoy it. Get a copy of THE PIRATE LORD for your girlfriend/boyfriend and relish it together. Your friends and teachers will notice a remarkable improvement in your English!

Answers to the above test:      1. to resort to     2. to participate in           3. in search of          4. a lack of          5. to have a degree in 

This entry was posted in Advanced (Level 6+), Cambridge, IELTS, Reading, Writing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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