How to Write in English for Beginners: 12 Easy Tips for New Learners
Find a notebook and your favorite pen or pencil, then get comfortable.
We are going to write!
New learners often forget about English writing. They are usually focused on topics like vocabulary and grammar.
When you are beginning to learn English, however, it is really important to write regularly. Writing can help you learn English vocabulary, grammar, spelling and more!
Keep reading for 12 useful tips on how to write in English for beginners, so you can get the most out of your study time.
- 1. Practice writing in English every day
- 2. Find the best time and place to write
- 3. Have a specific place to keep your English writing
- 4. Pick a topic to write about before you start
- 5. Keep a journal in English
- 6. Write more than one draft
- 7. Have a friend edit your English writing
- 8. Use an English dictionary when you study
- 9. Learn synonyms and antonyms in English
- 10. Make English vocabulary flashcards
- 11. Read English books (out loud)
- 12. Translate songs and poems into English
- And One More Thing...
1. Practice writing in English every day
Repetition (doing the same thing over and over again) will really help you learn the skill of writing. Writing in English will be difficult at first, but if you write a little every day, it will start to get easier.
To make sure you never skip a day, use a system to track your progress. This could be writing it on your calendar, or using a site or app, such as Habit Daily Tracker.
You can also make use of techniques such as watching videos to inspire your writing. For example, this video from FluentU’s English YouTube channel has 50 common English verbs you can use later to write sentences:
2. Find the best time and place to write
Everyone has a best time of day to write. Maybe your head is the clearest in the morning. Maybe you’re a “night owl” (someone who likes to stay up late) and you are most creative at midnight. Try writing at different times of the day to find out what time works best for you.
After you know when to write, you will also want to know where to write. Maybe you have trouble writing where there is a lot of noise. In that case, try writing in a quiet place like a library. Maybe you need a little background noise, and so you write best in a busy coffee shop. Experiment and see what works for you.
If you need some background noise to write, you can use resources like Rainy Mood and Calm for relaxing background noise.
3. Have a specific place to keep your English writing
Find a notebook to keep all of your writing in. By keeping it all in one place, you will be able to look back on your writing and see how much progress you’ve made. You will also be able to go through all of your writing at once to see if you keep making the same mistakes.
If you like typing on a computer instead, you might consider using Evernote to keep your writing together. Evernote is a website (and smartphone app) that helps organize your life. You can keep all of your writing in Evernote, and you can also keep track of your writing schedule with the program’s calendar.
Another fun place to keep your writing is on a blog. You can easily start a blog on Blogger or WordPress, and you can either make the blog private (so only you can see it) or public (so others can read and comment).
4. Pick a topic to write about before you start
When you’re ready to start writing, remember to choose a topic. Then, write anything you want about it.
If your topic is “fishing,” for example, it doesn’t matter if you write facts about fishing or a story about when you went fishing. Just write anything at all! Let your mind wander on the topic.
Set a timer for five minutes and write the entire time. Once you get used to this, write for 10 minutes at a time.
The point of this writing exercise isn’t to write a perfect story. The purpose is to get your brain thinking in English, and to see how much you are able to say about your topic.
If you can’t think of a topic, just start free writing. Free writing is when you put your pen on the paper and write everything that comes to your mind. It doesn’t matter if the ideas connect or not.
5. Keep a journal in English
By keeping a personal journal (also called a diary) in English, you will make sure you write every day.
It is also a great way to practice writing multiple tenses. You will write in the past tense about all of the things you did during the day, and you will write in the future tense about the things you are planning to do tomorrow, for example.
When you know that you will write in your journal every day, you will probably start to think in English more often during the day. That’s because as you do things, you might think about how to write about them in English.
6. Write more than one draft
The first draft (copy) that you write is not going to be perfect. Write one draft, and then go back and review it for mistakes.
Remember the notebook you have for all your English writing? When you look for mistakes in your writing, you should make a list of your common mistakes in that notebook. Then, when you edit your first draft, check for those mistakes.
You can also use sites like Hemingway Editor, WebFX’s Readability test, Grammar Check or Reverso to check spelling and grammar—but remember, these programs cannot find all mistakes.
Once you have reviewed your writing, go back and write the entire thing again. When you rewrite it with the correct grammar, spellings and tenses, you will learn the corrections.
7. Have a friend edit your English writing
You most likely will not find all of your own mistakes. After you check your own work, have a friend who is fluent in English edit your writing.
Having someone else look at your work will improve your writing and give you new, creative ways to express ideas in English. You can ask your friend to edit the whole document or just a part that you’re having trouble with.
It’s good to get a second opinion on your writing. If you don’t know anyone who can edit your writing, you can use HiNative to ask native English speakers short questions about your writing or how to say something in English.
If you want a more reliable way to have your writing corrected and are willing to pay for it, Editorr is a service that will edit a piece of writing within minutes.
You can then compare the edited piece to your original one, and learn from it for the next time you write. Editorr has real, qualified editors working for them, so you can feel assured (confident) that the corrections you receive are accurate.
8. Use an English dictionary when you study
When you are studying English and you hear or see a new word, look it up in your dictionary. Say the word a few times and write it down. Say it until it sounds familiar to your ear.
The next time you write, try to write at least one sentence with each new word. When you find words that you really like or that seem important, highlight them in the dictionary (it’s okay—it’s your dictionary).
If you don’t want to keep a physical (real-life) dictionary with you all the time, you can use online dictionaries like Merriam Webster or Dictionary.com. You can also use one of these dictionary apps for your smartphone.
9. Learn synonyms and antonyms in English
Whenever you look up a new vocabulary word in English, try to learn at least one word with the same meaning (this is a synonym), and one that has the opposite meaning (this is an antonym).
For example, take the word “great.” Synonyms include “excellent” and “fantastic,” and some antonyms are “plain,” “ordinary” and “bad.” By learning more than one word for each concept, you will be able to communicate better when you write.
Here is a thesaurus, which is a dictionary full of synonyms and antonyms. On the website, you can type in a word and the thesaurus will give you a list of synonyms in orange, and antonyms in grey. A darker color means that synonym or antonym is more common.
Visual Thesaurus is another great resource you can use. It’s a little different from a regular thesaurus, because it shows you the links between words in a visual format, with lines between related words. This allows you to explore new words in an easy, fun way, while still seeing definitions and examples for context.
10. Make English vocabulary flashcards
When you look up new words, their synonyms and their antonyms, make flashcards for them. On one side of the flashcard, write the word. On the other side, write the meaning, part of speech (noun, verb, adjective, etc.) and a sentence using that word.
Review your flashcards often. You can use a flashcard app to help you create and study them, if you want.
For example, the language learning program FluentU uses videos made by and for English speakers.
FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
After you make flashcards of your new words, remember to try to use those words in your English writing practice, too.
11. Read English books (out loud)
As I said earlier, reading and writing are connected. That means reading more often in English will help you become a better writer.
Start out with simple books. Write down any words that are new to you, and practice saying them. Work your way up to books like “Harry Potter” or “The Hunger Games.” These books are written for young adults and older adults, but the language is still quite simple.
To really improve your English skills, read the books out loud. Instead of only saying new words, you can practice your pronunciation and speaking abilities by reading everything. Both reading quietly and reading out loud will help your writing skills.
You can get a library card to access thousands of free books from your local library. You can also join websites like Audible and listen to any book you’d like. Please note that Audible is free for the first 30 days, and then you will need to pay a fee.
12. Translate songs and poems into English
Choose your favorite song in your native language, and translate the lyrics into English. Then, try singing it in English. You can even try to rewrite some of the lines in English to make them rhyme.
You can do the same thing with poems you love. The words used in songs and poems will likely be very different from the words you see every day in books, newspapers and even your journal.
By practicing songs, you’ll be able to practice writing, and you will also learn new ways to talk about concepts like love, faith, fear, rejection (being told “no”) and other topics usually addressed in music.
Lyrics Translate is a fun website that lets you choose an artist or song title and get translated lyrics form a huge selection of languages. You can also select the language and the website will give you a list of translated songs in that language.
The most important part of all these tips is to write in English regularly.
Learning to write in English will take time. You need to build your vocabulary, learn proper grammar and learn how to spell correctly.
However, the more often you practice your skills, the easier it will become. Have fun writing!
And One More Thing...
If you like learning English through movies and online media, you should also check out FluentU. FluentU lets you learn English from popular talk shows, catchy music videos and funny commercials, as you can see here:
The FluentU app and website makes it really easy to watch English videos. There are captions that are interactive. That means you can tap on any word to see an image, definition, and useful examples.
For example, when you tap on the word "searching," you see this:
Learn all the vocabulary in any video with quizzes. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning.
The best part? FluentU remembers the vocabulary that you’re learning. It gives you extra practice with difficult words—and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. You have a truly personalized experience.
Start using FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or from the Google Play store.