I remember a time when I had no idea how to write in English. I was already speaking English, but I felt writing was hard. Now that I am an English teacher, I can understand how I felt that way. Part of it was the attitude. And part of it was a difference in cultural use of language. In this blog, I want to share ideas on how ESL students can get higher writing score.
Whether you are writing an essay for TOEFL or a paper for class, you can follow the same guideline.
Always support your statements
Every time you make a general statement that you want your reader to believe, you need to give proof. And these proofs do not always have to be statistics. They can be as simple as your observation, or telling a story to show why your conclusion makes sense. Basically, it’s giving a reason for your readers to consider why your ideas are valid.
Different cultures may have different writing styles
I remember grading papers of many international students when I was teaching college writing. Quite a few of the papers did not have supporting details. I think that’s more of a difference in writing approach. So if you happen to be someone who got good grades growing up in your writing class, and you were writing general ideas without supporting details, that’s probably a cultural difference.
It can be easier to write in English
But not to worry. You can learn a new habit when you are writing for American readers. Actually, it can be easier because unlike some other languages, many American write the way they speak. You can’t do that in some languages. It’s like a separate language. But for American readers, you can write less formally. It’s an extension of the culture.
So you can relax a bit and write as if you were talking to a friend. And give evidence for every statement you want your reader to believe. Usually, in an essay, you give 3 supporting details. Again, a story, statistics (if applicable,) an outcome, can all be used as evidence.
But of course, if you are writing a formal research paper, you would write differently.
Try these 2 tips and see if you start getting higher score in your writing. Give evidence for what you want the reader to believe. And write as if you were speaking.
The article on Writing Tips for ESL Learners goes into depth on the topic.
I hope you find these ideas helpful. If so, you might also like this blog on How to learn tenses in English grammar.
Estrella Chan coaches immigrants and international professionals in English fluency, interview skills, and public speaking. To schedule a session with her, please email firstname.lastname@example.org