Writing is far more challenging than speaking. Observe and you’ll know. Many more can speak well than who can write well. Even proficient writers face blank-screen syndrome (struggle to get started). Nothing of that sort happens in speaking.
All of us read something or the other every day. Can we make use of a small part of that reading to improve our English language skills – mainly written English, but to some extent spoken English as well – at a much faster rate than we currently are?
Yes, we can. (The similarity of this sentence to Mr. Obama’s 2008 election slogan is purely coincidental.)
Through reading slowly and attentively, crawling in other words. If you can make crawling a regular habit, you’ll improve your English language skills at a much faster clip than your peers.
There are four kinds of skills in any language – reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Reading and listening are passive skills in which you absorb the input (text or voice) passively. Writing and speaking, on the other hand, are active skills in which you produce the output, and therefore are more challenging to master.
Little wonder, most people are looking to learn speaking and writing when they express desire to improve their English. In this post, I’ll cover how to improve speaking and writing for people at two different levels:
No one has ever escaped death… and also email.
Even though emails have become such an integral part of our lives, many of us don’t understand the finer points of writing emails. Remember, you’re relying on emails to accomplish some seriously important tasks such as landing a job, accomplishing critical tasks at your workplace, getting approvals, and so on. And small slipups can cost you dear without you ever knowing that it was the email that resulted in self-inflicted disaster (people rarely tell you back that your email was awful on some count), and more often than not you don’t get a second chance.
Some of you hunt for formats for different types of emails (leave, job etc.) on the internet, but a format can leave your email overly generalized and ineffectual like smiley stock images. Such emails won’t stand out. And if they don’t… you know the result.
Instead, learn fundamentals of writing emails, which you can use to write any type of email.
Reading improves English.
It particularly improves your written English, but it also improves your spoken English indirectly through better vocabulary, being better informed on range of topics, and learning how to build your arguments. You can make your reading work even further for your spoken English by reading out loud.
Before we get into the thick of this blog post, I’ll briefly narrate few steps you can take to make reading a habit:
‘What are the best books on grammar, punctuation, writing, speaking, pronunciation, and vocabulary I can refer to improve my English?’
This is a common question from people who’re working on their English.
You need books to learn the basic rules of some aspects of English such as grammar, but, by and large, you don’t need books to learn other aspects such as pronunciation.
Here are few books (or no books where they aren’t required) you can refer to improve your English: