This guest post is by Ahmed Adel.
The million dollars’ question: How to write like a native English speaker, even when I am not?
I will share with you some of the best practices I use for writing as a non-native speaker. You will see how to level up your writings as a non-English speaker. I bet you are already doing some of them. If you liked on technique mentioned in this blog post, then my mission is complete. However, I am sure there’s one thing you do not know, and you will find it useful so keep reading.
1. Model a Native Writer
The keyword here is the model not copy. First, find a writer that you like her style, read everything she writes and keeps reading. You should be able to find a pattern, based on that you could develop your own style later in your journey. Remember not to copy, but look for what you like and try to create your version of it.
2. Install Grammarly
Grammarly is a fantastic tool for checking your writings for grammar mistakes and originality. It is smart and gives you tips for better writing too. After checking with Grammarly, recheck again because Grammarly, after all, isn’t human! I am not affiliated with Grammarly so that you know.
There’s no way around it; you must do the work. Personally, I am a grammar geek, so I have no trouble with learning it. I recommend you find a good teacher; I also recommend this YouTube channel: EngVid. The teachers are fun and not machine-like. It has tons of useful videos from grammar to culture and everything in between. If you commit 10-15 minutes daily. You will see significant improvement in your writings as a non-native speaker. It is important to keep practicing because these skills fade away if you do not use them.
4.Install Hemingway Editor
Hemingway is another tool; no, this is not the secret weapon. However, it is the best writing editor ever. When you write, it will warn you that your sentences are hard to read. It will highlight difficult words and show you words count. Super nifty. It will also reveal to you the level of your writing and who will understand.
Note: Hemingway Editor says this article is understandable by four graders.
Read like it is your job, read with a purpose. Your purpose is to look for the words you do not understand. Look for their meanings. No shortcuts. When you Google the term. You will learn something new. So don’t depend on your wits, save it.
The truth is idioms are a big part of what distinguishes natives from non-natives. Commit to learning at least, one expression each day; it will make a difference in the long run. You can infuse your writings with few idioms to make it sound natural, but don’t overdo it of course. The point is to know when to use the jargon for the perfect situation, not using them for their sake.
Right now, you may have some old writings gathering dust somewhere. It is time to revisit them, bring them up and read them and see how you could improve them. This will give you a strong indicator of your improvement. You will not get all the mistakes, but you will be able to see some errors if you take a close look. Instead of “writing every day”,I found revisiting what I already wrote much more useful. Be your personal critic.
8.Don’t use fancy words
You might think that using big words will make you sound knowledgeable. The shocking truth is you should write simple words. I mean, writing as a native speaker is to be easy on the eyes. Don’t use a $10 word when you can use a ¢1 word. Writing is a form of communication, the shorter and clearer the better. This is not the most powerful tool, but I will tell in less than a minute.
Beginners face several challenges in becoming a full-time writer. Here are the basic 3 writing challenges faced by new writers
9.Find your voice
I am sorry, but you may never be able to write like a native English speaker because you are not a native! However, you can get pretty close that you pass most editing tests. Every real writer has a voice. You can read ten articles and be able to tell who is the writer from her style. Keep experimenting until you find your voice. Then you will be able to write like a native English speaker, or even better.
This is the powerful weapon that most people do not know. By that I mean you speak out loud while you are writing, does it sound native? Of course, you will need to have a trained ear. It is easy to record your article after writing it. If you do not record, at least, read it out loud. Because let’s face it. Your writings may sound impressive in your head, or look sexy on the screen. The real test is when you read it out loud. Record. If you did not catch the error while reading out loud, maybe you will find them in the playback. In short, don’t just write like a native but sound like one.
Thank you for reading my blog post. Do you think these tips might work for you? Do you think I am wrong?
Now it is up to you to put those tips to use. I love when someone read and enjoy what I write. Let me know your opinion and did I sound like a native speaker to you?
Ahmed is a small business owner. He writes about writing at his blog; he loves traveling and social media marketing. He is an avid practitioner of Inbound marketing as well.