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Michael, Librarian
Category: General
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Experience:  20+ years as information professional
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Hello, I am looking for the best idea to improve my writing

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I am looking for the best idea to improve my writing skill. English is not my native language. I arrived in Canada from China when I was 28 in 1990. My college education was completed mostly in China. I am able to read and communicate in English. By the way, my major is math/engineering where the English requirement is not as high as other professionals like law etc. You probably can tell from my question writing here, my English
may not be as good as that of an elementary school student. In addition, I am not that kind of person who likes to read a lot of novels (my wife does, so her English writing is much much better even if she has the similar eductional background as I do). Instead, I read news and short commentary on the internet. But I am not sure that helps me on my writing skill. Even if I can fully understand those reports etc, I can not write at that level on my own. I try to look for a kind of shortcut way to bring my writing skill to another level. Sometimes, I am not quite clear which area I need to pay special attention to.

Any advice is greatly appreciated. In my opinion, I probably am not able to use the most appropriate wording. People probably can understand me but just not feel the more appropriate way to describe things. Once I write down two sentences, people immediately can tell I am not educated through English school system.
Hello, Thank you for using this service. I wish to introduce myself. I am a Research Librarian with 20+ years of experience.

I must first let you know that your writing is demonstrated here very well as I am sure myself and a number of people could understand what you are trying to say in your question. It just seems that you would like to fine tune your writing skills which many of us who speak the English language would also wish to achieve.

As a public librarian, there are many easy to read books that can help in working on writing skills as well as vocabulary. I would first recommend checking with your local public library and see what they may have in their collection.

You can search their catalog by using this link:

The process of reading and understanding what is being said is something that even college students often have to work at. Even though you do not like to read novels, continue with reading stories online and also in your local newspaper. Look at sentences you encounter for the first time so you can look them up in your dictionary or grammar reference later. Write down these words so that you can review them for later in your writings.

I have also gone ahead and researched some additional tips that I hope can be helpful to you.

1. The process of writing takes time and you need to continue to work with it over your lifetime. Continue to draft, edit and rewrite your work. Use grammar books to master both spelling and your voice in another language such as English.

2. Try writing either a blog or write on personal message boards on subjects you are interested in. A forum among others in a chat conversation will often help in your communication skills. This can work also in sending emails and/or written letters.

3. Keep a dictionary handy with you as I know of many people who visit my local public library often come over to my desk to look up a word.

4. There are some wonderful online services that can help you in your writing. Things such as the daily word of the day to sample tests you can take to improve your writing. Try looking at sites such as:

One last thing I can recommend as I often get library customers who come to my desk asking the questions you have. Try looking at adult school classes in your area that offer writing courses. Start at the beginning course and work your way to advanced classes. Over time you will see improvement in your writing I am sure!
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