7 Tips on Writing an Essay In a Foreign Language

by Kelly Young

For some people, learning a new language is an advantage, while for others, it's a necessity. You may get a good opportunity to study or work abroad, or you may just want to communicate with people from other countries. When it comes to learning a new language, you can choose from among dozens of online sources.

You can learn another language yourself and talk to native speakers, practicing your conversational skills. The chances are that you will see some major improvements in your conversational skills pretty quickly. What can be much more difficult to improve, however, is writing.

Writing itself is a more daunting task than speaking. You should be good at spelling and understand the rules of punctuation in another language. Of course, informal conversations on social media allow you to ignore some of the rules and don't require you to use a sophisticated vocabulary. The situation gets much more complicated if you need to write an essay.

Some ESL students receive lower grades on writing assignments simply because English is not their native language. In fact, this is one of the main reasons why ESL students use essay writing services and resources like betterwritingservices.com. Essay writing is an integral part of most international exams, and it can also be required when applying for a job.

When writing an essay, you should know not only the basics of the written language but also how to use the right words, and phrases in each particular situation. Essay writing is a creative task, and it also requires you to follow strict rules. If you want to improve your essay writing skills, you should have a lot of practice.

To write better essays, you should write them often. Improving your writing is a continuous process, and it takes time. However, there are some tips that will help you achieve better results and make the writing process more efficient.

Read more

Although the connection between reading and writing is rather obvious, many people tend to underestimate the importance of reading for improving vocabulary and grammar. We recommend that you turn reading in your target language into a habit and read as much as you can. However, it's important not only to read but also to choose the right content. Given that your goal is to write better essays, the best solution is to focus on educational materials and articles dedicated to your subject.

Besides, we recommend that you take notes while reading. You may discover terms and phrases that you can use in your essays so make sure that you won't forget them. You can also write down idioms that can be very helpful when writing persuasive and narrative essays. Properly used idioms will make you sound like a native speaker and make your writing more diverse.

Brainstorm and research

You may or may not be able to choose a topic for your essay in different situations. If you have an opportunity to choose a topic, you can get more creative freedom, but sometimes, it can be difficult to come up with a relevant topic that would be interesting for both you and your readers. If you have a hard time trying to find a topic, brainstorm. Just write down any ideas that come to your mind so that you can evaluate them later and choose the best one. To make the brainstorming session effective, think in your target language.

You can also brainstorm on the content of your essay, writing down ideas that can be useful. You can even illustrate the connections between different ideas and their relation to the main topic with visual mind maps.

Once you've determined the topic and the key subtopics of your essay, do your research. When writing essays in a foreign language, you may often deal with topics related to another culture so make sure that you understand the whole context and the necessary background of your topic before writing the essay. Note the necessary details about your sources so that you can cite them properly.

Write an outline

You don't want to waste your time trying to figure out what you should write about during the writing process, especially if you don't have much time. Even if your time isn't limited, planning the content of your essay can help you stay focused on style and grammar.

A typical essay consists of an introduction, body, and conclusion. In the introduction, you should provide the necessary background information and present your thesis statement, which will serve as the basis for the whole essay. In the body section, address one key point per paragraph and include transitions between paragraphs to ensure a smooth flow of thoughts. In the conclusion, you should summarize the key points and restate your thesis statement. Make sure not to rewrite it word for word from the introduction.

Keep it simple and short

First of all, the essay format implies writing relatively short texts. You should keep it in mind even when choosing a topic because you must make sure that you will be able to address your topic properly within the required word count. Secondly, given that you're writing in a foreign language, make sure to keep it simple.

Don't use complex phrases and sentences if you can replace them with shorter ones. Your essay should be easy to understand, and you don't need to overcomplicate things to impress your audience.

Study grammar

Studying grammar is the least favorite activity for many people who learn new languages, but you won't be able to write better essays without improving your grammar. When writing, you don't want to spend a lot of time trying to figure out what form of a verb you should use. Besides, different languages have completely different grammar rules.

For instance, when writing in Spanish, if you use the subjunctive form of a verb where you would use it in English, your readers will immediately understand that you're a non-native speaker. Poor grammar can not only show your bad knowledge of the target language but also undermine your credibility and ruin your readers' impression of the entire essay.

Develop your writing style

Good writing is not only about creativity and grammar. If you want your essays to be appreciated by readers, you should write with style. Developing your unique writing style takes time, but the more you read and practice, the better your style will become.

When dealing with a foreign language, it can be especially difficult to understand what style of writing you should choose in each particular situation. Therefore, the best solution is to read essays on relevant topics so that you can learn from others. Don't copy someone else's style but look at what other writers have in common. This way, you'll be able to choose a style appropriate for your type of essay and academic area.

Edit and proofread

Editing and proofreading are as important as the writing process itself. Once you've finished the first draft, let it rest for a while, and then edit it. Check the overall logical structure and make sure that your thoughts are logically consistent.

Make sure that all of your sources are properly cited. Get rid of the unnecessary sentences and break down longer sentences into shorter ones. Make sure that your essay is easy to comprehend and well-focused.

A great solution is to show your essay to a native speaker so that they can tell you what sounds unnatural and suggest improvements. After this, fix grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes. You can use various spell checkers, but keep in mind that there is no software that would detect and fix all types of mistakes. Therefore, you should always read your papers carefully.

Final Thoughts

Learning a foreign language takes some time, so be patient. Write essays as often as you can so that you can get used to the writing process. Read essays about your academic subject and take notes. Stay determined and don't let your mistakes stop you from learning and improving your writing.

It's virtually impossible not to make mistakes when learning a new language. The main thing is not to let mistakes discourage you from learning. Learn from your mistakes. Make a list of your most common mistakes and keep it in front of you when editing and proofreading your essays.

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