Written language is as important today as it has ever been. Whether you want to prepare for an exam, to respond to emails at work or it’s just for personal interest, being able to write clearly and concisely in English is a valuable skill to have.

For most language learners, writing is much less stressful than other skills. Unlike speaking, you have time to think about what you want to write and build sentences one at a time. If you make a mistake, no problem, you can cross it out (or hit delete!) and start again.

Yet getting good at writing, putting your ideas into words, isn’t easy. You have to be creative, original – and accurate.

In this post, we’ll introduce you to a handful of digital tools to help you with the whole writing process.

 

1) Get in the writing mood with Noisli

Noisli | 6 tools to take your writing to the next level | Oxford House Barcelona

Before you start writing, it’s important to be in the right frame of mind. Writing requires concentration. To achieve this, some people need absolute silence. Personally, I prefer some background music or relaxing sounds. Noisli is here to help.

Choose from range of natural sounds, like wind, rain, the sea, leaves and fire. Mix them together and create your perfect writing environment. Oh, and remember to switch off your phone!

 

2) Make your writing clearer with Hemingway App

This website and app allows you to write and edit your work as you go. Not only does it keep track of your word count, but it also gives you colour-coded suggests about your text’s ‘readability’.

At the top of the page you’ll see a readability score, which is based on how clear and concise your writing it is. Here are a few things to pay attention to…

  • Use of the active voice instead of the passive voice.
  • Break up long, hard to read sentences.
  • Delete any unnecessary adverbs that weaken the message.

 

Of course, you don’t have to listen to all of the suggestions, but it’s a useful tool to help you consider the clarity of your writing.

 

Find the write collocation with Just The Word

Just-the-word is not an aesthetically pleasing website. But what it lacks in beauty, it makes up for in utility!

Its main feature is the ‘combinations’ search. You can type in a word, click on the combinations button and it will show you a long list of collocations that you can use.

Just The Word | 6 tools to take your writing to the next level | Oxford House Barcelona

On the right you will see horizontal green bars, which indicate the frequency of use. Then, if you click on one of the collocations, you will see a list of examples in context.

 

4) Create a story with Plot Generator

It’s that much easier to learn a new skill when the practice is enjoyable. Most people learn to play a musical instrument or take up a new sport because they derive pleasure from that activity. The same should be the case with your writing.

Writing a story can be a lot of fun, but the difficult part is knowing where to begin. Plot Generator is the perfect solution!

Just pick a genre (e.g. fairytale, mystery, science fiction), fill in the gaps with some details and click ‘write’. This will generate a plot for you to develop, with your own ideas, in your own style.

 

5) Be a helpful writer with Quora

If writing stories is not for you, there are many other ways to practise. Write something practical and helpful by answering one of the thousands of questions on Quora.

This website is dedicated to gaining and sharing knowledge. You can create a profile for free and search for topics that interest you. Then you can engage with the Quora community by asking and answering questions.

So, you can practise you writing, help other people and learn lots of new, fascinating things all at the same time!

 

6) Prepare for your writing exams with Cambridge Write & Improve

The last tool we have for you is a free writing resource from Cambridge Assessment English. Perfect for those studying for Cambridge B2 First, C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency, this website has lots of different writing tasks for you to complete, on a range of topics.

What’s cool is that, once you’ve completed the task, it gives you a score and some feedback. Then, by making the suggested changes, you can improve and keep track of your progress.

Here are some example tasks:

  • A descriptive essay: A character in a film.
  • An email: Going away to university.
  • A story: Secrets in space.

 

Check out this video for more information about Cambridge Write and Improve.

Glossary for Language Learners

 

Find the following words in the article and then write down any new ones you didn’t know.

Dawn (n): the first light in the sky before sunrise or the beginning of a phenomenon.

Handful (n): a quantity that fills the hand or a small amount.

Frame of mind (exp): a particular mood that influences one’s attitude.

Readability (n): the quality of being easy or enjoyable to read.

Aesthetically pleasing (exp): beautiful or ‘easy on the eye’.

Collocation (n): a pair or group of words that are habitually combined.

To take up (pv): to become interested or engaged in a pursuit.

Plot (n): the main events of a story.

Key

n = noun

exp = expression

adj = adjective

pv = phrasal verb

Study English at Oxford House Barcelona

Interested in improving your English writing? Check all the different English courses we can offer you at Oxford House Barcelona, or contact us for more information.

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