I have already written about different ways to practise writing in English, so this time I would like to share online resources that can help you to improve your writing skills even further.
Some of the following provide you with error correction services, others offer advice on how to compose well-structured essays. The more you practise, the better you will get!
This is a great site if you want to double-check what you have written, it also efficiently summarises your most common mistakes. Other than being an effective grammar and spell-checking tool, it also examines written work for plagiarism.
On top of that, it helps to broaden your vocabulary range – there are different suggestions for different types of scripts. You can check almost any type of writing: academic, job applications, resumes, medical or technical reports and emails. Grammarly isn’t free, but from time to time they offer special discounts for users.
Whether you are writing about a complicated topic or something really simple, it is vital to pay attention to the factor of readability. Try searching the Internet for an article that interests you, when you eventually find a good quality one, it will be evident, to someone with reasonably good reading skills, that it is easy to follow and makes you want to continue reading. If it is of poor quality, it may come across as an uninteresting read which fails to grasp the reader’s attention.
Using bulky phrases and run-on sentences can make your writing look unprofessional and may prevent readers from wanting to read it all! Readability Score is a great tool that will help to make your writing style clearer.
This tool has been designed specifically for students who need to improve their writing skills and English grammar.
If you think that practising grammar isn’t fun, NoRedInk will prove you wrong! Also, the tutorials are easy to follow, and they will show you how to correct any mistakes in the content you produce.
Would you like to know more about the difference between formal and informal emails? Do you think your emails are too ‘wordy’ or not effective enough? Do you need help to improve your writing standard? If so, then this is the site for you. Apart from the etiquettes of email writing, you will find a practical guide about maintaining, handling and managing emails.
This tool is virtually a talking dictionary that pronounces all the words for you. You can search for a word and click on it to hear how it is pronounced correctly.
How will that help you become a more proficient writer? Well, it is important to remember that all the key skills (reading, writing, speaking and listening) are interlinked. If you can read the word, you know how to spell it, which means you’ll be able to use it in writing or conversation, and you’ll recognise it when you hear someone else say it!
This is a useful tool for taking notes on the go. If you are listening to a speech and cannot write fast enough to record everything that is being said, then just press record on the Dragon Dictation app; you could also use this to record your own thoughts or ideas. Maybe you want to write something, but don’t have any paper or a pen to hand? Don’t risk forgetting it later: speak, record, use when needed.
The could be useful in many ways. For example, you’ll be able to recap on previous conversations for note-taking purposes or if you record a conversation with a native speaker, you can play it back to imitate the pronunciation!
If you are in an English speaking country and hear natives use slang words that you don’t understand, type them into the Online Slang Dictionary and you’ll know exactly what they’re trying to say. Colloquial language and slang are common in everyday speech between most native speakers, so it may be beneficial to learn what they mean and how to use them, so you can utilise them in conversation yourself!
Caution: be careful how you use slang words, as they may not always be appropriate. Ensure that you understand their meaning and usage, also whether they are suitable in formal situations or not. Of course, when working on an academic paper, it is best to avoid such language; this should be used for informal conversations only.
The Online Slang Dictionary is a great repository of slang definitions that was founded in 1996. You probably won’t need more than few short visits to the website to familiarise yourself with some of the most popular uses of informal speech, jargon, neologisms, idioms, slang words and figurative speech.
8. Grammar Girl
When you start exploring this website, you will realise that ‘grammarians’ (otherwise known as ‘the grammar police’ – referring to people who annoyingly correct other’s grammar mistakes all the time) are not that bad after all. Even those who are fluent in English can find Grammar Girl helpful, as this language has many tricky rules, even for native speakers of English.
If you have any doubts about a phrase, tense or anything else associated with grammar, you will most likely find your answers on this website.
9. ESOL Courses
This website provides a great variety of exercises, such as spelling, gap filling and listening. After a short explanation with photos and videos, you can start your writing practice promptly, and as the page is interactive, it will check your answers as soon as you finish the exercise.
If you have something important to write and want to write it well, WhiteRoom’s full screen will help to keep you focused and inspire you to type away with a free mind on a blank canvas.
Please keep in mind that this is specifically a writing tool; it is not designed for pieces that require graphs and charts but could be considered perfect for producing clean texts. WriteRoom helps writers to write quality texts in short spaces of time.
The first step towards improved writing, is reading pieces of content and recognising the difference between quality content and poorly written work. At Newsela.com, you will find great daily news stories that are up-to-date, well-written and easy to understand. Reading these articles will only take up a small amount of your time but will have a huge impact on your style of expression.
This website focuses on collecting and sharing tasks and providing explanations for queries, it is aimed at anyone who is struggling with writing. For those who are learning English as a second language, there is a section that targets the common grammatical problems that learners have. Alternatively, if you are at a higher level and would like to focus on essay-writing, you can seek guidance and advice here.
The key to improving your English writing skills is practice. It doesn’t matter how many grammar rules you memorise; you won’t get anywhere if you don’t practice what you learn every single day. And this is the app that will help you do that!
Day! – The Best Story of Mine inspires you to practise your writing skills every day, it also saves important notes or special memories, so that you can revisit them later. The ability to personalise the titles and background adds an element of fun to your writing practice and should inspire you to write an entry on a regular basis.
14. Learning Oasis
On this website, you can practice the use of English through writing, reading and vocabulary-related activities. This is a personalised learning platform that helps to improve one’s writing skills through practical exercises.
Some activities may be quite challenging for beginners, but if you persist, over time you will most certainly notice improvements in your English!
A thesaurus is a vital entry to any list of tools for effective writing. This website would probably be the best place to start improving your grasp of English language and expanding your vocabulary base.
Remember: simplicity always comes first if you want to attract a reader. Using Thesaurus.com is highly recommended if you want to find better or more varied ways of expressing yourself. Although, you should be cautious – synonyms may have similar meanings but they cannot always be used in every situation. Check the meaning of the word to ensure that it means exactly what you want to say, otherwise it may affect your reader’s understanding of the text, as well as the quality of your work.
This site has the unique function of checking for word repetitions in your written assignment. Copy the work that you have already written onto this webpage and it will check the document for overused words, so you can improve the quality of your work by using synonyms.
17. iA Writer
If you keep getting distracted by new emails popping up while writing, you might find that you start making mistakes or lose your train of thought. To stop that from happening, it may help if you have the right tool to keep your mind focused on what you are writing.
iA Writer is a favourite of many contemporary writers. The Focus Mode is the ultimate tool for effective writing – it enables you to work on one sentence at a time, giving every word in the text your undivided attention. This software can also synchronise the documents on your devices via Dropbox and iCloud, so you will have your work with you at all times.
I would recommend this site for anyone who is studying alone, as well as for those who wish to broaden their knowledge through online video classes. The teachers cover numerous topics related to language learning, including writing skills. Sub-topics include: letter writing, grammar, punctuation, sequencing and essay patterns. With so much to choose from, anyone should be able to find something that will help them. The classes are interesting, entertaining and insightful. Remember to take notes of the useful tips and practice them as much as you can!
Work smarter with the help of the best tools for writers!
If you want to improve your English proficiency, you’ll need to put in a lot of effort and use your time effectively. Choose suitable tools that work best for you; apps that will help you improve your skills in the areas that you are weakest in, whether it is writing, grammar, spelling, vocabulary or pronunciation.
With so many great websites and apps out there, it would be a shame to not make use of them and maximise your progress. If you feel that your writing is not good enough to attempt some of the exercises, or if you lack inspiration or confidence to write, ask your teacher for writing tasks that are tailored specifically for you.
The 18 tools listed above are a great addition to your daily routine and should help you improve your writing skills. You don’t have to use them all, but explore and try out at least a few different ones to see which suits you best.
Finally, don’t forget about social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, as they provide unlimited opportunities for practising writing, not just in writing comments and replying to others, but also taking part in exercises or quizzes that are posted in learners groups such as MyEnglishTeacher.eu.
What is your main issue with writing in English? How do you try to improve it? Are there any other websites that you like to use? Let us know!
Special thanks to Robert who helped with shortlisting the above websites and apps. Robert Morris is passionate educator, EdTech Writer and Freelance Essay Writer at custom writing service NinjaEssays. He loves literature and travelling. Follow Robert on Google+.