Becoming a Better English Writer

In the past few posts, we have covered a lot about English skills and how important it is to be able to speak, write and listen well. However, we would once again emphasise on the importance of becoming a better English writer.


Writing, perhaps, is the hardest skill to develop in learning a new language. In meeting face-to-face with other people, even when our English is below the expected standard of Professional Business Communication, we can at times still get by with some level of confidence, jokes and body language. In writing, it’s a whole different case.

Let’s say you are looking for a job. You will need to revamp your resume and cover letter, but they somewhat contain few grammatical and sentence structure errors. Now consider an HR manager who needs to read through 100 of these applications. Which CV do you think this manager will be interested in – the ones with no error or the ones with error?

Consider another situation. Say you are working for an international company, or even a local company who uses resources from other countries. You will need to exchange emails with colleagues who do not speak your language. You may also need to send reports to your managers or directors in English. When it’s time for a promotion, who do you think will advance in his or her career – the one with good writing skills or the one with poor writing skills?

The thing is, as the world becomes more and more digitised, the use of emails and reports trumps the need for face-to-face meetings or phone calls. Therefore, if something is written poorly, the proposal may be deemed as unprofessional, which may cost someone a potential client or even his or her job. One person may read hundreds of application letters every day. Others read hundreds of emails. Imagine the amount of information being lost in translation and miscommunications caused due to the use of poor English!

And yes, it’s harder to advance in our position when our English is not good enough.

But don’t lose heart just yet – the good news is, writing in English is a skill you can develop. The more you practise (not just by writing a lot, but pay more attention in reviewing, editing and making an effort to write better), the more skilled you will be.

For the next few posts, we will talk about how to write better business emails and reports. It’s time to take charge on your English learning!

Our training division, the Institute of Management, provides practical English language courses to help you improve your skills. Check out our website for further information.