how to write attractive posts even if English is your second language.
Is writing difficult?
Is writing even more difficult if English is your second language?
I know many online business owners/bloggers who write in English are not writing in their native tongue, which makes it even more challenging for them.
To add to that, regardless of languages, writing is an art, and while it may be easier to some, writing in a foreign language can be quite a task for some.
I remember that day, it was about 12 years ago, my mother had scratched few words for a card she was going to send back to France to a friend of hers, and she asked me to read what she had written to see what I thought about it.
Once I read it, I said to my mother “do you want me to rewrite it, so while it will still say the same thing, I could sound much better?”
Of course, she said yes.
While my mother was this encyclopedia of knowledge and grammar rules of the French language, I was the creative writer of the family. So I had her read my stuff for accuracy, and she had me read hers to add more creativity to it.
That’s how my School papers rocked. They had my creativity and my mother’s correctness. And since I was convinced that my mother’s grammar knowledge even beat that of the teacher, I would purposely leave out some small errors so it would look more natural, and not so perfect.
Yep, my mom and I together were that good.
The ideal would have been to have both qualities, right?
But let’s say, you’re on your own and you have to do your best at both writing and editing, and you have to do it in English. How can you improve your skills, so you both sound entertaining enough and accurate?
In this post I’m going to be speaking especially to smaller business owners who need to write blog posts for their content marketing campaigns, but don’t have much writing practice or don’t fully master the English language yet.
So here are few tips for you…
Pay Attention to what you Read
The best way to learn something, is by paying attention to those who already master what you want to learn and become better at.
When I read articles with errors or long running sentences that lose me in the process, I always wonder if the writer could have avoided that type of mistake by simply paying more attention to other writers, and learn from them.
If you read other blog posts without ever paying attentions to the way phrases are put together, you may never learn, and you’ll keep making the same unnecessary mistakes without much improvement to your writing.
Now, if you are not interested or don’t have the time to improve your writing, then you can always hire me to write for you. But this being said, open your eyes, and pay attention to other bloggers’ writing style, and see what you could learn from them.
- What ingredients make their writing more interesting than yours?
- How do they manage to get to the point faster than you do?
- What makes their posts more enjoyable to read than yours?
Maybe it takes more words to say what you want to say in your language, but English is kind of a straight to point language. The fewer the words the better.
Too many words to say little is one of the mistakes I see most often with non-native of the English language.
Have you thought of that when writing in English?
Develop a Conversational Tone
Have you ever read a lawyers’ brief?
If not, let me tell you, it’s the most boring piece of content you could ever read.
Because it’s just a long letter full of facts and totally empty of emotional or conversational tone.
I am sure that if you write in your own language you have no trouble adopting a conversational tone, but what about when you write in English? Does that get lost in the way?
Well, at times I read blog posts that are not much more attractive than a lawyers’ brief. The difference is that you’re not a lawyer and people don’t HAVE to read your post, so they’ll just pass on your post and on your service or product at the same time.
It’s an absolute MUST that you start developing that conversational tone of yours even when writing in English. You could start by applying the tips I mentioned in this post.
Don’t forget that writing in English as a non-native speaker doesn’t give you the excuse to be boring.
Use Spicy Words
Just as spices are used in cooking to make our taste buds happier, spicy (more interesting) words make our brain happier and more engaged.
That’s why poetry is full of spicy and interesting words.
The Grass so little has to do –
A Sphere of simple Green –
With only Butterflies to brood
And Bees to entertain –
And stir all day to pretty Tunes
The Breezes fetch along –
And hold the Sunshine in its lap
And bow to everything – A poem about grass by Emily Dickinson.
The opposite of a spicy word would be a bland word. Bland words lack sparks, and are boring. They put the brain to sleep.
Spicy words, on the other hand, makes the brain interested, excited, wanting for more.
To learn more about spicy words give a read to this previous post of mine.
Use Little Stories and Metaphors
I’ve been insisting on that a lot lately, on guest posts and my own posts, because the use of storytelling and metaphors can do wonders for your blog posts.
I used it in this post, telling you about how my mother and I used to combine our writing skills to create better written stuff.
When you’re able to use a story, especially a true story, to bring your point home, it really helps the reader not only to understand you better but it enhances his enjoyment of reading and learning.
The good thing about being able to tell a story has nothing to do with the level in which you can write English. If you are able to write in English, and can incorporate a story, then you can use that in your writing.
Have you ever watch a movie for a second, third and ore times?
Have you ever listened to a song you like ONLY one time?
I bet that you can answer yes to the first question and no to the second right?
Why do we do that?
Because it actually has been proven that the brain likes repetition, routine, and rhythm.
In other words, the brain loves what it knows, better than something new.
Now, when I say better, it doesn’t mean that we are not built to explore new things, because we love that too. But what it means is that it’s always very comforting to the brain to see or hear what it already knows.
That’s why they use lots or repletions in songs. They call that the hook, actually, because it hooks the listener and they are more likely to want to hear it again and again.
Well, you can use this proven theory in your writing too.
Easy enough, even if English is not your first language, right?
You can emphasis, repeat, and push the same idea, the same statement over and over, in the same post or in all your posts to create that hook, that branding signature of yours that people will even recognize you by.
Now, when I say over and over, it needs to be done with reason of course. Don’t over do it and kill your purpose all together. Just be balanced.
Look around and you’ll see some bloggers doing just that.
There you have it!
5 easy to remember steps that you can think about next time you write your post.
Especially if you want to write more attractive posts if English is your second language, and you need to improve your writing skills.
Let me know what you think in your comment below!
21 thoughts on “How to Write Attractive Posts Even if English is Your Second Language”
My mother used to always tell me that the more I would pay attention to what I’m reading, the better my writing skills will be. Our mom’s sure had a good effect on us didn’t they? But it is so true.
Whenever I come up with sicey words, I find that I get a better reaction and a quicker one too. I try to think about that, especially in the title of my blog posts. It does work like a charm.
Injecting little stories and metaphors sure gets the reader’s attention. Just like you did here on this post. You lead in talking about your mother and told a little story that pulled me in to read the rest of the post.
People love stories and also find that metaphors are a lot of fun. It’s what we all need to do in order to capture the interest of the reader.
Thanks again, for another great lesson.
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Yes, I tell ya, those spicy words work. You used one on your post title today, and that’s the way to go.
Yes, the more we read, the more we can improve our writing. At times I see those non-English native blog posts and I’m feeling that either they don’t read or they don’t pay enough attention when they do. I’m an non-native English speaker too, and yet I get writing jobs where they require “English natives” LOL, so that doesn’t stop me for sure.
Thank for coming by 🙂
Wow. I don’t have any doubt that you’re a very good writer. I read the whole article word to word and enjoyed. This article shared all the things to do as a second language writer. I will agree with you about the point of pay attention to others writer writing style. Please guys believe me it really works. I just surprised that how a good writer can read others mind. You’re one of them who can understand and can read others mind. At last i want to thank Monna Ellithorpe who gave me this link today to read in fb. Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts with us.
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That’s why I wrote this post, because I see a lot of non-English native bloggers out there, and they need help, so here is some 🙂
There are always little clues that tell me who is and who isn’t an English native when I read an article online, but the goal we need to have is that we don’t leave any clue at all.
I’m glad you enjoyed this and hope to see you again.
Man, I only wish my Mom would have been able to help me like that when I was in school. For some reason though, once I got in the workforce I picked it up. I always laugh and look back at that thinking that the pressure was off to learn it I guess. All of a sudden things just became more clear and I excelled as a secretary of all things. I wrote a LOT of professional letters and proofread material from our word processors and marketing presentations.
Your tips are very helpful and I too like the stories and metaphors. I think they add something to the content and of course when their personalities shine through that’s always an added plus in my opinion.
Not sure if I’ve paid attention to what you’re referring to as spicy words but I can see where those could make a big difference. I continue to try and pay more attention to my headlines so this tip will be helpful for me too.
Another great lesson from you Sylviane and I’m sure for those who English is not their first language will find this very helpful indeed.
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I know you did great at your job, and what you’re saying makes sense. Can you believe that I wasn’t even good in English in school? Yet when I started studying it on my own, it all became so much more clear too. I think that some teachers are just no good at teaching. Period. They confuse you more than they teach you. I had many teachers like that.
Anyway, my whole childhood, my best teacher was my mom. She was so smart and knowledgeable. At least in her days teachers were darn good it seems. If she had know about personal development and the law of attraction she could have done incredible things. She was born a generation too early. Well at least in that life time anyway.
Yes, those spicy words work. I love them and always try to use them more.
Thank you for coming Adrienne.
You are right about all that you mentioned 🙂
I am so glad we had English as our first language in school, along with two other languages, so it was quite easy for us that ways. Besides, my parents inculcated the habit of reading books – at least before sleeping, which helped. And we always spoke in English at home too, so all of this make you read and write better.
Of course, the more you read, the better you become, and the more you practice how to write – the better your writing skills become, isn’t it? But there is always scope to improve is how I take it.
Your tips are apt indeed, the best being to write in a conversational tone that people can relate to and understand well. Using spicy words and repetitions helps, though within limits.
Thanks for sharing. Have a nice week ahead 🙂
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Yes, I remember you saying that once. You spoke English at home and in school since you were little, so that was a helper for sure. In my case, I didn’t speak or wrote English at all until I was in my adulthood, and no one in my family has ever spoken English, except for my aunt and cousins that live in Australia and whom I’ve seen twice in my whole life 🙂
As you know there are a lot of bloggers out there who still struggle a bit with writing in English, so I hope this can help them.
Thanks for coming and have a wonderful day!
You did a great job herein; thanks for your enlightenment.
Actually, english is not my mother-tongue. Am learning(still learning) it in school. Its hard to cope in early days of senior primary and secondary school ages. It was a fight with the spirits to apply it; though, am trying harder.
Like I know, no language is complete, more words are emerging daily and as such, am trying harder to learn along with the language owners.
Writing a good content with my second language; english is usually stringent on my early days of blogging.
Am a lover of poetry, improving my vocabulary with reading posts and novels. I love your point about the usage of SPICY WORDS. You got me down with the poem by Emily Dickinson, a poem I read some times ago. I still felt for that wonderful poem. Happy enough, I made it down here to drop a comment without following the poem off….Lols.
This post will live long in the life of newbie and some probloggers who finds it difficult to put down their feelings as it will help to enhance our writing skills. Thanks for this special gift.
Gonna check back for more great contents; Do have a nice day, madam.
Hi Joseph and nice meeting you here.
Yes, it takes work to be fluent in a foreign language, especially writing it. But with time and will it’s totally possible to become very good at it. Many non-native English writers have done it.
Thank you for coming. And yes, please, do come back 🙂
Thank you so much for sharing this article with those of us who are native to the english language!
I really enjoy reading blogs of those whose first language is not English. The very fact that they are putting themselves out there is AWESOME!
I had to take Greek and Hebrew in both undergrad and graduate school. It is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done and I know I appreciated those who spoke those languages taking an interest in me and helping me.
As the world gets smaller, this issue becomes so much more important.
Again, I really appreciate your heart and your perspective!
Have a great week Sylviane.
~ Don Purdum
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Well, thanks for coming by, even though English is your native tongue 🙂
I agree, the fact that some people decide to write in English and put themselves out there regardless of how difficult it is for them is awesome, indeed.
Thanks for coming by and have a wonderful day.
That’s a great post for all of us writers who have English as their second language. English is one of the most beautiful languages and allows us all to express ourselves in ways none other can. Your tips are so useful and can be so beneficial to so many aspiring writers!
Thanks for this beautiful piece of work!
Have a great day!
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Hum, I’m not sure I agree with you here 🙂 English is beautiful, but I wouldn’t say that it more beautiful than French or Italian to name only those two, and it’s not always the one where you can express the most either 🙂 But that’s because I speak other languages fluently that I know that.
But all languages have something and in every language you can express some things you can’t another, and vice-versa. I’ve experience that so many times.
However, I would say that English is a very practical language and easy enough to write compare to the others I know that are more difficult for the most part.
Thank you for coming Nisha.
English is a second language to me and I crave to improve on my writing daily. The point about improving ones English writing by paying attention to what others have written one of my best takeaways from this post.
The more one reads the better he/she becomes with writing.
The use of stories and metaphors in writing readily makes the writing becomes appealing straight off.
The non native English Language writer must always study and apply the how,why, what, where, and when of blog posts crafted by established writers.
I completely agree with all of the points you have shared in this post.
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Great post about a topic I’m very familiar with. English is my second language, Norwegian being my first. I try my best to notice everything I read. I focus on stories, that’s how I write most of my posts and that works great for me. But, I know that I have some errors and that I don’t write as good as if English was my first language.
I haven’t thought about using repetition or spicy words, but both are now part of my list.
It’s nice to see you around these days.
yes, I know that English is not your first language either, plus you don’t even live in an English speaking country, so all the more merit to you. I think that your English is pretty good though, so give yourself a pat on the back 🙂
Thank you for coming.
You’ve done a bang up job with this article, Sylviane
Thanks so much for providing true quality content. We can never have enough quality content and you’ve definitely set the bar high, my friend. 🙂
Thank you Catrina,
Always appreciate you upbeat feedback.
I have read your post .It is the best way to written this post .You are amazing and you have done justice to this post .I really like the way you have start it and till end it is interesting and helpful to read.Thanks for this article .
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Awesome information, huge amount of content to digest here. I think some of this point are actually very fast to implement though. This is my first visit to your post and everything is done perfectly here .so glad to visit your blog and will surely check your blog on regular interval.
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