字幕表 動画を再生する 英語字幕をプリント Hello. I'm Oli. Welcome to Oxford Online English! In this lesson, you can learn about how to improve your English writing. Learning to write well is often the most difficult skill for English learners. Writing well requires great control of language and extreme attention to detail. Even then, it's not easy, even for native speakers. In this video, you can see some advice that will help you to improve your English writing, whatever level your English is now. First, understand your audience. Before you start writing, you need to answer two questions. Question one: who are you writing for? Are you writing for your friend, your colleague, your teacher, your manager, an examiner, who? Secondly, what are you trying to achieve? Are you trying to give someone information? Are you trying to convince somebody of your point of view? Are you trying to entertain somebody and make them laugh? Are you just trying to pass an exam, or are you trying to achieve several different things? Thinking about your purpose in writing can really help you to organize your ideas. Now these questions: who are you writing for, and what do you want to achieve, they are important. But there's an even more important question: what does your reader want? Remember, when you write, you're normally writing for someone else, unless you're writing a diary or a journal for yourself, in which case you can write however you want. Normally, however, you're writing for another person. Whoever reads your writing will give their time and their attention to read what you've written. Why? Why will someone give their time to read what you've written? Okay, so for example, if you're writing an essay at school or at university for your teacher, your teacher will spend time reading your essay to see if you've understood the topic or not. If you're writing an email or a letter to a friend, your friend will probably want to hear some news about your life and maybe hear some funny stories. If you're writing in an exam, the examiner will be looking for some specific things which you do or don't do in your writing in order to decide your score. Understanding your reader, or your readers, and understanding what they want from your writing is essential. You need to think about this from the beginning to the end of the writing process. So are you ready to start writing yet? Not quite. Next, you need to plan your writing. If you don't plan your writing, there's a good chance you will miss out some important ideas, you won't include them in your writing, or you might include some unnecessary ideas that will confuse your reader and make your purpose unclear. Have you ever written something and got stuck in the middle? You start a paragraph, or you start a sentence, and in the middle you stop and you think, "What am I doing? Where am I going? What do I say next? Uh, help!" Why does this happen? Often it happens because you haven't planned enough. Imagine that you're in a new city and you're trying to find your way somewhere. You don't have a map, you don't have a smartphone, there's nobody you can ask. Of course, you'll get lost. You'll go down streets without knowing where they go. You'll go around in circles. If you do find the place you were looking for, it will just be because you were lucky. Writing without planning is very similar. You'll start sentences or paragraphs without knowing where they're going. You'll waste lots of time writing things, deleting them, rewriting them, deleting them, writing them again. If you do achieve your goal, it will only be because you were lucky. Remember, you're writing for someone else, and you're writing for a reason. That means you have a goal, even if it's a simple goal. You need to have a plan of how you're going to reach that goal. That means you need to think about these questions: what are you going to include? What are you going to leave out? And, how are you going to organize your ideas? If you're writing something simple, you might just think for a minute or two about what to say. If you're writing something longer and more complex like a long essay, you might need to make a written plan. So what points should you include and what points should you leave out? Well, that's a general question. If you're not sure, think about your goal and your reader's needs. Ask yourself, "Does my reader need to know this? Will my reader want to know this? Does including this point, or including this idea, help me to reach my goal?" Thinking about these questions will help you to decide what to include in your writing and what to leave out. What about the third question: how are you going to organize your ideas? Let's look. You need to organize your ideas into clear paragraphs. Organizing your ideas into paragraphs is important for many reasons. It helps your reader understand what your main points are. It helps your reader see where you're going and why, and it helps you to stay focused on your plan and reaching your goal. So what does it mean in practice to organize your ideas into clear paragraphs? Firstly, each paragraph should have one main idea. If you're writing an essay and you have a list of points to include, put one point in each paragraph. Even if you're writing something shorter or simpler, you still need to organize your ideas into paragraphs. Don't try to do too much. Your writing will be much clearer and much easier to read if each paragraph is only trying to do one thing. An extra point: there's no minimum or maximum length for a paragraph. Sometimes when I teach students writing, they try to make paragraphs longer because they say, "Oh, this paragraph is too short. It needs more words, it needs more sentences." No, a paragraph should be as long as it needs to be to make your point. There's no minimum length. Next, you need to decide how many paragraphs you're going to have and what you're going to put in each one. Remember, this is still part of planning. We haven't even written a single word yet. Again, you could do this planning in your head, or you could make some short notes, or you could make a more detailed written plan. It depends how much time you have, what you're trying to write, and how important it is. But the important point is when you start writing, you won't have to think about questions like, "What do I put in this paragraph? How many more paragraphs do I need? How am I going to finish this sentence? You will have thought about all of these things already. This will make it much easier to write whatever you're trying to write. Okay, so now you're ready to start writing. What next? Part four: cut empty words and sentences. There's a simple rule you can use to make your English writing better and clearer: write as little as possible. Let's look at some examples. First, don't use two words if you can use one word. Don't use three words if you can use two words. For example, don't say "very tired," say, "exhausted." "Very" is generally a weak word, and it should be avoided. It doesn't add much to your meaning. The same is true for words like "really" or "absolutely." Use these words as little as possible. They're very rarely necessary. Don't say "as a result" if you can say "consequently." Don't say "on the other hand" if you can say "nevertheless." Use fewer words. Don't say, "This will get better in the future," say, "This will improve in the future." Don't say, "She gave me a lot of help," say, "She helped me a lot," or even, "She helped me greatly," or just cut "greatly" and say, "She helped me," if you can. Use fewer words. Don't say, "Maybe this will solve the problem," say, "This will solve the problem." Words like "maybe" or "perhaps" are generally not necessary. If you're not sure about something, do you really need to include it? If you do want to include something that you're not sure about, use verbs like "might" or "could." Say, "This might solve the problem." Don't say, "We need to find someone who can teach our son," say, "We need to find a teacher for our son." Cut unnecessary words and use as few words as possible. You can also look at sentences. In essays, many people tend to include sentences like, "There are many advantages and disadvantages to this. Of course, there are two sides to this issue. In this essay, I will discuss all the ideas relevant to this point." What do these sentences tell you? Do they give you any useful or relevant information? No, and so they should be cut. Why is this important? Well, using fewer words and fewer sentences will make your writing clearer and easier to read. It will also help you to focus on what you want to say. Try to look at each sentence you write and think, "What does this add to my ideas? What does this give my reader? How does this help me reach my goal in writing this?" If you can't answer these questions, consider cutting it, or try to make it shorter. It's not easy to write in this way. You won't be able to watch this video and go away and write like this. Even in this script, there are probably several places where I could use my own advice! However, you can try thinking about it the next time you write something in English. Over time you can learn the habit of cutting empty words and sentences from your writing. Your writing will be much better and much clearer if you can learn to do this. Next, let's look at some more advice to make your writing clearer and easier to read. Use short simple sentences where possible. Shorter sentences are easier to read and understand. That's not my opinion, that's a fact. There's a lot of research behind it. Longer sentences are harder to read and harder to understand, generally. If you're a non-native speaker of English, writing longer sentences is especially dangerous. There's a higher chance you'll make some grammatical or language errors which will make your sentence difficult to read, or even worse, hard to understand. How long is too long? Well, 10 words is a good target length, 10 to 20 words is okay. Longer than 20 words--this is dangerous. There's a high chance your sentence will become unclear and difficult to read. So how can you do this? Well first, remember what we talked about before. Using fewer words will make your sentences shorter and tighter. Here are some other rules you can use to keep your sentences shorter and clearer. First, don't use the passive voice unless you have a good reason. Using the passive always makes a sentence longer and more complex. Now, sometimes it's fine to use the passive, but not if you don't have a good reason. If you want to use the passive, make sure you know why you're using it, and make sure it's really necessary. Secondly, start your sentence with the subject whenever possible. Thirdly, don't use relative clauses, with who, which, that, where, etc., unless it's really necessary. When you use a conjunction, like "and" or "but," or "or," and so on, think, "Do these two ideas really need to go together?" If they don't, consider breaking your sentence into two shorter pieces. To be clear, long sentences are not automatically bad. Good writers can produce long sentences which are clear, and focused, and elegant. If you're writing about a particularly complex topic, you might need to use longer, more complex sentences to express more complex ideas. The point is you should only use a longer, more complex sentence if it's really necessary. If you can express the same point in a shorter, simpler sentence, you should. Let's review what we've talked about today. First, you need to understand who you're writing for and what they want from your writing. Secondly, before you start writing, you need to have a plan. You need to know what you're going to include, what you're going to leave out, and how you're going to organize your ideas. Thirdly, your ideas should always be organized into clear paragraphs with one main idea per paragraph. Fourth, cut unnecessary words and sentences. And fifth, use shorter, simpler sentences where you can. Follow these points, and I guarantee your writing will get better. I'm not just saying that. I use these points when I write something or edit something, and I see the difference. Even now, I'm still learning this. You're never finished. Follow these points, and you will see a difference. Okay. That's the end of the lesson. Thank you very much for watching. If you want to see more of our free lessons, check out our website, oxfordonlineenglish.com. That's all. Thanks again! I'll see you next time. Bye-bye!