Simple techniques and tools to improve your English language skills and writing

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1 month ago (Last updated: 3 weeks ago)

Polishing your English skills can be a pain, especially if English is not your native language, you didn't study it in the school or you know little about it.

Now, the problem is that everything and everybody uses the English language, so what can you do about it?

How can you learn English and improve your online writing skills for free? Paying for education is a sort of a standard, but a resourceful individual can go expense FREE with a bit of an effort.

Besides learning, you also should acquire the right set of tools to track your time better, organize your writing space, increase productivity, take care of basic uncomfortable mistakes for you, allow you to work anywhere, improve your writing and speaking skills as much as possible, and even secure your writing online/offline job.

There are so many applications that you can use. Which one is the best, simple and not time-consuming? This is a pretty big task, so your application and gadget toolbox should be something special. The simple answer is the one that works for you individually.

Plan your learning process

For actual studying the language, I have a few simple suggestions.

The easiest way to learn English is through niche learning. You will learn much faster if you pick a topic that you love. When you do, find a dedicated dictionary or an online resource to help you with the things you already know about or like doing as a hobby.

You don't need to upgrade your knowledge over the night, but you should plan your learning in terms of time, tools and usability. After all, you will use your new skill somewhere.

Listen and read

Try to use English wherever and whenever you can and this can be very easy because of the internet.

You can achieve that through the movies, music, short videos, numerous social medial, reading specific magazines - anything that makes it easier, more fun and bottom line, useful to you for some purpose.

So, if you have a phone, even the simple one, you are good to go. The easiest way to learn is to listen to other people talking and read their texts, so use whatever video or sound app you can get your hands on, and which you can comfortably use, listen and observe.

Text to Speech

My next suggestion is to find some sort of an application with text to speech capability. This app will help you compare your spoken skills with the correct English pronunciation.

For that purpose, a simple dictionary and translator can do. This is only useful for single words or simple terms.

But, for better results, I suggest finding an app that can create a near-life illusion of natural human voice.

With those applications, you can compare the audio recording of yourself and the one from the application, and improve the pronunciation where it is needed.

You can use NaturalReaders, TTSReader or any similar. The interface on those apps is very simple, you paste text in the field and press command for a program to read it to you.

I believe there is an option to download a recording so, in case of harder content, you can download, listen and exercise when you want.

Test what you learn with FREE alternatives

The third suggestion is to install some application where you can even more improve your skills, that have various tests and where you can chat and practice communication.

For example, the Memrise and Duolingo are both great for testing and learning. They are both FREE.

They both have a lot of free courses, free levels, and a community of users for English skills improvement. Other languages are also available on both applications and they are both available on mobile and as a website.

Use live chat and chatbots to practice communication

Communication in text, short chats are also very convenient to learn more while having fun.

If you are not comfortable talking in a foreign language with an actual human being, you may try AI assistant or some sort of entertaining chatbot.

Replica, Cleverbot, ChatBolo, and similar chatterbots are just perfect for this purpose.

Prevail technical difficulties with cheap solutions

Technical difficulties might obstruct your progress. If you are unable to acquire a PC, notebook or laptop, or your daily activities simply don't go hand in hand with your writing and learning plan, the cheapest solution is to use your smartphone in a combination with a cheap Bluetooth keyboard.

Bluetooth keyboards are small, portable and cost almost nothing.

Use smart tools for writing and spare money

You don't need any expensive technology to achieve good results. If you are an old fashion and prefer paper and pencil for your writing escapades and exercises, you should know that you will start piling papers and notebooks so to avoid all that unnecessary trash use one small notebook for very important things that you need, and either acquire a writing whiteboard for scribbles and planning and/or erasable notebook.

Whiteboards are convenient and a part of basic school supplies and erasable notebooks will substitute mountain of notebooks and paper and can be acquired for a few dollars in any online shop.

Find reliable online storage for your writing content

Find online storage for your texts because your PC or hard drive can give up on you and you will lose all of your work. You can find various storage online to keep your texts, there are numerous cloud options and alternatives. The best option is to find reliable permanent storage for your texts with automatic save capability and do not rely on browser tools or solely on your device.

I keep my texts on numerous online storage apps and the Keybase, but whatever works for you is good. You can use Google Drive, WPS Office, Evernote, Simplenote, Turtl, Dropbox...

Use comfortable distraction-free writing tools

Find a comfortable, eye-pleasing and distraction-free writing tool with some basic functionalities like the character count, texts list and word count. More than a few functionalities is not necessary.

If you find it difficult to keep a writing app on a limited mobile device you can always use your default messenger for the same purpose. You can use any of these apps - Telegram, Keybase, Discord, Signal, Viber ... etc, for safekeeping files or writing texts as well.

You can use any application that you like. There are numerous writing apps already online just for that purpose, I already mentioned a few that you can also use as online storage for texts.

Acquire gadgets that strike your personal knack for creativity

If you are a gadget person who doesn't need to network while being creative, and you prefer something special, you might want to check some writing gadgets, like this one.

If you are a die-hard vintage fan, and you strive to become an aspiring fiction writer, novelist or you cultivate an image of the author with an old typewriter, there is no reason not to acquire one if it works for you.

For me, this sort of tool would be acceptable only for a short period, like a vacation, but I prefer the laptop.

I don't require any special gadgets and I use the TypWrittr for writing. It is a paid online app with numerous custom themes, settings that can be modified and online backup for text. I like fiction and interesting graphics, so this one is my favorite.

If you want the same thing for FREE and on your computer ( Linux, Mac, Windows) you can install the FocusWriter from the Software shop, but you will need to make your themes in Settings.

Find free smart apps to improve grammar and writing

For writing with good results, I can suggest a few useful websites and apps that can assist you with grammar and style.

Try using some sort of an app to find and fix your errors, typing mistakes and grammar.

Write at least 800 characters or 150-word long text and check it with the Grammarly. The app will detect your errors and suggest improvements automatically.

If you want a simple and easily readable text, you can use Hemingwayapp and balance your text between 8th to 11th grade.

If you want even more improvements you can paste your work in Paperrater. Set education level to 9th grade and type of paper to the blog/article. Click Get the report and then fix mistakes.

I hope that this collection of techniques, ideas and tools will help you both with learning English and your writing career.

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