Being an ESL (English as a Second Language) writer who writes for American or English audiences can be tough.
I’ve been lucky enough to have had clients who welcomed diversity in their writing team. I owe a huge part of my freelance writing career to these wonderful human beings. However, I quickly learned that my writing did have to run through a few edits before it was ready for publication.
While most of the revisions involved basic grammar errors, some of them were awkward and ‘weird’ phrases that needed to be changed entirely. This is when I learned that my writing needed to have native English-level quality.
Although I can say I’ve improved, I’m still learning. My writing is far from 100% native English-level, but I did learn a lot and I want to share that with you today.
Here are some things I did to adapt to a near-native English writing style.
Know the rules first
You know how they say, “You can’t break the rules if you don’t know them?” That’s sadly true.
English, just like any other language, has its own rules. Even native English speakers have to learn these rules in school. Not all of them abide by these rules, especially in writing — and that is where we ESL (English as a Second Language) writers should find leverage.
I remember a line from the movie Selena, where Selena’s dad explained how hard it is to be a Mexican living in the U.S. “You have to be more Mexican than the Mexicans, and you have to be more American than the Americans!” he whined.
That is the cross you bear when you’re bilingual. You have to know the rules better than the people they were made for. Do this and only then can you ‘experiment’ and write out of the box. Know English grammar better than the average American, and then you can break them.