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Ashish Kumar

PhD Candidate, Indian Institute of Technology Indore

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What should I do to improve the quality of my writing in English?

English is not my native language. My primary education was in Hindi (native language). Now I am research scholar, want to complete my PhD. For this I have to write my paper in English.
I listen many English song, see English movie and and also read English news article. But written article by me is not so impressive for my teacher. Some time I typed wrong. there are lot of grammatical error.
Every time I get nervous to face my guide. I am loosing my confidence.
I don't know How I have to improve. I am doing my best to improve my skills.

please suggest some good idea as I understand basic English. So I don't want basic idea to overcome this problem like read this do this listen music and etc.
Hope I have explain my problem. if any other information you want please let me know?

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  • Nov 6 2013: I would suggest a combination of writing and reading. Read a little bit of a book on grammar in conjunction with writing and reading other high quality English sources. English material of reliable quality will include most classical English literature (although this is the least useful), high-end newspapers like the Wall Street Journal, and anything published in association with a university press (i.e. Harvard, Yale, Oxford or Cambridge) or an academic thereof. For the latter I would target non-technical books published by professors in your field, even if wasn’t through their university press (they should still be associated with one of those school). It isn’t that other academics of presses don’t publish high quality English material, but rather those four schools are zealous in their adherence and advancement of an academic writing style which will be of interest to you as a PhD student.

    I would suggest writing any form of expository writing, even if it is creative in nature (such as a story). One of the common exercises I perform is to attempt to explain some modern cultural, political or technological element to a historical figure that is an expert in a field, but unfamiliar with the new concept. So I will explain the Tea Party political movement to Thomas Jefferson, or maneuver warfare to Julius Caesar.

    Pick up a couple of books on grammar and a couple style guides. In grammar, one of these should be one of the books in the Oxford English Grammar series. The US Government Printing Office Style Manual is free online.

    Basically, this is what I did:
    1) Read the grammar guide and pick a rule to focus on
    2) Read an expository piece; try to find that rule in use whenever it occurs.
    3) Write something; don’t force the use of the grammar rule.
    4) Edit one or more of the things you have written. Use all the grammar rules you have focused on, plus look up any grammar or style questions you have.
    5) Repeat

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