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Any suggestion? particulary writing comments on different writers like Marlowe...

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shannaqvi | Student, Undergraduate | Honors

Posted April 17, 2012 at 8:43 AM via web

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Any suggestion? particulary writing comments on different writers like Marlowe etc.

Being a non native speaker of English, I make several mistakes in grammar which  I do not know how to fix. Writing Literature is very different from casual writing. Any suggestion? particulary writing comments on different writers like Marlowe etc.

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 17, 2012 at 10:49 AM (Answer #2)

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Enotes is a great place for you to get help.  I would suggest posting any questions you have in the Q&A area and the editors will usually answer very quickly.  In addition to all the resources here, you might try using social media or skype to try to match up with native speakers to help you improve your English skills.  You will be amazed how quickly you will progress if you just spend half an hour a day conversing with native speakers.

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mwalter822 | Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted April 17, 2012 at 11:11 AM (Answer #3)

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Read, read, read. I know you asked about writing, but we all learn good writing from reading.

If you are trying to read Marlowe as a non-native speaker of English, yes, you are going to run into some difficulties. Even accomplished native speakers of English have difficulty with literature from that time period. For literature like that, find a modern translation that puts it into everyday English.

Otherwise--read, read, read. Think about what you read and note how the sentences are put together.

Get somebody to critique short things you write, even just little paragraphs about what you did yesterday. Getting the syntax straight will help a lot.

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pacorz | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted April 17, 2012 at 1:53 PM (Answer #4)

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You might consider reading what you have written out loud. Hearing the words will activate a different area of the brain, and you may find that your ears can catch the errors that your eye do not. If it doesn't "sound" right, it probably isn't.

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e-martin | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 17, 2012 at 2:54 PM (Answer #5)

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Learning to write literary work will require practice (and usually lots of it). This may be a good thing. Given the time it takes to become a fluid writer of prose, you can probably work out your grammar issues as you go. 

As for more specific advice, beyond writing every day, you might want to set yourself particular challenges in your writing to work on specific skills. For instance, you could work on descriptive writing (describing the look and feel of landscapes, interior spaces, and people) or work on dialogue. Becoming an expert in a specific writing area can help to give you confidence as well as essential self-analysis tools as you move forward.

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rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 17, 2012 at 8:50 PM (Answer #6)

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I agree that reading is the best way to improve your writing quickly. Read the type of writing you are supposed to do, in other words, if you are trying to write literary criticism or analysis, read examples of that from journals. I would also advise you to not only seek help from the folks here on enotes, which you've done, but also your teachers. If you are a college student, you should know that most colleges have writing centers where people are paid to help students write with more clarity and fluidity.

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wannam | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted April 17, 2012 at 10:17 PM (Answer #7)

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I agree with reading your work out loud.  It will help you hear when things are not right.  It can also be difficult to see your errors when you are reading something you wrote yourself.  Try taking each sentence out of context and reading it again.  For instance, you might try reading your paper backwards sentence by sentence.  We often miss mistakes because we see what we meant to say rather than what is actually there.  If we take the sentences out of context, we are more likely to catch our mistakes.

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stolperia | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 18, 2012 at 12:54 AM (Answer #8)

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You're correct - writing formal reviews of literature is very different from casual writing. English is a rich and diverse language which offers opportunities to choose the precise words to craft phrases that can convey exactly the message you want to express. English is also complicated because there are aspects of so many other languages included as part of what the English language has evolved into being.

The more you read and hear the language, the more familiar and aware you will become of patterns of proper grammatical usage. When you have specific questions, send the concern to eNotes for review or suggestions. Your post to start this thread was well-written - your awareness and motivation to learn proper English will help you stick with the challenge of doing so.

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farthingale | Salutatorian

Posted April 18, 2012 at 10:43 AM (Answer #9)

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Hi,

I think that the most efficient way is to read as many books as possible without impinging too much on your time. Rabelais, a well-known french writer and thinker of the Renaissance insisted much on this notion of reading since it was viewed as a means of elevating our human soul, as a way to tame our passions and volitions. But Montaigne used to say that we ought to read only what matters most.

I hope it will be helpful.

Best,

Zac Egs

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catd1115 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

Posted April 18, 2012 at 2:46 PM (Answer #10)

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I have to agree: Read, read, read! The more books you read and more different authors, styles and genres the better you will understand literary writing and absorb grammar naturally. In addition get a proofreading buddy who is a native speaker of English. ALL writers need a proofreader, no matter what language, so this is something you want to think about anyway.

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