Five tips to improve your writing skills
In this week's Premier Skills English podcast, Rich and Jack talk about the latest news from the Premier League as Chelsea continue to win and Liverpool get back to winning ways. The language focus this week is on different ways to improve your writing skills. Jack and Rich share five tips that could help you with your writing skills and they look at how to answer an essay question about football. We also have a new football phrase for you to guess and announce our Player of the Week. Enjoy!
How much did you understand?
In the podcast, Rich and Jack used some words and phrases that might be new for you. You can see two examples here:
Goals from an in-form Eden Hazard and Diego Costa gave Chelsea a comfortable win against West Ham.
The fans create brilliant atmospheres in Premier League stadiums.
There were a few more tricky words in the podcast. Can you remember all of them? Try the activity below, then, listen to the podcast again to hear how we used the words in context. This can really help with understanding.
Learner Training - Writing Skills
In this week's podcast, Rich and Jack shared five tips to improve your writing. Think about the advice they gave you and how it can help you develop different learning strategies and study skills. Look at the five tips again. Do you do any of these things? Do you think they could help you with your English?
Five tips to help you with your writing
- Brainstorm. Before you start writing, think about what you have to write and all the possible answers. No idea is too silly at this point!
- Organise your ideas. Decide which ideas are the most important or the most interesting. To create a balance opinion essay you should include opposite opinions.
- Write paragraphs. Include an introduction and a conclusion. Put each idea into its own paragraph. Write a topic sentence at the beginning of each paragraph.
- Use linking words. These help the reader understand relationships between sentences and paragraphs. For example; 'in addition' will add an extra opinion and 'on the other hand' is used to contrast two different opinions.
- Proofread. When you finish your essay, read it again and check vocabulary, grammar and punctuation. Then, use an online grammar check such as Grammarly to help.
One of the tips that Jack and Rich gave you in the podcast was using linking words. Linking words are very helpful to give your essay structure because they can help you link one idea to another. For example, if you use 'in addition' at the beginning of a paragraph, the reader will know that the paragraph you are writing gives more information about the same idea. But, if you use 'on the other hand' the reader will know that the paragraph will include an idea or opinion that is different from the previous one. In this activity, take a look at some more linking words and decide if they are used to give the same or different ideas.
Can you think of any other strategies that you use to get more writing practice and improve your writing skills? Can you think of any other situations where you might use some of these tips?
Rich: Hello my name’s Rich
Jack: and I’m Jack
Rich: and welcome to this week’s Premier Skills English podcast
Jack: Where we talk about football and help you with your English.
Jack: What’s happening this week, Rich?
Rich: In this week’s show, we’re going to talk about the latest in the Premier League and we’re going to give you five tips to help you with your writing skills.
Jack: Writing, OK. Have you heard the joke about the broken pencil?
Rich: Sorry, what did you say?
Jack: Have you heard the joke about the broken pencil?
Rich: Errr. No.
Jack: It doesn’t matter. It’s pointless.
Rich: Sorry I don’t get it. I don’t understand.
Jack: The pencil is broken. It has no point.
Rich: Ahhhh! Awful. That’s just a terrible joke, Jack.
Rich: So, we will be looking at writing tips later - things to help you with your writing. And we won’t have any more terrible jokes.
Jack: No, we won’t. I promise. But, before we talk more about writing, let’s take a look at this week’s Premier League headlines.
Rich: Chelsea go 10 points clear at the top.
Jack: Chelsea beat West Ham 2-1 at the London Stadium. Goals from an in-form Eden Hazard and another from Diego Costa gave Chelsea a comfortable victory.
Rich: Manchester Utd are held at home by Bournemouth.
Jack: United could only draw at home to Bournemouth who battled bravely for nearly an hour with only 10 men. Zlatan Ibrahimovic missed a penalty and is now banned for three matches after he was suspended for using an elbow that wasn’t seen by the referee.
Rich: Liverpool get their season back on track.
Jack: Liverpool beat Arsenal 3-1 at Anfield to get back into the Champions League places and leave their opponents in fifth place and worried about not qualifying for the Champions League for the first time in 20 years!
Rich: A great win for Liverpool, Jack!
Jack: Yes, let’s not talk about Arsenal this week!
Jack: We said earlier that we are going to give you five tips to improve your writing skills in this week’s podcast.
Rich: Writing is important. You might need to write an important email at work, you might need to write an essay or an exam question. We all have to write sometimes.
Jack: Yes, sometimes it might be quite formal like what you said before or it might be more informal like a comment on this website or really informal like a whatsapp message or on your mobile.
Rich: There are many types of writing but what we want to help you with is a longer piece of writing. Something that will help you develop your writing skills and allow you to give opinions and use lots of language.
Rich: We’re going to take one question and think about how we might write an opinion essay.
Jack: Our question or essay title is: Is the Premier League the best league in the world?
Rich: We’re going to ask you to give an answer to this question at the bottom of the page. But first, we want to share five tips with you that will help you give a better answer.
Jack: Let’s start with tip number one. Tip number one is brainstorm.
Rich: This means putting your pen down and thinking about as many ideas as possible. Empty your brain!
Jack: It’s good to do this with a friend but you can do it on your own as well. You need to think of as many answers as possible. No idea is too silly!
Rich: Let’s brainstorm our question, Jack.
Jack: It’s the most exciting League. There are lots of goals, there are players from all over the world, the fans create brilliant atmospheres in the stadium, teams at the bottom can beat teams at the top, the managers have the best beards!
Rich: Yes, there are lots of good reasons. We want to create a balanced essay so we need to think of some opposite arguments, too.
Jack: Well, maybe the game is too fast or a Premier League team hasn’t won a European competition for a while.
Rich: OK, good. We have lots of ideas. What is tip number two?
Jack: Tip number two is: organise your ideas.
Rich: You don’t want to write down all the ideas that came into your head. Some of them are better than others. We won’t put your idea about beards into the essay!
Jack: No, probably not. So we can decide which ideas are the most important or interesting. For this essay let’s choose two reasons why the Premier League is the best and two why it might not be.
Rich: So we have the ideas that we are going to use in the essay. What’s tip number three?
Jack: Tip number three is to write in paragraphs. For this essay we would have six paragraphs; an introduction, then two paragraphs for the positive reasons, two paragraphs for the negative reasons and finally a conclusion.
Rich: We should think about each paragraph as a mini essay with an introduction, a middle and a conclusion.
Jack: yes, each paragraph should have a topic sentence and it is probably easiest to write them at the beginning of each paragraph.
Rich: A topic sentence tells the reader what the rest of the topic is about.
Jack: In our essay, we might write ‘first of all, the Premier League is the most equal League in the world’.
Rich: The topic sentence is like a title. The rest of the paragraph will be about ‘why’ it is the most equal league in the world.
Jack: What’s tip number four?
Rich: Tip number four to improve your writing is to use linking words.
Jack: Linking words help the reader when you are changing the topic, giving an extra bit of information or giving an opposite point of view. They are often at the beginning of a paragraph or sentence but not always.
Rich: In the example earlier I said ‘first of all the Premier League is the most equal in the world’. This tells the reader I am making my first point. The next paragraph might begin with ‘in addition’ or ‘secondly’.
Jack: And when we want to give the opposite point of view we might begin the paragraph with ‘on the other hand’ or ‘ in contrast’.
Rich: What’s our final tip. Tip number five.
Jack: Tip number five is proofread. When you have finished, your writing, read it again and check for errors with vocabulary and grammar, check your topic sentences and think about the linking words you have used.
Rich: It’s best to do this yourself at first but then you can use online spell checkers. Microsoft word checks for grammar and spelling and there are online tools like grammarly that can help you with your writing, too.
Jack: So, there are our five tips to improve your writing. Let’s remind you what they are.
Rich: Tip number one: brainstorm.
Jack: Tip number two: organise your ideas.
Rich: Tip number three: write paragraphs
Jack: Tip number four: use linking words
Rich: Tip number five: proofread.
Jack: We’d love to see you practise your writing by answering the question in the comments section below.
Rich: Right, let’s get back to the football.
Player of the Week
Jack: Our player of the week this week is a player who has had an instant impact on the Premier League.
Rich: That’s right, it’s Southampton’s Manolo Gabbiadini. He’s scored six goals in his first four matches for the Saints.
Jack: Maybe you don’t know who he is. Well, you can find out more about him by reading the player of the week article. It’s up on our homepage and there is a lin on the side of this page.
Rich: We also have this week’s Football English Quiz in this article and we ask you who the best-ever Italian footballer in the Premier LEague.
Jack: It would be interesting to know what you think.
Can you work out this week’s football phrase?
Rich: Have you got a football phrase for us this week?
Jack: Yes, I have, but first, last week’s football phrase. The phrase was ‘hat trick’ and it is, of course, the phrase we use when a player scores three goals.
Rich: And many of you got it right, too! So well done to all of you!
Jack: The phrases this time is ** ** ******. It means not to be allowed to do something officially. For example, smoking ** ****** in public places in many countries.
Rich: And Zlatan Ibrahimovic *** **** ****** for three matches. I wonder how they will do without him.
Jack: Well, we’ll find out when Manchester Utd play Chelsea next Monday in the FA Cup.
Rich: If you want to know more about that match and make a prediction take a look at our prediction pages in the fans section on the website
Jack: Jack: Right, that’s all we have time for this week.
Rich: Don’t forget to write your answers to our questions and make a guess at our football phrase in the comments below.
Jack: Bye for now and enjoy your football!
Check your understanding:
What do you think?
In this week’s podcast, Jack and Rich shared five tips to improve your writing skills.
Was the advice useful? Do you have any other tips to improve writing skills?
In the podcast, Rich and Jack used this example essay question: 'Is the Premier League the best League in the world?' Do you agree or disagree? Try to use some of the tips from the podcast to help write your answer.
Remember to write your guess at this week's football phrase and the questions above in the comments section below.