STUDENT LIFE / NOV. 01, 2014
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How Millennials Can Improve Their English Writing Skills

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A quick glance at social media and the comments sections of blogs, news websites and YouTube would have one conclude that the new generation is comprised of a bunch of illiterate people. From "should of" to the incorrect usage of "you’re" and "your," millennials’ spelling, grammar and overall writing skills seem to have diminished in the past several years. 

Indeed, there could be various culprits for this paucity of correct spelling: automatic spell check, texting slang and not enough reading or writing. Although it may seem insignificant to use "their" instead of "there" or "would of" instead of "would’ve," writing competently is of the utmost importance in the business world. 

See also: How to Write a Resume if you Don’t Have a Degree

Ostensibly, professors aren’t taking the matter too seriously as it was reported last year that one leading academic averred that spelling shouldn’t be taught in the 21st century since computers and smartphones can automatically correct spelling mistakes. 

A millennial doesn’t have to be a scholarly scribe or a writer akin to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle or Honore de Balzac, but the inability to notice the difference between "lose" and "loose" could seriously reduce your career opportunities and project you as unprofessional. In other words, if you’re typing "c u l8tr" in an email to your boss then you should start thinking about improving your writing skills immediately. 

Here are six ways for millennials to start improving their English writing skills today: 

1. Reading 

It’s not a secret that millennials aren’t readers and it could appear the only thing they’ll read is BuzzFeed. Reading can help enhance anyone’s spelling ability because consuming words helps you understand the writing process. Rather than perusing Twitter, start reading a book by Anton Chekhov, Noel Coward or Francois Voltaire. It’ll help you significantly. 

2. Writing 

Millennials have likely done a lot of writing at school, but essay writing is far different than writing for fun. Whether it’s a short story, a first-person narrative, a play or a blog post, everyone should write as a hobby once in a while. Writing allows your imagination to run free and create your own world, air your grievances or opine on matters important to you. Of course, it’s crucial that you’re writing correctly and learning from it. 

3. Skip Text Speak 

Moving forward, forget typing "LOL," "iluv u" and "c ure da best." You may not realize it, but writing in this manner can dwindle your spelling skills. Remember, you start to lose something that you haven’t used in a while. Next time you text a friend, write something professionally and courteously: "Hello, how are you? I will see you at the mall in a couple of hours. Bye." 

4. Turn Off Spellcheck 

Since the advent of spellcheck, people no longer double check their own spelling and grammar. This could be one of the reasons why we’re sorely lacking proper spelling acumen. Instead of relying on Microsoft Word, turn off your automatic spellcheck and seek out spelling mistakes on your own. If you’re unsure if you spelled something wrong then pull out your dictionary (or visit dictionary.com) and find the right spelling. 

5. A Word Book 

This may appear to be antiquated, but having and updating a book of words can do wonders for your life. A word book is a journal composed of unique words, or words you’re unfamiliar with, you come across each day in newspapers, websites, magazines, textbooks and elsewhere. As times goes by, this word book will be filled up and you can look back on it. 

6. A List of Misspelled Words 

We all have difficulties remembering to spell different words. Some of the most common misspelled words are "definitely," "weather" and "embarrassing." If you constantly misspell words like the aforementioned then create a list of these words and read through the list once in a while. We’re not perfect. 

When used properly, English can be one of the most beautiful languages in the world. A simple reading of William Shakespeare, James Joyce or Charlotte Bronte will highlight how wonderful our language is. So why hurt the quality of English with bad spelling, grammar and punctuation? 

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