Tips for improving your writing in Dutch for BEGINNERS part II

If you are learning a language, in this case Dutch, there are a lot of elements of the language you have to distinguish.

There is grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation.

But there are also different ways in which a language is used and so different skills are needed, like: listening, speaking and writing.

In my previous blog I wrote about making it fun. In this blog I want to focus on other tips to improve your writing skills.

Remember: writing is very difficult. So you are bound to make mistakes!

Writing tip: Keep it simple and don’t translate                                                   

It is tempting to translate what you know into Dutch. But don’t do that!

It’s one of the most common mistakes Dutch learners make when they write in Dutch. The best way of writing Dutch is to think in Dutch.

So base your sentences on the grammar and vocabulary you know. And it is really true: if you keep it simple with simple structures, simple grammar, the chances are smaller that you will make mistakes.

And dont forget that Dutch people are direct people, this also goes for their communication. So you are allowed to write in short direct sentences. Dutch people love this!

This is even recommended to Dutch people when they want to improve their writing.

Writing tip: Practise what you have learned                     

Did you do the grammar of the modal verbs. Then try to apply this in your written communication.

Writing is ‘writing again’

When speaking, you can get away with making small mistakes or mispronunciations. Often people won’t even notice it.

With writing it is different. Once it is written and printed, it’s there. So it is worthwhile checking what you wrote.

And how do you do that?

The best way is to check separate elements. What do I mean by that? It means that you take one part of the grammar, for example verbs. And now you check your text only on the conjugation of the verbs.

Done? Then do the same thing with spelling of compound words, or with sentence structures.

This way of checking a text is shown to be way more effective than checking it countless times on all those elements together.

Writing tip: Take breaks if your write longer texts

It is proven that studying or writing demands a lot from your brain. It needs to rest! So take short breaks after 45 minutes.

Writing tip: Make a plan for your text

This is more for longer texts. But try to know before you start what you want to say in your text. If you make a short outline at the beginning of your text, you have some handles to work with.

Writing tip: Everthing is connected (listening, reading, speaking)

All the different elements of a language are connected. And here that also counts, the more the better. If you read more books your spelling will be better. If you listen to music you will know more words.

Writing tip: See if someone can correct your work                         

It’s not always nice if someone corrects you, but it is really helpfull. So if you’re using whatsapp and writing Dutch, ask if your friend wants to correct you.

Writing tip: Use other work

Copy and paste is not always a bad thing!

Good Luck!

Bart de Pau
online Dutch teacher & founder of the Dutch Summer School & Dutch Winter School