English may be one of the reasons you’re not blogging. Here are some tips to change this thinking. TLDR: You English is good enough, don’t worry.

Your English doesn’t need to be perfect to blog. Look at this blog and our blog posts. We all here don’t speak English natively. We make mistakes. We make typos. We make silly grammar errors. Luckily, you don’t need to hear our English too often as it’s the typical Polish accent (if you really want to hear us, go to our: Rails Refactoring podcast).

As for writing - it’s all about sending your message. It’s only a tiny amount of people who will be bothered about your English. Often they are helpful and even fix your mistakes.

Let me present some simple techniques to improve your English for the purpose of blogging.

Use an editor which highlights typos

For code-less blogging, I use iaWriter. It has a built-in dictionary checker which is good enough. This usually means I don’t need to do a special round of typo checks.

Special round for a/the checks

When you are about to publish the blog post, make a special round of a/the check. During this round focus on all of the potential a/the mistakes. If you’re like me - you miss some of those ofen.

This is probably the easiest thing to do to make your English look more like it’s “proper”.

Refactor to short sentences

When in doubt, write short sentences.

I know this temptation to write a very long sentence which shows how great my English is, so that I’m almost like my London friends, however this is very difficult and often results in unparsable blobs of text to anyone else apart from you - thus your message doesn’t get through and that’s one of the main goals for blog posts, would you agree?

See what I did here? ^^

Let me now try the above with the “Refactor to short sentences” technique.

I know this temptation to write a very long sentence. A very long sentence often shows how great my English is. Such sentence make me look like one of my London friends. Looking like your London friend is very difficult. It often results in unparsable blobs of text to anyone else apart from you. Unparsable blobs of text don’t get trough. That’s one of the main goals for blog posts right. Would you agree?

This technique is simple - grab the subject of the sentence. Finish the first part with a dot. Put the subject at the beginning of the next sentence. It’s a duplication. We, as programmers don’t like duplications. This kind of duplication can make miracles, though. It’s actually more than denormalisation than duplication.

Summary

There’s many techniques for writing a better English. I’ve presented just some of them here. I chose the ones which may make the biggest impact at the lowest cost.

Let me finish by saying - I know how my English sucks. Separating my English from the message I want to send was a huge unblocking point for me. I’m very sorry to all the people who think it’s terrible. I was involved in writing 2 books. I like to believe that they bring good value to the buyers, despite my English :) When writing books, though, I do several other rounds of checks. The chapters are reviewed by many people before they’re “released”.

Fearless Refactoring: Rails Controllers

Developers oriented project management

This post comes from our book "Blogging for busy programmers".

In the book you will find 35 pages of more techniques like this.