Make Your English More Powerful, With:

(Was once was one of The Jakarta Post I.M.O.’s top blogposts)

1. Better dictions

Choice-of-words is very crucial in composing a good writing. Do not even dare to think of belittling its influence.

However, this doesn’t mean that you should sophisticate every single word and force people to think that you’re that knowledgeable. In picking one of those words on the thesaurus list, consider these points:
(1) What you’re writing about.
(2) Who’s gonna be your readers.

If you want to talk about global warming to first learner kiddo, ‘melting ice cream’ would explain much better than ‘leak in the ozone layer’ or ‘increasing temperature’.

Dictions matter especially when you play with emotion. Consider this stupid confession:

“You can make me laugh out loud like a crazy lunatic or make my heart beat faster because of your sexiness or simply melt me with your cuteness and I love you. All of you.” (courtesy of a friend)

To this uber-literature English one:

“Other men said they have seen angels, but I have seen thee, and thou art enough.” (courtesy of Mr Moore)

Mr Moore has did a very good job there, using super ancient English and everything, but unless you’re an English literature student, I guess you’ll understand my friend’s love to his girlfriend better than Mr Moore’s to Mrs Moore. Am I right? The way you convey your message does matter. So, dictions.

2. Correct tenses

This is what most people think: How can Dad expect me to conquer those 16 crazy tenses! They’re made for non-humans!


This is what you should think: Tenses are made to help your readers understand what is happening when, sometimes beyond what is there, to another dimension.

a. Bull kicked Bill’s butt.
b. Bull kicks Bill’s butt.

The first sentence, using a past tense, infers that Bull once happened to kick Bill’s butt. Accidentally or in purpose, but the activity was never repeated unless you add ‘again’. In sentence B, ‘kicking Bill’s butt’ apparently has become Bull’s regular habit and I have my deepest condolence to Bill for that.

By just putting ‘ed’ in place of ‘s’ in that sentence, you can make your reader understand Bull probably better than he understands himself. Befriend tenses!

You can also see how saying ‘I love you’ would give a different effect from teliing people ‘I loved you’.

3. Priorities

Decide what you want to say first and then after. Priorities make dynamics to your writing. Sample of priority options:

a. Share a story and give lessons afterwards.
b. State an idea and give a story to support your argument.

4. Spelling check

Spelling is probably not that important because people will eventually understand as long as your structure of sentence is correct, but some pedantic or spelling-nazis may hate you forever when you misspell. Plus it’s not that hard to have a spell-check. Leave the burden to Microsoft Word or Google Chrome.

5. A talking keyboard

Just kidding (it’s not even funny, blamey). I meant jokes. Tickling lines will encourage your readers to continue and and finish until your very last sentence.

“Now open a new document on Microsoft Word and start typing down!”



  1. lol this should be printed in every grammar’s book! thanks for the post :Doh btw i’d prefer the first confession hahaha.


  2. Nice! Although it would be great if you describe elements constituting English though. I had a virtual discussion with my future classmates as to whether stuffs like ‘accents’ and ‘literary vocabs’ count as aspects that make up one’s (foreign) language proficiency. Or even slangs! Does a comprehensive understanding of foreign slangs determine one’s fluency?I challenge you to compose a new post discussing about it!


  3. @Putra (yang bangga jadi mantannya Putri):Thank you although I believe that this post is still lack of so many required information before anyone would ever be sane enough to put it on a Grammar book :P@Gui: Ah, yes, I should’ve been more specific with the title. I guess people would understand that I refer to ‘written English’ more than the other aspects of the language. On slangs, noted. Will immediately (let’s see how soon) create a post on that! :D


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