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I have been studying French and Spanish for several years, to the point of passive fluency in both languages. I can speak French (and a little Spanish) but my writing abilities are almost non-existent.

I'm not currently taking courses in either and I don't know how else to develop my writing abilities.

Edit: I try writing but I don't know whether or not I'm just making the exact same mistakes. I also have trouble incorporating new vocabulary and using proper grammar.

Does anyone have any tips?

  • Are you practicing writing? What specific struggles are you having? – Flimzy May 29 '16 at 12:54
  • Please narrow down your question so that it can be more easily answered. – fi12 May 29 '16 at 16:21
  • Are you aware of the difference between fluency and proficiency? Can you please clarify whether your question is about proficiency (which is more general, i.e. the level you reach) or just about the more specific aspect know as fluency (which is often contrasted with accuracy)? – Christophe Strobbe Oct 26 '16 at 9:33
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Learning (to improve) a language is done best practicing with other people, but in a lot of cases you will need some external feedback. And - from my experience - once you have reached a certain level people do not tend to indicate your mistakes anymore.

Especially for writing you'd need some feedback and guide: online, a book, a self study group, or classes. I would recommend you to first take some language level test to know your level, for example testfle.campuslangues.com (but you can do a search and you'll find a lot). And based on that you can decide to go to a class, buy a self-study book, or follow an on-line course. In this way you improve and practice writing (grammar and orthography), and you'll handle vocabulary. See also a realted question about vocabulary: What are the most effective ways of learning vocabulary of any language?

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What I've done in the past is to obtain copies of the same novel in English and the target language. Then I'd translate (in writing) from English to the target language, using the target language version of the novel for correction.

A watered down version of this is to translate in writing from English to the target language, then compare my version with the one produced by Google translate in the target language.

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