Learning a new language can be very challenging. Mastering, on the other hand, is much more difficult not only for non-native speakers but also for those that grew up speaking the language. One needs a high level of understanding, reading, and writing skills to claim mastery, much like that of linguistics jobs. Learning English, like any language, has some challenges. One needs to be aware of grammatical rules, non-intuitive spellings, and even tricky idioms. Moreover, it has many rule exceptions and even apparent contradictions that take a long to get used to. But, of course, it is not impossible to master, much less to be competent in.
There are plenty of resources available online that you can peruse to hone your English language skills. In this article, we have compiled 50 useful links for learning English, ranging from websites and blogs to applications and online courses that are helping for those working on their English degrees. Some communities you can join have also been listed to help you find fellow English language learner
English has been widely regarded as a universal language. It is the lingua franca of the world—the language used in many key areas that drive modern society, ranging from business and commerce to science and mediclish as their second language (753.3 million). As such, it is considered to be the most spoken language globally (Eberhard et al., 2020a). This is even though there are more native speakers of Mandarin Chinese (917.8 million) and Spanish (460.1 million) than English (379 million).
With these numbers, it makes sense that more non-native speakers are looking to learn the language as well. Often it is, to open up more opportunities, such as working or studying abroad. In other cases, it could be to expand their social network or to simply connect with like-minded people.
However, as English is a language that can be difficult to master, it pays to get some help in learning it. Below are some useful links and educational websites for English that you can consider using to make the process easier.
Perhaps among the most common resources are websites for teaching English. These English websites for students are often curated by well-known organizations, groups of teachers, or even institutions, making them very useful websites for English teachers. With these English language teaching websites, learners can get reliable information on learning the fundamentals of English. Some of the best websites for English teachers are linked below.
EnglishMediaLab is an interactive learning website created for beginner, intermediate, and advanced English as a Second Language (ESL) and English as a Foreign Language (EFL) learners. This is one of the good English learning websites because it offers a variety of free online exercises, such as grammar tests, vocabulary videos, listening exercises, and pronunciation exercises. There is also a dedicated section for business English and survival English, which are useful to adult learners who are looking to learn English for work, travel, or school.
The British Council LearnEnglish is a reputable website developed specifically for adult learners of English. It offers exercises for different English language skills, such as listening, reading, writing, and speaking as well as grammar and vocabulary modules for different skill levels. Aside from its vast selection of resources for general English, the website has sections that focus on Business English and International English Language Testing System (IELTS) preparation for professionals and students. While a handful of its resources are completely free, it also has a premium monthly subscription that costs £5.99.
Powered by the well-renowned British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), the BBC Learning English is a website that has been offering free learning to English learners across the globe since 1943. Through this, learners can get access to grammar and vocabulary lessons for all skill levels as well as free English courses that tackle everything, from the basics of the language to the use of the language for academic purposes. Among its long-running materials include 6 Minute English and The English We Speak, which will be discussed in this article as well. For non-native English speakers working on their English degree online, this can be a good supplemental t00l. Last but not least, it has a unique section that discusses the differences between American English and British English.
Founded in 2000, Flo-Joe was created to help out students who are preparing for English language qualification exams, particularly the IELTS, the Preliminary English Test, the First Certificate in English, the Cambridge English: Advanced qualification, and Cambridge English: Proficiency qualification. The website offers free self-study resources, which include exercises that allow you to test your vocabulary and grammar. It also offers a paid writing critique and correction service to students looking for personalized advice on how to improve their English language skills.
American English is a website managed by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the United States. It was made and is very useful for websites for English teachers, and contains a wide selection of resources for speaking, reading, writing, and listening to the English language. There are also webinars and massive online open courses (MOOCs) on basic, intermediate, and advanced English language skills. Furthermore, the website offers content on American culture, songs, and games which is helpful particularly for foreign students who intend to visit or stay in the U.S. for an extended period of time.
English Interactive was created to help self-studying language learners achieve fluency in the English language. It comes with lessons on vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation as well as interactive practice materials on speaking, listening, reading, and writing. The website also provides ESL tests to help students prepare for specific certifications, such as IELTS, Test of English for Speakers of Foreign Languages (TOEFL), Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC), and the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). This makes it particularly useful to learners who are applying for academic programs or jobs that require these certifications.
Busuu is a website offering free digital flashcards on the English language to help English language learners (ELLs) practice speaking, reading, and writing. Learners may even interact with native speakers through its global community of over 100 million people to get feedback on their progress. Furthermore, it comes with a dedicated mobile app for those who would like to learn on the go. In case you want access to additional resources, Busuu also has paid plans starting at €5.83/month when billed annually. This comes with thousands of lessons prepared by linguists, personalized study plans, official certificates, and a vocabulary trainer.
5 Minute English is a resource that focuses on providing learners with short and easy English language exercises. It has modules that tackle grammar, vocabulary, listening, and pronunciation. Moreover, it comes with reading lessons and quizzes on a wide range of topics. What makes this website unique is that while it offers basic English lessons, it is more geared towards intermediate learners looking to get acquainted with more complex concepts of the language. Among its most popular lessons are English slang/idioms and common errors in practicing the language. There is also a section where learners can find explanations to questions other students have regarding tricky grammar rules and sentence construction.
Cambridge Dictionary is a popular online dictionary utilized by millions of people worldwide. It sets itself apart from other dictionaries, such as the Oxford English Dictionary because it provides practical explanations and examples on how to use particular words in everyday conversations. This makes it easy for learners to expand their vocabulary. The dictionary also offers free resources on translations and grammar as well as lessons on British English and American English for those who are looking to understand the differences between these two variations of the language. Cambridge Dictionary also has dedicated widgets and mobile apps for those who would like to leverage this alongside other learning resources.
Speechyard is a website that blends entertainment and education as it allows you to learn English by watching movies. All you’ll have to do is pick one from their catalog of subtitled movies and clips, highlight unknown words and phrases and the website will provide the translation and explanation for you. It can even be a group activity as you can watch, practice, and learn with other ELLs. Furthermore, if you have a Netflix account, you can opt to use its chrome plugin so you can use it as you watch your favorite films. Aside from this, Speechyard also has a resource center where learners can access training videos on vocabulary and grammar as well as exercises and games.
Using English is a large repository of ESL and EFL tools and resources. Catering to students and teachers alike, it covers basic to advanced grammar, sentence structure, and English idioms. There are also tests and quizzes on the lessons as well as reading comprehension exercises to reinforce your progress. What is more, Using English hosts a forum where ELLs can interact with each other and learn together. Meanwhile, teachers may also use this site to get lesson plans and worksheets for their classes.
Blogs are yet another way to beef up your English language skills, especially for those who already have a grasp of basic grammar, sentence construction, and the like. Unlike websites, blogs often present English lessons in a more fun and interactive way. Most of them are also geared towards helping learners practice conversational, everyday English. They go beyond the usual lessons by providing tips on learning the language and taking certification exams.
English Grammar Revolution Blog is a blog that offers content on a wide range of topics surrounding the English language. It has articles that not only explain basic concepts, such as the use of nouns, adjectives, and prepositions but also discuss commonly confused English words, origins of certain words, and similar topics. Furthermore, it has guides on how to diagram sentences, which is great for students who have yet to learn how to construct more complex sentences. Lastly, the blog provides step-by-step grammar exercises that students can apply or teachers can utilize for classes.
FluentU is a blog curated by the online language immersion platform of the same name. It offers supplementary content that allows language learners to further improve their English skills. These include tips on learning a new language, study strategies to make the process more efficient, and quick language exercises that learners can try. It also maintains a directory where learners can find free English language resources. Lastly, the blog posts job opportunities for English teachers and learners.
Perfectly Spoken Blog is a blog that caters to learners who intend to master British English. Other than offering general English lessons and guides focusing on British English, it also has content on British culture and vocabulary to make it easier for learners to speak and write like natives. There are even guides on the culture and slang used in the different regions of the United Kingdom. As such, this blog is most useful for those who are looking to work or study in the U.K.
Compared to the other blogs listed in this article, the English Blog sets itself apart by focusing on everyday English for ESL and EFL learners. It prepares learners for communicating with native speakers as it focuses on the practical use of the language. These include guides on how to engage in small talk, how to order at a restaurant, how to check-in at the airport, and the like, making it great for travelers. There are also English links to full-length courses and practice tests available on the blog for learners to peruse.
Real English Conversations Blog churns lessons that aim to help ESL and EFL learners to communicate with native speakers as naturally as possible. They also have advice on how to improve speaking fluency and listening skills, making it ideal for advanced learners who are trying to further refine their English skills. Lastly, the blog often discusses specific techniques and activities that learners can use to reinforce their learning progress.
YouTube is the second most popular website in the world (Alexa, 2020). Many access it for entertainment as well as to get information on all sorts of topics—the English language is no exception. There are plenty of channels that learners can access to get free resources, which include the following:
Speak English With Mr. Duncan is the YouTube channel of Duncan James, the creator of the English Addict website, another great resource for learners focusing on British English. The channel offers a wide range of lessons via live stream every Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday. What makes it great is that aside from tackling basic English rules, the channel also touches on topics such as the use of puns and strange English words. Moreover, Duncan James also hosts learning games that viewers can join in real-time through the live stream.
JenniferESL is a channel maintained by Jennifer Recio Lebedev, a certified English teacher and the creator of the website English With Jennifer. Unlike the previously discussed YouTube channel, this focuses more on American English. Among the videos that learners can expect from this channel include discussions on formal vs informal English, best practices for learning, and advanced grammatical structures like parallel structures. It also offers conversation for fluency practice by discussing American culture, sociopolitical issues.
VOA Learning English is a channel maintained by the Voice of America, an international news and broadcast organization funded by the U.S. Congress. It offers free English language learning programs, such as the 52-week English course for Beginners and the 38-episode English Level 2 series. The channel also has a dedicated playlist for everyday grammar as well as captioned news reports and movies that can help improve vocabulary. Lastly, the channel offers teaching resources through the “Let’s Teach English” playlist, which focuses on strategies for engaging English language learners.
Rachel’s English is an American English resource focusing on speaking and listening to improve conversational skills.
What makes it unique from other resources in this list is that it teaches the specific mouth positions for pronouncing English words. There are also many videos of conversations between native speakers to enhance listening comprehension as well as allow learners to train their accent.
Business English Pod is a YouTube channel managed by an organization of the same name. Catering to professionals, this is of great use to advanced English learners who are ready to apply their skills in the workplace. The channel offers various courses on Business English for meetings and emails, Financial English, Legal English, Telephone English, English for marketing, and English for project management. It also has tips on how to prepare for job interviews in English. Through this channel, you can prepare yourself to engage in professional discourse with ease.
Learn English with EnglishClass101.com, much like the other channels mentioned, offers a long list of videos discussing grammar, idioms, sentence construction, pronunciation, and more. However, what makes it different is that it categorizes lessons depending on what you will be using the language for. For instance, it has a playlist for mastering English grammar, which delves into the technicalities of the language, and a playlist called English in 3 minutes which is aimed at travelers who only want to know the basics. In addition to these, it also discusses strategies, such as optimizing your study environment for learning English.
Podcasts are another great way to learn a new language. Whether you are a beginner or an advanced learner, this type of resource will allow you to get accustomed to the sounds of the language. As such, it can train your pronunciation and diction and perhaps even develop your accent when speaking English.
The English We Speak is a weekly three-minute audio program produced by BBC that aims to teach listeners about English slang and recent buzzwords. With this, learners can hone their English skills not only in a formal manner but also in a conversational sense. It is also very useful for keeping up to date with what common terms native speakers are using today. Readily accessible on the BBC website, this podcast may also be listened to via Apple Podcast, Spotify, and other popular podcast players.
Adept English is a U.K.-based independent education center that specializes in improving spoken language learning through listening. The podcast publishes two English audio lessons weekly, often tackling grammar, phrases, fluency, and pronunciation. It aims to help learners increase the amount of English they hear in their day-to-day life so they can get accustomed to the language and perhaps pick up some new words and develop their accent. Available on most podcast players such as Apple, Spotify, Google, and Amazon, this podcast also includes full transcripts on their website for those who would like to review the written format as well.
All Ears English is an ESL podcast created with intermediate and advanced learners in mind. Hosted by certified ESL instructors Lindsay McMahon and Michelle Kaplan, along with fellow teachers, the podcast focuses on everyday vocabulary, natural idioms, and common expressions. This makes it a great resource for students who want to improve their conversational skills in American English. They also have courses in business English, general fluency, and IELTS preparation for those who intend to hone their English skills for academic or professional purposes.
Luke’s English Podcast is an award-winning podcast created in 2009 by Luke Thompson, a DELTA-qualified English teacher with 19 years of teaching experience. Unlike other podcasts that focus solely on grammar, sentence construction, and vocabulary, this usually covers random topics on British culture to help listeners improve word pronunciation. There are also tips on how to optimize language learning strategies, which are great particularly for intermediate and advanced learners. While it primarily focuses on the audio format, the podcast also publishes transcripts and videos on its website.
Another English language learning resource from BBC is its long-running series, 6 Minute English Podcast. It produces topical discussions prepared by BBC Learning English presenters for intermediate English language learners. With this, students can increase their understanding of British culture and vocabulary as well as practice the language for day-to-day situations.
eLearning statistics show that MOOCs have been increasing in the past few years. So much so, that there are available online programs for nearly every topic imaginable—the English language included. Some online course platforms that offer both free and paid options are outlined as follows:
Udemy is a U.S.-based provider of MOOCs aimed at students, professionals, and lifelong learners. As of writing, the platform’s database comprises over 130,000 courses, some of which focus on English grammar, conversation, writing, pronunciation, and vocabulary. There are also courses for IELTS preparation. However, while the platform offers plenty of free courses, it is best to note that most of the English language lessons are available for a fee that costs as low as $20 to as high as $130. Luckily, they offer promos often so if you are on a tight budget, waiting for these course sales may be the best option.
FutureLearn is an online course platform that partners with world-class universities and organizations to offer flexible online courses. For English language learners, they currently have a total of 16 free short courses tackling basic and intermediate English, pronunciation, English for the workplace, and English for academic study. There are also preparation courses for IELTS and PTE for those planning to take them. All these courses are prepared by esteemed professors from institutions such as Coventry University, the British Council, King’s College London, and The Alan Turing Institute.
edX is an online course provider developed and managed by Harvard and MIT. It has a collection of over 2000 free university-level courses from more than 160 universities. Many of its English language courses are prepared by some of the most prestigious institutions of higher education worldwide, such as Tsinghua University, University of California Berkeley, and Georgetown University. While some of these courses focus on general academic English and exam preparations, the platform also provides some advanced courses for specific industries, which makes it great for professionals.
Coursera is a platform that offers MOOCs, specialized professional programs, MasterTrack courses, and degree-granting online programs. In terms of the English language, they offer a wide range of programs for both native and non-native speakers, which range from grammar and English composition to literature and journalism. There are English courses for research publication, business, academic literacy, and interactions in the workplace as well as a specialization program for teaching ESL. Most of them are free but you will have to pay to earn a course or specialization certificate. Being familiar with learning through sites like Coursera can also have other career benefits if you want to be in education. You can use it as a springboard for further education or training on education technology which you can also do online. Luckily, financial aid is available to those who are on a tight budget.
World English Institute is a Christian organization that aims to teach English for free to help individuals communicate effectively in the modern world. They offer dozens of grammar, listening, writing, and speaking courses for English learners of different skill levels. Furthermore, they have more than 50 supplemental courses to help you continue your studies. What is great about this platform is that other than offering all the lessons free of charge, it also grants certificates to students who successfully complete the courses.
Oxford Online English is an organization that offers and produces free videos that allow ELLs to practice the language. Among its areas of focus are spoken English, English writing, grammar, pronunciation, and business English. It also offers IELTS preparation to help you pass the exam with flying colors. Also available are premium English classes at $17.17 per month. Through these, students can join online classes that allow them to speak with native speaker teachers via Skype, Google Hangouts, or other communication platforms.
If you are looking to make practicing English more convenient, perhaps using a language learner app will give you the flexibility you require. There are plenty of freemium and paid apps today that you can use for basic, intermediate, and advanced language learning, including:
Duolingo is a popular mobile language-learning application that offers short lessons on vocabulary, grammar, and sentence construction. What makes this app unique is that it combines machine learning with psycholinguistics to help you learn English at your skill level. Among the most useful features of the app is its slew of quizzes for each lesson, which includes fill-in-the-blank, translation, and write-what-you-hear questions. Available on iOS and Android, the basic features of Duolingo are free to use. However, it has a premium plan starting at $6.99/month that gives you full access to lessons as well as progress tracking. Aside from English, it also offers 100 language courses for 37 other languages.
HelloTalk is an interactive application that allows students to learn a language by connecting them with native speakers around the world.
The app is equipped with a text messaging module that corrects your grammar as you type so you can learn as you talk with other people. There are also voice and video communication options to help you practice pronunciation and casual conversation. Moreover, intuitive language tools such as aids for translation, transliteration, and even corrections
Beelingu is an application that uses audiobooks and music to teach languages. Downloadable on Android and iOS, it displays various content, such as fairy tales, news, science papers, and novels, among others. It then shows the exact text in two languages—the native and the second language—side by side. Beelingu also has a Follow Audio In-Text function so you can read as you listen to a native speaker reading the content you clicked on. Once you are more familiar with the language and want to start learning it without any translation, there is also a single view mode so you can see only the language you are trying to learn.
Quiz Your English is an application that focuses on quizzing learners about their grasp of the English language, making it perfect for students with intermediate to advanced skills who wish to practice. This app allows users to challenge other learners around the world on general English topics and grammar using content developed by the Cambridge Assessment English organization. Users may even choose quizzes that deal with exam-specific topics. It covers various exam levels, ranging from A2 Key to IELTS 6.5. Lastly, it is available for free but there are options for in-app purchases to improve the user experience.
LingQ immerses learners in a vast library of online and mobile language courses. It lets users take their favorite content on YouTube, CNN, and Netflix and turn them into interactive lessons so that they may rapidly learn new words, acquire natural phrasing, and improve comprehension. Alternatively, users may choose from the application’s library of books, articles, songs, and podcasts. As learners peruse these readings, films, and audio files, they may save words in their personal database and then use tools such as flashcards, multiple-choice questions, and cloze to test their new vocabulary.
The best way to learn a language is to practice it. As such, communicating with those who are speaking the language as well, be they native speakers or not, is ideal. This is where joining language learning communities come in handy. It allows you to connect with individuals who also aim to learn more about English and practice together.
Dave’s ESL Cafe serves as an online meeting hub for ESL and EFL educators and students. It hosts international and region-specific forums where participants may discuss a wide variety of subjects from grammar-related concerns to current events and politics. There are also online teaching forums where educators may share lessons and teaching strategies. Moreover, Dave’s ESL Cafe has job boards where both teachers can find open ESL/EFL positions and learners can find teachers. There is also a directory of resources available on the site that learners and teachers may refer to for studying.
r/EnglishLearning is a subreddit where many English language learners discuss a wide range of topics related to the English language. Here, learners extensively discuss their concerns about specific idioms, phrases, or grammar rules that they are having trouble with. In other cases, this is also where some learners simply share newfound knowledge and resources. Exam takers also use this to seek advice from those who have already passed their TOEFL, IELTS, and other tests. This forum is particularly helpful in reinforcing formal English classes as it allows them to discuss specific information.
English Forward prides itself as the internet’s largest “Learn English” community and Q&A website. It hosts forums and discussions on different topics so learners may join a forum that best suits them. Among the topics of conversation found on the website include cultural similarities, controversial topics, books, films, and television shows. There’s also a general discussion where learners can ask about vocabulary and grammar questions as well as a dedicated forum for online English teaching and English for specific industries. What is great about this website is that, due to the number of individuals who access the site, most questions are answered in less than 40 minutes. As such, this proves helpful to those with time-sensitive questions.
Similar to the abovementioned forums, English LD Community serves as a place where ELLs can ask and answer questions on the English language. Many participants use it to get clarifications on what they learn in their formal classes. However, it is more often used by English certification test takers to get assistance from fellow test-takers. With this, many learners can get a better idea of what to expect when taking IELTS/TOEFL/PTE/ and similar exams and how to better prepare for them.
The Free Dictionary English Language Forum is a forum curated by the comprehensive free online dictionary and encyclopedia of the same name. At the time of writing, the forum has over 101,000 registered members that actively contribute to discussions. These discussions may range from vocabulary and grammar to literature and culture. There are also industry-specific forums to help professionals and students translate certain terms in their respective industries. This makes it ideal for those who are looking to expand their vocabulary as they learn the rules of the language.
r/TEFL is a forum similar to r/EnglishLearning which was discussed earlier. However, it is dedicated to English language teachers. Through this forum, educators may find advice on how to optimize their lesson plans, develop their careers, as well as discuss their personal experiences of working abroad. There are also job postings so that educators may find teaching opportunities online, within their area, or in a different country.
English language learning and teaching organizations set the standard for the industry. As such, using the resources they provide will prove useful not only for taking certification exams but also for simply getting to know the language.
The Educational Testing Service (ETS) is a private educational assessment organization founded in 1947. It has developed a slew of standardized tests in the U.S., which include the TOEFL and the TOEIC. As such, it offers full-day and half-day workshops for test-takers as well as an extensive learning center where students can get access to English language proficiency exams, sample TOEFL/TOEIC tests, and other learning activities that improve vocabulary and grammar skills.
The International Literacy Association (ILA) is a global advocacy organization that aims to improve the quality of literacy instruction worldwide. It publishes journals and digital resources that tackle various instructional practices, English language learning strategies, and more. It also has literacy glossaries and reading lists that help reinforce language learning for students and teachers alike. The only downside is that, as it is a membership organization and many of its resources are accessible for a fee that starts at $39/year. There is a free membership plan but it is exclusive to those who reside in countries with developing economies.
The Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) is a part of the U.S. Department of Education that is tasked to help English learners and immigrant students to gain proficiency in the English language. The organization provides resources for ESL and EFL educators that tackle everything, from creating lesson plans to ideal educational practices. There are also tool kits that give educators a better idea of how to interact with students who have different cultural backgrounds. In this way, it is easier for them to connect with their students during classes.
Similar to OELA, the Office of English Language Programs also aims to teach American English to learners from other countries, As part of the U.S. Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, it partners with local American Embassies and Consulates to deliver English language programs. These include training programs that send U.S. educators to teach abroad, MOOCs and webinars for both learners and teachers, as well as a micro-scholarship program for 13 to 20 year-olds from disadvantaged sectors. It also provides a long list of English language learning resources that are free for students and teachers to access.
The National Association for Bilingual Education is a private organization founded in 1975 that advocates for educational equity for bilingual and multilingual students across the globe. Like the ILA, this organization offers membership plans that give subscribers access to community forums and a wide variety of resources. It offers teacher training and opportunities for professional development through short courses. There is also a NABE learning portal where students can get access to experiential microlearning content. Membership plans start at $30/year. This covers the full access to its database as well as discounted rates for the Bilingual Research Journal and the NABE Journal of Research and Practice.
The TESOL International Association, formerly known as Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, is an organization comprised of professional teachers of English. The organization offers various certificate programs, virtual seminars scholarships, and training programs that can help educators improve and refine how they teach English. There are also free self-study and facilitated language courses for both adult and young learners.
There are undoubtedly many benefits to learning English. However, taking up lessons can be quite expensive. Fees for courses can range from $2,500 to $3,500 for a 10- to 14-week program and the price per class can cost anywhere between $650 to $1,500. These fees are not yet inclusive of the required textbooks, which are often priced between $200 and $300 per term.
This is why the increasing number of online resources for English language learning is heaven-sent for many students and teachers. Many of these online references are accessible free of charge while some come at a cost, it is usually cheaper than the fees of traditional classes.
However, it is best to note that with the plethora of resources now available online, it might prove difficult to tell apart the trustworthy sources from ones that may not offer up-to-date and high-quality references. As such, we hope that through this article, you were able to narrow down your options and get the information you need to kickstart your English language learning journey or to reinforce your ongoing studies.