English is the third most spoken language worldwide (after Mandarin Chinese and Spanish) with approximately 400 million native speakers and an additional 1.1 billion people who speak English as a second language. English is an official language in 67 countries and an official languabge of the United Nations (UN) and the European Union (EU).
English is a West Germanic language that originated in England and has been around for over 1400 years. First came Old English (5th Century), then Middle English (11th Century) followed by Modern English (15th Century).
Partly because of its importance in international commerce, communication and relations, English is the most popular language to learn as a second language. In fact, those studying English as a second language far outnumber native speakers, and it is the preferred language to use for communication in situations where a common language isn’t shared. Terms like English as a second language (ESL), English as a foreign language (EFL) and English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) are typically associated with the process of studying English in this way.
Because of its worldwide importance and popularity, the huge demand for high quality English language learning resources has been met with an extensive and excellent offering, of which we are happy to have found all that is free.
Free Resources to Learn English
Free Learning/Studying Apps
Duolingo – iTunes – Google Play – Duolingo has become a leader in the language learning world and for good reason. It’s fast, fun, well designed, suitable for all ages, and turns learning a foreign language into a challenging and pretty addictive game.
Tinycards – iTunes – Google Play – Tinycards is a free flashcards app, from the creators of Duolingo, which uses spaced repetition and nicely designed “decks” to help you learn anything, including foreign languages. Tinycards uses gamification, like Duolingo, which makes it fun and easy to use.
Memrise – iTunes – Google Play – Memrise is a really fast, fun and free language learning app/website that is sure to get you hooked. There is a visual flashcard component which also incorporates audio from a community of native speakers. Memrise uses spaced repetition and is really effective at drilling vocabulary and phrases into your memory.
Learn English by 50 Languages – This app is great for beginners (A1-A2) to increase practical vocabulary which is useful for managing everyday situations (at a store, restaurant, bank, doctor, etc). With the free version, you will have access to 30 complete lessons.
HelloTalk – iTunes – Google Play – HelloTalk is a global language learning social network that connects you with native speakers of other languages so that you can practice your speaking and listening skills with native speakers via text/audio messages and free audio and video calls. The free version allows you to choose one native language and one target language.
Internet Polyglot – iTunes – Google Play – This free app uses lessons, games, and pictures to teach foreign languages to beginners. Although Internet Polyglot is far from a standalone language learning tool, it is a useful supplement to help you to learn and retain vocabulary.
Curso Ingles English Courses – iTunes – Google Play – This app offers easy and convenient access to the Curso Ingles English language courses which range in difficulty from basic to advanced level. Check out the supplementary resources on the website, like songs, grammar exercises, videos, expressions, games, chat, a verb conjugation tool, translator, verb lists, vocabulary lists, and much more.
LearnEnglish Apps by The British Council – These free educational apps by the British Council are high quality and provide an excellent way to get all of the benefits from the extensive ESL resources on the LearnEnglish website while on the go.
- LearnEnglish Audio and Video – iTunes – Google Play – Featuring the best podcasts and videos to improve listening skills.
- LearnEnglish Podcasts – iTunes – Google Play – Improve your listening comprehension skills with over 80 episodes and 20 plus hours of podcasts.
- LearnEnglish GREAT Videos – iTunes – Google Play – Listen to conversations in English that will teach you about UK culture while improving your English skills.
- LearnEnglish Grammar (UK Edition) – iTunes – Google Play – All students from Beginner-Advanced levels (A1 – C2) can use this app to improve Grammar skills.
- LearnEnglish Grammar (US Edition) – iTunes – Google Play – All students from Beginner-Advanced levels (A1 – C2) can use this app to improve Grammar skills.
- Sounds Right – iTunes – Google Play – This app provides a pronunciation chart for students looking to practice the sounds of the English language.
- Johnny Grammar’s Word Challenge – iTunes – Google Play – English students can use this fun quiz app to test vocabulary, spelling and grammar skills.
Learn to Speak English – iTunes – Google Play – This app boasts over 900 lessons and 8,000 audio files by native English speakers. It also offers the option to record your voice to compare your pronunciation to that of a native speaker.
Luke’s English Podcast App – iTunes – Google Play – This app allows you to access Luke’s award-winning podcast with many hundreds of entertaining and informative episodes for English language learners, which have been downloaded more than 35 million times.
Free English Dictionary/Translation Apps
English Dictionary & Translator – iTunes – Google Play – This free app works offline and provides detailed definitions, example sentences and pronunciation guidance for English words, as well as flashcards for learning.
Google Translate – iTunes – Google Play – Google Translate offers online text translation between 103 languages by typing, offline translation for 59 languages, camera translation for 38 languages, image translation for 37 languages, conversation translation in 32 languages, and translation of handwritten characters in 93 languages. The app also has a phrasebook which allows you to save translated words and phrases for future reference in all languages.
iTranslate – iTunes – Google Play – iTranslate is a leading free translator and dictionary app that provides translations for text in over 100 languages. Other functionality includes transliteration, sharing, favorites, history, and audio in both male and female voices. Voice to voice translations and the use of offline mode is not available with the free version.
The Free Dictionary By Farlex – iTunes – Google Play – This dictionary and thesaurus app provides millions of precise definitions, drawn from the most trusted industry publications and sources, including idioms, slang, and etymology of words. The Free Dictionary works offline and offers additional functionality like voice search, sharing, games, word of the day, and more.
Ultralingua English Dictionary – iTunes – Google Play – This app is a well rounded, highly reviewed and free English dictionary and thesaurus. It boasts features like favorites and history, built-in verb conjugation, and advanced search functionality,
Reverso English Dictionary – iTunes – Google Play – This app serves as dictionary and translator for millions of words and expressions, accompanied by contextual examples. Other features include a powerful linguistic search engine, natural pronunciation, phrasebook, flashcards and more.
LearnEnglish by the British Council – The British Council, a UK based charity founded in 1934, works with millions of people around the world both in person and online to share English culture and language. Below you will find their vast offering of free English language learning videos.
- Starting Out – Learn useful words and phrases while improving listening skills.
- Word on the Street – Improve your English while learning about UK culture.
- Britain is Great – Language exercises that also teach about the UK.
- You’re Hired – Learn job interviewing skills and associated English vocabulary.
- IELTS Interview Skills – Learn to do well on the speaking part of the IELTS test.
- IELTS Study Tips and Skills – Tips to prepare for the IELTS test shared first hand.
- Video Zone – Watch YouTube videos accompanied by exercises and transcripts.
- How To Say the Right Thing at the Right Time – Learn what to say when.
- Overcooked – These videos teach English and also about British culture and food.
- Shakespeare – Videos and exercises that teach English and about Shakespeare.
- UK Culture – Videos that teach about UK culture.
- Premier Skills – Watch football players speak about a variety of personal topics.
Connect With English – These English video lessons were created for high school and college classrooms as well as for adult learners and are ideal for upper beginner level to low and high intermediate level ESL learners. The series was produced in 1998 in collaboration with WGBH Boston and features 50 fifteen minute video programs. English language learners will work on English fluency through a story that centers around an aspiring singer named Rebecca who is on a journey across America. Each episode features meaningful and natural dialogue that is slightly slower and simplified, and which can be immediately put to practical use in the everyday lives of students. Repetition, the retelling of events, visual clues, facial expressions and gestures all work to convey meaning to students to allow for increased understanding. Additionally, closed captioning is available as a learning aid.
Learning English Videos by the BBC – YouTube – The BBC has been a trusted source of English language instruction since 1943, providing free audio, video and written materials to English language learners globally. New videos are added daily to the YouTube channel and additional bonus videos are added throughout the week, as well. In addition to these standalone lessons, the BBC offers a number of full courses here.
- The White Elephant Dramatic Series by the BBC – YouTube – The goal of the series (and others offered by the BBC) is to teach English to viewers in an entertaining way. This program targets intermediate through advanced level learners and teaches students useful words and phrases.
- Lingohack – YouTube – The Lingohack program presents the latest BBC World news to viewers while explaining the meaning and introducing key vocabulary for increased understanding. This service is perfect for Intermediate through advanced level learners. While the BBC Words in The News series has now ended, it is worth checking out as a large selection of content from 2014 and 2015 remains available on online.
- The Sounds of English Video Guide – YouTube – This program guides you through watching, listening and repeating all of the sounds of the English Language.
- Tim’s Pronunciation Workshop – YouTube – With this program, Tim aims to help intermediate through advanced ESL learners to improve fluency, pronunciation and listening skills.
- English at Work – YouTube – This animated series teaches English language skills for the office to help intermediate level learners to succeed in work environments or prepare for a new job.
- English at University – YouTube – This animated series teaches English words and phrases to help intermediate level learners to navigate their study abroad programs.
Learn English with Australia Plus – YouTube – Australia Plus is produced by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and in addition to providing news related content, it offers high-quality English language learning programs for beginner, intermediate and advanced level English language learners.
- Living English Series – YouTube – The 42 episode Living English series is aimed at upper beginner level English language learners. Students will learn and improve their basic English skills through the drama series ‘Sisters and Brothers’, and will acquire very practical language skills that can be put to use in everyday life.
- English Bites – Series 7 (YouTube) – Series 8 (YouTube) – Series 9 (YouTube) – This fun and informative video series teaches English to intermediate and advanced level learners. Transcripts are available for each episode to reinforce the lessons.
- Study English – Series 1 (YouTube) – Series 2 (YouTube) – Series 3 (YouTube) – The Study English language program is aimed at intermediate and advanced English language learners, particularity those who wish to develop the listening, speaking, reading and writing skills and learn strategies to help them prepare for the IELTS standardized test (International English Language Testing System).
- The Business of English – YouTube – This 15 part series is aimed at intermediate and advanced English language learners and focuses on common vocabulary words, phrases and terms which are widely used in business environments like meetings, presentations, and negotiations.
Grammar Girl by Quick and Dirty Tips – YouTube – The Grammar Girl YouTube channel broadcasts Mignon Fogarty’s podcast (which won the 2017 award for Best Educational Podcast) in addition to many other video tutorials. Here you will find great tips to help students to improve their English writing and grammar skills.
EngVid English Lessons – This site offers well over 1000 video lessons for ESL students, from a great group of teachers on a variety of topics. You can choose to search lessons by teachers, by topic or by level (Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced). If you find certain teachers to be more effective or compatible with your learning style, then you can subscribe to their YouTube channels, too.
Easy English – These YouTube videos are the work of a non-profit project which uses lighthearted street interviews as a method to teach languages. Each video has a topic and the host asks questions to native English speakers on the street based on the theme. In addition to street interviews, this channel offers some additional lessons for beginners.
Rachel’s English – YouTube – Rachel’s English is a popular and effective online resource which focuses on teaching American English pronunciation and helps viewers improve listening comprehension skills. This YouTube channel offers hundreds of free videos, all of which include English subtitles, and she adds new video lessons every week.
Learn English with Steve Ford – YouTube – More than 15,000,000 people from around the world have tuned in to learn English from Steve Ford. He has been teaching English for over 2 decades and his videos are relevant and thorough.
Speak English with Christina – YouTube – Christina is an experienced English teacher who offers free weekly video lessons. Her video lessons are clear and concise, and her teaching style is friendly and effective.
Tipsy Yak English Tutorials – Although this YouTube channel seems to be quiet at the moment, there are a number of helpful English lessons here. Check out the 20 Days of English Pronunciation, 30 Days of English, and Native Pronunciation playlists.
Speak Well with Jade Joddle – YouTube – With millions of views, Jade Joddle is a successful speech and voice teacher who specializes in helping students with speech or voice problems. This is a great resource for English language learners to perfect their accents.
21 Accents with Amy Walker – YouTube – Amy Walker’s videos have received over 40 million views and she has received recognition from press outlets like the TODAY Show, NPR, Inside Edition, etc. Her YouTube channel features several playlists that teach students how to perfect their accent.
Learn English Online with Papa English – YouTube – Learn English while you laugh, with these funny, clever and effective English lessons. There is a vast amount of learning content to choose from. Check out the Speak English perfectly!, English Vocabulary, and English Grammar video series for general instruction, or to study by proficiency level, you can jump to these series below.
- Elementary English Lessons
- Pre-Intermediate / Lower Intermediate English Lessons
- Intermediate English Lessons
- Upper Intermediate English Lessons
- Advanced Lessons
Learn American English Pronunciation with Pronuncian – YouTube – Amanda Lillet teaches non-native English speakers how to pronounce English words correctly using clear and concise lessons. Find more lessons and great content on the website.
VOA Learning English – YouTube – Voice of America is known for providing news for millions of English language learners worldwide. They create videos with captions that are tailored to intermediate and upper-beginner level English learners, which are read slowly (at 2/3 of normal speed) to make them easier to understand. These learning videos are available at 3 levels of difficulty: Level 1 (beginner), Level 2 (intermediate) and Level 3 (upper-intermediate). In addition, VOA has created some great English Language Lessons and Tutorials: Everyday Grammar TV, Let’s Learn English and Let’s Learn English Level 2.
Learn English with Ehab – YouTube – With hundreds of educational and entertaining videos and dozens of playlists to choose from, this channel offers a wealth of great content, covering both American and British English which is targeted to Arabic speakers. These English lessons are taught by the very enthusiastic Ehab Rashwan, who is based in Egypt and speaks in Arabic.
LearnEnglish Podcasts and Audio Lessons by the British Council – The British Council, a UK based charity founded in 1934, works with millions of people around the world both in person and online to share English culture and language. Below you will find their vast offering of free English language learning audio programs.
- Reading Skills Practice – Interesting audio articles accompanied by exercises.
- LearnEnglish Podcasts – Interesting podcasts on various topics with exercises.
- Big City Small World Podcasts – Fictional series with transcripts and exercises.
- Professional Podcasts – Learn English and further your career with these podcasts.
- Talk About Podcasts – Listen to people speak about what interests them.
Learning English Podcasts and Audio Lessons by the BBC – The BBC, a trusted source of English language instruction since 1943, produces this great selection of free audio programs below.
- The English We Speak Podcast – iTunes – Google Play – YouTube – Perfect for intermediate level learners, each podcast is about 3 minutes in length and teaches you high frequency words and phrases that are essential for everyday conversations. PDF transcripts and audio files can be downloaded from the website, and with the app, you can read, listen and even create a recording of your sentences.
- 6 Minute English – iTunes – Google Play – This podcast is appropriate for intermediate level learners, and discusses a variety of topics while increasing your English vocabulary.
- News Report – This podcast, for intermediate level learners, uses current news stories to teach listening skills and improve vocabulary.
English as a Second Language Audio Courses by HACC – iTunes – This robust podcast includes 194 episodes and covers four courses taught by Anne Kelliher at HACC (Harrisburg Area Community College): ENGL 026 (High Beginner), ENGL 027 (Low Intermediate), ENGL 028 (High Intermediate), and ENGL 029 (Advanced).The courses cover the fundamental elements of ESL, such as grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation.
Learn English with EnglishClass101.com – iTunes – This is a fun and informative podcast to add to your regular English language learning regimen. Every lesson is free for a period of time; each new audio and video lesson (3-5 lessons are published per week) is free to access for 3 weeks before being locked into their library, which can be accessed only with paid membership.
Cambridge English “Virtually Anywhere” Audio Program – This program uses the fictional story of two university students struggling with their work and the professor who helps them. The program aims to teach English listening skills to students at the B1-B2 learning level and students can practice what they learn in each of the seven episodes by completing the activities and exercise.
Learn American English Pronunciation with Pronuncian Podcast – iTunes – Amanda Lillet teaches non-native English speakers how to pronounce English words correctly using clear and concise lessons. Find more lessons and great content on the website.
Grammar Girl by Quick and Dirty Tips Podcast – iTunes – Spotify – This podcast won the 2017 award for Best Educational Podcast. Grammar Girl gives great tips to help listeners to improve their English writing and grammar skills.
News in Slow English – iTunes – Google Play – These free audio lessons teach listening comprehension, build vocabulary skills, cover English grammar and improve pronunciation. The course covers the weekly news in a simplified way and uses it as a teaching tool.
Learn English in Your Car by Henry N. Raymond – This free Spotify podcast teaches fundamental English grammar and very practical vocabulary and phrases to beginners.
- Learn English through French in Your Car – Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3
- Learn English through Spanish in Your Car – Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3
English Audio Course for Beginners – This free audio course on Spotify offers 154 lessons spread over 3 volumes which teach basic vocabulary for beginners. Volume 1 (44 lessons), Volume 2 (56 lessons), Volume 3 (54 lessons).
- Beginner English Audio Lessons through Italian – Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3
- Beginner English Audio Lessons through German – Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3
- Beginner English Audio Lessons through Polish – Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3
- Beginner English Audio Lessons through Spanish – Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3
Learn How to Speak English – Spotify – Beginner English lessons with a total running time of over 6.5 hours on Spotify.
Learn English By William A. Raymond – Spotify – Several hours of beginner language instruction over 10 lessons.
VOA Learning English – iTunes – Voice of America, known for providing news for millions of English language learners worldwide, uses limited vocabulary and short sentences in this podcast which is also read a slower pace.
Luke’s English Podcast – iTunes – Luke began his award-winning podcast in 2009 and since then has created many hundreds of entertaining and informative episodes for English language learners, which have been downloaded more than 35 million times.
Rachel’s English Podcast – iTunes – Rachel’s English is a well known online resource, and producer of popular YouTube lessons which focuses on teaching American English pronunciation and helps viewers improve listening comprehension skills. This podcast is best for intermediate to advanced level English language learners.
The Common Errors in English Usage Podcast By Paul Brians – iTunes – This podcast is based on the highly regarded book of the same name. Although the book and podcast are aimed at mistakes commonly made by native speakers, they are a perfectly useful resource for students of English as a second language.
Introduction to English for Spanish Speakers by Language Transfer – YouTube – This free beginner English for Spanish Speakers audio class uses an unconventional approach called language transfer, which they refer to as “the thinking method“. Rather than focusing heavily on grammar, vocabulary and memorization, this course teaches the structure of the English in an exploratory, interactive and conscious way.
Colloquial English: The Complete Course for Beginners – This collection of 76 audio files, each a few minutes in length, provides concise and clear English language instruction for beginners. These free audio lessons were made to accompany the Colloquial English: The Complete Course for Beginners textbook, which is a book aimed at teaching English to beginners in a practical way to prepare them to effectively communicate with confidence in everyday situations.
University of Pennsylvania English Language Courses – The following five courses were created by the University of Pennsylvania (an Ivy League university and the 4th largest in the USA), with funding from the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Office of English Language Program. These MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) are geared towards English language students at the pre-intermediate through advanced levels. Each self-paced MOOC takes five weeks to complete and focuses on helping students to improve their English skills in one of five fields.
- English for Media Literacy – By evaluating different types of media (ex: social media, television, magazines) students will develop critical thinking skills while learning English.
- English for STEM Fields – This MOOC focuses on English language skills as they are used in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields.
- English for Business and Entrepreneurship – Aspiring entrepreneurs can learn how to communicate business ideas, write a business plan, communicate with clients and do market research with this MOOC.
- English for Journalism – This MOOC teaches English language and journalism skills like drafting, editing, and proofreading.
- English for Career Development – This MOOC teaches skills like resume, cover letter, and email writing which can help students to advance their careers.
OpenLearn English – The Open University is a UK based, online university providing free educational resources, which offers numerous free English courses. These three beginner level English courses are a good place to start.
Learning English with the BBC – The BBC has been a trusted source of English language instruction since 1943, providing free audio, video and written materials to English language learners globally. The BBC offers a number of quality English language complete courses, and the various components of these courses are considered standalone lessons which can be studied separately. Course materials in the form of mp3 audio files and pdf transcripts can be dowloaded, and all courses can be accessed on all devices (mobile, tablet or desktop).
- Lower Intermediate English Course – A course for lower intermediate students.
- Intermediate English Course – A course for intermediate level English learners.
- Upper Intermediate English Course – A course for students at the C1 learning level.
- Towards Advanced English Course – A course tailored to English language learners who are studying at a high level and are looking to perfect their skills.
- English you Need – This course helps students to understand and use English in everyday life.
- English My Way – This course teaches English vocabulary that will help students navigate everyday life situations.
- Shakespeare Speaks – Each of the 20 animated videos explains the meaning and use of popular English expressions that originated in Shakespeare’s writing.
- The Grammar Gameshow – This fun program helps English language learners to test their grammar knowledge through a fun quiz show format.
- Learning English News Review – iTunes – YouTube – This course uses the latest news stories to teach students valuable English phrases and words to use in everyday life.
- Go The Distance – YouTube – This course focuses on distance learning and is divided into five self study sections: Student Life, Academic Insights, Study Skills, Academic Writing and Digital Literacy, each with 10 Units.
- The Experiment – YouTube – This short series focuses on breaking down common English sayings and idioms to help English language learners improve their skils.
Alison English Courses – Alison (Advanced Learning Interactive Systems Online) is an Ireland based e-learning portal that offers MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course) from various Universities from around the world.
- Beginner Level English Courses
- Elementary Level English Courses
- Intermediate Level Courses
- Upper Intermediate Level Courses
- Advanced Level Courses
- General English Courses
University of Reading English Courses – This UK based University is located just outside London, England, and offers a number of free courses for English language learners
- A Beginner’s Guide to Writing in English for University Study – This course teaches writing, vocabulary and grammar skills and specifically prepares students for using English at the University level. Duration 5 weeks, 3 hours per week.
- An Intermediate Guide to Writing in English for University Study – This course builds on the beginner course that precedes it and further works to fine-tune the academic English skills of students while focusing on the following specific areas pertaining to writing: critical analysis, using sources, and avoiding plagiarism. Duration 5 weeks, 3 hours per week.
Free English Language Courses on Udemy – Udemy is a marketplace for students and teachers, which facilitates online learning. Many free courses can be found among their offering of 55,000 courses, which are all taught by experienced instructors and include reviews and summaries. These three courses listed below are a good place to start.
- Learn English Basics – Elementary Method For Beginners 1
- English Launch: Learn English for Free – Upgrade all areas
- Polite English in Forty Minutes
Free English Courses edX – edX is a global education portal offering free courses from top universities to learners from around the world.
- TOEFL Test Preparation: The Insider’s Guide Course
- IELTS Academic Test Preparation Course
- University of Queensland English Grammar and Style Course
Free English Courses on Coursera – Coursera has a large selection of English courses for language learners, many of which are geared towards using English for Business. The set of courses below from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology are a good example of the assortment on Coursera.
- Business English: Basics
- English for Effective Business Writing
- English for Effective Business Speaking
- Business English for Cross-cultural Communication
- Business Case Analysis
USA Learns English Courses – USA Learns is a free website created by the Sacramento County Office of Education in California, USA to teach English online. The USA Learns website provides three English courses which range from beginner to intermediate level. Videos and interactive activities are used as learning tools and the courses cover all of the core competencies, including listening comprehension, reading, speaking, writing, vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar, and life skills.
Inside IELTS: Preparing for the Test with the Experts Course by Cambridge English – Cambridge English, known worldwide as a leader in the field of language assessment, offers this MOOC (massive open online course) on the FutureLearn platform. This five week course teaches crucial skills for students to succeed on the IELTS test. The course facilitates interactions with IELTS experts as well as fellow learners from around the world.
Practical English Course – This beginner English course by The Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman, a private University in Malaysia, is an online course designed to teach basic English grammar over the course of 9 units.
Curso Ingles English Courses – iTunes – Google Play – This website offers over 100 lessons, with audio, ranging from basic to advanced level English language instruction. In addition, you will find a lot of supplementary resources, like songs, grammar exercises, videos, expressions, games, chat, a verb conjugation tool, translator, verb lists, vocabulary lists, and much more.
- Basic Level English Course
- Intermediate Level English Course
- Advanced Level English Course
- Business English English Course
- Travel Vocabulary English Course
MOOEC – Australian website MOOEC focuses on offering free online courses that teach the English language at all levels. There is quite a variety of courses to choose from, but the ones listed below are a good place to start.
- Grammar Guru Course – This course covers all levels of English grammar from basic to advanced, which is useful in preparation for English exams.
- Elementary English Course – Learn how to communicate in basic English with this beginner course.
Carnegie Mellon American English Speech Course – This American language English course won’t teach grammar and vocabulary, but rather how to speak, precisely and consistently. You will study the sounds and learn how to master Standard American English, which is described as “simple, unaffected and distinct, devoid of regional influences.”
The Internet Grammar of English Course by The University College London – This free online course in English grammar is directed at undergraduate university students but is an excellent tool for all English language students. This grammar guide is thorough, concise and clear, and it provides a comprehensive glossary and extensive practice exercises to reinforce learning.
English at Home Intermediate Course – This A2 level English course teaches important grammar, vocabulary and phrases and spans 18 weeks. The lessons were created by Clare, an English language teacher with 20 years of experience, who also offers weekly tutorials on her YouTube channel.
ESOL Courses – This site provides lessons for ESOL students (English for Speakers of other Languages) and English courses are organized by difficulty level: Beginner English Courses, Elementary Level Courses, Pre-Intermediate Level Courses, Intermediate Level Courses, and Advanced Level Courses.
Deep English – Founded by two accomplished university teachers with extensive experience teaching English as a second language, Deep English offers a ton of free lessons to help students to improve their speaking and listening fluency. Deep English lessons are not intended for beginners but rather for students who have been studying English for some time and are looking to take their English language skills to the next level. In addition to free lessons (also available on YouTube), students can opt to take a free 7 day mini-course.
LearnEnglish by the British Council – The British Council, a UK based charity founded in 1934, works with millions of people around the world both in person and online to share English culture and language. Their phenomenal English language learning resources are free online and students of English as a foreign language will find a huge selection of apps, multimedia and written materials at their disposal. Check out their dedicated sites for kids and teens to learn English, as well as the Premier Skills English Program, which provides free football based learning materials for learning English. The British Council website is divided into the following core sections:
- Skills – Practice reading, writing and listening with activities and exercises.
- Grammar and Vocabulary – Find great grammar lessons and learn new vocabulary.
- Business and Work – Videos, podcasts and texts for improving Business English.
- Study Break – Find games, jokes, and videos to improve your English.
- IELTS Preparation – Find videos with tips for improving your IELTS test score.
LanguageGuide.org – Explore the world of English by learning an abundance of vocabulary in a sound integrated, animated guide. After learning the vocabulary you can take part in games to test your comprehension.
Babadum – A free language learning website that features fun flashcard games to help you brush up on your vocabulary.
Lingolia – This website has a number of useful exercises and provides helpful explanations about grammar.
ielanguages.com – This website offers free basic language learning text and audio instruction.
Learn101 – This website features free beginner lessons to guide you through learning English, step by step, starting with the Alphabet, moving on to grammar, vocabulary and phrases, and finally offering simple quizzes to test your progress. These lessons are a basic introduction to the language and have images, text and audio.
CoolJugator – CoolJugator is a verb conjugator website that makes conjugation easy and straightforward.
Ilanguages – This site is designed to teach English with free vocabulary, phrases, grammar and flashcards, while focusing on highly used words and phrases necessary for everyday living.
Polly Lingual – This website offers some fun games, exercises and beginner level instruction with lessons that include text and audio.
English Stories by BookBox – Cartoons have always been a wonderful asset to language learning, particularity for children. These animated children’s stories are great because the viewer can read along with the narration, which is shown on-screen as “Same Language Subtitles (SLS)”. Each word is highlighted in time with the audio, which helps with comprehension and retention.
Omniglot – This site specializes in providing information about languages and their alphabets and writing systems.
Digital Dialects – This website makes learning vocabulary fun with interactive games.
Hello World – Hello World has created hundreds of free language learning games and activities that cater to the way children learn best. The goal is to teach languages using cognitive immersion and to keep the process fun in order to increase learning potential. Approximately 1,300 vocabulary words are introduced over 70 different categories.
Loecsen – Loecson offers a free mini course consisting of fun lessons that provide a basic introduction to English with the help of text, audio, simple illustrations and quizzes to test your progress. You will learn high frequency vocabulary words and commonly used phrases relating to 17 themes which are relevant to everyday life.
Verbix – Online English verb conjugator.
EF Education First – This company, known for making free English proficiency tests, offers high quality resources for learning English, covering a wide range of topics like grammar, idioms, vocabulary and more.
Elllo – ESL teacher Todd Beuckens created Elllo to provide a learning resource to English language students that can’t be found in traditional materials and textbooks. With audio, video, scripts and quizzes, students can learn vocabulary and comprehension skills. Students can search thousands of free activities and lessons based on various criteria including topic and difficulty level.
Cambridge English Resources – Cambridge, known worldwide as a leader in the field of language assessment, offers a good variety of free activities to help students practice their English skills.
- Cambridge English Lessons – You can search the activities based on length of lesson (0-5, 5-10 or 10+ minutes), level of difficulty (Basic, Independent, or Proficient) and subject matter (Grammar, Vocabulary, Pronunciation, etc).
- Cambridge English Write & Improve Service – This valuable service allows users to upload writing, receive fast feedback allowing them to make spelling, vocabulary, style and grammar corrections and improve their written English quickly and for free.
Purdue University OWL ESL Resources – Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab (OWL), known for providing free writing instruction and tools for students worldwide, also provides excellent ESL writing resources. OWL aims to help ESL students to develop their English writing skills and also provides ESL exercises.
The University of Victoria Study Zone – Although this website was created by teachers for English Language Centre students at The University of Victoria, all of the ESL language lessons and practice exercises are free to be used online by students around the world. The materials are divided by difficulty level: Upper Beginner, Lower Intermediate, Intermediate, Upper Intermediate, and Advanced.
Sounds of Speech by The University of Iowa – This website is dedicated to helping students to learn how the sounds of American English are formed using animations, videos, and audio samples to explain each consonant and vowel.
Activities for ESL Students – This site offers over one thousand ESL activities including Self-Study Quizzes, Interactive Quizzes, Quizzes using Flash,
Bilingual Vocabulary Quizzes, Vocabulary Quizzes With Images and Crossword Puzzles.
Games to Learn English – This site, created by University student Owen Dyer, offers a great selection of educational games that make learning and practicing English fun. Be sure to check out his Online Picture Dictionary, which is a handy web app for learning basic English vocabulary.
English Club – Founded in 1997, English Club is a pioneer ESL site which offers high quality and comprehensive English language learning resources for teachers and students around the world. This go-to site provides an exhaustive list of lessons and materials making it a reliable favorite.
ManyThings.Org – Students learning English as a foreign language will find the quizzes, word games and other learning activities on this site very useful. Although the design is simplistic, the fact that it is ad-free improves the learning atmosphere. ESL learners can find more tests, puzzles and quizzes on this affiliated site.
Dave’s ESL Cafe – This website largely serves as a popular forum for ESL teachers and students around the world, but students of English as a second language will find the quizzes, and grammar section helpful as well.
Using English – This site provides tools & resources for ESL students and teachers.
English Forums – This Q&A site boasts the largest community of English language learners on the internet. Users can submit a question about any number of topics, for ex: grammar, writing style, business English or science and technology English, and can expect to get an answer within about 30 minutes. There are forums that cater to all levels, from beginner to advanced.
TV 411 – TV411 is a non profit project with the goal of educating adults by helping them to gain basic skills in reading, writing, math, and science. All skills are very practical and can be used improve the personal lives, careers and education of learners. The learning materials and lessons are not necessarily aimed at learners of English as a foreign language, but this site is a great resource that offers the opportunity to learn key life skills and English language concepts through entertaining multimedia created by native English speakers.
Learn Free Program by the Goodwill Community Foundation – GCF is a non profit organization that has created a wealth of free resources for adult learners and students learning English as a second language. In the Learn English section you will find reading and grammar programs that even include instructions in a number of languages (Spanish, French, German, Arabic, Portuguese, and more). in the Every Day Life section you will find interactive activities and lessons that teach practical life and literacy skills (pertaining to work, health and safety, money, etc). Using a well designed platform and high quality materials, this site offers over 2000 lessons, 800 videos and 55 interactive games and activities.
American English – This site is managed by The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (U.S. Department of State) and provides resources for teaching English as a Foreign Language and learning about American culture. You can explore the many resources listed in the four main skill categories: Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening.
Randall’s ESL Listening Lab – Students learning English can develop their communication, listening and speaking skills by using the varied, high quality and thorough content on this site. Each listening exercise contains audio followed by exercises and information to supplement learning. ESL students can select exercises that suit their learning level (easy, medium and difficult).
Breaking News English – This site features thousands of free English lessons in 7 levels from elementary to advanced. New lessons are created every two days and are based on current events and news stories. Lessons are accompanied by printable activities and handouts, quizzes, downloadable audio files in mp3 format and downloadable lesson files in PDF format.
Learn English Online – This non-profit organization offers free beginner, intermediate and pronunciation lessons for ESL students. Lessons include audio, tests, assignments, images and more.
Lang-8 – This free network is a nice tool to support your language learning. Native speakers are available to make corrections to your text and provide feedback. In return, you provide help to others.
HiNative – iTunes – Google Play – HiNative is an app brought to you by the creators of Lang-8 that allows you to ask questions to native speakers from around the world using your smartphone. HiNative was created to be used alongside Lang-8, and is different from Lang-8 in that it focuses on a Q&A type of learning while Lang-8 is a journal writing experience.
RhinoSpike – RhinoSpike is an interesting website that connects language learners from all over the world allowing them to exchange audio files to help improve pronunciation skills. It allows you to submit text that you would like to hear read aloud by a native speaker, and in turn, you receive the audio file. In exchange, and to speed up the process you can, in turn, provide audio files in your native language for other learners.
MyLanguageExchange.com – This online language learning community connects you with other learners so that you can practice speaking in your second language with a native speaker and vice-versa.
Italki – A community of over 2 million language learners that facilitates free language practice with native speakers. You simply exchange time teaching your native language for time learning a foreign language, making it mutually beneficial and free.
BBC News – The British Broadcasting Company is an excellent source of English news and media.
EuroNews – EuroNews is a news media company that features news from a European perspective and offers content in 12 different languages online.
United Nations – Live and On Demand news and media from the United Nations.
Deutsche Welle – German broadcasting company DW provides news in English.
Google News – Read the world news in English with Google News.
CNN – CNN is a top worldwide news network 24 hour news coverage.
NBC – NBC News is a top American news organization.
The Washington Post – This is a popular newspaper in The United States.
The Globe and Mail – This is a top newspaper in Canada.
The Guardian – This UK based newspaper is popular worldwide.
English Language TED Talks – TED is a nonprofit organization with the mission of spreading ideas. Most Ted talks are less than 18 minutes, but all are informative, powerful and thought provoking.
WordReference – There is no need for an English dictionary if you have WordReference. Featuring good translations of words and solid definitions, this site also has helpful forums where English speakers from around the world contribute to explaining subtle nuances or more obscure words.
Forvo – This crowd-sourced site is a great tool to help with pronunciation as it allows you to listen to words and phrases spoken by native speakers.
Dict.cc – A go-to dictionary and translation website which also offers crowd-sourced recordings by native speakers.
Bab.La – This “language portal” boasts 44 dictionaries for 28 languages, as well as a wealth of other language learning resources, such as helpful articles, games and quizzes, verb conjugations and phrase books.
LearnWithOliver – In addition to a dictionary, this site offers games and flashcards to support your English Language learning.
Collins Dictionary Online – Here you can access the online version of the popular Collins Dictionary.
Cambridge Online Dictionary – Here you can access the online version of the popular Cambridge Dictionary.
Oxford Living Dictionary – Enjoy free access to the largest current English dictionaries and thesaurus with the Oxford online dictionary, and even find grammar, usage, and spelling tips.
Tatoeba – Tatoeba is a large, crowd sourced database of sentences and translations. This free resource allows you to search for a word and get results showing that word in sentences with translations.
Talkify – This free, multilingual website is a very interesting and valuable resource that allows you to listen to text in foreign languages. Simply insert a URL into the search field on Talkify and it will automatically detect the language and read the text of that website aloud in a natural sounding voice.
Practice Makes Perfect Grammar for ESL Learners – This ESL Grammar book by Ed Swick provides a complete overview of English grammar using concise explanations and simple language, making it easy to understand.
Basic English Grammar Book 1 – This beginner English Grammar book by Anne Seaton and Y.H. Mew is the first in a two-part series. It clearly and concisely explains the rules of English Grammar and provides a lot of supporting examples.
Basic English Grammar Book 2 – This beginner English Grammar book by Howard Sargeant is the second in a two-part series and further explains the rules of English Grammar using supporting examples.
Lane’s English as a Second Language Book Series by Richard R. Lane, Ph.D. – This popular book series is described as “The world’s most efficacious ESL series”. Over the course of 6 books, Lane introduces only 1200 words (200 per book) which were selected not because they are high-frequency words but because they are highly useful words. More than half of these words only have one syllable, and most are considered general (non specific) words that have the possibility of being used in many ways. Books 1-4 of the series are listed below, while books 5 and 6 are still being developed and not yet available online.
- Lane’s English as a Second Language Book 1 – This beginner’s book has 70 pages and contains five thematic lessons: Body, Clothes, Food, School, World, each with a 40-50 word vocabulary.
- Lane’s English as a Second Language Book 2 – This Advanced Beginner’s book has 104 pages and contains five thematic lessons: Family, City, House, Farm, Weather, each with a 40-50 word vocabulary.
- Lane’s English as a Second Language Book 3 – This Intermediate level book has 135 pages and contains five lessons, each with a section on business, history, and travel with a 40-50 word vocabulary.
- Lane’s English as a Second Language Book 4 – This Advanced Intermediate book has 113 pages and contains five lessons, covering a variety of subjects, business, and parts of Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet, each with a vocabulary of 40+ words.
- Lane’s English as a Second Language Pronunciation Guide – This ESL drill book has 54 pages and provides practice in each of the 40 sounds of American English, 25 consonants and 15 vowels.
English For Everyone English Grammar Guide by DK Books – This comprehensive self-study course book is aimed at adults who are learning English as a second language. The colorful design and visual aids make the book easy to follow. This grammar guide can also be helpful for students who are preparing for the TOEFL and IELTS exams.
English: An Essential Grammar – This grammar guide was written by Gerald Nelson for native English speakers, so it would be suitable for upper intermediate to advanced students of English as a foreign language. It is a concise guide with lots of supporting examples making it easy to follow.
Longman English Grammar Practice for Intermediate Students – This English Grammar book by L.G. Alexander is described as being organized, easy to use, authoritative and even enjoyable.
Oxford Guide to English Grammar – This thorough English grammar guide by John Eastwood focuses on modern standard British English and is geared towards intermediate and advanced English students.
English Vocabulary in Use Book Series – This series of English vocabulary books works well both in the classroom and for self-study. Throughout the series, new vocabulary is shown on the left pages and practice exercises on the right pages.
- English Vocabulary in Use – Elementary by Michael McCarthy and Felicity O’Dell
- English Vocabulary In Use – Pre Intermediate and Intermediate by Stuart Redman
- English Vocabulary In Use – Upper Intermediate and Advanced by Michael McCarthy and Felicity O’Dell
- English Vocabulary in Use – Advanced by Michael McCarthy and Felicity O’Dell
- Academic Vocabulary in Use by Michael McCarthy and Felicity O’Dell
- Business Vocabulary in Use by Bill Mascull
Check Your English Vocabulary For TOEFL – Vocabulary Workbook – This workbook by Rawdon Wyatt will prepare students for the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) exam through related exercises.
Websters New World Essentials Vocabulary – This English vocabulary book by David Alan Herzog offers word definitions, example sentences, synonyms, and tense forms to help students to increase their vocabulary.
Vocabulary Building 1 – by Betty Kirkpatrick
Vocabulary Building 2 – by Betty Kirkpatrick
Just Enough English Grammar – Gabrielle Stobbe’s English grammar book teaches all of the essentials with the help of fun illustrations and visual aids.
EF SET – Choose between one of three free tests offered by EF SET (“the world’s first completely free online standardized English test”) – a quick 15 minute test, a 50 minute test or a 120 minute test, all of which follow the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR).
Transparent Language – Free online language level testing is offered by this language learning software company.
Cactus Language – This UK based language study abroad organization offers free online language level testing.
Language Trainers – This language training company offers free online language level testing.
Sprachcaffe – One of Europe’s leading language school organizations, Sprachcaffe offers free online language level testing.
Goethe Verlag – Free vocabulary tests in 25 languages and 600 language combinations.
ESL – This english proficiency test consists of 40 multiple-choice questions and takes about 20 minutes to complete.
Oxford Online English Test – This website allows you to take English level tests in these four categories: Grammar, Vocabulary, Reading and Listening.
St. George International – This free online test consists of 40 multiple choice questions that will determine your current level of English.
What Are Your Favorite Free English Language Learning Resources?
We have done a lot of research to bring you the best, free resources that the internet has to offer and we want to make sure our list is always comprehensive. Please share your favorites in the comments below.