There are so many resources these days to learn English online for free. Actually, the biggest problem is trying to decide which are the best tools to improve your English.

Not every website is as useful as others. Have fun exploring, but don’t spend too much time on websites that don’t teach you very much English. Start with this list of five excellent resources you can find online.

Resources to Learn English Online for Free

1. YouTube

YouTube is not only for music videos and movie clips. There are also many professional learning videos for beginner and advanced levels.

Start by searching these terms in YouTube and see what you find.

  • Beginner ESL lessons
  • Business English lessons
  • English prepositions
  • English office vocabulary
  • This that those ESL

When using the Search function on YouTube, be very specific with what you want to learn. There are hundreds and hundreds of English learning videos just waiting for you to find!

2. ESL News Sites

Do you read or watch the news in your native language? Why not try reading the news in English also? For beginners, read the news in your native language first. Then read the same story in English. This will help you understand the article in English better.

3. Podcasts

There are many great ESL podcasts on various topics (i.e., sports, technology, poetry, history). If you are beginning your English studies, listening can help you improve your vocabulary and grammar.

As you advance in your understanding of English, you can try listening to non-ESL podcasts to gain a broader understanding of English grammar and phrases.

4. Interactive Quizzes and Games

There are hundreds of websites offering quizzes and games to help you learn English online for free. Some even allow you to print the activities, making it easy for you to study on the go.

Playing games is fun and can help you test your knowledge of vocabulary, grammar, and even listening. For example, ESL Games World offers Listening Memory Games that can help you improve your listening skills.

5. Online Courses

There are many English courses that are available online. Online courses usually include audio and/or video lessons. Many also track your progress, so you can see how much you are learning.

British Council is a website that offers a variety of courses, such as listening, grammar, vocabulary, and writing.

Online resources are one of the best tools to boost your English learning. Start using the internet to improve your English and have fun doing it!

English as a second language is a huge market. There are a lot of books out there, all of which promise to teach you perfect English. All of these choices may feel a bit overwhelming.

First, let’s get familiar with the acronyms that are used. They are all slightly different, so it’s good to know which ones pertain to you.


For Students

  • ESL (English as a Second Language): English is the country’s most common language
  • EFL (English as a Foreign Language): English is NOT the country’s most common language

For Teachers

  • TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language): Teaching English in a country where English is the most common language (e.g., United States, Canada, Australia, UK)
  • TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language): Teaching English in a country where English is NOT the country’s most common language
  • TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages): A more general term for teaching English, regardless of whether English is the common language

Exam Preparation

  • TOEFL (Test of English Fluency Level): Used mostly in the U.S. as a university entrance exam to prove English competency
  • IELTS (International English Language Testing System): Used mostly in Europe, but considered more international

Books for Learning English as a Second Language

General English

Do you want to learn English for everyday use? These books focus on grammar and daily English.

  • Headway by Oxford University Press: This series offers American English or British English. Both have four levels, which increase in difficulty. Student books include CDs to practice listening.
  • Interchange by Cambridge University Press: This series offers international English and has four levels, from Intro to Level 3. Student books include a self-study DVD.
  • The Blue Book: A simple and fun guide to learning English grammar and punctuation. Includes examples and practice tests.

TOEFL Exam Preparation

Do you need to study English in order to pass the TOEFL exam? Here are some great books.

IELTS Exam Preparation

These are some good books to help prepare for the IELTS exam.

Extra Reading Material

As your English level advances, you may want to try reading novels in English. English books can teach you advanced vocabulary and everyday expressions.

However, avoid reading Shakespeare. Shakespeare is difficult even for native English speakers. The English is out-dated and may make you feel confused and frustrated.

Here are some great novels to get started.

  • All Quiet on the Western Front
  • Harry Potter
  • Huckleberry Finn
  • Of Mice and Men
  • The Hunger Games
  • The Kite Runner
  • The Old Man and the Sea
  • The Tell Tale Heart
  • Tom Sawyer

Podcasts are a great resource to help you learn English as a second language. These audio shows are digitally recorded and available for download. They each have a special theme and most have a recording release schedule of one show per week.

There is an overwhelming amount of podcasts available for you to download, and you can keep the files on your smartphone, MP3 player, or computer. This is helpful because you can take the files with you anywhere you go and study whenever you have a free moment.

There are excellent podcasts specifically for learning English that come with worksheets, activities, quizzes, and vocabulary exercises. There are also some great podcasts that are not designed to help you learn English as a second language, but are a good source of natural English.

Podcasts to Learn English as a Second Language

These podcasts are specifically created for ESL learners. The dialogues are carefully written and rehearsed to help you learn English as a second language.

1. Podcasts in English

Podcasts in English is designed to help you learn English. There are different levels of difficulty, and each podcast includes transcripts, worksheets, and exercises.

2. The English We Speak

This podcast by BBC Radio focuses on slang, idioms, and common expressions. The English is spoken very clearly and properly. There are new episodes every week, and each episode is less than five minutes long.

3. Better@English

Better@English is focused on you and your ESL learning. The topics are varied and there are tons of new episodes to enjoy. There aren’t any worksheets or quizzes, but each episode comes with a transcript and vocabulary notes.

Podcasts for Listening to Natural English

These podcasts are not created for ESL learners, but are great for listening to authentic, natural English.

4. Radiolab

Radiolab explores the facts of unknown stories in history. The episodes are edited very well, so the stories don’t get boring and most include an interview with an expert. There is a new episode every week, and an average episode is 35 minutes.

5. This American Life

This American Life is a very popular podcast with many awards. Every story is interesting and entertaining. Each episode is around 50 minutes but split into two or three parts. The most recent episodes are free, but you have to pay if you want to access older episodes.

6. 99% Invisible

99% Invisible is a popular podcast that focuses on strange, unknown, uncommon things that we don’t often think about.

For instance, there is an episode about underground cow tunnels in New York City and the United States’s first female statue. There are new episodes every week and each episode is around 20 minutes.

7. Invisibilia

Invisibilia is hosted by two women. Their goal is simple: teach people about hidden information and unknown history. Each week they provide great episodes with expert interviews.

Their best episode so far is definitely How to Become Batman, which is a story about how society’s expectations limit us. An average episode is about 30 minutes.

8. The Moth

The Moth is a podcast for people who love true stories. Every episode features real people telling their life story to a live audience. Each tale lasts about 12 minutes and each episode contains three stories for a total of about 30 minutes.

The speaking isn’t edited or rehearsed, so you’ll hear authentic English being spoken. It can be fast depending on the speaker’s style and your level of English. Be warned: some of the stories are sad and might make you cry.


Now is the time to start listening to podcasts. You can choose from ESL podcasts specifically designed to help you learn English as a second language or the other great podcasts to help you improve your listening skills.

You can search for new podcasts on iTunes, through a search engine, or on Facebook. Whatever your interest, there is probably a podcast about it! Have fun exploring what’s out there, and make podcasts an enjoyable time for English learning.

When it comes to language learning, games are not just for kids and they’re not just for fun. Games can be an incredibly useful tool for learning and practicing English, and they can make topics like grammar interesting and even fun.

While a variety of games can be helpful – board games, card games, even drinking games – online games are probably the most convenient. If you have internet access, you can play them, and you can play them by yourself and at any time of day. What’s more, most are free!

Learn English Through Games Online

1. Missing Letter Games

There are hundreds of games online in which you are given a word with several letters missing and you have to guess the missing letter. These types of games enable you to test your word recognition and learn new vocabulary. Some require Adobe Flash Player, and some don’t.

Check out, which offers hundreds of games on a variety of topics. Their Missing Letter Games are are great for beginners up through advanced levels.

2. Pronunciation Games

Pronunciation tends to be frustrating, not fun. However, there are some pronunciation games that can make practicing English sounds a little more enjoyable.

English Club offers a variety of mobile-friendly games, including pronunciation games. Try their Homophones Games, which come in beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels.

Homophones are two or more words that are pronounced the same but are sometimes spelled differently and have different meanings. If you want to spell correctly or write well, it’s important that you’re able to distinguish them.

The Homophones Games are simple: there are two columns of words and users must match the homophones. Not only will you learn which words sound the same, but you’ll also learn new vocabulary.

3. Trivia Games

Trivia is pieces of information with little importance or value. There are a huge number of trivia websites out there; many offer questions and multiple-choice answers. You can find trivia on specific topics, like pop culture, or you can find sets of random trivia questions that span a broad range of topics.

Trivia questions are a great way to practice English because you’re not practicing the language itself; rather, you’re using the language to complete a task. And the task here is testing your knowledge on a variety of topics.

Check out Sporcle. It offers trivia, quizzes, and brain games. Users can choose quizzes based on popularity, difficulty, length, topic, and more.

For example, interested in sports? There a number of sports quizzes. There are also useful quizzes such as the One Syllable Blitz, where you have to think of one-syllable answers for hints such as Planet and Beatles song.

4. Word Searches and Puzzles

Word games such as word searches and crossword puzzles aren’t just for kids; they’re a fun way for adults to practice vocabulary.

ESOL Courses has a number of word searches on a range of topics and varying levels. You simply click on the letters to highlight a word you find.

Have fun with English! Learn English games as a low-stress way to learn and practice the language. Not only are games fun, but research has shown that when your guard is down and you’re relaxed, you learn more!

When it comes to language learning, almost no one likes quizzes. They’re stressful and sometimes disappointing.

However, English quizzes are important and helpful: they show you how much you’ve progressed; they show you what you’ve learned and what you still need to work on.

You can take English quizzes in an ESL class, online, or in a textbook.

Useful English Quizzes

1. Vocabulary Quizzes

Merriam Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary is a fantastic online dictionary that is designed for English learners.

Thus, the definitions are much more comprehensible than standard English dictionaries, which are designed for native English speakers or advanced English learners who have much broader vocabularies.

Learner’s Dictionary also offers vocabulary quizzes to test the strength of your vocabulary. There are many different versions of the quizzes, so you can take them again and again – and learn more words, too.

2. Prepositions Quizzes

Prepositions are tiny words that can cause large headaches. In, on, at, over, through – there are so many prepositions and there are so many rules to memorize. And of course, there are many exceptions to those rules too.

One helpful preposition quiz is from Capital Community College’s grammar page, which has many useful grammar resources. This particular quiz has 20 questions. They have many other quizzes too, including quizzes on adjectives, adverbs, count and non-count nouns, spelling, and much more.

3. Idioms Quizzes

Activities for ESL Students offers many great resources for ESL students; these resources include a number of quizzes on various topics. For those interested in testing their knowledge of English idioms (i.e., off the hook, grin and bear it, same here), there are dozens of options on this site.

Their idioms quizzes are divided by letter, so you can take the quiz on Idioms beginning with ‘O’ or Idioms beginning with ‘B’. Each quiz has 10 questions and you can check your answers.

4. Phrasal Verb Quizzes

The website mentioned in #3 also has good quizzes on phrasal verbs, which are incredibly important in English. These two-word verbs – such as go back, think over, and pass out – are extremely common in conversational English and if you want to be fluent or near-fluent, you need to know a great deal of them.

The phrasal verb quizzes are divided into verbs (i.e., put, make), particles (i.e., into, on), and themes (i.e., emotions, food and drink). The number of questions range from quiz to quiz. You can also check your answers.

5. Adjectives and Adverbs Quizzes has over 500 quizzes on grammar, vocabulary, and usage; and there are quizzes for beginners as well as intermediate and advanced students.

The quizzes are multiple-choice and are also available in printed handout form, for those who’d rather take the quiz on paper or who would like a copy to study in the future.

You can search for quizzes by topic or by level. There is also a section just for Long Quizzes. You can truly spend hours on this site!

Are you looking for an app to learn English words? Here is an excellent list of mobile apps that will help you improve your vocabulary and get you learning on the go.

Apps to Learn English Words

1. Duolingo

Duolingo allows you to improve your vocabulary by speaking, reading, and listening. It gives you seven English words to learn based on a topic (e.g., school, work, adjectives).

Each lesson has a different exercise, such as repeating a phrase, translating a word into your native language, matching words with pictures, or giving the definition of a word.

The app is free to download and to use.

2. Vocabulary Builder from Magoosh

Magoosh offers a vocabulary game with 1,200 vocabulary words. Each word has definitions and example sentences. There are three levels of vocabulary, so you can move up and learn more advanced words. Words that you get wrong are repeated again and again until you get them correct.

The app is free to download and to use.

3. Learn English with Johnny Grammar’s Word Challenge

British Council offers quizzes that test common vocabulary, spelling, and grammar. You try to answer as many questions as you can in 60 seconds. It gives you a score and you can compete with other students who are using the app.

There are three levels: easy, medium, and hard. The app is free to download to use.

4. Learn American English – WordPower

Innovative Language Learning offers 100 of the top words and phrases in the United States, audio lessons, and a voice recorder to improve your pronunciation.

The app is free to download and to use, but you have to pay to upgrade to more words.

5. Learn English with Films

ABA English allows you to not only learn new English words, but also to improve listening comprehension and pronunciation.

The app uses the natural method, which allows you to immerse yourself completely in the language. First you watch one of the videos to work on listening and comprehension. Next, you study the dialogue. Then, you work on speaking by taking on the role of one of the characters.


The app is free to download and has free and paid subscriptions.

6. Learn English – Phrases & Vocabulary Words

Bravolol has over 800 phrases and vocabulary words suitable for beginners. With this app, you can practice your speaking and listening skills from listening to an English speaking parrot.

There are two categories: Travel and Basic. The app is free to download, but you have to pay to use it.

7. Learn English, Speak English

SpeakingPal uses speech recognition technology to help you improve your pronunciation. You can record your speech and get feedback on your performance. There are also mini lessons, dialogues, and exercises.

The app is free to download, but you have to pay for lessons.

8. Memrise

Memrise focuses on learning vocabulary by helping you remember what the words mean, oftentimes in a humorous way. There are many different courses, such as English Irregular Verbs, Prepositions, and even IELTS Practice.

The app is free to download and has free and paid subscriptions.

9. Cambly

Cambly connects you with native English tutors around the world to have live one-on-one conversations. It allows you to expand your vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and work on your listening skills.

The conversations are recorded so you can watch them again later. The app is best for intermediate to advanced level students who want to increase their vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and work on listening.

You can download the app for free, but you have to pay for lessons.

10. Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone allows you to immerse yourself in the language. First you learn basic words by looking at pictures (e.g., table, bird, woman). Then, you learn English words by forming phrases and longer sentences by using the words that you just learned.

The app is free to download, but you have to pay for the language program.

There are so many websites to learn English that it can be overwhelming. It’s difficult to know which websites are best for what you want to study.

Of course, you want to use a site that matches your level, is easy to navigate, and ultimately helps you improve your English.

Well, stop searching! These websites to learn English offer the best resources, are easy to navigate, and will help you improve your overall English skills.

Best Websites to Learn English

1. English Sherpa

English Sherpa is a great English learning website for people that are busy.

You can get a 100% free trial that gives you access to all video lessons, quizzes and student/teacher forums. The website has a very modern design that makes it simple to navigate and works great on your phone, tablet and computer.

Best of all, each lesson only takes about 15 minutes to complete, so you can easily study during your break or on your way to and from work.

English Sherpa’s lessons focus on the most common American English idioms and phrases. Their goal is to help you learn how to use them, so you can start improving and sounding more natural.

There are also quizzes after each lesson and every course has a Pre-Test and a Final Test so you can see how much you learned.

Native English speakers use idioms in almost 50% of their conversations, and idioms are used nearly four times every minute. So English Sherpa’s goal is to help you learn these most common fixed phrases and give you an advantage to help increase your understanding and improve your communication skills.

Your learning never stops, because Becki and Shawn (the website creators and teachers) add a new course each month. They cleverly show you how these common idioms and phrases are used in everyday life, so you can fully understand each word.

2. British Council Learn English

British Council’s Learn English allows you to practice all things English. This website has a very easy design that makes it simple to navigate.

There are many levels to satisfy every English learner. It’s a great site for beginners, but it’s also a wonderful place for intermediate or advanced learners. The site offers common English phrases as well as business English practice.

Lastly, each activity has a short quiz so that you can check your understanding and really see how much you understood.

3. VOA Learning English

VOA Learning English helps you learn English through practical uses of vocabulary and phrases. It uses current events to help you read, listen, and watch the English being used.

It’s organized by levels 1-3, so beginners and advanced English learners can benefit. Every reading has a vocabulary list with definitions, and most readings have audio so you can listen to a native speaker pronounce the words.

4. BBC Learning English

BBC Learning English offers online practice similar to a class. There are levels, units, and lessons. The website focuses on learning vocabulary, so each lesson has related vocabulary or key words to learn.

The Features section has a lot of extra practice, such as English from the news, videos, pronunciation practice, and more.

5. Duolingo

Duolingo focuses on grammar, speaking, and vocabulary. The vocabulary lists are based on themes, such as food, travel, or greetings.

You can access the program on your computer or on your smartphone, so it’s easy to practice when you’re on the go. You can set personalized goals and unlock new levels for more practice.

6. FluentU

FluentU focuses on English fluency. This site uses real content made for native English speakers, so the videos are natural and entertaining.

Every video has subtitles that help you understand what the speakers are saying. Plus you can click on the words in the subtitles and read the definition of any words you don’t know.

You have to pay for a subscription, but it might encourage you to use the site!

7. English Central

English Central offers speaking practice and gives instant feedback about your English speaking ability. You earn points from a voice recognition system that identifies when you pronounce words correctly. They also offer live chats with a native English speaker.

There are two membership packages: a free membership and a paid membership. However, the free membership doesn’t provide any of these features. The paid packages start at $15 per month.


The internet is full of great websites to learn English. You can work at your own pace, practice real English, and explore some truly interesting information presented in English. Have fun!