Online Learning: ESL Resources

In a world that is rapidly becoming more connected than ever before, it’s no wonder that English as a Second Language (ESL) programs are more plentiful now than in previous years. Business, politics, social media, and Internet use in general present opportunities to interact with English speakers, no matter where you are in the world. Advancements in technology have made overseas travel more affordable, and scholarships make studying abroad very appealing to students. For many, the opportunity to study in an English-speaking nation opens doors for academic and career advancement, but with this opportunity comes the challenging task of becoming literate in the English language.

Learning any foreign language can be challenging, but English is especially daunting, with many contradictions and exceptions to the rules and spellings that don’t always seem to make sense; nonetheless, there are more second-language English speakers in the world than there are native speakers, which means that many have been successful in learning the language, even as adults. While the thought of learning English as a second, third, or even fourth language can be intimidating, with the help of a great ESL program, that fear can be mitigated. ESL programs provide the instruction, interaction, accountability, and community that are helpful to excel at the English language, and in addition, many resources exist online to help English learners. Becoming aware of your options is the first step to knowing which programs and resources are the right fit for you.

Answers to Questions From English Learners

English contains many things that can trip up someone trying to learn the language, from idioms to spelling to prepositions. This page answers some frequently asked questions from ESL students.

34 Easy Grammar Questions

Thanks to the contributions of many teachers, Activities for ESL Students contains thousands of quizzes, tests, and activities to help students learn English, including this quiz.

Asking Questions

The BBC offers a wealth of resources and lessons to help people learn English at a variety of skill levels, including this unit on how to ask questions.

Lessons From the News: Daylight Saving Time

Read the materials about whether Daylight Saving Time should be scrapped, then complete the activities to test your English skills. This site has many different activities based on issues and events that are in the news.

Find Out Your English Level

Take this test to discover how advanced your English abilities are, then use the rest of this site from the British Council to improve your skills.

Business English Materials: McDonald’s

Study the article on this page, then use the rest of the activities on this page to improve your English. Once you’re finished, check out all of the other business-focused materials on this site.

Culturally Authentic Pictorial Lexicon

Culturally Authentic Pictorial Lexicon uses real-life images to help people tie together words they see every day with their meanings in another language.

English Slang Directory

Slang can be particularly hard for people who don’t speak English as their first language. Studying this list can help.

Plans for the Weekend: The Future Tense

The lessons on this site include audio files so students can hear the words being spoken. This page is a beginner-level lesson that includes questions to reinforce learning.

Advice for English Learners

Read this page to get some advice from teachers that can help students learning English do their best.

English Gateway Worksheets

Learn and master vocabulary, idioms, phrasal verbs, and more with these worksheets from English Gateway.

Expressions of Quantity

The University of Toronto has provided this resource that explains some tricky situations when it comes to subject-verb agreement.

Teaching Pronunciation

Read this page to learn some tips about how linguistic rules can vary between languages and how to best convey the pronunciation of different words in English.

Article Usage

ESL students can have a hard time determining when to use articles such as “a” or “the.” This page contains a detailed explanation of which article to use when and which situations call for no article at all.

TOEFL iBT Interactive Sampler

The makers of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) have provided this free sampling of past exam questions that students can download and use to prepare for the test.

ESL Listening Lab: First Day of Class

Listen to the conversation, then test yourself on how well you understood it. This site contains many such exercises for a variety of skill levels.

Common Roots

Many common building blocks are part of English words. When you learn the meanings of these pieces, it can help you figure out the meanings of words you don’t know.

Major Problems ESL Learners Have With Grammar

A lot of the difficulties that English learners encounter can boil down to a few major issues, such as confusion about word order and verb tenses.

Pronunciation Exercises

This page contains many different exercises having to do with English pronunciation. Some of these might be informative even for native speakers!

Name That Thing

Take this timed quiz from the people who make the Merriam-Webster English dictionary to test how well you know the names for different things.

English Language Lessons

Many different lessons are available on this page, including English units at different skill levels as well as help practicing for the U.S. citizenship test.

American Teens Talk!

The Department of State offers this collection of audio and text files including interviews with high school students, notes on the vocabulary they use, and discussion questions for learners of English.

Common Errors in English Usage

Check out this list of mistakes people often make with English, even if they’ve been speaking the language their whole lives.

Confusable Words

It’s no wonder that many people find English to be a confusing language, considering the number of easily confused words it contains. This page includes information on words such as “its” and “it’s.”

Plagiarism and ESL Writers

Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab contains many writing resources and instructional materials, including this page emphasizing the importance of teaching ESL students about what plagiarism is and how to avoid it.

Headline Clues Game

This game helps to exercise a student’s reading comprehension skills by asking them to fill in missing words based on the context.

Past Tense Rules

English has multiple ways to say that something happened in the past, and this page aims to clarify them.

English Club Vocabulary Quizzes

Quizzes for every level, with topics ranging, from animals, to food, are what this site has to offer.

Voice of America Learning English

Listen to stories and feature news on Voice of America Learning English. These stories are spoken 33% slower than normal, in order to grasp vocabulary and understanding on a wide range of topics.

Irregular Verb List

If the past tense of “jump” is “jumped,” the past tense of “run” should be “runed,” right? Wrong. Read this list to learn the past tenses of irregular verbs.