a red book with English learning text

11 Resources for Improving Your English in 2020

English is the number one most spoken language in the world by non-native speakers and vital to know for anyone wanting to travel, study abroad or do business abroad. Fortunately, there are endless amounts of online and offline resources where you can improve your English for free. Here are a few of our favourites although there are so many that we could probably write a book about all of them. 

Listening

Watching Movies and Series 

Watching movies and series is also a great way to pick up on different idioms and phrases. You can start out by watching with subtitles in your own native language and then progress to English subtitles. Finally, when you’re ready, have a go at watching movies and TV series without any subtitles. Even if you don’t understand everything, it is still a great way to improve your English. 

 

Tip: Try to watch films and series where you get to hear a variety of different accents for example Friends for learning the American accent and Game of Thrones for a variety of British accents. 

a computer with Netflix open

Listening to Podcasts

Listening to podcasts is a great way to improve your listening skills. Unlike with movies or TV series, you won’t be able to see the gestures or the facial expressions of the people speaking, so you’ll have to rely solely on your listening skills

 

Listening to Music 

As with podcasts, listening to music is a fantastic (and very enjoyable!) way to improve your English listening skills. You can even use apps like Lyrics Training to see the lyrics and fill in the missing word. For some people (I’m talking about you musical learners) it can be much easier to retain vocabulary and expressions when there’s a beat to accompany them. 

 

Reading

Reading Newspapers and Magazines

Reading newspapers and magazines from English speaking countries is a great way to pick up on cultural references, stay up-to-date with local events and improve your vocabulary. It is also easier to read newspapers and magazines than literature since the language is more simple and concise. Some great newspapers to read include The Guardian, The Huffington Post and Business Insider among many others.

a table with the wall street journal on it

Vocabulary

Building your Vocabulary with Apps

The best way to build and really retain your vocabulary is of course by reading but if you’d like some extra practice, then you can try out different apps for growing your vocabulary. There are so many apps out there, so we decided to make a whole blog post about them, check it out here.

a person holding an English learning app

 

Grammar

The British Council

The British Council offers a variety of resources for all levels of English language learners. They explain some of the grammatical functions, like modal verbs and conditionals, that students often have trouble with. You can also practice English by taking little quizzes and checking to see if you got the answers right. Moreover, they’ve got various apps for improving your grammar, pronunciation and listening skills. 

 

UsingEnglish

Like The British Council, UsingEnglish provides its users with resources and quizzes on a variety of grammatical topics. 

 

Writing

Grammarly

Grammarly is a godsend to even native English speakers. It corrects all types of mistakes including spelling and punctuation errors, poor grammar, incorrect preposition usage and even lousy sentence structure. All of this is offered in the free version, however, if you’d like some extra help, you can buy the Premium version for 29$ a month. The premium version offers supplementary features such as telling you what exactly is wrong with your writing, suggesting synonyms and looking out for plagiarism. 

 

Thesaurus

Thesaurus is a great help for finding synonyms for the most overused words in the English language. By searching for synonyms you’ll also come across new words that you might not have heard of, making it a remarkable way to increase your vocabulary.

 

Speaking and Conversation

Participating in Language Exchanges

Once you’ve reached a more advanced level, it’s time to start speaking English! A great way to do this is by attending language exchanges and practising your conversation skills with both native speakers and non-native speakers alike. Language exchanges are hosted in all major cities around the world, so finding one should not be too difficult, just make sure you check on Facebook to not miss any. 

 

Comprehensive Sites

BBC Learning English

BBC Learning English offers a comprehensive resource where you’ll find everything from grammar to business English to pronunciation. They have a particularly extensive part on learning the pronunciation of various words and word combinations. What’s unique about this tool is that it teaches students how native speakers typically pronounce these words instead of the “proper” pronunciation.

 

We hope this blog post was helpful and that you’ll continue to improve your English. If you’d like any more help learning English, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team of former international students.