If you ever plan to visit or move to another country that uses a different language than your own, you will want to have at least a general understanding of that language. In doing so, it will help you communicate and understand the culture better. Learning other languages can be difficult for many and with being so busy, it can be difficult to find time to study. Fortunately the World Wide Web and mobile technology makes studying a second language much easier. Continue reading to learn more about English as a second language and online resources that can be used no matter where you are currently living.
English grammar is a set of rules describing the structure of English language expressions. This includes structures of sentences, phrases, words, and clauses. There are regional, social, and historical English variations. Standard, present-day English can be found in education, government, news reporting, entertainment, and broadcasting, including both informal and formal speech. English consists of eight different parts of speech, or word classes: conjunctions, adverbs, adjectives, prepositions, pronouns, determiners, nouns, and verbs. Interjections are also a word class but they do not form part of the sentence structure and clause of the English language.
Reading and Writing
When you look at written symbols and understand what they mean, you are reading. While reading, our eyes are receiving written symbols (punctuation, spaces, marks, and letters) and our brain is being used to convert these symbols into words, paragraphs, and sentences that communicate things to us. When we read, we can read in our head, silently, or we can read aloud so others can hear us. In general, reading is a skill that is receptive because we are receiving information; however, reading is a complex process which also requires speaking skills. Speaking skills help us in pronouncing words that are read. This means that while we're reading, it's also a productive skill since we are not only receiving the information but also transmitting it.
- Study Skills: Effective Reading
- The Fundamentals of Critical Reading and Effective Writing
- Writing Tips: Sentence Builder
- Reading and Writing Placement Test Prep
- ESL Gold: Reading
The term "vocabulary" refers to every word used in a specific language in general or as a whole. It also refers to words associated with a certain activity or subject area. Oftentimes, students are given vocabulary lists to study. This is a list of phrases and words with their translations or definitions in which they must study and learn. A dictionary is a great tool to help you increase your vocabulary as it lists all the words in the English language. It also provides variations of the words, and definitions, which will help in strengthening your vocabulary even further.
- Idiom Site
- ESL Slang Page
- The Idiom Connection
- English Vocabulary in Use: Upper-Intermediate Level Test
- English Interactive: Vocabulary
When words are written, they are fixed. If you are writing a letter and misspell a word, it can completely change the meaning of what is being written and therefore, not getting your point across clearly. For instance, many people confuse words in the English language, including natives. A good example of this is alot, a lot, and allot. Allot means to give out or apportion something. A lot means many. Alot is not a word. It is also important to know when to make a word plural, when letters should be capitalized, when to add prefixes and when to add suffixes when spelling correctly.
- Spelling and Meaning
- Spelling and Pronunciation
- Spell Check Game
- Free Online Spelling Course
- Self-Test on English Grammar and Spelling
Punctuation is used to make the meaning of sentences clear. Punctuation marks are used to separate written sentences and their parts. For instance, a question mark is used at the end of a question, a period is used at the end of a sentence or statement, a comma is used for a pause or as separation, and an exclamation point is used when you want your sentence to express excitement. Other punctuation marks include colons, semi-colons, quotation marks, dashes, etc., and each has a specific rule as to when it should be used in a sentence.
- Punctuation Errors
- Period Punctuation in Writing
- The Three Most Common Comma Rules
- Word Processing: ESL Exercise
- Punctuation Exercises
When you listen, you are receiving a language via your ears. Through listening you can identify sounds and process what is being spoken into words. As you listen, you're using your ears to obtain sounds of sentences including the rhythm, any pauses, and the sounds of the letters. Our brain converts this into meaning. To listen effectively requires attention and focus. Some will have to work harder at developing great listening skills than others and learning to listen in another language is even more difficult so it will require even more attention and focus.
Converters & Calculators
There is a lot to learn when it comes to learning the English language. Not only are you learning about parts of speech, punctuation, grammar, reading, writing, and listening, but eventually you'll learn about measurements, time zones, temperatures, money, and more. Each of these subjects has certain words, phrases, and abbreviations associated with them. The good news is that there are a lot of resources available online which can help you. For instance, the typing test listed below will help you practice writing sentences and spelling words correctly, the currency converter will help you convert your native currency to U.S. currency, and the world clock will help you understand the different time zones in the United States.
- Online Spell Check, Grammar, and Thesaurus Checking
- Typing Test
- The Currency Converter
- The World Clock: Time Zones
- Measurement Conversion Table
General ESL Resources
For anyone learning a language other than their native language it can be very difficult. Fortunately there is a lot of help available. The following resources will help you gain a better understanding of the English language in general:
- Business English
- English as a Second Language
- English Zone
- Exercises and Activities for ESL Students
- English Daily
By: Lisa Smith