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English and ESL Resources

The following is a combination of excellent websites compiled by ITS staff to help students, teachers and the community with their English and English as a second language (ESL) training and courses.

Listening - General

BBC Learning English

Voice of America: Special English

NPR online hourly news and daily shows (Morning edition, All Things Considered, etc. from US National Public Radio; many of their programs keep an archive of past shows

CNN Video US and international news services

Family Health two-minute audio files on a variety of health questions, from Ohio University's Dr. Harold C. Thompson III (audio)

Great speeches historical speeches and transcripts

English Club : ESL Webguide : Listening

Listening - Skills

About ESL: listening tips

How to improve English listening

Listening - Activities

Randall's ESL Cyber Listening Lab four levels of listening materials with and pre- and post-listening questions

ComAudio on line listening with activities

ESL Radio (Australia)

Arlyn Freed's ESL/EFL Listening Resources links and comments

ESL Independent Study Lab: Listening organized by difficulty

English Listening Lounge several good-quality sample activities from a commercial site

English Listening Room fill in the blanks

EnglishStudy.com: Listening & Speaking links and comments

about.com Listening Skills for Beginning Level English Learners

English Dictation page

Language Institute Listening Quizzes dictation; click on 'Short Listening Quizzes'

Directories of podcasts




Reading - General

Online Books: The Online Books PageThe Gutenberg Project

Projects by ESL Students student writing

Reading - Skills

SQ3R (Survey/Question/Read/Recite/Review) a method for improved reading comprehension

Speed Reading Self-Pacing Methods Five simple methods for reading speed improvement

How-to-study provides a strategy for reading effectively

Reading - Activities

English-Zone: Reading organized by level

ESL Independent Study Lab: Reading 1 a links collection (similar to this page) organized by level (level 100, level 200); it's well annotated and includes some user reviews

ESL Independent Study Lab: Reading 2 a links collection (similar to this page) organized by level (level 300, level 400); it's well annotated and includes some user reviews

English Exercises Online reading and vocabulary activities

TOEFL Reading Comprehension example texts and questions


ISALC Student Compositions:


On-Line Lessons - Reading Skills mini-cloze; sentence speed reading; links to texts

Self-study Reading Comprehension collected by Internet TESL Journal

Seeing color short academic text with comprehension quiz


CNN San Francisco: Learning Resources reading activities based on current news stories; includes audio, story outline, summary, and text as well as reading comprehension and vocabulary activities.

Reading Comprehension from South China Morning Post two modes -- practice and test

Who's Who and What's What daily comprehension questions linked to New York Times feature stories

Self-study Reading Comprehension collected by Internet TESL Journal

Speaking - General

How can I improve my English conversation skills?

Tips for Getting People to Slow Down!

Making 'small talk'

Example Job Interview Questions and Answers

Speaking - Activities

Skype English Learning Group a community of Skype VOIP users

ESL Conversation Questions a collection of questions to talk about in the conversation classroom, sorted by topic: animals, crime, entertainment, etc; there's another list at eslpartyland.com

ESL Speaking activities another good collection

Speaking - Public Speaking

Business Presentations & Public Speaking in English

Conversation Questions for the ESL/EFL classroom from the Internet TESOL Journal

Ten Tips For Successful Public Speaking ten simple but important rules

Douglass Archive of American public speaking

Presentations and Public Speaking notes for non-natives on preparation, equipment, delivery, and language use; includes a self-test.

Speaking - Pronunciation Skills

Links collections

American English Pronunciation: Links

ESL: Pronunciation @ Internet TESL Journal


fonetiks.org different kinds of English (British, Canadian, Irish, etc) and other languages)

EnglishClub: Pronunciation

Minimal Pair Practice requires free 'Flash' plug-in

American English Vowels

Sentence Stress in English

Speaking - Pronunciation Activities

English Pronunciation and links to other pronunciation sites

American English Pronunciation

The Internet TESL Journal: Pronunciation a directory of exercises

English Pronunciation Test an amusing poem illustrating problems of English writing and pronunciation (e.g., 'just compare heart, beard and heard')

Speaking - Pronunciation Software

Praat Mac/Windows/Linux/etc FREE! Phonetics by computer; here's a guide for language students

Pronunciation Power Mac/Windows -- sounds

Protea Textware Windows -- Especially 'Connected Speech,' which focuses on suprasegmental speech

BetterAccent Windows -- Speech Analysis Suprasegmental Pronunciation Coach

Rosetta Stone Mac/Windows -- combines listening & speaking with grammar study

Grammar - General

Wikibooks: English in use

FAQ of English Grammar FAQ = 'Frequently Asked Questions' from the Usenet newsgroup 'alt.usage.english'

Grammar and Style Guides for Writers

Writing World Grammar Links

The American Heritage® Book of English Usage

Grammar - Reference

Guides to Grammar

Guide to Grammar & Writing interactive activities; digital handouts on grammar and English usage, notes for grammatical rules & explanations, comments on style, and usage suggestions.

The University of Wisconsin Writer's Handbook a variety of writing instructional materials

Dr. Grammar - Frequently Asked Questions

Internet Grammar of English click HERE for instructions

On-Line English Grammar including notes on form and usage


Lextutor a favorite; see Lextutor tools

Sentences from VOA's Special English for lower levels

Grammar - Activities

Guide to Grammar & Writing: Quizzes this collection of self-correcting quizzes is part of a major collection of grammar reference materials

EnglishForums.com Grammar Forum ask questions about grammar

EL Easton: Grammar quizzes Test Your English, General Grammar Tests, Spelling, SAT, TOEFL, TOEIC, Adjectives, Articles, Conjunctions, Nouns, Prepositions, Pronouns, Verbs, Phrasal Verbs

EFLNet: Grammar Index of Exercises marked by level: Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced

ESL Independent Study Lab: Grammar links organized by level (level 100, level 200. level 300) - well annotated and includes some user reviews

Quia English Activities grammar activities and games listed by title. You can also create your own activities; self-correcting games and activities available.

Business English Grammar Present Forms; The Past Simple; Irregular Verbs; Present Perfect; Past Simple v Present Perfect; For or Since; Duration; The Future; Going to; Present forms for future; Will or going to?; Conditionals; Modals; The -ing form; Prepositions; Word order; Passive; Imperative; Question tags; Have something done; Non-defining clauses; A/The; Conjunctions; etc

Grammar - Special Problems

Wikipedia: Gender in English

Articles using and omitting the indefinite article 'a' / 'an'; using and omitting the definite article 'the' -- Monash University

Nouns plural forms, possessive forms, an exercise in recognizing nouns, Count versus non-count nouns, An exercise in categorizing count- and non-count nouns, Compound nouns (and adjectives)

Wikipedia: Compound nouns, adjectives, and verbs

Wikipedia: Phrasal verbs

Passive voice when/why to use passive; recognizing passives; active/passive contrast; forming passives -- Monash University

Subject/Verb agreement challenge: identify the head (main) noun

Verb Tenses present simple and present continuous; present perfect; past perfect -- Monash University

Activities - General


Guide to Grammar: interactive quizzes

Internet TESL Journal: Activities

Aardvark's Interactive Activities

Better-English exercises

Englishclub.com: Quizzes

EnglishLearner.com: Tests

ESL PartyLand Quiz Center

INTERLINK ESL Resource Center

Interesting Things for ESL Students

Grammar: Interactive Quizzes


Internet TESOL Journal > ESL: Tests


TOEFL Preparation Links

TOEFL Information on the Internet

Other standardised tests

English-online - Test Prep...practice tests for KET; PET; FCE; CAE; CPE; TOEFL

Cambridge EFL Examinations...information on Cambridge tests

  • FCE - First Certificate in English
  • CAE - Certificate in Advanced English
  • BEC - Business English Certificates
  • CPE - Certificate of Proficiency in English
  • KET - Key English Test
  • PET - Preliminary English Test

Flo-Joe commercial test service includes:

CAEL...Canadian Academic English Language Assessment

IIELTS...International English Language Testing Services, from the British Council, The University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate(UCLES) and IDP Education Australia, IELTS Australia. Check British Council Tests in Your Countryfor information on availability

TOEIC...Test Of English for International Communication, from Educational Testing Service

Preparing for TSE

English Language Test Practice

5000 SAT Preparation Words word list

Englishjet Free Tests test your level

Interactive English Language Exercises...practice tests for Grammar, Vocabulary and Idioms

Interactive Javascript Quizzes for ESL Students rated 'easy,' 'medium,' or 'difficult'

Test Taking Tips TOEFL test taking tips from Oakwood Publishing

Vocabulary - General

Daily word study - EasySuperKids School Vocabulary 1EnglishOnline

Daily word study - Advanced: Merriam-Webster DictionaryWordsmith.OrgSuperKids School Vocabulary 2SuperKids School Vocabulary 3

Daily word studyDictionary.comMerriam-Webster

ESL: Vocabulary links

World-Wide Words usage and meaning notes on unusual words and 'turns of phrase' - fun

English Gateway:  Online vocabulary lessons (with audio) for intermediate and advanced ESL learners. Exercises on idioms, phrasal verbs and collocations. Student/teacher blog and worksheets.

Vocabulary - Idioms


ESL Cafe Idioms page (sorted alphabetically)

The origin of cliches Ever wonder where expressions like 'acid test' or 'baker's dozen' come from? Here's an extensive list, complete with a review quiz.

The Idiom Connection (study and quiz)

GoEnglish.com Idiom Dictionary searchable; scroll down for a list of words used in idioms


Idioms, Phrasal Verbs, and Slang Quizzes

Vocabulary - Activities


ESL Independent Study Lab - Vocabulary (sorted by level)

Vocabulary Quizzes (sorted by level...also, check their Easy Vocabulary Quizzes with PicturesScrambled WordsIdioms, Phrasal Verbs & SlangHomonymsQuizzes Using ImagesTroublesome WordsV0A Special English Basic Vocabulary)

Interesting Things for ESL Students: Quizzes, Word Puzzles, Word Games, Sentence Quizzes and Puzzles, Grammar Fun, Pages with Sound, Vocabulary Study, etc. (from Charles I. Kelly and Lawrnece E. Kelly)

DMOZ: Word Games a directory of resources

About.com: vocabulary quizzes (unsorted)

English Exercises Online (sorted by level) all kinds of exercises, many for vocabulary

Synonyms & Antonyms (sorted by level)


English Vocabulary Games with Pictures (games...match picture with word)

Internet Picture Dictionary (flash cards, word games)

EnglishCLUB: Quizzes > Elementary > Vocabulary

Funbrain: Words (Basic, Intermediate)


English Vocabulary Quizzes (mostly based on Voice of America's list of 'Special English')

Business English Hangman (see also their crosswords and quiz pages)

Better English: Vocabulary with a business orientation

Everyday Vocabulary: Anagrams

EnglishCLUB.net Quizzes > Intermediate > Vocabulary


Homonym Quizzes

Vocabulary University puzzles (INTERMEDIATE, ADVANCED)


Business English: Vocabulary

EnglishCLUB.net Quizzes > Advanced > Vocabulary

100 most common SAT words

Word Safari (the study of VERY advanced vocabulary through the use of a 'safari' exploring instances of use throughout the web)

A Year's Worth Of Words (365 words that appear regularly on the Scholastic Aptitude Tests and the Graduate Record exams (GREs); includes interactive quizzes)

Vocabulary - Reference

Onelook Dictionary links to many dictionaries

Cambridge International Dictionaries good for learners - choose from 5 dictionaries

Merriam-Webster Dictionary & Thesaurus hear the word

Lextutor Online Concordancer shows the way a word or phrase is used from real-life examples; use it to see how a word or phrase is used. (see also HK Concordancer)


ESL Independent Study Lab

Internet TESOL Journal Links for Students & Teachers

BBC World service: Learning English

Academic Info: ESL

Dave's ESL Cafe

EnglishClub.com: Web guide

Librarian's Index: English language

Rong-Chang Li's ESL Site

Web English Teacher resources

Writing - General

How to Write an Essay: 10 Easy Steps

Garbl's Writing Process Links -- a good collection of links

Peer Reviews (University of Wisconsin)

Proofreading for Common Surface Errors: Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar(Indiana University)

Editing and Proofreading (St. Cloud State University)

Journal Writing Workshop concepts and exercises

Writing - Mechanics

Write about graphs, charts, and tables

Paragraphs - paragraph parts; kinds of paragraphs; tips from the Writing Den

Combining Sentences for Variety and Clarity

Paragraph Coherence exercise

Transitions (University of North Carolina)

Transitions & Cohesion Exercise

ESL spelling tests: common words

Online spelling activities Internet TESL Journal

Writing - Organisation

Three Ways to Organize Research

Some General Advice on Academic Essay-Writing

Developing a Research Question and Developing a Research Thesis -- with interactive exercises.

Writing a Thesis

Thesis Statements -- common problems

Checklist for thesis - support

Writing - Formats

Writing the five-paragraph Essay tutorial

Argument and Opinion Essays

Cause and Effect

Compare and Contrast

Comparison/Contrast Essays

Descriptive Essay

Extended Definition

Narrative Essays

Persuasive Essays

Problem and Solution

Process Essays

Reaction Essay

Writing - Introductions

Top-down introduction model

Strategies for Writing an Effective Introduction

Things NOT to do in an introductory paragraph

Writing Good Openers

Writing - Conclusions

Conclusions tips: strategies and things to avoid

Strategies for Writing a Conclusion


Writing - Quotes

Quoting and Paraphrasing - advanced but thorough treatment

Using Quotations: General Instructions and Suggestions - introduction for English language learners

Effective Quotations - basic information and examples

Academic Writing: Quoting and Paraphrasing Mechanics - topics include:

Using Paraphrases For English language learners; explains the benefits of free instead of literal paraphrasing

Unsuccessful and successful paraphrases 1Successful & unsuccessful paraphrases 2

Writing Summaries a brief and clear explanation and a set of rules; U of Delaware

Summary writing tips

Summary Street Guidelines for writing summaries and ten interactive exercises

Distinguishing between Summary & Paraphrase

Writing Summaries & Paraphrases

Summarizing and note-taking Advanced

Writing - Good Writing

Ten Rules for good writing - see also:

The Elements of Style William Strunk's classic guide to usage

The King's English H. W. Fowler's classic guide to usage

Writing - Research & Writing

Planning and Writing a Research Paper with emphasis on gathering and citing information; from University of Wisconsin

Documenting Electronic Sources MLA and APA

The Research Paper: Writing and Citing Ithaca College

Writing - Special Purposes

University Application Letters

Writing a college application essay

internationalstudent.com: application essays

Other kinds of writing


Email 1Email 2

Essay Exams

Grant Writing

Reaction and Response essays (agree or disagree)

Tax Professionals - M Tx

Writing for specific disciplines: Biology PhilosophyHistory

Writing - Activities

All levels

Understanding Writing Topics checklist for research paper writers

Regents' Essay Topics LiSt over 500 questions for composition from University of Georgia; good preparation for writing tests (all levels)

Writing Den Topics information on topics of interest to newcomers to North America, especially Canada, including History (e.g., the Klondike Gold Rush); Nature (e.g., Dangers of Pesticides); and Science (e.g., Recycling)

University Admission Essay topics typical topics for university applicants


e-cards electronic postcards

PIZZAZ (People Interested in Zippy and Zany Zcribbling) collection of activities 'dedicated to providing creative writing activities and copyable (yes, copyable!) handouts for use in the class room'


Journal Writing Ideas

Beginning Writing - Short Writing Assignments

Computer Assisted Sentence Production

Correct the mistakes editing exercises

Subjector! identify simple and compound subjects

Subject-verb agreement activities:s-v 1s-v 2;

Pronoun reference activities: pron 1


Guide to Grammar and Writing (INTERMEDIATE, ADVANCED) grammar information and practice materials for sentence-level and paragraph-level grammar.

Correct the mistakes editing exercise

Identifying Independent Clauses identify the structure of sentences

paragraphpunch.com guided writing exercise - paragraph level

essayPunch.com guided writing exercise - paragraph level

Fragments and Run-ons identify

Fragments and Run-ons repair

Sentence combining exercises -- combine to form sentences with only one main clause; increasing difficulty:


Guide to Grammar and Writing (INTERMEDIATE, ADVANCED) - note: check their Interactive Quiz Page grammar information and practice materials for sentence-level and paragraph-level grammar.

Summary Street guidelines for writing summaries and ten interactive exercises with technical reading texts to summarize and built-in feedback.

Writing Machine (INTERMEDIATE, ADVANCED) information on the writing process and on styles of academic writing, together with examples, links, and student writing assignments.

Writing - Reference

Advanced Composition for Non-Native Speakers of English explanations, professional examples, and student examples of four genres: Giving Instructions; Cause/Effect; Comparison/Contrast; Persuasion

Write about graphs, charts, and tables

OWL Online Writing Lab from Purdue university, includes over 100 handouts on English writing skills (very useful website!)

RPI Writing Center handouts on writing style and technique

LEO: Literacy Education Online information on citations, style, and the writing process from the writing center at St. Cloud State University

Nesbitt-Johnston Writing Center handouts, including an interesting section on writing for particular disciplines, from Hamilton College

Online Resources for Writers good collection of links to many of the major online writing resources.

University of Wisconsin Writer's Handbook notes on grammar and style, academic form, peer reviewing, and a collection of links to other writing centers

Writing - Online Writing Centres

OWL: Purdue University Online Writing Center

Writer's Complex Empire State College

Georgetown University Writing Center

Dartmouth Writing Center: Materials for Students

Writing Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

University of Kansas Writing Center: Writing Guides

Dulwich College Singapore

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