Top 7 apps to help you learn English
Many of our students are taking this time to improve their English and ask us which apps they should use to help them do this while at home. We looked at over 20 different apps and chose a few that we think would be good for you. Our list is based on what we think students can benefit most from, whether you prefer learning the grammar structures, vocabulary or creating flash cards. We’ve created a countdown of the 7 best apps (free and paid) to help you learn English:
#7 Rosetta stone
Price: free – £185 for life | rating: ☆☆
Rosetta Stone doesn’t use translations and encourages you to use English, which makes it somewhat similar to the classroom. Actually, Rosetta stone was designed by some incredibly qualified linguists and neuroscientists, and pedagogically speaking is flawless. It works by teaching you in a gradual way, that lets you work out the answer and acquire the language naturally, plus the speaking elements have been optimised for non-native speakers. If you’re looking for boring, lengthy grammatical explanations there are none on Rosetta Stone. However, if you are looking to save some money you’ll need to search for a different app – Rosetta Stone is eye wateringly expensive!
Price: free – £130 a year | rating ☆☆
Grammerly is best for people who need to write in English for either University or work. It is scary for teachers because it does part of our job for us, however, it is not a replacement for a teacher at all. Grammerly is so good that even native English speakers use it to avoid embarrassing themselves! Grammerly will pick up your punctuation mistakes as you type them, but as a language learning app it is not effective. It has decent explanations and detailed examples, but it is designed for native speakers writing in their own language and doesn’t offer the support that a language learner needs. It also seems to slow down my keyboard. In conclusion, Grammerly should only really be used as a tool to aid your writing, that’s all.
#5 BBC Learn English
Price: free | rating ☆☆☆
BBC Learn English is the best value app. It is brilliant and highly recommended by us. There are short 3 – 6 min lessons, programs for English learners, transcripts for you to read and the level of difficulty is clear. The videos are really lovely and it’s great for business English learners too, especially those who like to stay up to date with the news. Basically, anyone can enjoy this app. It’s updated daily and the language is very current. You can follow your favourite shows and share them with others, and there aren’t any annoying adverts or an expensive premium version. However, the quizzes aren’t particularly great, dynamic or challenging and the grammar explanations are usually dull visually. It isn’t as fun as other apps but it’s by far the best free one when trying to stay on top of your English.
Price: free| rating ☆☆☆
Anki is for people that want to learn quickly. Because of the way the app works, it helps you remember particular words and phrases, and reviews them constantly so you’ll never forget them. It’s a great vocabulary builder and if you like learning with images and flashcards, it’s
ideal. This app is great for improving your memory and is surprisingly interesting. However, Anki isn’t just for learning English and that can be a distration (I ended up adding my own flashcards for practising ukelele chords). Anki supports images, videos and audio, and can be used on more than one device. It’s enjoyable and efficient but it may not be for everyone.
Price: £13 – £80 | rating ☆☆☆☆
Babbel is best for variety and clarity. The examples and explanations are brilliant and clear, and the conversational part of the app is even better. Lots of language apps teach you strange pointless sentences but Babbel gives you examples that you will use in real life. The variety is decent. There are a few different things you can do, but some exercises are repetitive and carbon copies of exercises from other apps. However, its layout is easy and the app looks nice, plus it has a conversational part to it which uses voice recognition on your phone too. In summary though, it is much better and useful for beginner students overall.
Price: free – £12/month | rating ☆☆☆☆
Duolingo is the big one and not without reason. It has an option for students looking to improve but this is the best for beginners. If you want to learn through interactive games and do a lot of translating Duolingo is great. The app helps you learn verbs, short phrases and then moves on to writing and speaking for higher levels. Duolingo lets you limit how much you want to practise a day, and that little green owl is a great motivator too, it monitors your progress as well as giving you rewards. Its one drawback, however, is that it relies heavily on translating and almost every teacher discourages this because not all words or phrases can be translated directly.
Price: free /pay for extra call time | rating ☆☆☆☆☆
Lingbe is the best for success. Most apps require you to do exercise after exercise, watch a lot of videos, listen to audios or read and these are all things you can do on your own. Lingbe lets you practise your English in a real life, spoken call with a native speaker. It is exactly what a lot of students need and benefit from the most. You can ‘like’ someone if you enjoyed talking to them and if they do the same, you’ll become friends. This works like a language exchange so if you help someone else learn your language, then they’ll teach you theirs. It is super easy to use and it’s a great way to make friends, learn about cultures and improve the most important skill in English; speaking!