Updated  Apr 13, 2019


Studying English on the Internet

(See also other Pages with Internet Links on this website.)



Online Dictionaries



Online Pronunciation Guides


Listening and Speaking

Online Listening and Speaking Practice



Download some listening materials



Online Translation



Grammar Quizzes

Guinlist (advanced)



Phrasal Verbs

Interesting Word Games on the Internet


Coherence & Cohesion

Quizzes on 'Linking Words'


General English

BBC Learning English


The British Council's 'Learn English' website

The Virtual Language Centre

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Language Centre

Teacher Joe

Anastasia'a Website




Overall IELTS Preparation

See these links, below


Online Dictionaries


(Some have no audio files to hear the pronunciation.)

Cambridge Learner’s Dictionary  (Has audio files)

Has translations into many languages, including audio files in other languages.

Has many idioms


Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary


Cambridge Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs


        Has audio files, example sentences and idioms


A very good online dictionary, with many recordings and many features. Both British English and American English pronunciations can be heard on the audio files. (Go to "Options" to change the pronunciation.) 


        Has audio files, example sentences & translation into some languages


This seems to be a good site with lots of interesting reading and activities related to studying English. The main audio file is American but many words have an audio file both for British and American pronunciations. The audio files are sometimes a robot and sometimes a real human.

The site also has a Chinese dictionary at and dictionaries in other languages.


        Good audio files.

Meriam-Webster Learner's Dictionary (U.S)


Also called This website consults several dictionaries, mainly Webster's. There are a few good pronunciation audio files. Unfortunately, a lot of ads come with this website.


        No audio but many examples

        Many examples

Websters (U.S)

Robot audio files - not very good. (U.K.) (U.S.)  This site is more an information site than a dictionary, although the site does give short dictionary definitions of most words. (Oxford's full online dictionary exists but it is a pay site.)


Quite a good site for finding the meanings of many common English expressions and idioms. Homepage This is the page for searching for meanings.


This is similar to a dictionary of synonyms.;_ylt=AmZUzDAD.v7L3sS_22XHhSIuCcsF


You should not use most of these words and expressions in the IELTS test.


This is quite a good dictionary, with some good pictures. It has many audio recordings but you have to buy the product before you can hear the audio.


This dictionary has some rarer words, scientific words and information about names that might not be shown in other dictionaries.


Online Pronunciation Guides

Note: If you know any other good websites with (free) pronunciation audio files of word combinations, phrases etc., please let me know at .

British English pronunciation of words and many commonly used phrases such as, "What did you do?" This site gives the pronunciation of different tenses of verbs, for example, "graduated". The voice is of a real person (someone who has also done IELTS Speaking test audio and video recordings.)

The MacMillan Dictionary website also has good British English recordings of words, using real people. There are many recordings of compound words and other expressions. This online dictionary has many useful features. One useful feature is that you can change from British to American pronunciation by changing the setting at "Options" (at the top right-hand side of the page).

This is a dictionary + pronunciation site. American English. This site doesn't have the pronunciation of past tense of verbs and it doesn't have a library of commonly used phrases. The voices are real people.

This site has many pictures of vocabulary along with audio files for some of many of these words. On the home page, just click the pictures and see where they take you. These pictures represent topics or categories. Alternatively, on the right-hand side of the page you can use the search function (under the word, "Index") or the list of Themes.

Both the British and the American versions of the Encarta dictionary have recordings for some words. Sometimes one has a recording that the other one doesn't have. For example, "Australia" is not listed in the U.K. version but is in the U.S. version. (U.K.) (U.S.)

This is a dictionary + pronunciation site. American English. Some of the recordings seem to be real people but others seem to be 'computerized voices'. The site doesn't have the pronunciation of past tenses and it doesn't have a library of phrases. Unfortunately, a lot of ads come with this website.

This is quite a good site for hearing the pronunciation of a few different words and phrases. People send the words or phrases to Forvo that they are not sure how to pronounce and other people volunteer to pronounce them and send audio recordings to Forvo. So it's not really a "dictionary". There are both British and American voices here. However, occasionally a volunteer's pronunciation is not very good or not correct. There is a system included on the website where other people can judge (can rate) these recordings.

I find that navigating between pages on this website is sometimes a bit slow and quite often I can't navigate away from the website at all. For this reason, I have "borrowed" a few recordings and put them on my website (in the Word Combination Lists pages) rather than linking directly to this website.

There are several different languages on Forvo. Here is  the page for English phrases: English phrases. On the right-hand side of that page you will see links to words such as nouns, verbs and adjectives.

Some of the words and phrases on that website are rarely used in everyday conversation.

This site is similar to Forvo (above) but it includes all media files – audio, video, and photographs. People are free to donate files and are free to use the files in any way they want. Unfortunately, the site seems a little complex to use and you need to spend some time exploring it.

It is in several languages. The Chinese page is here.

As for the English pronunciation audio files, I think this website is not very useful because it only has a limited database and most examples are single words. You can hear better audio files of almost all these words on the MacMillan and Howjsay sites. I am including the Wikipedia Commons site here simply because it has a few examples that you can't find elsewhere, especially a few phrases.

The English pronunciation files are found here:  and A few of these files seem to be defective.

There's more bad news – you need to download a special media player to hear these files because Windows Media won't play these files. That's not too hard to do and it's always useful to have a different media player on your computer. You need to go to this page to do that. I chose the VLC because I think open source programs are less likely to contain spyware.

Basic level.

This is a good little quiz to test you on your listening ability for vowel sounds (in British English). It can also be used for pronunciation practice – just mimic the pronunciation.

How to use.

There is a button at the bottom of the page that links to an explanation of how to use this site. But you don't need to use that because it is so simple. Just click the "Spin" button. You'll see three words and hear one pronunciation. Choose which word was pronounced and you'll be told if you are right or not. Just click every button to see what they do. It's simple.

This site has several good explanations, recordings of words to mimic and listening quizzes.

        This site is connected to the previously shown site.

This is a very good site for adding to your basic, everyday vocabulary and for hearing the pronunciation of the words. Most words have a picture and you can set the website to translate to your language. (See the top right-hand side for setting the translation language.) The site uses American English but about 95% of English words are pronounced more or less the same in British and American English. You can spend hours on this website!!

This site has quite a few audio recordings of words, using real people. It's American English only. You might find some of the more unusual words (slang and colloquialisms) listed here if you can't find them pronounced elsewhere on the internet. You can download the database but you need Shockwave Flash on your computer to play them after you download them.


Online Listening and Speaking Practice

This is the BBC Learning English pronunciation webpage.

This is a great site for dictation (听写)! British English. Doing dictation exercises will greatly help you improve your listening ability. It will also indirectly help you speak better.

After you have done the dictation, you can copy the correct passage and then go back to the page where the reader speaks the dictation slowly. Listen again while looking at the correct text and mimic the speaker. Then try doing that again when the speaker speaks the passage at normal speaking speed. This will greatly help you improve your speaking ability!

This is is especially useful for those people who have poor pronunciation. It has pairs of words that sound similar but not exactly the same, such as, 'sheep' and 'ship'. Mimic the speakers.

This is a very useful site, in British English, that has many short question/answer examples. You can improve your grammar and your pronunciation by practicing with the materials on this site.

This site is useful for practicing (or reviewing) basic pronunciation. An interesting feature of this site is that it has examples of English pronunciation from nine different countries.

Good for short dialogue listening and speaking practice.

This site has some good listening materials, with transcripts. The following is the list of free listening resources on this site --> It's on more than one page so click "next" to go to the next page.

This site has a lot of good resources for improving your pronunciation. The pronunciation is North American (Canadian) English.

This site has a lot of good listening materials. Australian English. Very suitable for IELTS.

This is a website for learning English from France. It seems to have a few good things, especially good listening material. It's worth exploring.

This website has some exercises for pronunciation training. The level is basic. It's American English, connected to the Merriam-Webster site.

This is quite a good website for practicing reading and listening. You can also mimic the recordings, to improve your pronunciation. It's written by a man from England, Sean Banville, ("Sean" is pronounced as "shawn"), who also speaks in the recordings. [However, note that these are recordings of written English, which rarely has any contracted English or certain other aspects of naturally spoken conversational English. So, although these recordings are good for improving your pronunciation, they do not accurately or fully represent the way English is spoken in a conversational or dialogue situation, such as in the Speaking test.] He takes short newspaper stories, written in rather simple English, and he reads them in the recordings, so you can listen and read at the same time. He also has other exercises based on these news stories, which are especially good for improving your vocabulary.

First, click on one of the stories on the index page. Then, at the top left-hand side of the page, you'll see "LISTEN: MP3". Click that to hear the recording. Of course, you can save these recordings to your computer.

Mr. Banville also has other similar websites:, which is all about special days that are celebrated in different countries around the world; and, which is about famous people. He has another website at but I had to use a proxy server to get to that site. All three of these websites have MP3 recordings of the written articles.


Download Some Listening Materials

This is a great site for IELTS students, with lots of listening materials and the transcripts to go with them. It has speakers from all the English-speaking countries as well as foreigners speaking English. The speaking is very natural.

Downloads from The British Council's 'Learn English' website

(It looks like no transcripts of the Elementary level podcasts are available.)

(These have transcripts.)  This is an American site with free podcasts. It's good but the people in the recordings speak too slowly and unnaturally. This means they don't do the normal linking of speech sounds that native speakers do. (American English)

This site has a lot of listening materials, along with the transcripts. However, not all of this is suitable for IELTS students. The speaking speed is natural speed, which is quite fast for most learners of English. I suggest you choose the beginning level materials, especially the children's stories. (There are three levels, Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced.) An English translation of "The Art of War" by Sun Tzu (孙子兵法) is on this page but only 4 recordings out of the 13 translations have a person reading the recordings. (It's a pity no-one told the reader how to correctly say "孙子".) (American English)

This site has many good listening exercises, along with questions to answer, to see if you understand what you hear. The listening exercises are called, "Quizzes". If you click "Quiz Script" near the top of the page on each quiz page, you will be able to see a copy of the transcript of what the speakers say.

Although this is all American English, this website can still greatly help IELTS students. (Canadian English)

This is quite good material for IELTs students, i.e., at about the right level.

That webpage says you need Shockwave to hear the recordings but my Windows Media Played played them with no problem. However, after you click the items on the left-hand side, such as "Episode One", you see that you do need Shockwave to read the transcript. (When you download Shockwave, I suggest you don't agree to also download the Google Toolbar.)

This page is an index of many different listening resources, in both American and British English (but I think mostly American English.)


Online Translation

Here are four places on the internet where you can translate from English to Chinese or Chinese to English. If you have never used translation software before, be very careful because translation software can sometimes make terrible (and even stupid) mistakes! This is especially true for idiomatic expressions. 

See also a short guide on the 中文 page of this website.

Possibly the third one is exactly the same as the second one because both are based on the Systran software.


Grammar Quizzes

There are many good grammar quizzes on this site:

This site has a few quizzes on rather basic grammar:


This site has two games for identifying grammar mistakes in a sentence. (You don't need to give the grammatically correct word – just show that you know what kind of error is in the sentence.)

You place bets and try to win as much money as possible. Warning: Before you play the game, you need to fully read and understand the explanation under the heading of 'Types of Mistakes'.


Phrasal Verbs

Websites on phrasal verbs in general


Websites with lists of phrasal verbs


Websites with quizzes on phrasal verbs. (There are many other websites similar to the ones below.)


Quizzes on 'Linking Words'

This is a short quiz on some connecting words (=discourse markers) although not all of these connecting words are the types that are useful for the IELTS Speaking test. The answers are at the end of the quiz, with detailed explanations. You need to download the small pdf. file.


This one is on a British Council English learning site.


A Headway quiz on connecting words (connective discourse markers):


BBC Learning English

The following BBC pages have lots of excellent material to help you improve your English.

Here is the Chinese language page for BBC Learning English:

Here is the English language page:

This page is especially useful for people who need to improve their pronunciation:



Homepage:  This website seems to be mostly quizzes on grammar and vocabulary. It also has listening dialogues, with the transcripts, but I couldn't see any questions based on the dialogues.

'Headway' is possibly the best general English textbook for British English. It is very suitable for students preparing for IELTS. 

Other well-known foreign textbooks have been republished in China (with some added Chinese language content) and are sold at a reasonably low price in China. Unfortunately, I haven't seen any Headway books that have been republished in China. But you can find Headway books at certain bookshops in China, such as the imported book section of the Foreign Language Bookshop in Wangfujing. 

A Headway quiz on connecting words (connective discourse markers):


The British Council's 'Learn English' website

This looks like a very good resource to help you improve your English, especially listening. The only problem is it's hard to know what is on this website. You need to click on everything to see what this website has. See also the listening downloads, above.  (Chinese)


The IELTS section


Phrasal Verbs


The Virtual Language Centre

(There seems to be two home pages! )


This is a great site from Hong Kong with lots of useful information and quizzes, recordings, dictionaries etc. Click on everything. You can spend hours on this site!


Cambridge University Press

This website mainly advertises Cambridge books for learning English but the following page,, has some good vocabulary exercises to do online, for free.


Overall IELTS Preparation


The following two internet links will take you to some copies of good IELTS books and documents that you can read on the internet or download.  (See also the "Related Documents" on the right-hand side.) Downloadable. Downloadable.  (Some of the documents and books here might not be worth reading or might not have much useful information about IELTS.)


Downloading from

Sometimes (not always) you can download the contents of the books (or partial books) that are on the website. You do that by clicking on "More" --> "Save document". The documents will be available for download as pdf documents (Adobe Acrobat Reader documents).

For any IELTS books that you download from the internet, I suggest you try to find free copies (on the internet) of the audio recordings that go with the books. With the audio recordings, you'll be able to make maximum use of the books.


Interesting Word Games on the Internet

I enjoyed playing these word games!

The words are very basic. These games help train your listening ability.

Basic level grammar and vocabulary games.

Be careful. This game is addictive!



Teacher Joe

Teacher Joe (in China) has some useful and interesting stuff to help you learn English on the internet. He also has a section on IELTS speaking.


Anastasia'a Website

This is the website of my friend, Anastasia Andros. She is studying for her M.A. in Teaching English as a Second Language and she is specializing in using the internet for English teaching.

Here's the page with some very good exercises to help you improve your grammar and vocabulary:



This is a blog on the "Wordpress" platform. It might not be available in China. It is written by a retired language teacher in England. It has several excellent lists and explanations, for example, about Non-Count nouns.