English User Guides
|On this page...|
To start with...
...this website has been around for a while and might look or feel slightly 'different'. It is custom-built, so not created from any modern template. I think you'll find the plain and simple color scheme provides enough contrast to make reading easier for all age groups.
Each page is formatted for your computer screen or iPad rather than the smartphone you carry with you everywhere. This is so we can present key English learning points in table form, with clear examples always in view alongside. Busy students preparing to sit exams will not want to waste too much time scrolling up and down ... especially on a very small screen.
You will find useful terms hyperlinked to their definitions elsewhere on the site, and in the British and American vocabulary glossaries expressions with differering meaning on either side of the Atlantic are cross-linked for quick comparison.
The approach to grammar is a traditional one. Just as with safe driving, language acquisition and effective communication are helped along by some basic rules of the road.
Whether you are a native speaker of English or a non-native learner, I do hope you find something of interest or benefit. Genuine feedback is always welcome here, and thank you for today's visit!
Master the subtleties of English punctuation so you can express yourself with greater accuracy.
Your compact guide to correct spelling, both British and American
English Grammar at a Glance
A glossary of key grammar and linguistic terms
A short article on articles in English, and when to use A, AN, THE, or nothing at all
Do tenses make you tense? Let us relieve those tensions — past, present and future!
Irregular Verbs A–Z
Traditional listing of irregular verbs in alphabetical order. Easily find the verb that you want.
Irregular Verb Patterns
Irregular verbs presented in groups with common inflection patterns for faster memorization
Playful, easy-to-remember MP3-audio practice drills for standard British English
Words Often Confused
Learn to distinguish between words which look or sound alike.
Transatlantic Vocabulary Variants
British–American and American–British glossaries
Summary of nations, nationalities, nationality adjectives, and the languages spoken in each territory
Initial sounds that seem to convey a certain message
Grammar for Japan
A bilingual glossary of grammar and linguistic terms, with examples
Tracking Chinese and Korean dynasties, Japanese eras, English monarchies and, later on, British prime ministers and U.S. presidents side by side, this 2,023-year-long timechart shows at a glance who prevailed in each jurisdiction in any given year and how long they had been there. Helpful for history students. Contextualizes classic English literature.
Trusted Resources for Teachers, Students, Readers & Writers
Affixes — The Building Blocks of English
Michael Quinion's dictionary of prefixes and suffixes originallly published by Oxford University Press in 2002.
World Service Radio
Hone your listening skills and stay well informed by tuning in to "the world's radio station".
BBC Learning English
English language teaching on BBC external services since 1943
Skillswise: English help for adults
Literary skills for adult learners
British Council: Learn English
The British Council promotes UK culture and education in over 100 countries.
Council/BBC: Teaching English
A wide selection of lesson plans and other resources for English teachers around the globe
Cambridge English Language Assessment
Your guide to the full range of Cambridge English exams and teaching qualifications
Common Errors in English Usage
From the website of Professor Paul Brians of Washington State University
Dave's ESL Café
Up and running since the 1990s, Dave's ESL Café is a great place to look for English teaching jobs in East Asia and quite a few other places.
Dictionary of Middle English [from
ca.1100 to ca.1500]
The University of Michigan provides this invaluable tool for anyone interested in medieval English literature.
EF Resources for Learning English
EF (Education First) was founded in Sweden in 1965 and is now active in over 100 countries and territories.
This Oxford University Press journal for everyone involved in English education has a 75-year history.
Providing free online English lessons and ESL/EFL resources since the late 1990s
European Commission: How to Write Clearly [PDF file]
"KISS: Keep It Short and Simple!"
Over 145,000 synonyms, antonyms, and related words sourced from Collins Thesaurus of the English Language — Complete and Unabridged, The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus, and WordNet.
Guide to Grammar & Writing
Dedicated to the late Dr. Charles Darling, who developed this site to support his students back in 1996.
(International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign
UK-based organization supporting English-language teaching professionals worldwide
(International English Language Testing System)
English language proficiency tests approved by the UK, Australian and New Zealand governments for visa and immigration purposes
A speaking picture-dictionary of English. Hover your mouse cursor over any image to hear it pronounced.
Online since 2004, this site offers a vast range of free e-books downloadable in a variety of formats.
The best known freely accessible dictionary and thesaurus of American English on the Web. Comes with games and quizzes to test and build your vocabulary.
UK Macmillan publishing group's online ELT portal. A wealth of resources for English teachers (subscription needed for full access). Free online version of Macmillan's English dictionary and thesaurus.
Paradigm Online Writing Assistant
A superb guide to creative writing by author and poet Chuck Guilford, who also holds a Ph.D. in English.
Choose from over 60,000 free eBooks, especially older works now out of copyright in the United States. Download in epub and Kindle format or read online.
Purdue Online Writing Lab
The tools you need to train and improve your English writing skills for all kinds of purposes. This is a website of the highest caliber.
SIL: Glossary of Linguistic Terms
Everything from ADJECTIVE to ONOMATOPOEIA — more than 900 linguistic and grammatical terms clearly defined
This portal created by teachers for teachers offers "thousands of lessons, units, and reviewed web resources for the K–12 classroom in an ad-free environment."
Based in Alexandria, Virginia, USA. Said to be the largest professional organization for teachers of English as a second or foreign language.
of English as a Foreign Language)
Testing the proficiency of non-native English speakers applying to university in over 150 countries.
of English for International Communication)
Standardized test of general English proficiency for non-native speakers in international workplaces.
Since 2002, a provider of good quality ESL/EFL resources to learners and teachers around the globe.
Wikipedia: English Language
Wikipedia's comprehensive overview of the English language
Wikipedia: History of English
Wikipedia summarizes the history of English from the 5th century to the present day.
This popular free online dictionary and thesaurus has been with us now for 20 years. Ad-supported.
Free crossword puzzles
Boatloadpuzzles.com: Today's Puzzle |
Archive of 40,000 Free Crossword Puzzles
Boasts the largest collection of free online crossword puzzles on the Net. Currently no registration is needed.
The Guardian Quick Crossword
The Guardian's daily Quick Crossword still available free of charge on the Web, whereas it seems app users are asked to subscribe.
Internet TESL Journal Crossword Puzzles for ESL Students:
Not So Easy
Beginner to elementary level. Vintage site but it still works!
Over 8,000 Free Printable Crosswords
This site has been posting printable crosswords since the year 2000.
New York Times Daily Mini Crossword
A worldwide perennial favorite, even among non-subscribers to the NYT newspaper.
USA Today: Easy Crossword |
Stan's Daily Crossword |
A further selection of regular free crosswords
Same puzzle as found on the LA Times website, but here the ads seem less intrusive.
Unscramblerer.com: Crossword Solver
Hopefully your final resort: get help finding those last missing letters, plus10 useful tips for successful crossword solving.
Tests, Quizzes, Puzzles & Games
British Council LearnEnglish:
A few basic vocabulary exercises for beginner and elementary level learners.
Dave Sperling's ESL Quiz Center
Dave Sperling's ESL Café has been with us for over two decades.
EF SET Express:
A Free Standardized Online English Test
Establish your English level in just 15 minutes.
EnglishClub.com > ESL Games: Hangman | Matching
Games | Spelling
Games | English
Josef Essberger's ESLClub.com has been providing consistent service since 1997.
Word Games and Quizzes
Test and build your vocabulary with Merriam-Webster, provider of America's best-known free online dictionary.
Randall's ESL Cyber Listening Lab: Listening Quizzes & Exercises
Hone those listening comprehension skills.
USA Today: Word Games
Miscellaneous word games from USA Today, perhaps America's only truly national daily newspaper.
UsingEnglish.com: English Language (ESL) Grammar
and Vocabulary Quizzes
Fun challenges from this reputable provider of free online English learning materials since 2002.