Are you learning English now?
Do you have a smartphone?
You can learn English “on the go” (while moving around) in lots of ways.
And let’s not forget—mobile apps.
With these apps for learning English, it’ll almost be like playing a game—no more boring vocabulary and grammar exercises!
So, you might be thinking, “…which apps should I start with?”
Don’t worry. We’ve gathered 8 of the best apps for learning English here.
Let’s get started.
8 Best Apps for Learning English
Cost: Free version or $8 – $18 per month, $80 – $180 per year
FluentU is very unique among the apps on this list.
FluentU takes real-world videos like music videos, commercials, news, and inspiring talks and turns them into English learning experiences. Unlike traditional apps, FluentU uses a natural approach that helps you ease into the English language and culture over time. You’ll learn English as it’s spoken in real life.
FluentU has a variety of engaging videos – topics like popular talk shows, music videos, and funny commercials, as you can see here:
FluentU makes it really easy to watch English videos. There are captions that are interactive. That means you can tap on any word to see an image, definition and useful examples.
For example, when you tap on the word “brought,” you see this:
Learn all the vocabulary in any video with quizzes. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning.
The best part is that FluentU keeps track of the vocabulary that you’re learning, and it recommends you examples and videos based on the words you’ve already learned. Every learner has a truly personalized experience, even if they’re learning the same video.
You can start using FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, by downloading the app from the iTunes store.
FluentU is highly recommended for people who are audio-visual learners and want to learn English with fun content.
Price: Free (for a demo account)
If you’ve searched online for English resources before, you might have already heard of Rosetta Stone.
Rosetta Stone is probably the most famous method for learning languages.
It’s also very a unique method compared to many others.
Usually, an English app teaches you English with explanations in your native language. For example, if you’re French, you’ll see French explanations of English grammar, or French translations of English words.
But Rosetta Stone doesn’t do that—it teaches you English with English.
So how does it do that?
Rosetta Stone has exercises designed to help you learn basic words, before forming phrases and longer sentences.
For example, you might learn the English words “man”, “woman”, “park” through pictures. In the next step, Rosetta Stone might try to teach you “A man and a woman is sitting in the park”. You might not know what “sit” means, but you can probably guess it correctly.
Using this method, Rosetta Stone manages to teach you many new English words and phrases without using your native language. It’s a very immersive method.
I would recommend this if you would like to try learning English without relying on your native language.
MindSnacks is known for its fun and simple to use interface.
For the English language, you can now expand your vocabulary with the SAT Vocabulary apps.
Traditionally, if you were trying to get a high SAT score, it’s important to look at the SAT vocabulary list. But it can be boring at times because it’s like studying an English dictionary.
MindSnacks helps make this process fun.
Instead of studying endless word lists, you now have fun games to learn new English words with. Learning new vocabulary is easier when you’re motivated—and MindSnacks helps make it fun.
There are nine mini-games inside of the MindSnacks app. Each game is designed to help you master English words a certain way.
For example, there is a game with lots of balloons—there are red balloons and blue balloons.
Then, you might have three blue balloons with the words “glorify”, “ludicrous”, “abstruse”, and three red balloons with the words “absurd”, “praise”, “hard to understand”. Each word on the blue balloon means something similar to a word on the red balloon.
You would match these up like this—“glorify – praise”, “ludicrous – absurd”, “abstruse – hard to understand”. This game is designed to help you learn new words.
In another game, you have to fill in a blank between two words.
For example, “I failed the fitness test by not completing the mile within time ____.” You are give a choice between “constraints” and “digression.” Using what you’ve learned in other games, you’ll choose “constraint”. This game is designed to teach you how a word is used correctly—or its context.
A neat English app that makes learning new words fun—I recommend this for all English learners who want to expand their vocabulary with some cool SAT words.
Memrise is a bit similar to MindSnacks—the focus of this app for learning English is English words.
But, unlike MindSnacks, Memrise doesn’t help you learn through games.
Instead, it uses some creative, funny ways to help you remember what words mean.
And if something’s funny, you can probably remember it better.
Interestingly, Memrise courses are designed by users. So you can see how other English learners learnt these same words you’re learning.
There are over thirteen pages of courses available on the app, from easy ones like “English Irregular Verbs” to more difficult ones like “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens.
Many English learners find learning new words to be one of the most difficult things about the language. American English uses a large vocabulary set in particular.
With Memrise, you have a fun and easy way to remember words that seem foreign to you.
Also, you can also keep track of what you’ve learnt. This way, if you forget what a word means, or forget what words you’ve learnt, you can just go back and have a look.
A very effective (and funny!) way of learning English words, I recommend this for anyone, whether you’re a beginner or an advanced English learner, who want to expand their vocabulary.
Price: $30 / month
Open Language has a lot of different sections to learning English. If you’ve learnt another language before, you might know the CEFR—it stands for the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, which is a way to measure how good you are in a language. It goes from A1 (Beginner) to C2 (Native).
On every level, you’ll find different courses for different uses. For example, there’s Business English, English used in giving presentations, English in daily life and Interview Skills in English. As you can see, Open Language is really well organised.
Each lesson is really comprehensive too.
For each lesson you take, Open Language has many learning exercises to help you strengthen different areas of that lesson vocabulary.
There’s the dialogue, the vocabulary in the dialogue, extra words for that dialogue, grammar explanations, exercises to help review what you’ve learnt, and an interactive task at the end of the lesson.
If you really like English lessons taught in a detailed way, Open Language is an excellent English learning app that helps cover a lot of material for English learners of all levels.
Price: $4.99 (App Store), $5.99 (Google Play)
Mosalingua is yet another app for learning English using some effective learning methods.
For example, one common problem many English learners face is forgetting a word after a some time.
While this is normal for anyone learning a new language, it can also be really frustrating.
Mosalingua tries to solve this problem by using a method called SRS. SRS stands for Spaced Repetition Software, and basically, it’s software that’s designed to help you review words just before you will forget them. So, let’s say you forget a word three months after you learn it. Mosalingua will help you review these words maybe a week or two before you do forget it.
Mosalingua also focuses on 1,500 of the most important words in English for practical and daily uses. So if you’ve just started to learn English, Mosalingua might be a great English app to check out.
Between conversations and flashcards designed with SRS, Mosalingua can be a really good way to help you learn your first 1,500 words in English effectively.
Price: 14,99 Euros / month (~USD 21)
Busuu is a little bit different than many of the apps we’ve mentioned here. Many apps for learning English we talked about so far are for personal use. For most of the lessons, you go through them yourself. With Busuu, however, you can talk with native English speakers to practice your English speaking—it’s a great way to practice your speaking.
Apart from the speaking component, Busuu is actually quite similar to Open Languages—it’s based on the CEFR language framework, and it’s also designed in a similar way – each lesson has some key vocabulary, a lesson dialogue, a writing practice session, a recording session (you practice saying some English out loud), a lesson review, and of course, the part where you can practice with other native English speakers.
With all of these parts, you can practice reading, writing, speaking and listening. It’s a balanced way to learn English.
If you like talking with people, and you want to improve your spoken English, Busuu may be a great English app for you.
With Duolingo, it teaches you English from many languages – French, Portuguese, Russian, Italian, Dutch, Spanish, and many more languages in the future.
Duolingo is designed to help you learn English quickly. That means if you’ve never learnt English before, by using Duolingo about twenty minutes a day, you can probably start to talk in simple English, read a lot of English articles, and listen to some basic English phrases in very little time. It’s really effective.
In each lesson, Duolingo teaches you about seven new words based on a topic – like education, school, science and adjectives. There are exercises you have to do in each lesson. For example, you might have to match new words with a picture, you might have to translate an English phrase back to your native language, and you might have to repeat an English phrase.
Of course, there’s also the problem of forgetting words – Duolingo is really clever because after a while, maybe a week later, it will design an exercise to help you practice words you were weak on. This way, after doing these review exercises a few times, these words become much easier to remember.
As you can see, in such a small English app, with just ten to twenty minutes a day, you can easily finish all the lessons in Duolingo in around three months. Much less stressful than having to study a lot everyday to learn a foreign language!
One of the best English language apps today – highly recommended for English beginners.
Final thoughts about learning English through apps
As you can see, there are many ways to learning English – it doesn’t always have to be memorizing vocabulary (the painful way), doing lots of grammar exercises and reading a lot of difficult books.
If you’re looking for another way to learn English that’s effective but also fun – I highly recommend these cool English apps. Each app is designed for different people, and each app has its own strengths. So depending on what you need, you can try out these apps – I hope you’ll find them to be useful.
I wish you the best of luck in learning English!
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn English with real-world videos.