ESL/EFL Resources

Especially tailored to non-native speakers and their instructors, these resources supplement our other links on Writing as a Process.

Grammar Help

  • Guide to Grammar and Writing (Capital Community College): A Writing Studio favorite, this website offers grammar and usage advice from A ("A, An, The") to Z ("Zero articles"), with links to quizzes that test your grammar knowledge and provide explanations for answers.
  • ESL Common Errors Workbook (Penguin): This Penguin Handbook offers tutorials and interactive practice for avoiding common ESL errors.
  • Help Center at Dave's ESL Café: Ask ESL questions online and receive answers from ESL tutors, courtesy of Dave's ESL Café.


  • Monolingual learners' dictionaries assist learners of a foreign language by providing more detailed information about definitions, usage, collocations, grammar, synonyms, countability, etc., than one can find in a bilingual dictionary or a dictionary designed for native speakers. Useful online learners' dictionaries include:
  • Dictionary of English Idioms: Idioms are expressions that have a meaning based on common usage rather than on the meanings of the individual words. Use this dictionary of English idioms to make sense of phrases like "Cat got your tongue?" and "Mind your own beeswax."
  • Dictionary of English Phrasal Verbs: Phrasal verbs are idiomatic expressions that combine a verb with a preposition (e.g. sign away, sign for, sign in, sign on with, sign out of). Consult this dictionary to understand differences in meanings, to find the right preposition to use with a verb, or just to browse phrasal verbs.
  • Visual Dictionary: Sometimes a picture helps you make sense of a word better than a written explanation can.

Vocabulary: The Academic Word List

  • The Academic Word List (Victoria University of Wellington): Averil Coxhead developed the Academic Word List, comprised of 570 word families chosen for their frequency in an academic corpus. Click on the site's links to explore the headwords and sublists.
  • Vocabulary Exercises for the Academic Word List (University of Victoria): Gerry Luton of the University of Victoria created these vocabulary exercises for the Academic Word List (AWL).